Player-choice is something that is often touted with many open world or narrative driven games. It’s a feature developers like to demonstrate as a selling point, but often, a lot of smoke and mirrors hide the fact that many games don’t include much player-choice at all. With that in mind, we got to check out some behind-closed-doors footage of the upcoming Dying Light 2 at E3 2019, a game that emphasizes the way your choices will impact the game. From what was shown, it looks like your decisions will have a major impact on its narrative and gameplay.
The footage, while brief, gave a broad idea of what to expect from the upcoming open world adventure. During the presentation, the player was shown chasing after a truck while on foot. This is where the parkour elements came into play, as there was a lot of quick navigation through, over, and around buildings to catch up with the target. After wall-running and flying through the air using a glider and grappling hook, the player finally landed atop the target, with the intention of interacting with the driver in some way. The choice is up to you.
It appeared like you could straight-up kill the driver and progress from there with brute force, but in the demo, the player decided to handle things a bit more tactfully. Obviously, coming in through the roof of the truck was alarming for the driver, making it easy to intimidate him. At this point, the player forced the driver to head to the destination as planned.
The mission objective was to enter a makeshift town to turn the water back on, since the player and his team were running out of resources. The driver was ‘persuaded’ to enter the town like normal, which is painted as the safest option. Upon arrival, the player would be able to get into the town with guns blazing, but it’s a lot tougher to do so. That’s why the demo showed the safer option of simply making the driver complete his planned route without alarming any guards.
After sneaking past a few guards and entering the main area with the water pumps, the player was greeted by the town commander, who presented the player with a tough decision. This is when Dying Light 2 really started to present meaningful choices that could impact the rest of the playthrough.
The commander discovered what the player is attempting to do, but explained that there is a larger plan in place and to reconsider the choices. In the demo, the player was guided by a comrade back at the base who keeps pushing towards the goal of turning on the water. However, the commander started to escape, and in the game people could chase after him to presumably kill him or find out more about what’s going on.
Apparently, the commander was responsible for some of the events leading up to this point, which made it all the more inciting to follow him. However, in the demo, the player decided to let him get away and move forward with turning on the water.
After an interesting boss fight with some satisfying-looking combat, the player finally reached the goal. The water was turned on and caused a chain reaction of events that opened up the story. Following this path impacted the story of the commander and unlocked a new area of the map. In fact, it’s a large portion that may not be accessible if the water is not turned on. Even more fascinating is the fact that new enemies spawn from picking this choice, as well, so a substantial amount of content is tied to this very decision alone.
I asked the developer if certain aspects of the game would be completely closed off or missed based on choices made, and based on the answer, you’ll have to play the game several times to see everything. The developer explained that, yes, certain areas would go completely undiscovered based on decisions, so it’s intended to motivate you to play through multiple times and think carefully about your choices.
Since you often hear about how much choice matters in narrative-driven experiences, it’s nice to see something that will potentially follow through with that in a great way. We’ll have to wait to see how it shapes up with the final release, but from the tiny section that was shown, the potential for a ton of branching paths is ever-present.
Currently, Dying Light 2 has a 2020 release date.