Since its E3 2018 reveal, Dying Light 2‘s developers have driven home the emphasis on player’s choices. Every decision matters and is capable of shaping the narrative and game world at-large. What does that mean for protagonist Aiden Caldwell? Are his actions driven by a moral code? Apparently, morality will be exclusively motivated by the player, who can choose to be good, bad, or some nuanced middle-ground. The extremist of extremes also serves as an option. If players want to assume a role similar to that of the Joker, sowing chaos just for the fun of it, that, too, is possible. Care should be taken, though, as such behavior may also adversely effect Aiden.
In an interview with Wccftech, Techland developers were asked if Dying Light 2’s extensive choice-based system will allow players to explore the game as an agent of chaos, similar to the Joker. The simple answer is, yes. However, everything has consequences, even if players act like someone who doesn’t care about anything. Writer Chris Avellone told Wccftech,
Yes. Dying Light 2 is designed to allow the player to play any number of roles–helpful benefactor, selfish looter, ruthless pragmatist, betrayer, or even a trickster if they wish, and you can definitely turn the factions against themselves and individuals against each other. There may be many instances where such behavior earns rewards, both expected and some unexpected… but unexpected consequences as well. While you can orchestrate chaos, there’s also the danger of being swept up in it as well.
Talk of chaos in the interview was preceded by a brief discussion on the sequel’s lack of a morality system. Essentially, the player will serve as their own moral compass. The world of Dying Light 2 may not interpret Aiden’s seemingly good action as good, for instance. Avellone explained,
There’s no traditional morality bar or a Karma system like you’d find in other games–you are the judge of your own actions. Ultimately you know why you’re making a choice, what the intention was behind your choice, then you face the consequences of your choice. Even if you had the best of intentions, it’s entirely possible to make a choice that will cause others to regard you as a villain or an enemy–and choices you may have made for selfish reasons may end up causing the inhabitants of the City to interpret it as an act of goodwill. Ultimately, the player is their own moral compass, but the world around them may pass judgement on the player’s actions based on their own agendas, perspective, and motivations.
As Lead Designer Tymon Smektala previously noted, this level of choice means every player’s version of the city in Dying Light 2 will look and feel different. It should be interesting to see how well Techland pulls off such a feat.
Dying Light 2 will launch on an unspecified date in spring 2020.