Days Gone launched with its fair share of problems. The game’s director, Jeff Ross, has now said that if Bend Studio had been able to make Days Gone 2, he’d have been able to make the “definitive edition” of the game so he “didn’t have to necessarily apologize for so much” for any issues.
What was wrong with Days Gone?
Ross explained how both players and the development team had issues with Days Gone. One of the more controversial points during QA testing was the saving mechanic that was attached to Deacon’s bike. Some of these issues came from the testing environment itself because the developers were “evaluating it in a vacuum”, as he explained to ForTheWin. Not only was there tension when the testers found they couldn’t save a fair amount of progress because they couldn’t get to the bike, there were also complaints about having to repair it. So players wouldn’t have to contend with survival mechanics like food and water supplies, these were converted to repairing bike damage and finding fuel.
The game’s pacing was also described as a “slow burn”. While some of this was intentional in an attempt to create an atmosphere similar to The Walking Dead where it would “lull the player into a sense of complacency”, other parts were a result of the cinematics and voice capture being completed too early in development. With no way of changing these, the team was “bound by it” and had to make do with the existing material.
The lack of swimming was also an engineering constraint that was later explained by Deacon’s fear of water. During testing, they found that 75% of self-inflicted deaths were caused by drowning. Surface swimming was proposed but would have taken too much extra time to put in. As such, water ended up acting as a boundary instead.
Finally, Ross admitted some of the combat and encounters like the instant-fail stealth sections were “terrible”. Again, the team had to deal with the constraints of scripting the AI:
With the stealth sections, we had to maintain the sense of ‘they will shoot on sight’, but we didn’t necessarily want to have a shootout because the player couldn’t kill them. That was the only thing I could really figure out to do, and we tried a lot of stuff. For the sequel, those are the types of things I wouldn’t do. I didn’t want to do them here. I kind of had to, but we have the data now.
Unfortunately it seems like the sequel will never materialise. In other news, Ross also went into detail about their open-world Resistance game pitch, including that they suggested using the Days Gone world for that game. Elsewhere, Xbox head Phil Spencer wishes there would be cross-platform bans on PS5 and Xbox for abusive players, but admits it would be hard work to implement.