Step aside Walking Dead! There’s a new zombie sheriff in town. Days Gone brings a whole new perspective to the zombie genre and we think it’s going to be a game changer. Fans of the Walking Dead whom feel the show is a bit tedious and boring might want to pick up Days Gone.
Days Gone Preview
In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen the gameplay footage of Days Gone, here it is in all its glory:
The most impressive thing about Days Gone is the huge numbers of zombies that relentlessly pursue you in the game’s highly dynamic open world. When I say huge, I mean it! The above video shows the insane numbers of zombies that will be harassing you while trying to eat your brains.
The game was created for the Playstation 4 platform and is being developed by Bend Studio.
So Many Zombies!!!
The amount of onscreen zombies have to be pushing the PS4 to the limit. With this many animating characters displayed at once, there has to be some incredible code trickery at work here. Furthermore, even in early demos, the game runs smoothly while presenting an incredible amount of detail. You can thank Epic games for their Unreal Engine which makes the high levels of graphical detail in Days Gone possible.
Furthermore, even in early demos, the game runs smoothly while presenting an incredible amount of detail. You can thank Epic games for their Unreal Engine which makes the high levels of graphical detail in Days Gone possible.
Beyond displaying massive amounts of environmental detail, high resolution textures, high polygon models, procedurally generated animation, the Unreal Engine also provides a freaky hoard AI to the thousands (or maybe millions) of zombies that make your game world a living hell. The AI that controls the groups of zombies results in a strange and almost wave-like behavior. Imagine if Alfred Hitchcock’s birds were zombies and you would be close.
Flowing Zombie Insanity
Looking like an insane stumbling hoard, the groups of zombies in Days Gone don’t stop when they hit an obstacle, but rather flow through and around it. This is something you really have to see to understand. I don’t think the developers have a degree in zombie fluid dynamics, but they appear to be pioneering experts in this field. Days Gone developer, Darren Yaeger describes the approach to zombie movement in Days Gone as “horde tech.” When describing horde tech he said:
“The idea is that it just looks like a tidal wave, a flow of rushing water. That type of environment, underneath and over things, all the stuff you can go around and through, that affects the flow of the hordes. Based on the density in a given area, you’ll see a different reaction every time.”
According to the developers, this advanced horde system was designed to create a gameplay system that forces players to think creatively. To avoid death by horde players must use elements found in the open world, to slow down, trap, and avoid zombie hordes. In other words, players must use their environment to their advantage. The advanced and unrelenting AI makes normal Rambo tactics impossible. Yes, players will be able to use guns, Molotov cocktails, and other weapons but these will not be enough.
The nonlinear environments will afford players many possibilities and creative solutions to dealing with what the developers call Freaker hoards. Because the game is nonlinear, the game will play differently every time. In other words, different solutions will arise alongside different zombie hoard problems. Potentially, this will allow the game to offer a massive amount of replayability.
Days Gone will need this without a multiplayer mode, because at the moment, the developers have no plans for a multiplayer mode. This is disappointing, to say the least. That said, if the single player experience is varied, dynamic, and crazy enough, a multiplayer mode may be a price I am willing to pay for the experience destroying a Freaker hoard. We will find out if this non-multiplayer gambit pays off later this year when Days Gone is released.
Walking Dead vs Last of Us vs Days Gone
We don’t really think that AMCs hit show The Walking Dead will be canceled once this game comes out. Its too good of a show to kill off. However, we believe Days Gone will have a profound industry-changing impact ala Last of Us when it comes to creating high-level story-driven art – with hordes of Zombies chasing you.
Newcomers to the genre will have to be very creative to keep raising the bar and keep the living dead genre thriving.