For gamers, slow-moving zombies are laughable as a threat. You just pull out your shotgun, and it’s like a turkey shoot. But fast-moving zombies are scary as they’ll eat your brains before you know it. The new next-generation game Dying Light from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will expose you to both kinds of zombies depending on whether it is day or night.
During the day, the zombies are lethargic and easy to kill. As a scavenger, you spend your time gathering resources and getting ready for the night. At dark, the zombies become more alert and aware, and other kinds of creatures come out to hunt you down. The duality of night and day will make this game dramatic and intense as it will give you a deadline to get your work done before it’s too late. It is an interesting twist on the zombie genre, and it could very well be enough to launch a successful new intellectual property in a game industry that is full of sequels.
The title, coming in 2014 for a bunch of platforms, is under development at Techland, the creator of the zombie-killing game Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide. Truthfully, when I first heard this demo was for another zombie game, I wasn’t too excited. But the graphics of the next-generation game are beautiful. The developer once again draws a contrast between the gorgeous scenery of a European town and the horror of fighting flesh-eating zombies.
“We are doing a huge open world filled with zombies,” Blazej Krakowiak, the international brand manager of Techland, told GamesBeat.
In this world, you pick up objects in the day. “At night, you become prey,” Krakowiak said. “It’s a horror game at night. The day is when you prepare for the night.”
In addition, you could pretty much travel in any direction you wanted through the seaside town. Inside a cabinet, you find a girl. You can talk to her or move on with your mission of finding supplies that have been air-dropped into the city. You are in a rush to get the air drop before the “vultures,” or other humans, pick it clean. On the other hand, you could stay and help the girl.
In this demo, the player moved on to the air drop but found that a rival group was faster. You can fight them or back out and find another air drop. In this case, the player moves on to the second air drop. Along the way, you can take out the zombies with a machete. You can stop inside a shed and craft the tool into something better: a machete that delivers an electric shock.
The player goes to a second flare marking another air drop near the ocean. You can hop from roof to roof. Along the way, you have to take out more zombies and pick up a flashlight. Near the drop zone, you find a bunch of zombies and take them out with a firebomb.
But by that time, you are late. Dusk has fallen, and you are trapped at the second air-drop site. You collect your supplies and begin to run. As night falls, the tension grows. The music becomes haunting. And something starts to stalk you. You are partially infected with the zombie virus already, and you can detect the presence of the most dangerous zombies. One of them eats another human. You take off sprinting and go up a labyrinth of stairs. Then you make a run for it.
The creature that stalks you takes off after you. You can quickly glance back and, in slow motion, see something chasing you. You go over a bunch of barriers and run through corridors in an attempt to escape. At last, the monstrous sounds and the music slow down. It appears you have shaken the monster. You can relax. But then, of course, the creature comes out of nowhere and eats you.
Ending his presentation, Krakowiak says, “Good night; good luck. “
He said that the developers will have both fully scripted missions and missions where the player has to move from point A to point B, and the player can determine how to do that.
“We want to have some directed experiences like that, with drama,” he said. “The best open-world games are like that, with both scripted play and free roaming.”
The game is coming to current-generation consoles, next-generation consoles, and the PC. The company has been working on the title since early 2012, when the core team finished Dead Island. That title sold well, but, “That was not enough. We wanted to take the zombie experience to a new level.”
The company’s new game engine, Chrome Engine 6, was designed for next-generation consoles. That’s what will produce the gorgeous visuals that you see in the screenshots. The title is coming on multiple platforms, including next-generation machines, in 2014.
“Lighting is key because of the day-night cycle we have in the game,” he said. “We also wanted a lot of zombies on the screen at the same time without sacrificing performance.”
Here’s our video interview with Krakowiak of Techland below.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!