E3 2017: Impressions – Days Gone

Designers Eric Jensen and Ron Allen from Bend Studio gave us a closed door look at Days Gone. Running through the demo seen on stage during the Sony Media Briefing, we were shown how things can be different with time of day and weather changes.

The stage demo started at night in the rain while ours began in the same place but during the day with snow. One of the immediate effects is that the snow caused some traction issues with the motorcycle along with lower visibility. The temperature change can also bring out more “freakers” who are also a little bit stronger at night.

They wanted to show us more of the sandbox experience in the game which allows you to approach situations in many ways, making the it more personal for each player.

Because of the weather change, the wolves in the beginning of the original demo weren’t there. Also, because Deacon is more focused on driving in the harsher conditions, he’s able to spot the ambush well before it happens.

Deacon took a side road and drove into the woods where he was able to get off the bike and take his enemies out one by one. The first was with a stealth kill from behind which the other guy saw. That led to a quick hand to hand fight resulting in the death of the other enemy. Time was taken to scour the area looking for materials in cars and an ambulance.

He made his way past the hanging freaks and into the small camp, but this time Deacon set up a bear trap in the bushes right below a sign. Moving off to the right he then threw some rocks at the sign to get the attention of some of the enemies. One walked over and stepped right into the trap which brought the rest of the camp running.

With everyone distracted and gathered in a nice group, Deacon threw a Molotov into the middle of them and ran in to kill off any stragglers. It was a big difference from the stealth option we’d seen here previously and it really highlighted the different ways you can approach situations.

Taking a different route to the main camp, he was able to get hold of a sniper rifle and start taking out enemies from a distance before moving in for the final confrontation. That part played out the same, including the infected bear, but that may not always be the case either.

In the world, the wolves, the clothesline trap, the hoard, the weather, and much more are all randomly generated. Things might be a little more constrained during certain points of a mission, especially with the hoard, but for the most part anything can happen while you’re out exploring the world.

In the scenario we saw in the demo, if Deacon had approached the final camp with stealth and took everyone out quietly, the bear wouldn’t have shown up. All the noise from the gunfire attracted it. If it was raining with heavy thunder and lightning at the time, that would have masked the sound of the gunfire and not attracted any unwanted attention.

There’s a mini map in the corner but while they were playing there was no indication of where they needed to go for this mission. I asked about it and was told that on the full map there are markers showing the general area of where your friend was sent and where they think he may be. You’ll then go to the general area and use your tracking abilities to get the rest of the way.

There are checkpoints throughout the missions so if something goes wrong you won’t have to backtrack very far. You’ll also gain different types of XP depending on how you approach each situation but that’s all they’d say about that.

Since Deacon is a bounty hunter who was part of a motorcycle club he’s learned a bunch of skills over the course of his life and the Survival Vision is a part of that. This is what allows you to see some traps and track enemies.

Your bike is also very important. It’s really a part of you and it has its own health and stamina bars. You’ll need to repair it and find gas along the way and there will be plenty of places to look.

The game is set two years out from the cataclysm that effectively brought civilization to its knees and you’ll see some of that in the variety of locations with small towns, forests, deserts, marshlands, and more.

Every building you come across will be fully explorable but they come with an inherent danger. Within some of those areas, the population density was higher before the disaster so they’ll naturally be populated with more freakers.

When checking for supplies you need to weigh the consequences. During the day the freaker population is lower but more marauders come out and vice versa at night. It’ll make for some hard choices, but that’s the fun of it.

While we still don’t have a release date, the game is already looking great. Hopefully we’ll have more news soon as this looks to be a great title in the making.

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