How Days Gone is trying to differentiate itself from The Last of Us

Days Gone is a title that’s unlike anything else Bend Studio has made since founding in 1993. Predominantly known for its work on the Syphon Filter franchise, the developer has traded the familiar espionage gear and night vision goggles for rowdy biker gangs and zombie hordes. Here’s everything that fans need to know about the game before it releases exclusively for PlayStation 4 on April 26.

The Days Gone story is trying to tug at your heartstrings

Days Gone

The title has players take on the role of a drifter named Deacon St. John as he attempts to survive against a global pandemic that’s already eradicated most of humanity. He and his friend Boozer roam the Pacific Northwest (or post-apocalyptic Oregon, to be more precise) in search of supplies to keep themselves alive.

As aloof as Deacon may seem at a glance, his attitude may be justified. It seems as though he lost someone he loved as the world plunged into chaos two years ago, or shortly thereafter. This significant other, referred to as Sarah by Boozer, appears next to Deacon in an Into The Pixel art show entry wearing a jacket nearly identical to the one her husband dons. It’s possible that the protagonist’s wife is still alive and may have left her partner’s side to join a rival biker gang. Of course, there’s a chance this image is purely conceptual and has nothing to do with the final product.

The fact that Deacon prefers the dangerous open roads over the safety of survivor encampments may illustrate his belief that he has nothing left to lose. Flashback footage and trailers indicate that the biker-turned-mercenary had a close relationship with his wife. Her death or betrayal may have made the world more bleak in his eyes.

No matter what may happen during the game’s campaign, Bend Studio has confirmed that it will last roughly 30 hours. Six of those hours will be devoted entirely to cutscenes. It’s likely that an average playthrough will last much longer, given the game’s inclusion of open world environments, side quests, and random occurrences.

The Days Gone Freakers are more than zombies

Days Gone

The zombies in Days Gone (Amazon Link) aren’t actually called zombies. These Freakers behave differently from one’s typical reanimated corpses, as they move fast and travel together in packs. As daunting as it may be to witness a horde of these creatures roam around Oregon, players can use the enemy’s numbers to their advantage. In one E3 presentation, for example, Deacon is shown blowing up a makeshift wall to allow a mass of Freakers into a rival gang’s camp.

While this may indicate that these beasts are unintelligent, Sony Bend has stated that Freakers need to eat, drink, and sleep like any other organism. They’ll migrate often to new water sources and sleeping grounds, consuming any living thing they can get their hands on. Deacon is seen a food source — not a threat — as these beings travel from place to place.

Freakers vary in terms of physiology and species. On the human side, Newts are teenagers who like to keep their distance until they can find an opening to attack, Screamers are lookouts that alert hordes if they find food, and Breakers are muscle-heads that can pummel their prey in seconds.

On the animal side, Runners are wolves that are fast enough to keep up with Deacon’s motorbike, Ravens are crows that swarm their victims, and Ragers are bears that appear as bosses and regular feral enemies. Each of these serves to evoke a sense of constant dread as players explore the game’s open world. An abandoned factory may be home to a nest of Newts and a lonely highway may have a pack of Runners waiting on the sidelines.

Days Gone‘s dynamic weather system can affect Freaker behavior. Rain, for instance, dulls their sight and sound, making it easier for Deacon to walk by unscathed. Likewise, snow reduces any given horde’s numbers, as most of the pack wants to stay warm indoors. The foes also take the time of day into account before they ship off to a new location. They tend to hibernate at night, meaning fans should try their best to avoid scavenging for resources when it gets dark out.

Of course, as with most other post-apocalyptic titles today, the game will include human enemies like marauders and Rippers. The former try their best to ambush the protagonist on the road with clothesline traps and beat-up cars. The latter are Mad Max-inspired psychopaths with suicidal tendencies. Their motto, “Do not harm Freakers,” often leads to interesting encounters, according to the game’s developer.

The “iconic” Days Gone motorcycle and environments

Days Gone

Sony released a video showcasing the game’s six distinct regions this past January. Though players will be able to explore caves, lava fields, mountains, and more, previews have indicated that most of Days Gone will take place in dense forests. Fans will have to learn how to properly handle Deacon’s trusty motorcycle, appropriately named the Drifter, if they hope to navigate through each of these locations safely.

Like the protagonist himself, the bike can be upgraded to increase its speed and carrying capacity. It can act as a hub of sorts for users to craft and manage their gear before venturing out into the wilderness on foot. One of the most interesting aspects about the Drifter is that it’ll need to be refueled with gas and repaired if broken.

Most games eschew these realistic details in an attempt to eliminate the mundane. Bend Studio may have found a way to make these features engaging in Days Gone, though fans won’t know for sure until they’ve spent a significant amount of time riding across the Pacific Northwest.

Days Gone multiplayer is a no-go

Days Gone

Unfortunately, Days Gone won’t include an online multiplayer or co-op mode. Though such components were pitched to Sony by Saber Interactive, the publisher ultimately turned down the offer. This was presumably done so that Bend could focus on delivering a quality single-player experience without getting sidetracked.

It remains to be seen whether or not Days Gone will become a popular franchise for Bend Studio. If the developer once typically known for Killzone could reinvent itself with Horizon Zero Dawn, there’s a chance that Bend may find similar success. Though it’s impossible to ignore Days Gone‘s similarities to The Last of Us Part 2, the former game’s open world environments, motorcycle traversal, and story make it stand out from every other upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive. Here’s hoping that the title is a dream come true for zombie fans when it launches soon.


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