Toby sat down at the EB Expo with Dying Light’s Community Manager, Michal Napora, and discussed various challenges and stories about the game. Here’s how it went.
Respawn Ninja: How challenging was it to establish the day and night cycle in the game?
As Community Manager of the project, I do work with the crew and all the devs, and there were a few things that were challenging. Obviously the balance between gameplay, so we’ve always had this idea of you know – making it so day is something different and night is going to change to something different as well. But you don’t want it to get to a point where when the night comes it gets so hard, that players go “you know what, stuff it, I’ll just wait until it’s day again” – that was the thing. So we wanted to make it challenging, not get people to rage quit and still kind of encourage them to do a bit of exploration at night. It’s a whole different vibe, but yeah – it was that whole idea of ‘let’s not make this too difficult and just have a nice really healthy balance.’ I think we’ve struck it!
RN: How did the idea of the day and night cycle come about? Was it an idea that was kicking around early on in development?
Well, it’s something that we’ve playing around with for ages, you know, I think even the guys were doing something similar in Dead Island, but at the time the publisher that we had didn’t give us much time and we had a lot of pressure on us to release the game at a certain date and it didn’t give us the freedom of exploring it a little bit more, so when Dead Island came out we pretty much thought to ourselves “okay, we’re in a position where we can create something new, all those ideas that we had, lets start writing them down and lets start talking about it” and that’s how it just came about! It was just a mishmash of a heap of brains inside one room just blurting it all out and yeah, that’s just how it came about!
RN: Were there any technical challenges developing the game on last-gen hardware compared to current-gen?
So we use our own engine, it’s called Chrome Engine 6, I know the guys that are actually working on the engine itself and these guys made it easy to work with cross-platform/cross-generational versions of Dying Light. Thing is though, as heartbreaking as it is, obviously when it comes to graphics and you know – performance, and those sort of things, the last-gen version of the game aren’t going to look as good as the next-gen versions, however, the storyline will remain the same. So we sort of said look, we’ve got to nail this experience, but look – the game isn’t going to look as good. It’s still going to be good, but not as good as say Xbox One or PS4… or even, you know, PC Master Race
RN: What’s personally your favourite way to take on objectives and missions in the game?
Oh yeah, well, for me – it depends, I’ll let you in on a little secret I guess. When it comes to the day and night cycle, it runs by itself and it’s totally dynamic and independent. It’s not like you’re finishing one mission, the mission ends and all of sudden you’ll go to the second mission and it’s night, it’s not scripted. So what can happen is you can take on a mission and you can choose whether you want to take it at night or you want to take it during the day. So it kind of puts a nice spin to it and what I kind of like about it is saying “alright, I wonder if I can finish this mission before it goes dark” and as you’re doing the mission you’ll have little random encounters happening and say “alright, it’s getting a little bit darkish, I wonder if I can still get that done” and then it gets to the point where you’re doing your mission and you’re thinking to yourself “crap, I’m not going to make it before night falls.” It’s like, you’re trying to be cocky and then you’re paying for that mistake, but you never learn and it’s the fun in it. That’s what I like about it.
RN: What future content can we expect to see in Dying Light after launch? Has there been plans put in place already?
Yeah, I mean like – there’s talk about it, you know, we’ve been talking about whether we’re going to be doing DLC’s and those sorts of things. Honestly though, before we go for DLCs, we wanna make sure that the game is polished. We don’t want to sort of go “alright, here’s a half decent game and buy some half decent DLC’s for it.” It’s like “lets get Dying Light perfect, and once it’s out, that’s when we’ll go into DLC.” But yeah we’re still thinking about that and nothing official pretty much.
RN: Rewind a few years, you’ve been given just two words to use for the pitch of Dying Light – what are they?
Hahaha, I’ve got one so far – future. Ah, future motion. That’s what I’d call it, and it all kind of comes back to the natural movement system in the game.
RN: To cap it off, what’s your favourite zombie movie?
Ah man! This is going to be a bit of a strange one, but I really like Shaun of The Dead! I love it! It’s funny and it’s one of those movies that I just didn’t want to end, you know how you get that feeling where you’re just like “damn it why?!” Shaun of The Dead for me, easy!
Check out Toby’s full hands-on preview on Dying Light here.