Dying Light 2 Interview – Tencent Is An Amazing Partner For Techland

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We discussed the future of Dying Light 2, work on Techland's new IP, and more in this interview with the developers.

Story Highlight
  • Dying Light 2 is constantly evolving.
  • We discussed the game’s evolution with Techland ahead of the Nightmare mode update.
  • During the interview, we shed light on the team’s balance between fun and challenge, potential crossovers, and last-gen console support.

Dying Light 2 has entered its third year on the market in 2024. Over its lifespan, this first-person zombie game has evolved in numerous ways, and Techland is taking another major step today.

The developer is looking to debut Nightmare mode. Like the first game’s difficulty option, this mode will offer a more challenging experience. In our recent interview with Techland, we delved further into Nightmare mode, discussed Tencent’s involvement in the IP, and more.

Dying Light 2 Key Visual
Nightmare Mode Brings The Thrill of Zombie Horror To Dying Light 2 Again
Dying Light 2 is aiming to focus on ‘core zombie survival’ in 2024. How will these themes impact the type of content and experience players will receive this year?

Techland: First of all, it means we’re focusing on zombies and zombie interactions mostly – and less on human-to-human drama and conflicts. We also plan to work more on our zombie AI, their behaviors, and the threat they present to the players at the same time, giving players more tools to fight the infected in new and cool ways.

How does the team balance fun and serious elements in a post-apocalyptic setting where lives are constantly on the line?

Techland: It’s a very good question and a type of balancing we need to face almost every day – yet after working on the franchise for more than a decade, I think we have this sorted out already. Our core main stories need to be serious & grounded – maybe not super dark and grim like The Last of Us but still believable and held within the classic boundaries of a zombie fiction genre.

On our side, additional stories can be more adventurous, lighter, and sometimes even occasionally goofy, especially if the goofiness is still grounded in reality. Super crazy, comedic stuff can have a place in a Dying Light game, but it should be treated as an easter egg – and I think our Tolga & Fatin characters are a great example of this. And then optional content, content that players can get through events or DLCs – this is where we can go full mental, offering knights, samurai, and Egyptian gods.

Where do you hope to see Dying Light 2 by the end of its five-year run?

Techland: I’m sure the game will be a survivor, the character that you usually see at the end of a zombie movie, standing at the top of the hill and looking at the apocalypse below. The times are hard for the games industry, but I’m confident we have enough experience and insights to be able to smartly offer players the experiences they expect from an open-world zombie game.

Dying Light 2 is still being supported on last-generation hardware like the PS4. Many games that launched on this hardware, like Horizon Forbidden West and Cyberpunk 2077, dropped support eventually. How long do you intend to keep releasing new updates for the older consoles?

Techland: As long as it’s feasible. So far, the game “fits” the last-gen platforms, so we don’t intend to stop adding to it until we reach the limits of those consoles.

The game has gone through various crossovers recently. What franchises would you like to collaborate with next?

Techland: My personal “bucket list” is actually quite extensive, but what I believe would work great are series like Mortal Kombat, Assassins Creed, The Witcher, Resident Evil, God of War, or Halo. I’d also like to collaborate with some of the legacy brands that I played as a young kid – imagine Duke Nukem in Dying Light world, for example! But this is just my “wishlist.” Will it become a reality? We’ll see.

With Dead Island 2, a game that began development at Techland initially, finally coming out last year, what did you think of the finished product and its development story?

Techland: To be precise, we never worked on Dead Island 2 – it’s the IP that we created and then left to our publishing partner to focus on Dying Light, which we managed to take a few levels higher. I’m super happy Dead Island 2 was released, as I believe there’s space for both of those games – especially since they might look similar on screenshots but play completely differently.

Since Dying Light 2 is in a unique position as a live-service zombie game with a major emphasis on story, what game do you consider to be a close competition?

Techland: Well, actually, I believe there’s none. With Dying Light 1, we already created a very unique business model, where there’s a fully complete premium game that brings those live-service elements that allowed us to support the game successfully for more than seven years.

We’re trying to do the same with Dying Light 2 Stay Human, adapting this idea to the current state of the gaming industry.

How has the community reacted to the game’s recent firearm update?

Techland: The reaction was super positive, and it definitely overwhelmed us. What’s interesting is that the players responded very well not only to the firearms but also to the other additions this update contained – like almost 10 hrs of new missions or significant graphical improvements that upgraded the visuals of our zombies, environments, and lighting/skyboxes.

By many accounts, the update was so significant they almost turned the game into DL 2.5 – hearing such comments from players makes us truly charged for the next phase of the game’s support.

Dying Light 2 saw a significant surge in Steam players on February 22 as the firearms update was launched. Do you think the next big content release will have a similar impact?

Techland: Hopefully so. We’re releasing a smaller update focused on Nightmare Mode soon (April 18th) – a new difficulty level aimed at our most hardcore players. We’re also working on promised Tower Raids, which is a completely new, unique take on Dying Light gameplay.

I can’t wait to see how our community reacts to that since it grew to be something bigger than we initially planned. If the Nightmare Mode is aimed at the most hardcore of players, we hope Tower Raids will be a cool experience for all members of our community, highly replayable, constantly surprising, and full of emergent wow moments.

How is the team approaching Nightmare difficulty? How will the experience differ from that of the first game?

Techland: We used the Nightmare mode from Dying Light 1 as a foundation, but of course, we managed to add a set of new features. Players can expect obvious things like super tough enemies that strike hard, with rebalanced parameters and tweaks made to their behavior trees. We didn’t only look at making the mode more difficult but also more atmospheric.

That’s why we reintroduce – based on community requests – a flickering flashlight that can fail you in the middle of the night. Looking at new features, the most significant one is Tactical Stamina – a new take on stamina management that pushes the game closer to the territory of Dark Souls, etc.

Another addition is the 5th level of chase mechanic, where players are chased by Volatile Tyrants, our zombie version of SWAT units from GTA. Completing games in this new difficulty mode will be rewarded – of course – our community can expect to get an outfit of one of the characters of Dying Light 2 – the Waltz.

Can you share any teasers for the major DLC in 2024? Have you decided on the expansion’s release date yet?

Techland: I have to keep my lips sealed, or a Volatile will chew on my head.

In a few months, Tencent will have been Techland’s majority shareholder for a whole year. How has the experience of working under Tencent been? Has anything changed for the better?

Techland: Of course, so far, we’re amazed by the support and new dev opportunities we received from our partners. Tencent is a big family of a few dozen super-experienced studios, so even being able to exchange knowledge and insights is a completely new world for us.

While Dying Light 2 is still set to receive a few more years of support, has Techland begun to plan a third game?

Techland: Remember what I told you about the Volatile? I can still hear the beast right around the corner.

How will your new IP impact the future of Dying Light? Do you plan on working on both side by side?

Techland: Both IPs are developed by two separate studios within Techland – Dying Light is Techland Wroclaw, and the fantasy IP is Techland Warsaw. It would be great to have two strong – and different – IPs under our umbrella.

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Following Nightmare mode, more exciting content is already lined up for Dying Light 2. The game is brimming with potential two years after its launch, and we can’t wait to jump in again.

We would also like to thank Techland for the opportunity to conduct this interview before the release.

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