Dying Light 2 Lead Designer Discusses Game's Future

Dying Light 2 is out now and has plenty to come in the next few months and years. Indeed, Techland has promised at least five years of support for the game, and this means fans will get new challenges, gameplay content, DLC, and more, alongside various patches and fixes. Techland has outlined what fans can expect across the next few months on the Dying Light 2 roadmap, and it stands to reason fans will learn more as time marches on.

Game Rant recently spoke with Dying Light 2 lead designer Tymon Smektala about what's next for the game. Obviously, only so much could be discussed given the game is still early on in its first roadmap, but for fans curious, Smektala did broadly discuss what comes next. The following transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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Q: Why, specifically, was five years chosen for post-launch support of Dying Light 2?

Actually, it comes from our experience from the first game, because for Dying Light 1, we have been supporting the title for six and a half years basically. The game was released in 2015, and it received its last drop of content last year. There were also some updates and then some content that accompanied the release of Dying Light 2: Stay Human. And there's still at least one more update for the game going to appear soon.

Basically, we are working and we are adding to the game for seven years straight now. Saying that Dying Light 2: Stay Human will be supported for five years isn't that crazy. We are even a little humble on our side and a little modest because we supported the previous one longer.

I think the five years is an expression of our belief and confidence in the title, as well as us reaffirming our community, our gamers, that they will be supported--that whatever they experience with us with the first game, it's the same amount of respect, the same amount of support, that they will get from us now. With the second one, there are already plans on what we want to do within those five years. Of course, they are very precise for the next few months, a little less precise for the next year, and maybe just high level for the fifth year. But it's because we want to see what players engage with most and what players get excited about most. We'll reevaluate and tweak those changes and evolve those plans regarding the last year, the last two years, maybe the last three years based on that feedback.

There is a very solid, very reasonable plan for how we want to support the game for five years. And so that's why we gave this number because we feel we are able to pull it off and we feel we will do this.

Q: From Techland's perspective, could you broadly describe what Dying Light 2 could look like next year?

Of course, there are some things we have already announced, which are two story DLCs, and a couple of additional parkour and combat challenges. There's also something we have mentioned already that players can expect us playing with enemy variants and having some fun with the enemies that are already in the game. We will just tweak with the statistics, experiment with the statistics, and maybe with the visuals as well.

There are also other things coming. Those things will start being added to the game, starting from next month or maybe two months from now. Aside from what we have announced, there is more stuff coming. And in general terms, I think all of it is focused on adding more gameplay and more gameplay content to the game. I'm not saying everything will be like a scripted DLC with the narrative; there will also be smaller drops.

Whatever we do, we try to find and add elements of gameplay to those additions. For example, if we will be adding even some like cosmetic items, like maybe new pieces of outfits or gear for the players, we will try to add pieces of challenges or maybe pieces of very specific player behaviors that trigger specific ultra-cool reactions on those weapons.

So, maybe something like you get this outfit, and it increases your damage output during the night. But then if during the day you wear it, you start losing health. Things like that, things like creating new sets of variables for the gameplay or straight up adding new gameplay content to the game.

Because we feel that at Techland, we are a gameplay-first studio. This is what we do best. This is also what we get from players praising us for the second game. Some people like the story, some people didn't like the story, but everyone says the gameplay is amazing. And we want to double down on that and then keep adding new gameplay content to the game.

Q: You mentioned taking in fan reception feedback, so has there been any fan reception or feedback already that maybe you're taking into account in terms of gameplay, the open-world, or narrative beats?

Of course, there are a couple of things that keep popping up, and looking at everything that people say online about our game and all of the feedback that is being sent to us, you can see some common things. You can see some common themes appearing and then requests for some specific features.

So, one of those things is, for example, New Game Plus. Another one is a higher difficulty mode. Definitely, those are the things we also have planned and we will try to deliver to players as quickly as possible. Yes, so this and also maybe like a photo mode, which is also on the table, and we are just thinking when we should introduce it and to what scope.

I think that, in those five years, every request from the community, no matter how crazy, will be served from us, either by actually providing the requested feature or getting inspired by those requests and creating maybe something slightly different but still fulfilling the same needs of players.

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Q: On the roadmap, it mentions new stories as a different entity from paid DLC, is that something you can expand on?

Actually, I can't really say much about what was already announced like this. You will not have to wait long for a bigger reveal. But we're not ready or I'm not allowed yet to spill all the beans, so please excuse that. But definitely, story-related DLC and story-related content, things that add to the story, that develops some of the characters more that maybe return, some of the characters that player knew from the first game. All of this is on the table and then I think you can expect different content and different bits of everything in that regard. So I think that's the most I can say.

Q: Is there anything you could expand on for next month's mutated infected event?

I think I briefly explained what you can expect--to take some of the enemies that we have, and we will try to twist and bend them--their statistics, their attributes, their mechanics, their behaviors, and try to create some very specific challenges using those twisted versions of our enemies. It's kind of similar to what players experienced with the idea of Freaks from Dying Light: The Following.

So, we took the enemies that we had in the base game, and we really played with the attributes to make them a little different. I think we will move even further, with what we have planned for those mutations for Dying Light 2 because, in The Following, it was just us experimenting with different ideas and then having fun with them.

Right now, it's more like a commitment from our side and a promise to the players that we will do something like this. So, there will be more resources and more creativity put into making those enemy encounters different. Like another reference that you can also use as a rule of thumb to what you can expect is...there's this questline in the base game about hunting for a specific enemy, special enemies, and special infected, and we kind that did twist the mechanics, the logic, and the behaviors of those enemies in that quest as well. So this is something along those lines where you will get to face new versions, new variants, crazy variants of the existing enemies, hopefully making those encounters quite fresh.

Q: Since you mentioned The Following, is there anything from it that fans can expect to be built on moving forward?

What I can say is that we were blown away and we were amazed and also very humbled by how people received The Following as a DLC. It was a very hard DLC to create. Maybe looking from the perspective of today, it's like a no-brainer, we should do this. But when we were working on this one I remember that we had a lot of doubts about whether we should do it, because The Following introduced a traversal mechanic, which was going completely against what we have built on with the first game. The first game is about you moving in a dense urban environment, with your own body, with your own parkour, agility, and mobility. And then we did our DLC, which added a vehicle to the game, and there's huge open empty areas for you to drive on. So it was going in a completely different direction than the first game.

But we took that risk, and it was worth it because the DLC was received amazingly well. We also learned a lot about not being afraid of something, sometimes going against the grain. And we were discussing something similar for Dying Light 2: Stay Human. And again, I cannot go into many specifics, but the ideas that we have, for like, a Dying Light 2 version of the Following are really crazy. I hope we will be able to deliver those ideas to the players because they are really, really exciting. Sorry to be such a teaser, but unfortunately, at this point, I cannot say anything else.

Q: So, would it be safe to say that like players could almost assume that almost anything goes in terms of the future of Dying Light 2?

Of course, this could be read as a very bold statement if I say "yes, anything goes," but kinda yes. Anything goes like, especially after you release a game...like when you're working on the game, especially as big as this one, you try to be very focused, and you try to look very harshly at all the ideas that you have.

And you look at all of those ideas from all sides possible, trying to think if they fit the universe, if they fit the fantasy that I'm creating. Sometimes, you start asking yourself if maybe this is a little bit too goofy or maybe this is a little bit too serious. Maybe this is a little bit too crazy. Maybe this is a little bit too brutal or whatever.

When the game is released, when you present the fantasy to the players, you have it done like it's locked. It's already there. So, now it's a time when you can start coming up with more crazy ideas and ideas where you allow yourself to have a little bit more freedom creatively.

As you can imagine, after five years of working on a game, and then supporting it for some time, all of the most obvious ideas are already done. So, you have to go in the crazy direction, you have to overdo yourself to keep the experience fresh. So, kinda yes, anything goes, but, of course, we will be listening very closely to our community. If they say that they didn't really want a flamethrower that...that I don't know, that flies or whatever...then we say okay, so we're not making this for the next content drop. We need to tone down the goofy element, the crazy element a little bit, so it still keeps the fantasy. I think, gradually, we will be introducing more and more out-of-the-box ideas and out-of-the-box mechanics, experimenting with them and seeing what excites people most.

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Q: So community feedback is going to sort of balance the direction of the content?

You could say that. Like, we have our own plan. As I said, it is a very reasonable plan, because the first batch of drops is specifically designed to see, to experiment, to play with different directions. And I think this will really help us to understand what the community requests, what direction they want us to take the game in.

When you create a game like ours, when it's like Dying Light 1 was experienced by 25 million players, it's really an amazing amount of people who feel they own a part of the game, like who feel that is their game, they spend time on it, they get emotionally engaged with the game. It's being respectful to the time spent and to those players, that we will listen to what they want and not be stubborn about our own ideas. We want to invite the community to steer the direction of the game moving forward. Of course, we have our own ideas as well, and I think we know the game very well. We have been working on Dying Light in any shape or form for the last almost 10 years now. We have a lot of know-how about the game, but we're not saying we know the game best, or we like have a monopoly on that knowledge. So definitely will be listening to player feedback, and we will try to satisfy our community.

Q: One thing that's always big between a developer and a community is communication, and we have the roadmap and all of that. What can you say in terms of when we reach the end of this roadmap? Is there always going to be like a constant roadmap that's up?

I think it's very important for the players to understand that there's still something else coming, some more coming. So definitely, we will be revealing, we will be planning those roadmaps, updating the plans that we have already for the roadmaps, and communicating them. I'm not sure what the timeframe on which we will settle will be. Maybe it will not be a year, maybe it will be half a year, maybe it will be something else entirely.

We will be trying to constantly inform our players about what's coming, what they can expect. Maybe also even give them a little space, so they can actually help us steer them or tweak them when it's announced. I don't want...I don't want to make any promises right now. But definitely, we want to keep players informed. And definitely, we want to listen to player feedback and use it as one of the tools to help us steer the game in the right direction.

Q: How will DLCs compare to the Following? Should fans expect story DLCs to be smaller for the most part?

I think they can expect all kinds of story DLCs. There will be smaller ones, there will be bigger ones. We'll start with one which is a little smaller because I can reveal that the first one will be smaller than the Following definitely. We feel that like the base game was so full of content, it doesn't really make sense to add another like a huge open-world area to it.

The Following was almost like a game in itself; it took about 20 hours to complete. So, we don't feel it makes sense to add this amount of content and this scope of content so quickly. We also, of course, need some time to prepare it. Don't expect DLC like the Following happening in like May or June or whatever.

The first one is smaller, but still quite chunky in terms of what goes in there, the narrative, and the things you will be doing there. You can expect the next ones to be bigger. But as I said it will be a mix, like it's five years of support. We have plenty of time to create something bigger and something smaller and something in between. And to like stuff the rest of the calendar with smaller drops, or, as I call them smart drops, where maybe we don't add much but it's so interesting and has some unique features that allow players to get back to the game. Not only just to see it, but also have fun with it for a longer period of time, so definitely expect a mix.

Q: Building on that, is it fair to say that it's not going to have formulaic DLC where basically every one is on the same level in terms of narrative, in terms of size, and all of that?

I don't want to say how it will be received. Maybe some players will find it formulaic. I hope not, because that's not our goal. The goal is to keep Dying Light 2 constantly fresh. And to achieve that, we will be mixing the amount of content, the type of content, the tonality of the content.

With each subsequent drop, some of those drops will be more focused on parkour, some of those drops will be more focused on combat, some of those will be more focused on weapons, some of those will be more focused maybe just on narrative. Actually, the plan is to keep playing with everything that we have in the game. Dying Light 2 is quite a huge game and quite a varied game, and it has a lot of different mechanics and a lot of different types of players interact with Dying Light 2: Stay human.

We'll be trying to provide something for every type of player and try to use every mechanic that we have and expand on every gameplay style that we have to make the content feel fresh. Hopefully, we'll be able to pull it off and then create this expectation from players and that curiosity of 'what will happen next,' and 'what they will add next to Dying Light 2: Stay Human because I had this already. All of that previous content was fresh and new, and they surprised me with it. So I'm curious how they will surprise me with the next one.'

And if we manage to pull it off, if we manage to create a framework like this for those five years of content, then I'd be a happy man.


Dying Light 2 is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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