Days Gone, once again, had a powerful trailer at E3 2017. The game took a step back from the insane action on display in 2016, but the game looked even better than before thanks to some really interesting moments. Everything was perfectly polished, and of course that makes people start to think that the whole thing was scripted out. Surely Sony and Bend took some extra time to polish that demo up, but what I saw behind closed doors showed that everything seen there can happen in game, and that it is much more dynamic than you might have thought.
Sitting in a room off the main E3 2017 show floor Bend Studio’s Ron Allen and Eric Jensen walked us through the same mission that was shown in that demo. However, as they pointed out, a whole lot of things would be different for this playthrough. First thing we all noticed was the weather. Unlike the demo, snow was falling in heavy swaths, coating the ground and making the world feel quieter and more daunting.
The time of day was also different, and as the developers pointed out, this meant the wolves that had attacked Deacon in the E3 presentation simply weren’t on the road this time. That set off a sort of butterfly effect of changes, as the game was played live in front of us. The ambush that had caused so much trouble for Deacon in the presentation was easily spotted without the distraction of the wolves.
This allowed the player to take on the bandits as he chose, stealthily eliminating one attacker before stabbing the other. The fighting wasn’t quite as clean cut as in the E3 show, but the actions all lined up. From here the demo continued about the same, with the hanging bodies and all. However, after distracting one of the campers into a bear trap the player decided to eliminate the threat with a molotov cocktail rather than just sneaking by.
Here is where things splintered even further, with the player taking a totally different path through the hills. Stumbling across a bandit with a “Freaker” (they’re apparently not zombies) tied to a tree, the bandit was taunting the Freaker as it struggled to attack him. Deacon then shot the rope holding the Freaker there, which allowed him to kill the bandit.
Coming over a hill behind where Manny was held hostage, the following conflict played out totally differently. The Freaker swarm was apparently not around, with Bend Studio’s reps explaining that they too are a dynamic element of the world. So instead of using them to take out the group Deacon had to use stealth a bit before finally opening fire and eliminating all of the bandits.
The demo was an interesting look at how Days Gone can play out differently. The game looks great so far, with some intriguing new ideas for the open world and “zombie” genre. It was good to see that the flashy E3 demos that got so many people excited weren’t just thrown together from scratch. The game is real and it is shaping up to be one of PS4’s biggest and best.
Days Gone hits PS4 later this year.