After I saw the behind closed-doors demo for Dying Light 2, I had the chance to interview Adrian Ciszewski, who is a Creative Director at Techland working on Dying Light 2. We talked about how big this sequel is compared to the first game, whether players can expect to use firearms, what’s up with the infected and more.
If you haven’t read my preview of the game yet, I highly recommend doing so before reading this interview. Now, let’s dive in.
The following conversation has been lightly edited, solely for the purpose of flow.
Samuel Tolbert: Alright, let’s begin.
Adrian Ciszewski: So, I’m Adrian Ciszewski. I’m a Creative Director working at Techland on Dying Light 2.
Samuel: How long have you been working at Techland?
Adrian: 14 years. I actually made the first Dead Island, then Dying Light and now Dying Light 2. That’s my last three games, I’ve actually made like 15 projects at Techland but those are the biggest ones.
Samuel: Dying Light 2, what is the most immediate difference, how big of a sequel jump is this?
Adrian: I don’t know how to scale it, what the measurement is for that. What I can tell you is that the world is four times bigger than the first game, it’s much more complex due to the strong narrative in the game, with the choices, consequences and factions. It’s really hard to count just how much more complicated it is but we actually make a lot of complex changes in every aspect of the game. The combat is more tactical, you’ve seen the demo, so there’s more observation, trying out which strategy to see which will be the best, so more things like that.
On the parkour side, we doubled the moves you have so, so it’s super fluid. Additionally, we added a lot of context-based moves for the parkour, the system is actually checking out what you’re doing, trying to set different animations to make sure that the entire experience will be fluid and natural, so you might even have different animations for grabbing a ledge. We’ve created a lot of parkour puzzle elements, there are certain places in the game you really need to measure your stamina and it’s much more complex. We also have a leveling up system, so you earn new skills, you can use the grappling hook, the paraglider. Also, the city: the city is a character. The choices you make influence the city so you might have different people around to help you, more UV lights in certain districts…
Samuel: There are seven districts, right?
Adrian: There are seven districts, each one actually introduces different gameplay elements, different obstacles on the parkour side, different enemies and different story beats. So, it’s all open-world and discovering things is your main motivation. You go through to each district without loading, it’s all open for you right away. It’s really rewarding, this way you can just be “Oh my god, I found a new enemy!” all the time, so it’s really cool.
Of course, if you just fly through the city at the very beginning, you’re gonna die probably.
Samuel: *Laughs* Maybe explore slowly then?
Adrian: *Laughs* Yeah, explore slowly but it’s not a hard gate, you know? If you’re really good at this kind of thing – it’s an action game, it’s not an RPG, where you need to have 150 points in something to be able to go on, it’s still an action game, so if you’re really good you’ll probably be able to find good shortcuts.
Samuel: So players can find their own ways through and whatnot.
Adrian: Of course, I do believe that some players are going to have really great speedruns but first they’re going to finish the game, to learn those kinds of things so the second playthrough will be fast.
Samuel: Yeah, like I can go here to grab this weapon, or take this path to get through a tough area. Since there are branching paths now, how exactly does co-op work?
Adrian: So, the host player will be the one whose world changes, the others are helping them out. Then, you can go into the world of the player(s) and they can make a different decision.
Samuel: That’s good, that makes sense. Now, this takes place 15 years after the first game, in the Modern Dark Ages – I love that phrase, by the way…
Adrian: Thank you!
Samuel: Are firearms still in the game? I caught the pneumatic air rifle/melee weapon combo but are bullets still a thing, are they going to be high-value commodities maybe?
Adrian: It’s like – we have certain weapons that work like firearms but a bit different, they’re handcrafted things that you can use like firearms but they can be kind of limited, so it’s not only about ammo but about their condition. Like you saw in the demo, the air rifle weapon had about three shots, four shots sometimes then that was it. In Dying Light 2, the focus is on melee, it’s the DNA of Dying Light. So the weapons that shoot like firearms are very strategic weapons, where you need to use them or you’re going to fail.
Samuel: So it’s about that adaptability on the fly, it’s not “Oh, I’m going to carry this legendary sword with me through the game,” it’s “Oh, what’s in this room, can I use this?”
Adrian: Yeah, yeah.
Samuel: I loved in the demo, when Aiden swung under the door, brought the door down then grabbed that piece of metal holding it up at the same time, then used it as a weapon.
Adrian: Survivors are doing that sort of thing all over the city, so there are certain things that’ll help you escape during the night, you have those kinds of things because they are prepared by survivors for you. The more quests you do, the more of those kinds of things you’re going to see while exploring.
Samuel: Speaking of night, I know you guys are keeping that under wraps right now. You’ve hinted that the infection is evolving, I know you’re probably chomping at the bit and you can’t talk about that (Adrian chuckles), so…are we going to see a big difference in the infection?
Adrian: The first thing is – I have to be careful because I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll say this: This is Aiden Caldwell. He’s really good in parkour, really good in combat, awesome even and his courage is over-the-top. So he’s actually the only guy that is diving into the darkness. When the zombies are leaving the Dark Zones, you have new passages that connect different parts of the city, different paths open up for you. You’re the only guy who can do that, the rest are scared and stay in the UV spots, with lots of UV lights.
So, because of that and because the infection is evolving – I’m being really careful here – it’s actually an opportunity for you. You want to take that risk, you want to play the night because it gives you a lot.
Samuel: So, maybe because of what lurks in the dark, you’re encouraged to go out there?
Adrian: Yes, exactly. It’s really rewarding for you so you really want to do that but if you fail, then the entire experience of being out in the night will turn into the first night you played in the first Dying Light. (Samuel laughs) There’s going to be a lot of different types of zombies after you, there’s going to be a lot on your back and you’re going to have a lot of problems.
It’s not like there’s a single trick, there’s a way to repair your problems then continue. We think that this is the power of Aiden Caldwell, it’s super-difficult but super-rewarding, his time is limited but it can be extended by leveling up some in certain ways. And yes, there’s definitely something to this infection but I can’t tell you about that.
*A PR rep indicates our time is up*
Samuel: I’m looking forward to seeing it, what it is in the future. Thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure, appreciate your time.
Adrian: Yeah, thank you so much, it’s been great.
Dying Light 2 releases on Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4 in Spring 2020.
If you’d like to read my other E3 2019 coverage, you can check out the links below:
- Doom Eternal Hands-On Preview
- Gears 5 Escape Mode Preview
- Project xCloud Is the Power of the Cloud in the Palm of Your Hand
- Borderlands 3 Promises a World of Color, Guns and Colorful Guns
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood Preview
- The Sinking City Puts Together the Clues of Madness
- Cyberpunk 2077 Shows a Breathtaking Glimpse into a Heart-stopping Future
- The Riftbreaker Preview
- Iron Harvest Shows the Toll of War
- Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout Preview
- Dying Light 2 Preview