Hero Dying Light 2 Screenshot CitySource: Square Enix

The original Dying Light was the sort of success story that makes you smile. It left the starting gate to lukewarm reactions, but it eventually drummed up a head of steam and went on to be played by millions of gamers worldwide.

While the core of the game was always solid fun, a wealth of updates and expansions since launch have given players an insane amount of content to enjoy in this sandbox. Now it's time to take everything they've learned and put out a sequel that just might be able to compete for Game of the Year honors once it launches. Here's everything you need to know about Dying Light 2.

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Dying Light 2

Survive the Zombies

Techland is bringing us more zombies, more parkour, and more complex choices in Dying Light 2's gameplay. The world may be dying and it's claustrophobic to think we are down to just one city in this game but that one city is a massive open world to explore.

What is Dying Light 2?

At E3 2018, Techland announced the sequel to one of 2015's most surprising new IPs. Dying Light 2 follows up with a zombie survival horror game that has grown into one of the most polished, fun-filled, and feature-complete games in this genre.

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As with the original game, Dying Light 2 is expected to offer a first-person open-world experience that emphasizes melee combat and the swift yet fluid art of parkour movement.

In an interview between GeForce's Julian Huguet and Techland's CTO, Pawel Rohleder (which you can watch in the video below), a very important question was asked, "What is Dying Light 2 adding on top of the original game?" Much of Rohleder's answer are things we already knew and expected like the parkour and melee combat, but the confirmation that the game world will indeed be four times larger than the first Dying Light game is something of note when you consider all of the extra space to run, and the living and dead who will be needed to fill the space.

"New animation system, new quest system which will support choices and consequences, new dialogue system, new UI system, and of course, streaming technology, which allows us to make really huge worlds." Pawel Rohleder went on to mention the choice impact, "Every choice that you make may impact the world. For example, we have to have different versions of the map area, and the map is huge so the challenge is even bigger. The navigation mesh for AI needs to be different if you make different choices." We are getting excited (as if we weren't already)!

What's the story so far?

The original game had you playing as Kyle Crane, an American agent sent on a mission to infiltrate a human settlement to find a high-value target known as Rais.

Rais is a political figure on the run, and he's doing that running because he has a document that could paint Kyle Crane's agency in a negative light. Be it for concerns of national security or a crooked official looking to cover their tracks, Kyle's goal is to either capture that man or destroy that file.

Screenshot Dying Light 2 gatheringSource: Square Enix

When Kyle hits the ground, however, he finds that it's easier said than done. He was dropped right in the middle of a zombie outbreak, and sure enough, he's been bitten. One of the locals helps save his life by giving him an antidote and bringing him into the survival community to recover.

While on the task, Kyle finds that there are genuinely good people in the camp who need his help. His federal duties suddenly seem to play second fiddle to helping people who truly need it.

Fast forward to Dying Light 2, which takes place 15 years after humanity has been nearly completely overrun by the viral threat. There is only one known human settlement remaining, and they've holed up in a place called The City.

Screenshot Dying Light 2 combat kickSource: Square Enix

The City — the map of which is supposedly four times bigger than all the maps in the original Dying Light combined — is said to have a much different feeling compared to the game world of the original. Previously, night and day were equally tough to deal with, with night having fewer hordes overall, but more singularly vicious enemies.

In Dying Light 2, the hordes are mostly retired to shelter during the daytime, while they'll litter the streets at night. That doesn't mean your daily tasks will be free of stress when the sun is up. Zombies can still come to attack you if you alert them to your presence, and there's now a lot more hostility coming from local gangs and other less pleasant survival groups in the area. Especially as The City is divided into 7 distinct districts. The transition between districts will be seamless but each one holds its own difficulties, such as new enemies, and brings different gameplay mechanics, like new parkour moves.

The protagonist of Dying Light 2 is Aiden Caldwell, a man who comes into The City, an infected man. Aiden seems to be searching for a cure and fighting for himself, but what that means and the type of person Aiden is will be up to you. We know that this story will have a lot more critical choices to make. For instance, one of the early gameplay demos shows a situation where you have to choose to either help a peacekeeping survival group or turn your back on them for your benefit. Saving them gives the local innocents access to free water and makes the area safer, but helping the bandit gives you a regular source of income from selling the water while paving the way for more dangerous gangs and zombies. These sorts of choices and the impacts they can have on the game world will be numerous.

Screenshot Dying Light 2 cityscapeSource: Square Enix

Techland secured the help of Chris Avellone, a game designer known for his work with games where choices can affect the outcome of the game world, characters, and story. He has worked on the likes of Planescape, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, and some of the Fallout games, so he's sure to bring the expertise needed to deliver a game with non-linear storytelling.

What's the gameplay like? Parkour and zombie-punching goodness

Expect Dying Light 2 to build on the exciting foundations established in the first game. Your legs and hands are still your most valuable tools, with parkour being a big part of the experience. You'll run, jump, and swing your way from one corner of the world to the other.

Techland mentioned they doubled up on the number of animations that go into this system, which should make for more varied moves you can pull off. We're also set for an even heavier emphasis on the melee-focused combat present in this series, which means you'll also be looking forward to more crazy weapons to craft.

Screenshot Dying Light 2 weaponsSource: Square Enix

You're going to need all that extra stuff for Dying Light 2's more savvy zombie hordes. The AI is smarter, the zombies are faster, and the rooftop is no longer a guaranteed haven for the main character. And yes, the night is still scary and full of things that seem to lust for your blood more than others'. The enemies become bigger and more numerous, and some will have access to moves you've never even seen before.

As with the original, you'll be able to experience all of this in a 4-player co-op session. Your friends can join you to help fight against the plague, but when they go back to their game their story and city will remain the way they left it. The only thing they're taking back is character development, so any experience you earn, skills you learn, and items you find in a friend's game can be used to help make you stronger to take on the challenges your own game presents. As a bonus to the evolving world based on the decisions you make, each friend's game you enter could be very different from your own. Where you choose to aid the people they might be in it for self-gain, how will that affect the world around you? This is a fun way to see.

E3 2019 gave us another look at the zombie-infested world of Dying Light 2, this time showcasing its impeccable first-person parkour system and combat. On top of that, the developers sat down for an interview to discuss everything that we saw in the trailer along with what players can expect from its gameplay.

When can I play it?

Dying Light 2 was in the works for a Spring 2020 release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Techland has confirmed receiving its PS5 dev kits and it has been said that, since the start of production, the plan has been for Dying Light 2 to be a cross-generation game.

Unfortunately, that general spring release date is getting pushed back. On Jan. 20, Marchewk shared a letter on the Dying Light Twitter page:

Dying Light is not in a place they would like it to be for a spring release. While we want to play this game, we appreciate the devs being open with their release plans and want the game to be what Techland envisioned on launch.

So we are back to an unknown 2020 date.

In an interview with The Escapist, Lead Game Designer Tymon Smektala stated, "There's a whole team at Techland that works on the announcement of the release date for the game and every piece of info that accompanies it, and I know they want to surprise players, so I don't want to spoil it for them or our community. The only thing I can say is please trust us — it's the last stretch for this project, and we need your support."

Survive the Virus

Dying Light 2

Survive the Zombies

Techland is bringing us more zombies, more parkour, and more complex choices in Dying Light 2's gameplay. The world may be dying and it's claustrophobic to think we are down to just one city in this game but that one city is a massive open world to explore.

Updated June 2020: Lead Game Designer Tymon Smektala, puts us in the home stretch for Dying Light 2. It's on the way but patience can be hard.

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