Days Gone is the first original project from SIE Bend (AKA Sony Bend), a development studio well known for titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss on PlayStation Vita. The company had been working on 4 more Vita titles including an inFamous spin-off when Sony pulled the plug. This led to a great opportunity though, for Sony Bend to show off what they’ve learned over the years by developing an open world, survival sandbox game with zombies.
Days Gone has said to be similar in some ways to State of Decay but with a potentially more narrow and polished scope. The focus of a cinematic atmosphere and well refined gameplay are staples of Days Gone that players will expect to be showcased at this year’s Sony E3 in which a deep dive strategy with four major games will be in the spotlight. Meanwhile, the zombie survival horror genre presumably being taken over by The Last of Us Part Two this winter (if release date predictions come true at E3).
Today as part of Sony’s Countdown to E3, they’ve announced a solid release date for Days Gone. The game will launch on February 22, 2019 exclusively for PlayStation 4. Alongside the announcements arrives a new gameplay trailer for the title and development studio Sony Bend has revealed that their E3 deep dive will include another look at various AI systems in the game which control how zombies and humans behave. The Freak-O-System is a part of this and provides methods for zombies to analyze a situation before acting, making the game even more dynamic and high intensity. Recently at the Game Developers Conference in San Fransisco Sony Bend led a discussion of programming algorithms used to provide occlusive shadows within the limits of console gaming hardware.
Days Gone takes place in the northwest of America and southwest of Canada just two years after a global disaster left most humans dead with a large portion of survivors transformed into various types of zombies, known as “freakers” to the populace. The game has been built from the ground up with compatibility for 4K resolution and HDR enhancement for owners of the PlayStation 4 Pro but has been able to take full advantage of the original PS4 hardware as well. So far there is an expectation on heading out into the wilderness with the player’s motorcycle acting as sort of a ‘second character’ and receiving upgrades throughout the title, while bases provide sanctuary in between raids making up major gameplay elements. More will be seen in just a few days at Sony’s E3 of course, but early hands-on impressions from press are generally positive thus far.