Interview: Techland kicks it into next gear with Dying Light: The Following
GameZone sits down with Techland producer, Tymon Smektala, to discuss their new expansion
GameZone (GZ): What sort of time did the development team put into this expansion? What would you say was the most time-consuming aspect of it all?
Tymon Smektala (TS): I think that the most time-consuming aspect, as with all game development, probably is figuring how it is supposed to work. It's the thing I mentioned in the beginning. We had a completely different mechanic gameplay pillar, which was parkour movement. Then we introduced something which parallel to that, the buggy driving. Then it was a fight between should we make the map more drivable or more parkour friendly? We found a way how to make them both work. And the easier answer was that we can make obstacles, ramps, hops and jumps that will make the player steer the buggy in a certain way, to put some skill into driving the buggy. But then we also realized that those same objects can be used for parkour movements. So you will be able to either steer around them or hop on top of them. Of course, that is the basic description of the solution. It is more complex than that, but that's how it works.
GZ: The base game has been out for quite a while. I play on the Playstation 4 and I've noticed that I have not trouble what-so-ever finding co-op partners. Why do you think people are sticking with this game and what are you guys doing to draw people in and keep them there?
TS: I think the gameplay is great and that's the simplest answer really. We specialize in gameplay. Techland is a studio where gameplay is king. I think that's why people love Dying Light. Because it really plays well and we kept adding new content. Recently we released video highlighting all of that content, expansion packs, DLC, new weapons, new skins, lots of things to try. So I think that's what keeps people interested and I think that's what keeps people investing their time in the game.
GZ: Could you maybe give us an idea of when we are getting a release date?
TS: I can not, but it's not going to be far away. Basically: Soon. Please stay tuned and we will reveal the release date quite soon.
GZ: Do you plan to develop more DLC or expansions based on customers requests or comments?
TS: To be honest, it is too early to tell. We have some plans, some far-reaching plans, but right now we are focusing on The Following. As I was saying with the base game, first the base game needs to be solid for people to expect any DLC. Now this expansion needs to be solid before people can expect more. So right now we are focusing on this one, and if it's well received, we will start making more.
GZ: Do you have plans to stop supporting Dying Light with DLC and expansions and moving on to a full fledged sequel?
TS: Well, it always happens. There comes a point and time where we have to say 'Okay, that's it for Dying Light, now let's look for something else.' It might not be Dying Light 2, it might be Dying Light 2, but surely there will be a time where we stop supporting Dying Light as it is.
GZ: Hopefully not anytime in the near future.
TS: I hope so.
GZ: There was this Drink for DLC campaign. You guys kinda poked Bungee and Activision. Did you guys get any response from them?
TS: From them, no. But we were really surprised but the reaction by our community and the gaming community in general. People really loved what we did. We offered some DLC for free, and we will deliver those DLCs. We will announce them, I think right after Gamescom. It will be very soon. People will get a lot of free gameplay time for free because they really got excited about our little joke.
GZ: Here's a sensitive question. Hellraid. What's happening with it?
TS: Okay. Well I wasn't involved in Hellraid at all, but as the official statement said: We needed to go back to the drawing board. What we had wasn't satisfying for us. It could have been satisfying for gamers, but we wanted more. We wanted Hellraid to be more ambitious than what we had. So now we are thinking of what we can do to make it more ambitious. When we are ready to reveal something, then we will reveal that.
It's clear that Techland and the team behind Dying Light holds their community in high regard and that they want to show it. Not only do they listen to what the community says, but what they are interested in. We are getting a game that should make any fan of the zombie genre giddy, one that will draw in more players to an already phenomenal game. My time with the new expansion was brief and completely amazing, but my time talking with the warm staff that was genuinely thankful for our excitement and appreciation for their game made my visit with Techland all the better.
Dying Light: The Following has no release date at this time, but will be free to all season pass holders or 14.99 for all others.