Days Gone, the upcoming open world action game from Sony’s Bend Studio, received the closing spot at the studio’s 2016 E3 press conference. In a conference that included reveals of God of War and Resident Evil 7, it was clear that Sony had — and still has — high expectations for Days Gone. While Days Gone missed its original 2018 release window and then had its February 2019 launch date pushed back, it figures to be the biggest game arriving this April.
Days Gone looks to be a resurgence of the zombie-infested survival-horror genre, but from what we’ve seen, it looks like the title will deviate from the traditional zombie tropes. Here’s everything we know about the forthcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive, from its characters to its settings.
A drifter in the post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest
Days Gone is a third-person open world action game taking place in the Pacific Northwest two years after a global virus has wiped out much of the population, turning people into zombie-like “freakers.” You play as Deacon St. John, a biker turned bounty hunter/mercenary following the global pandemic.
While we don’t know much about the character, we know that the virus affected his personal life. In the trailer, he recounts riding down the open road with a woman, presumably his wife or girlfriend. The assumption here, based on the language he uses, is that she either fell victim to the virus herself, or was taken out by someone afflicted with the virus. A man with a head tattoo, possibly a member of St. John’s biker gang, reminds him that “Phoebe” is dead. St. John appears to be on a vendetta as a bounty hunter, and it seems as if he is a lone wolf, working outside of his biker gang in the present.
He is described as a drifter, and at this time, we don’t know of any close allies. St. John remarks that “brotherhood” used to mean something, implying that he has lost hope in humanity. In the reveal trailer, however, St. John enters through a gate into what appears to be a safe haven, suggesting that there are camps where St. John can regroup before setting back out into the apocalyptic wilderness.
The world of ‘Days Gone’
The video above shows off some of the landscapes in Days Gone. The game’s world appears to include mainly forested areas, but there will also be frozen tundras, caves, and lava fields. St. Johns’ main means of traveling is by motorcycle. One interesting thing that we learned at E3 2018 is that you’ll have to refill the bike with gasoline. The developers showed off how refueling isn’t a straightforward task, as you’ll have to be on the lookout for surprise attacks from Freakers and other enemies.
“Freakers” aren’t your typical zombies
The E3 2016 demo picked up right where the game trailer left off. Presumably on a bounty, St. John rides into an abandoned lumber yard in search of Two-Dog. While on foot, chasing down Two-Dog, we witness the effects of the virus during St. John’s encounter with a massive swarm of freakers.
Freakers don’t move like typical zombies, however, as they’re swift on their feet. As showcased in the demo, St. John will encounter huge masses of freakers at a time. It’s difficult to gauge just how many chase him down in the lumberyard, but it was easily more than a hundred. And while they appear to travel in packs, they do seem to be at least relatively autonomous, as they converged on St. John from multiple directions. One other important thing to note about freakers is that they come out during the day, but if they follow zombie lore, there may be even more of them on hand when night falls.
It doesn’t appear that all freakers will be humans, either. In the game’s E3 2017 demonstration, we get a glimpse of a zombified bear for a few seconds. Wrapped in razor wire and with skin missing from its head, its brain appears to be exposed, but it doesn’t move with the same gusto and aggression as the other zombies do.
Gear management and crafting
In our preview, we moved gear from our motorcycle stash into our inventory. Besides high-powered assault rifles and pistols, resource management appears to be key to survival. In the demo, St. John uses Molotov cocktails to take out swarms of zombies, but hand-to-hand weapons like axes will be key for close-quarters combat.
St. John’s motorcycle is also considered a “character” of sorts in Days Gone, leveling up as you progress through the game.
On top of maintaining healthy ammunition levels and throwable weapons like Molotov cocktails, Days Gone will feature a crafting system. In gameplay footage shown at E3 2017, St. John pillages scraps from a broken-down car to modify his pistol.
Along with your own inventory, there are other ways to slow down hordes of freakers. In the lumberyard sequence, for instance, the yard is littered with interactive points such as cradles of timber that can be knocked over, conveyor belts, and mechanical doors that can be shut to stave off, and eliminate, some of the swarm if they’re timed well.
We can infer that other set pieces throughout the open world will have similar interactivity, giving players unique ways to defend themselves, and in some cases escape, even if it’s just momentarily, from the freakers. A scene from the game’s E3 2017 demonstration showed a rope wrapped around a tree working as a suitable choking device when Deacon is attacked by bandits.
St. John might be smart, but his enemies are a little bit gullible — and not just the undead. During the game’s demonstration at E3 2017, we see Deacon plant a bear trap near a group of human survivors and proceed to throw a rock at it while he hides several feet away. A single person immediately walked directly to the rock’s location and screamed in pain as his friends ran over to help him escape from the trap. This gave Deacon plenty of time to run past their camp.
Dynamic weather system
During our preview, the studio confirmed that Days Gone will have a dynamic weather system. In the reveal trailer, we see St. John traveling both during the day and at night, and there’s even torrential rainfall at one point.
At this time, it’s unclear how the weather system will affect the gameplay, but from the footage we’ve seen, it would appear that it’s safer to work during the day. At nightfall, St. John enters a gated camp with a bonfire.
30-plus hour campaign
In an interview with GameReactor, the developers said Days Gone‘s critical path is roughly 30 hours. It’s also clear that you can spend much more time completing side missions and other activities, as pointed out in an interview with GameCrate. Days Gone features about 6 hours of cutscenes throughout its campaign. That’s significantly more than most AAA games. Importantly, Days Gone reportedly is designed so that the open world activities surrounding the main missions inform the story, as opposed to feeling like filler.
PlayStation 4 Pro support
At the PlayStation 4 Pro reveal in September 2016, Bend Studio director Chris Reese showed off Days Gone running on the PS4 Pro. On HDR TVs, the title’s environments really pop, but Reese claimed that even for users who don’t own a 4K TV, the PS4 Pro will offer a better visual experience than the PS4. According to an interview done with Game Informer, the game will run at 30 frames per second on the PS4 Pro, but it will offer support for checkerboard 4K.
No multiplayer or co-op
Days Gone, in many ways, looks like a perfect candidate for online co-op or even competitive multiplayer modes. However, it’s a traditional single-player adventure with no multiplayer or co-op features to speak of at this time.
When can you play it?
Days Gone was originally intended to launch in 2018, but the game suffered several delays. It was then pushed to 2019 before settling on a February 22 date, which would have had it competing against Anthem and Metro: Exodus. In order to add “polish,” Sony opted to delay it once more, with its current release date set for April 26, 2019.
Those who pre-order will receive the Drifter Crossbow and a trio of upgrades for your motorcycle. Besides the standard $60 edition, a Special Edition will be available and comes with a steelbook case, a Dark Horse Comics art book, and a physical soundtrack. A $140 Collector’s Edition comes with a cool statue, six pins, four decals, patches, three bike skins, a PS4 dynamic theme, and an early skill unlock.