Dying Light: The Following isn’t your normal expansion pack. From the game’s map (which is just as large as the main game) and the way Techland is unveiling it to the masses to the sheer amount of content, it’s fair to say it could have been its own game entirely.
And while The Following is deep enough to be its own stand-alone title, it’s an extension of Dying Light that, more than anything, is a thank you from Techland to the people that have buzzed through the game and are looking for something new and gruesome. Continuing the story of Kyle Crane, players will unravel more layers of the story, earning the trust of the locals and finding out, even more, secrets behind the outbreak. The inclusion of all terrain dirt buggies makes The Following a different experience from the original.
“Dying Light: The Following features the same protagonist, some familiar NPCs, and the similar setting, so it only made sense to release it as an expansion pack,” Tymon Smektala, producer of Dying Light: The Following told Examiner in an exclusive interview. “Even with all the gameplay changes and improvements we’ve made, it’s still closely connected to the original game. A standalone would have also had a later release date and we feel our fans deserve something now given the support they’ve shown us throughout 2015.”
With a huge new map, The Following needed to make traveling the zombie-infested badlands easier, but super deadly and most of all, fun. Armed with a new dirt buggy, Kyle Crane is about to get his hands dirtier than ever before.
“Obviously, the new map is a playground for the buggy,“ Smektala said. “There are open fields, where you can mow zombies down with a ton of satisfaction. We’ve got mountain roads, where you need to stay focused to maneuver between abandoned cars. There are places where the buggy serves better as a weapon than a vehicle. And finally, we’ve placed tricky corners and welcoming ramps here and there, so you can unleash your inner rally driver.”
Smektala was quick to point out that the added driving gameplay will not be at the sacrifice of the gameplay fans of the series are hooked on. If anything, it’s just another addition to the formula.
“The diverse landscape of our expansion is also a guarantee there’s still lots of parkour in it. We haven’t forsaken the vertical approach to level design, which is still one of Dying Light’s trademarks,” Smektala added. “Expect things like farms, water towers, local towns, a giant hydro-electric dam, warehouses, factories etc throughout the countryside.”
With the changes that came from adding the dirt buggy to the game, there was a fantastic side effect, for perhaps one of the first times in video game history- a larger map in the DLC than the original game. Simply put, the landscape in The Following is a monster- one perhaps just as deadly as the creatures you’ll encounter.
“It just grew and grew naturally to be honest. We were totally aware of this and we didn’t stop ourselves simply because we didn’t have to,” Smektala said. “Our technology is capable of handling it and the game mechanics were highly complimented by something this size.”
According to Smektala, the buggy deserved as much room to play as possible and they knew with the extra work would come rewards that hardcore fans of the series would adore.
“From a design standpoint, it was a logical choice once we agreed we wanted vehicles in the game. We took great care to make the size of the map optimal in terms of the kind of gameplay we have,” Smektala added. “You can’t make the map too small because there’d be little room for the buggy to shine. You can’t make roads and passes too narrow because it’d be a pain to navigate. You can’t make the world too big if you don’t have enough ideas how to make it interesting and diverse. Taking all of that into account, we’re pretty confident we’ve struck that perfect balance in Dying Light: The Following.”
If you’ve played Dying Light before, you know that the game plays incredibly different once the sun goes down. With stronger enemies and more of a run and gun type style, the frenetic pace is insane at times. In the game’s massive expansion, “The Following,” the evening is even more an obstacle, one that is made even tougher thanks to your new dirt buggy and epic map.
“Night as a whole has become a bigger threat,” Smektala said. “In the open countryside, it’s even harder to avoid a chase or find a place to hide. Even more so with the new mutated Volatiles that are a lot more aggressive and tough. To overcome these new threats, we’re equipping players with various counter-measures. One of them, for example, is the UV Safe Zone – you can temporarily turn your buggy into a mobile safehouse. We’re pretty sure it will save your life more than once.
“And of course, there’s also the Night Hunter. I can’t say anything more now, but we will have something awesome to announce before February 9.”
With a more volatile experience at night for The Following, Smektala promised more surprises, ones that will add an even crazier flavor to the already wild Dying Light experience.
“I don’t want to spoil the fun for the players, but I can give you a teaser,” Smektala added. “I already mentioned the new Volatiles. There are also these highly mutated enemies called Freaks. Real tough bastards to take down but the rewards for doing so (if you choose to) are worth it. You’ll have to re-think your combat patterns and come up with new ways to fight them. We’ve also added new behaviors for all enemy types, so they can better adapt to your new skills. It’s all about balance in combat and during pursuits. We’ve also adapted the AI behavior to deal with the buggy. It’s a powerful weapon, but don’ think you are invincible when you get in.”
Driving will, of course, be a crucial part of The Following and it should come as no surprise that like the other upgradable abilities in the game, you’ll also be able to become and deadlier driver as you progress through the game, but not in the way you think.
“Not unlike Agility and Power skill trees, the Driver Rank has both active and passive skills,” Smektala said. “You could see some of the active skills already in action in our trailers and gameplay videos. There’s a lot really. We’re pretty sure fans will have plenty of fun things like the flamethrower, electric cage or mine dispenser. Especially when they get their hands on the remote control that’ll let them trigger these weapons from a distance.
On top of that, you’ve got a number of passive skills that will influence repair speed, fuel efficiency, ability to craft better parts to just name a few.”
That all sounds great and all, but don’t forget that the mega expansion takes places in a far more scarce and barren wasteland, where resources like gas may not be so easy to come by. According to Smektala, have no fear. As crafting was a major part of the first game, expect to use those same skills when looking to upgrade or refuel your buggy.
“Looting and finding resources is still a crucial part of the game,” Smektala said. “The main difference with The Following is that where you find things will be more concreted in areas like farms, towns, factories etc. In the original game, you were in a city so there was always something to be found around every corner. In The Following you’ll need to be more aware of looting when you’re in a place that was/is inhabited by people.
“Compared to the other valuables and parts, gas might actually be the easier thing to find. You can come across a lot abandoned cars near roads, and though the engines won’t start, many of them still have something left in their fuel tanks.”
Dying Light: The Following is set for a Feb. 9 release on the Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4 as a DLC download, or as a part of the game’s Enhanced Edition.
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