Grave Gamer News & Views — techland

Red Herb Plays: Dying LightDon’t drink and go zombie...

Red Herb Plays: Dying Light

Don’t drink and go zombie slaughtering. Or do. I’m not here to run your life.

Be sure to follow me on Twitch for more of… wait, what is Twitch for again?

Dying Light Runs All the Way to February 2015 Developer...

Dying Light Runs All the Way to February 2015

Developer Techland’s open-world, free-running survival horror, Dying Light, has suffered a delay, pushing the game’s release way the hell away to February 2015.

Having already given us a dose of zombie bashing action in Dead Island, Techland is diligent on expanding on that title’s concepts in Dying Light. Familiar to fans of that uneven but still fun game are a disaster-strewn open-world, a heavy focus on melee combat featuring DIY weaponry, and, of course, a shitload of the mortally-challenged coming at you.

However, Dying Light’s signature mechanic – the ability to seamlessly traverse your environment by scaling buildings, hopping obstacles, and other assorted parkour heroics – is exactly why Techland is taking extra time on the game’s brewing cycle.

“We believe the Natural Movement element of our game will change what you expect from the genre, and we don’t want to sacrifice any of its potential by releasing too early,” said the game’s staff on their official site. “This quality-focused thinking underlines all our development choices and we hope you share our belief that the gameplay must always come first.”

It’s probably no small feat the studio is planning to launch Dying Light on five different platforms between the current and last generations (oh, yes, friends; the current-gen is now last-gen and the next-gen is now current. Can you dig it?).

I think this one is truly, truly promising. I find myself more in support of delaying the game to get it right than I am impatient I won’t get to club some zombies with ridiculous goddamn weapons earlier. Dead Island had great ingredients, but the final, rushed dish left most with a rotten taste in their mouth. We’ll see if Techland perfected their recipe… *sigh* in 2015.

The MOBA Genre Infects Dead Island (Or is That the Other Way...

The MOBA Genre Infects Dead Island (Or is That the Other Way Around?)

Deep Silver’s undead romp has apparently outgrown its open-world, RPG-lite genre bending ways and is entering the online multiplayer battle arena.  Is that right?  Or is it multiplayer online battl–  Listen, it’s a MOBA.  We all on the same page?  Moving on.

The newly announced Dead Island: Epidemic sees the series’ signature zombie evisceratin’ take a chunk out of the free-to-play model in a PC exclusive title.  Details are as murky as the crimson fogged waters surrounding Banoi, but Deep Silver promises the game will deliver on Dead Island’s trademark style while focusing on a desperate fight for survival between three rival groups (humans vs. zombies vs…. island fauna?  Again, murky details).

The game’s publisher says it’ll have more substantial information on this mildly intriguing spin-off at this year’s Gamescom (Aug. 21st - 25th).  Hopefully that includes who’s developing this little diddy – Techland has their hands full at the moment – and some percolating imagery to give us an idea just how close to hacking distance Epidemic is to its cult forebearer.

Dying Light (PC/PS3/PS4/Xbox One/X360 - 2014) For those of you...

Dying Light (PC/PS3/PS4/Xbox One/X360 - 2014)

For those of you who were hoping the zombie game craze that buried us this generation would die out in the next, don’t you realize you can’t kill what’s already dead?

Techland, specifically the team that brought us the first Dead Island (and not the rancid Riptide), is jumping right back into the open-world zombie domain with another co-op onslaught in Dying Light.  What stops their latest game from being just another Dead Island offshoot?  At the surface, not much, but there’s two key gameplay mechanics that’ll really have your inner survivalist’s makeshift fire cooking.

The first being a night-day cycle that directly impacts your play style.  By day, the undead slog through the tattered city streets, allowing you to explore and hunt for supplies with relative ease – if you’re the kind of person to feel at ease around walking, moaning corpses, anyway.

By night, the situation escalates from George Romero to all-out Zack Snyder.  Zombies gain strength from the nightfall and become more agile, alert, and awfully aggressive. You’ll be chased down and made chow faster than you can scream “28 Days Later” but here’s where Dying Light’s second exciting feature comes in: free-running.

Avoiding obstacles, darting down allies, and actually taking to the rooftops will be your only chance of surviving.  Clever little design touches like being able to look over your shoulder mid-run for pursuers and the ability to spot dangerous “powerhouse” zombies in the environment add to the flight-over-fight system.  The comparisons to Mirror’s Edge are inescapable – there’s no way to write “first-person free-running” without having DICE’s game immediately flare in my synapses – but the implementation within a horror game is too good of a concept to ignore.

The genre is well worn (“decayed” even), yet harnessing the next-gen might send a jolt of life into the dead.  [Although, it should be noted, Techland intends on releasing some sort of scaled down version of the game for current-gen systems].  Dying Light is looking at an ambiguous 2014 release date; more than enough time for Techland to win our zombie killing hearts over again.

Dead Island: Riptide (PC/PS3/X360 - TBA 2013) Techland finally...

Dead Island: Riptide (PC/PS3/X360 - TBA 2013)

Techland finally blew the lid off their zombie mashing sequel to last year’s surprise hit of the gaming dry season and it looks…like not a sequel at all.  And Techland would agree.  Re-utilizing more than a lot of the original game’s assets (including our four one-liner spewing leads), the developer prefers Riptide to be viewed more as a $50 expansion than a full-blown Dead Island 2.  With that, you can expect a ton of carry over when it comes to basic mechanics, balancing weapon durability, and co-op cohesion.

Opening up literally minutes after the (lackluster) finale of Dead Island, Riptide strands you on the shores of a new chain of islands which also happen to unfortunately be stricken with a zombie infestation bad enough to put smile on George Romero’s face.  Again, an awful lot will feel like deja vu if you spent enough time cracking skulls on Banoi, but there is some divergence to expect out of Riptide.

Weather now plays a bigger role in the ecosystem, bearing down on your crew realistically and randomly, firearms have gained a more prominent focus than in the original, communication between survivors has been tweaked, and a fifth, not-yet-detailed class has been announced featuring their own dynamic set of skills.  In order to prevail against the hordes, players will also have to tackle “hub defense” missions.  These missions take a big bite right out of Call of Duty’s Zombies Mode and gravitate around fortifying a base from undead attack by boarding up barriers and laying down trip mines.  Not wholly original; not unwelcome, either.

I had a B-Movie blast during my stay on Banoi.  Dead Island is a unique take on the zombie game and shines during its bloodiest, gore reviling moments.  But for an open world actioner grazing the surface of an RPG, it had a dizzying lack of depth.  Hearing Techland lobby Riptide as “more of the same” is worrying, since this series could definitely benefit from some renovation, but if it only amounts to mindless fun, I can’t really fault a B-Movie for being a B-Movie, now can I?