“We have to be able to crawl before you can walk.”
Days Gone director Jeff Ross recently called Sony’s decision not to greenlight a sequel “weird” after its sales success.
Now, in a new interview with USA Today, Ross has offered a glimpse of what that sequel may have looked like.
Admitting some flaws from the first game, Ross says a sequel would have allowed him to “create the definitive version” where he “didn’t have to necessarily apologise for so much”.
“We have to be able to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run,” Ross said, referencing advancements made in other video game sequels. “So you create the minimum viable entry and then hope you get to build the second one. Because you’re not arguing over the foundations, you’re arguing over the epic new ideas that you’re gonna be putting into it.”
Days Gone 2 would have continued the story of biker protagonist Deacon St. John and his relationship with wife Sarah. “Yeah, they’re back together, but maybe they’re not happy,” he explained. “Well, what can we do with that? Okay, we were married before the apocalypse, but what about the future?
“We would have kept the heavy, strong narrative. We would have kept the bike, obviously. And I think we would have expanded the tone a little bit in a more technical direction, kind of like, ‘Alright, now we have all this NERO tech – what can we do with it?’ The tone would have expanded one ring outward towards some of the new reality. I think this would have been a little bit more – I don’t want to say Avengers, but something where the player had resources, he had some sort of the remnants of whatever the government had.”
Ross also said he would expand the ecology of the world to include bears digging in trash cans, dynamic wolf encounters, and generally give enemies and allies more varied behaviours.
Swimming also would’ve been included, after it was abandoned in the first game for technical reasons and explained away in the narrative.
“I would add more systems,” Ross added. “Systems are very simple. And if they’re simple, they can be elegant and very rich for the player. I knew adding one or two more layers to the systemic elements of it would have been something that we could have wrapped our heads around, it would have led to a ton of richness for the players and a ton of unique open-world moments and responses that we haven’t seen before. Let’s sink our teeth into this and do something even more epic.”
Sony Bend has since been restructured and Ross is no longer with the developer. Instead, the studio is now working on “a very exciting new IP that they’re very, very passionate about” that builds on “the deep open-world systems developed with Days Gone”, according to a PlayStation Blog post from studios boss Herman Hulst.
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