Dying Light 2: Stay Human - One year and beyond

In this special interview, Shacknews speaks with Dying Light Franchise Lead Tymon Smektala to discuss Dying Light 2: Stay Human's first anniversary and how Techland plans to keep the party going.


It's been a year since Techland crossed the finish line and released Dying Light 2: Stay Human. It was an ambitious effort from the studio, one in which they looked to take the tried-and-true premise of the zombie apocalypse and craft a fleshed out (no pun intended), fully realized world. The team's efforts continue, even as the game hits its first anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Shacknews reached out to Franchise Director Tymon Smektala to talk about it.

Smektala talks about the first year of Dying Light 2, some of the challenges of the game's development, and what the future holds for the game and for Techland as a whole.

Shacknews: Dying Light 2: Stay Human is now a year old. Before getting into the game's future, I want to revisit the weeks leading up to its release. What was the atmosphere among the game's developers? Were there any concerns over how the game would be received or about the game's quality, given that it had to be delayed more than once?

Tymon Smektala, Dying Light Franchise Lead: To be honest that period is all a blur - it was so tense, so emotional, filled to the brim with expectations and pressure. Of course we were anxious to learn and see what the players will say, but I think it’s a feeling that all developers share on the brink of the release. I’m very happy with how the game was received, even though having it out in the hands of millions revealed some issues we weren’t able to identify before the release.

Shacknews: Going further back to the development cycle, what sort of challenges presented themselves when looking to expand upon the original Dying Light with a sequel?

Smektala: The period was generally quite difficult for everyone, mostly because of the pandemic that paralyzed the whole world. Another challenge came from the fact that we changed the technology powering the game as we started the project - and it always creates a number of unexpected difficulties. But I’m very proud of what the team has achieved during that time.

Shacknews: How tough was it to make Dying Light 2 similar to the original while also evolving the formula, in terms of both combat and traversal?

Smektala: I think this was the most difficult part of the project - we wanted to try new things, do so much more than in the first game... and because of that we might have overlooked a few things that were more important to the community than we thought. A great example is the night experience - so scary in the first game that the majority of our gamers skipped it altogether, using a safe zone option that allowed that. Based on that data we wanted to make the night more accessible in the second game... and it turned out that the scary night was actually a crucial part of the experience that gave it its feel and identity. So this year players can expect huge updates to the brutality and physicality of our combat system, the flow and realism of our parkour and - of course! - the horrors of the night.

Shacknews: It sounds like you want to take Dying Light 2 Stay Human to some exciting new places in 2023. What can you tell me about the next DLC drop?

Smektala: Actually... not much as we want to focus on answering some of the most pressing community expectations before moving further. The strategy is simple - improve, update and tweak the core elements of the game so they’re more in line with the community's expectations and move further only then. And the next DLC... well, I can say that it’s going to be narrative, open world and focused on the Infected and combat with them.

Dying Light update 1.9.0

Source: Techland

Shacknews: Are there new traversal ideas that you're thinking about for the future? Conceptually, how much farther can you take DL2SH parkour mechanics?

Smektala: That’s a good question and something we’re discussing a lot internally. I think it would be hard to add anything meaningful to it as we’ve explored most of what’s possible with parkour in FPP. It is parkour so it needs to be grounded in the capabilities of the human body, which means we can’t really go sci-fi with it. It’s also FPP so there are limits to the moves you can add to the game without everyone feeling motion sickness. One direction would be to start enhancing Aiden’s abilities with some additional tools - either ones carried by him (like the grappling hook) or placed in the environment (like the Survivor’s trampolines). Before we move forward with any decision here we’ll surely ask our community about what they think about this.

Shacknews: How about combat? The Dying Light series is known for some unique weapons. Will there be some new ways that players can dispatch the undead in the future?

Smektala: Of course. We’ll keep adding new deadly toys to the game, as this is something that defines what Dying Light is. So players can definitely expect new weapons within the weapon types they already know, some new weapon types and some new methods of defeating the Infected - not only melee weapons. We’re also thinking about including some iconic weapons from other games and movies, so keep your fingers crossed for this one.

Shacknews: How would you describe the team's experience working with Rosario Dawson? And is the door open for some other Hollywood celebrities to come work with the Dying Light series?

Smektala: Rosario was a real boost to our narrative, someone who stepped in with full professionalism and dedication actively working with us on developing the narrative even when in the recording booth. This was definitely a new experience for us, something that we’d like to get back in the future.

Shacknews: You appear to have your sights set on 2023, but does Techland expect to continue supporting Dying Light 2 Stay Human beyond that into 2024 and maybe even 2025?

Smektala: It’s not a question of if, as we already announced that the game will receive a minimum of 5 years support from us. It’s not a question of how we already have a pretty good picture of Dying Light 2 Stay Human in 2027 and where we want the game to be after those five years. The real question is if we’ll manage to keep the interest of the community for that time as players' tastes are fickle and you have to work really hard to keep your game in their minds. But this is exactly what we want to do, so please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Shacknews: Lastly, how is the team celebrating one year of Dying Light 2 Stay Human? And how can the players join in on commemorating this occasion?

Smektala: We started the celebrations with the Anniversary stream and two events that bring back some of the fan’s favorite characters from Dying Light to Dying Light 2 Stay Human. We released a new update that brings some quite expected features and followed with the announcement of our plans for the next few months. And this is just the beginning as there are more things in the pipeline that we’ll keep adding as the year moves on. I invite all our players to join the celebrations and stay vocal about the game - this year’s focus is on our player voices so it’s very important to us that they stay active and loud.

Dying Light 2 is available now on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Those interested in learning more specifics about the game's 1.9.0 update and first anniversary event can head over to the Techland website. Those who have yet to pick the game up can currently find it on sale through February 13.

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Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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