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Toxic 'DayZ' Players Inspired 'Days Gone', Says Director

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Toxic 'DayZ' Players Inspired 'Days Gone', Says Director

Days Gone director Jeff Ross has recently revealed that one of the most important inspirations for the apocalyptic action game wasn't 28 Days Later, or Night of the Living Dead, or Train to Busan. It wasn't any of the many movies about zombies. The worst of the worst of the DayZ community sparked the team to think about the depths that humans would sink to when they are no longer the top of the food chain. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, after all.

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This tidbit arises from a deep dive about Days Gone with USA Today's ForTheWin. I'll say that it is a little odd to be covering news about a game that was considered to be exceedingly generic yet undeniably technically impressive when it came out nearly three years ago. However, Days Gone accumulated fans like a horde of Freakers and it was included in the PS Plus Collection for the PlayStation 5 alongside Bloodborne, God of War, Persona 5, Resident Evil 7 and more. All this being said, Ross alleged that the sales statistics were seen to be dissatisfying by Sony, in spite of the fact that Ghost of Tsushima sold the same amount.

Astro's Playroom is packed with Easter eggs from the console's history including a robot Deacon chased by a swarm of robot Freakers! Check out our favourite nods to our favourite games here.

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While the original pitch for Days Gone was “The Walking Dead meets Sons of Anarchy” - quite accurate, really - the director said that the team aimed to emulate the emergent gameplay of DayZ in a single-player survival experience. “They would roleplay terrible, apocalyptic fantasy things like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna tie you up in a bathroom and put fruit in your mouth,’” said Ross. “That sounds awesome in theory, but in actuality, it was rough. It was brutal. That’s what the players were bringing to that fantasy."

"I thought that’s what we needed to capture: humans being terrible to humans. To me, that’s the apocalypse. It’s not just the zombies. We’re caged animals,” continued the director. Another aspect was the shift in momentum from these nerve-shredding encounters with Freakers spilling out of abandoned structures to the emotional, relatable parts of the story. "Somebody said this phrase which I misinterpreted but still love. It was: ‘go big by going small’," recalled Ross. "I misinterpreted what he meant, but created my own meaning, which was: we go big by going really small and inward. So instead of erring on the side of these big, sexy explosions, rail shooter moments, and all these things, let’s mine the ideas that are kind of low-key, but within the vibe of the apocalypse and people being terrible to one another.”

That thread would have tied to the sequel though Sony unfortunately didn't vibe with Bend Studio's second pitch. Deacon and Sarah's relationship would have been strained in spite of their reunion. “Yeah, they’re back together, but maybe they’re not happy,” he said. “Well, what can we do with that? Okay, we were married before the apocalypse, but what about the future?" I suppose you'll have to read the small print on the marriage license.

Featured Image Credit: Sony, Bohemia Interactive

Topics: Days Gone, PlayStation

Imogen Donovan
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