Dying Light 2 – E3 2019 Exclusive Interview with Tymon Smektala
We are happy to bring you an exclusive interview with Tymon Smektala to talk about Techland Publishing’s new game, Dying Light 2.
Disclaimer – This interview was done and recorded on June 12th.
Leonid Melikhov: Hey guys welcome to Gaming Instincts TV, today we are gonna be talking about Dying Light 2 with…
Tymon Smektala: Tymon Smektala the elite game designer of the game.
Leonid Melikhov: Ok so first of all what would you like to tell us about Dying Light 2?
Tymon Smektala: So Dying Light 2 is a completely new game in the Dying Light franchise so to say and it’s really an ambitious step forward for us. So on top of improving of all of the systems from the first game. On the parkour, on the combat, on day and night cycle, the behaviors of the infected, and behaviors of the human enemies. We are also adding a completely new element to the game, an element we are calling “Narrative Sandbox” and this basically allows you to make choices that have consequences on the whole game itself. Not only the narrative but also how the game looks, how it plays. The city around you, the sandbox space around you looks and what kind of gameplay options it provides to you.
Leonid Melikhov: So basically a lot more life.
Tymon Smektala: I wouldn’t say it’s that easy. It’s not as easy as giving more of what was there from the first game. Every system from the first game has been written anew, written from scratch. We have change in technology of course the engine. So we basically use the knowledge and experience from the first game but we have programmed everything from scratch. Also the narrative sandbox isn’t just something else. This is a huge thing for the game because this increases the amount of work you have to for a game a lot because it is not a linear narrative that you go through. There is a lot of variations to the narrative also a lot of the variations to the city, the open world. A lot of elements in the open world things like the ziplines, land bridges, rope elevators that take you to the rooftop. A lot of things like blueprints you get, a lot of things like the tools you get to play with. Those are the things that are connected to choices and consequences. So it’s not like, “just give it more” it’s like “give it something which is a next step forward for the game.
Leonid Melikhov: Like weapons? In the first game we were able to craft, put fire on our weapons, lighting and things like that. Can we still do that here?
Tymon Smektala: Of course you can still do that here. We have changed those things slightly so int he first game the fire effect, the electric effect, all of those effects they were basically triggered at random based on a dice roll. You could do 20 hits and have that effect once or you could do two hits and have that effect twice. In this game we want you to be more conscious about when that happens. It also goes back to the fact that we want the combat to be more tactical so now you have to activate some of those effects before you really use them. You have to turn on the electricity and you have a couple of shots with the electricity on. Another thing that we did is the fact that you can add different modifications to your weapons not only the elemental effects so for example you can modify your weapons so when you block in the correct moment, you can actually disarm your enemies so he drops his weapons. So things like that that greatly improve the number of options during combat.
Leonid Melikhov: What’s your favorite thing about this game as opposed to previous games like Dead Island and Dying Light.
Tymon Smektala: There are two things that I really like about it. The first one is that it is connected to the narrative sandbox because this is an empowering feeling that when you can make choices in dialogue or maybe choosing to not kill a guy, or maybe you made a choice by interacting with some open world systems then suddenly around you you see changes and consequences on your actions. This is a really empowering feeling for a player. The other thing that I like about Dying Light 2 is the same thing about the first game, is the emergent moments, emergent gameplay. There is a demo here which starts with a brawl outside of a canteen and there is one moment where you cut a guy’s head off but in one of the playthroughs what happened is when the player cut the guy’s head, the head flew over and hit another guy in the face and broke his nose and he actually started bleeding from the nose. So moments like that, emergent moments is what I really like about Dying Light 2.
Leonid Melikhov: Right, something very dynamic and just something you don’t expect and you can tell your friends, “hey man this happened.” Then when your friend plays they’ll be like, “oh you did that I did this.”
Tymon Smektala: Yes exactly! That’s the thing because of course we have scripted moments because this is a AAA, high-budget game which really is a game on a huge scale so you need to have those moments that you can steer the emotions and the flow of the narrative like how you wanted. There are also moments that really are something you can talk about to your friends that happen just because how the game is programmed.
Leonid Melikhov: So I have more of a question for a developer than as a studio question. I don’t know if you were there on Sunday’s briefing at Microsoft.
Tymon Smektala: Of course
Leonid Melikhov: So you know about Project Scarlett, and they talked about it and specified about loading times because loading times, fake elevators. I know all of that myself so for you, you guys have an open world game. Open world games usually take forever to load because they are so huge. This game looks gigantic. Going forward with next-gen games, next-gen games probably will make this game look like something small in about 5-10 years because that’s how fast the concept goes. Are you guys excited for that?
Tymon Smektala: Of course I think this is really a huge thing. If you look on it. What’s important? They changed the hard drive for a console but this really is a huge thing because especially with what PlayStation and what Xbox are announcing is the fact that these are not regular SSD drive but an SSD drive that they have tweaked and optimized especially for console use. I think that something that was said at the Microsoft conference is that they are not treating this as a drive, they are treating this as an additional amount of RAM, additional amount of memory that the console can use. This allows you to access content, access everything just instantly. This really is from a technical point of view this is really a huge thing and players should be excited about it.
Leonid Melikhov: How early did you guys know about this? Did you know about this beforehand?
Tymon Smektala: We didn’t learn about this at the conference that’s what I can say.
Leonid Melikhov: That answers my question perfectly fine. It’s always good to know. Have you guys ever been approached for purchase as a studio?
Tymon Smektala: To be honest I’m not a business guy. I don’t know. I think there were offers like that but this is something that we really need to do because we are privately-owned. We have our own IP’s and we can enjoy the fruits of our labor by ourselves.
Leonid Melikhov: And you obviously have the money and the budget to make what you want as a developer professionally.
Tymon Smektala: Exactly so there’s no need for that but as I said, I’m just a humble lead-game designer so I’m not really involved in business discussions.
Leonid Melikhov: That makes sense. Thank you, I appreciate you answering those questions. Now for the multiplayer, co-op is returning obviously like you said.
Tymon Smektala: Yes, co-op is 4 players and makes a return.
Leonid Melikhov: I remember that there was a Battle Royale for Dying Light and it was called something.
Tymon Smektala: It’s Bad Blood.
Leonid Melikhov: Yes, have you thought about doing something for that for the sequel?
Tymon Smektala: We’re not saying anything about multiplayer aside from the fact that Dying Light 2 has co-op with 4 players. I think I need to keep hush on this. That’s what I’m saying at this moment.
Leonid Melikhov: Totally fine, and the new engine is called…
Tymon Smektala: C-Engine.
Leonid Melikhov: Was that engine developed right after Dying Light 1?
Tymon Smektala: We started working on it i would say around 2015, right at the time we were finishing the first Dying Light. This was the moment we realized that players expect more from graphics and all of systems from the game. There are new consoles that are coming and this will happen. Of course there are always advancements on the PC side so we knew that we needed to create something new because our old engine, it was Chrome Engine 6.1 in Dying Light so this was an engine that we have been reiterating for about 10 years before that. It was actually getting old so we had to do something new and we did the C-Engine but what helped us was the fact that we know what games we want to make. We want to make Open-World games, first-person games so we knew what we wanted to achieve from the engine so we created an engine just to be able to achieve that.
Leonid Melikhov: That makes sense. So Dying Light 2 will have multiple endings?
Tymon Smektala: There are multiple endings but that goes for the narrative and that’s not the only way you can finish the game. That’s not the only end state you can have in the game because what is also important is the state of the city when you finish the game. So you can climb to the highest building, look around and say, “this is the city I created because of my choices. This city looks this way because I did some things inside. This is even more exciting than the actual narrative because narrative always follows some paths that have been pre-scripted by the scriptwriters, but the city around you is something you can change organically. I think you’ll feel more personal about it when you see that the changes that you see are the changes that are made because of your actions.
Leonid Melikhov: What’s the last thing you want to say to the Dying Light fans before we leave.
Tymon Smektala: I would like to say something to the Dying Light fans because I keep saying this and I keep repeating this till the end of time. All of this wouldn’t be possible without our fans because we as a developer, you always are nervous about what you do and really humble about what people like about the game. We get a lot of support and a lot of foundation from our community and we are eternally grateful for that. Guys, we love you, we really do this for you and I hope that you will enjoy Dying Light 2.
Leonid Melikhov: That is awesome and when is the game coming out?
Tymon Smektala: Spring 2020 on PC PS4 and Xbox One.
Leonid Melikhov: Awesome thanks so much.
Tymon Smektala: Thank you very much!