After causing a bit of a stir last week in regards to Ghost of Tsushima‘s sales and Days Gone, former Sony Bend Studio director for Days Gone Jeff Ross has followed that up with an interview with USA Today about what might have been for the sequel that we’ll never get. On top of that, Ross also delved into the creative process as to how Days Gone actually came to fruition.
Conceived as “The Walking Dead meets Sons of Anarchy” in its initial pitch, Ross said the former was a big inspiration for Days Gone. “Where The Walking Dead had a great influence on us was the prison season. They’re homesteading within this massively protected fence and boundary. I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I would do.’”
In addition to The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy, the team also took note of other open-world zombie games, such as DayZ, and what its players were doing. Particularly, the ways in which the players would treat others.
“They would roleplay terrible, apocalyptic fantasy things like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna tie you up in a bathroom and put fruit in your mouth,’” Ross explains. “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.”
In regards to the sequel, Ross stated that it would have let him “create the definitive version” of the game’s world where he “didn’t have to necessarily apologize for so much” for some of the more frustrating aspects of the first game. “We have to be able to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run,” explains Ross. “I just see that as a trilogy. First games – Batman: Arkham, the first Uncharted – are basic. They are a platform to build on top of for subsequent titles.”
For the sequel, Ross also wanted to continue Deacon St. John’s story, and explore Deacon’s relationship with Sarah. “Yeah, they’re back together, but maybe they’re not happy. Well, what can we do with that? Okay, we were married before the apocalypse, but what about the future?”
Ross continues, saying that they would have kept the “heavy, strong narrative”, along with the bike. They would have also taken things in a more technical direction, given Deacon’s access to government technology. “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.”
In a follow-up to his tweet about the game’s reception (which he claims is the reason why the sequel is off the table), Ross stated that he felt Days Gone “should have been an 80 [on Metacritic]”. Initially, Ross felt that the game would receive a score between 79 and 82, but because of the game’s “technical issues”, it was set back 10 points.
There’s a lot more to the interview, including Ross’ deep dive into the gameplay mechanics, and what changed at Sony Bend after the game’s release. Hit up the link above for more.
Days Gone is currently available for the PlayStation 4, as well as Steam.