The odds of a Days Gone sequel ever happening might be slim at best, but that didn’t stop developer Sony Bend from envisioning what a follow-up game could add to its mix of zombie apocalypse sandbox after production had wrapped. In an interview with USA Today, Days Gone director Jeff Ross spoke about plans for the canceled sequel, which would have improved on elements that had been criticized by reviewers and players.
In the gameplay department, protagonist Deacon St. John would finally be able to swim and instant-fail stealth sections would have been scrapped, much to the relief of anyone who dreaded the NERO levels of Days Gone. Interestingly, Deacon’s motorcycle would be used as part of a more technical direction for the proposed sequel, as the biker would be able to use NERO technology to upgrade his ride.
“I think we would have expanded the tone a little bit in a more technical direction,” Ross explained. “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.”
The dynamically dangerous world of Days Gone would also be enhanced, and would feature more lethal enemies to deal with while exploring the post-apocalyptic wilderness. As for the narrative, Ross explained that the story would continue to focus on Deacon and Sarah’s relationship, as well as examining just how strong their bond was now that they had been reunited. The rest of the game’s narrative was described as “heavy and strong,” which could have built on the surprise twist in the first game’s secret ending regarding the Freaker infection and just how far it had really spread.
As for criticisms regarding Days Gone being light on content when it first launched, Ross added that the plan was to always build on the template of the game, in much the same way that the Uncharted and Batman: Arkham games had done within their respective franchises.
“We have to be able to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run,” Ross said. “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. And if you look at a game like Uncharted, you could surface swim in the first game. In the second or third game, you could go underwater. Then in the fourth game, you’re scuba diving underwater. They didn’t start with scuba diving, they built towards it. That applies to every game.”
Ross would eventually leave Sony Bend, citing one of the reasons behind his departure and the cancellation of the Days Gone sequel being the studio’s shift towards a more group-orientated creative process instead of a singular creative director who steered a project.
“We moved from a singular creative director to a creative committee,” Ross said. “And committees aren’t cool. You would have been able to create a more collaborative environment where people can contribute ideas, but unless there’s structure to it, it’s just going to be chaos. And that was the new direction the studio wanted. I was like, ‘Hey, it doesn’t even have to be me. It can be anybody, but we need one person where the buck stops.’ And it wasn’t happening. I like to collaborate and get people’s ideas, but somebody has to make a call on direction.”
Days Gone was back in the news earlier this month after Ross claimed that the game had sold 8 million copies on console alone. Ross would later reveal that the source of this sales information was a Trophy-tracking website that has since shut down. This data could also be the result of multiple users playing a single copy of Days Gone, which led to speculation over the true numbers of the game’s sales.