Dying Light 2's Devs on the Game's Latest Updates & Anniversary Plans

Tymon Smektała, Artur Kowalczyk, Iza Maliszewska, Dominik Wasieńko, and other members of the Techland team offered a detailed look back at the evolution of the game and major updates, talked about their ambitious Firearms Update addition, and introduced Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Reloaded Edition.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Reloaded Edition

Tymon Smektała, Dying Light Franchise Director: We're gearing up for an explosive celebration as we mark our second anniversary with the release of our most substantial game update yet – the Firearms Update – and the introduction of a new edition of the game called Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Reloaded Edition.

This version consists of all the content we've incorporated into the game for the past two years, our first story DLC Bloody Ties for free, and the most recent content from the upcoming update. It's a free upgrade for all Dying Light 2 owners.

Alongside launching the Reloaded Edition, we're celebrating the second anniversary of Dying Light 2 Stay Human release with activities for our players to enjoy. We've prepared a series of special anniversary bounties available on our community hub — Pilgrim Outpost.

The Firearms Update

Tymon Smektała, Dying Light Franchise Director: As mentioned before, alongside the Reloaded Edition, we've prepared the most extensive update released yet: the Firearms Update. This update focuses primarily on firearms but also brings a number of additional features – e.g., introduces new missions in the form of Survivor Missions and Board Quests, some cool surprises for Dying Light 1 fans, new Legend Levels, and new special Community Maps.

The list of other additions is extensive, but undoubtedly, the highlight of the newest update is the introduction of firearms. This feature was highly requested by the fans of our game and shows our community-driven, collaborative approach to development.

Implementing firearms was quite a big challenge for us due to the world-building of the base game, which is designed and balanced for melee weapons, so we focused not only on gameplay but also on the narrative aspect – to make sure it made sense lore-wise.

Additionally, we've created extra content centered around firearms, including Firearm Challenges and special Community Maps.

The Evolution of the Game

Tymon Smektała, Dying Light Franchise Director: We've formed a fully-fledged team around the post-launch support of Dying Light 2 Stay Human, which consists of about 50-60 dedicated developers from all disciplines. Of course, there are many more specialists working in Techland, there are currently over 500 of us, but these few dozen are focused only on post-launch support.

The game has changed a lot since its initial release, and a lot of it is an effect of our unique community-driven, collaborative approach to development. Most of the additions and improvements are either our response to community feedback or things suggested or requested by the community.

To be honest, it would be very hard to point to any specific improvements, as there were very numerous, but the biggest changes can be seen in our core mechanics – combat, parkour, and night experience. The combat got even more brutal and creative, parkour became physical like never before, and the night experience got a complete overhaul and now offers different mechanics and visuals.

The amount and depth of changes are so significant we felt that the game deserves a new, Reloaded Edition.

Techland's Senior Lighting Artist: To illustrate the changes that happened since the release, for example, all weather states in Villedor were updated.

This includes new skyboxes, tweaked distant fogs to improve aerial perspective, updated tone mapper, and slightly tweaked exposure values. Sky cloudiness now reflects how late in the day it is – morning hours have more pleasant colors, and lighter clouds (if any).

As the day goes by, cloud coverage and thickness increase, culminating at sunset, with twisted and jagged cloud formations. This, along with the updated Voxel-Based Global Illumination, imparts a new look to the game – less contrasty, more natural, one that's easier on the eyes. And, of course, we updated all color grading options.

Regarding specific locations in The City, we revamped lighting inside the Bazaar in Old Villedor, for example.

Artur Kowalczyk, Lead Environment Artist: The office interiors underwent changes to combat their repetitiveness. Similar changes occurred in mini-safe zones, on buses and rooftops.

We improved the quality of some textures and models around the canteen area and rebuilt all the models of military barricades on the streets; there were also new cars introduced on the streets along with changes and fixes to the existing ones. We also improved looted objects (e.g., metal scraps, cables) and loot containers.

Iza Maliszewska, 3D Artist: Another good example is also upgraded foliage. We improved a large number of vegetation assets, which was possible thanks to the combination of the full use of our technological capabilities, mainly shading, as well as methods of observation and reflecting nature that are inspired by botanical illustrations.

The combination of traditional botanical illustration methods and 3D allows us to achieve more visually attractive foliage. In addition, we use scans and photos as a great realistic base for our textures and models, but not as the final product.

Here, especially sculpting to accentuate scanned normal maps and dedicating time to prepare the appropriate high poly gives us great effects. What’s more, we invested some time in water reaction improvements.

Artur Kowalczyk, Lead Environment Artist: Regarding optimization improvements, our main goal was to free up the memory occupied by textures. Of course, we did not want to lose texture resolution and quality during this process.

Thanks to some clever changes to the shader prepared by our tech-art department, we managed to achieve this. These changes allowed us to a better use of the existing textures, without the need to recreate them, it also let us eliminate many unnecessary ones.

A lot of assets have also undergone a standard optimization process: adding more efficient collisions or reducing unnecessary materials. The number of rendered objects on the map was also a big challenge.

We tried to find a balance between their number and size, we merged the smallest ones into single objects, and we divided the largest ones that took up the most memory. Thanks to better use of textures and optimization of assets, we can add new ones and improve the quality of existing ones.

The Characters Update

Dominik Wasieńko, Lead Character Artist: In the newest update, we made significant enhancements to the appearance of the characters' hair, focusing on enhancing shading quality and textures. Additionally, we refined the shading of the eyes to achieve better reflections and realism in our characters' facial expressions.

However, the primary focus of our efforts for the newest update was the visual redesign of our biters and virals. Biters represent the classic zombie archetype, moving slowly with the intent to bite. Virals, on the other hand, are newly infected individuals, retaining some human instincts but succumbing to rapid movements, burning in sunlight, and aggressively pursuing players. Our goal was to give them a more realistic look, emphasizing that they are still infected humans and to emphasize their life before the infection.

Given the community's interest in this aspect, we're hopeful that they will appreciate these changes. Implementing these alterations was not an easy challenge, as there are a lot of infected models in the game and such modifications always pose considerable risks. We completely overhauled the appearance of skin mutations, replaced all facial features, and introduced greater diversity in their clothing.

This required seamless collaboration between the concept art and 3D departments, with meticulous planning to ensure every detail of the transformation was planned. Fortunately, our approach to character systems enabled us to turn any NPC in the game into an infected one.

The Techland Team

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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