Days Gone has been in the headlines lately, as former Bend Studio director Jeff Ross has called Sony out for not supporting the franchise, despite his claims that it sold about as well as the much-lauded Ghost of Tsushima. Well, Ross didn’t stop there, providing more details of his experience at Sony Bend, and his rejected pitch for Days Gone 2, in an extensive interview with USA Today.
On the subject of Days Gone 2, Ross was eager to expand the systems introduced in the original game, with another “layer or two” of interactive elements, including more realistic wildlife. He was also planning to fix two things almost everybody found irritating – stealth and that damn insta-kill water (according to Ross, drowning was by far the most common cause of death in the game). As for where the story might have gone, it would have likely continued to follow the relationship of Deacon and Sarah, and given players more resources to play with…
Yeah, [Deacon and Sarah] are 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? We would have kept the heavy, strong narrative. We would have kept the bike, obviously. And I think we would have expanded the tone a little bit in a more technical direction, kind of like, "Alright, now we have all this NERO tech – what can we do with it?" 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.
Ross also got into why he’s no longer with Bend Studio (he left in late 2020) and where the team may be going. Following the departure of divisive creative director John Garvin, Bend Studio opted for a “flat structure” with no one creative leader and decisions made via committee, which Ross didn’t find productive. The studio reportedly was also experimented with “corridor shooters” and other more linear designs, which Ross felt wasted the work they had put in on Days Gone. Ultimately, it’s since been announced that Bend Studio is now working on a new IP that builds on the open-world systems they’ve developed, so hopefully, the legacy of Days Gone lives on.
Days Gone is available now on PC and PS4, and playable on PS5 via backward compatibility.