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Dying Light 2 Development Reportedly a “Total Mess,” Techland Denies Microsoft Purchase

May 6, 2020
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Dying Light 2 is simultaneously a very exciting, and somewhat concerning, project. The preview footage we’ve seen at events like E3 has been incredibly promising, and yet, the game has been delayed multiple times, and is currently without any sort of solid release date. It makes you wonder what exactly is going on with the game behind the scenes.

Well, according to PolskiGamedev.pl, which has been a reliable source of info on the Polish scene in the past, Dying Light 2 development is currently in “total disarray.” According to an anonymous Techland dev, the game’s plot and mechanics are continually in flux, which has stymied progress. (The original article is, of course, in Polish – the translations provided here are from a combination of Google and Twitter user Lotte May, so forgive any roughness).

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Dying Light 2 is a total mess, first we had focus on story, then focus on gameplay...non-stop changing game mechanics. Morale is at an all time low, leadership has no idea what they're doing. Disorganization at the highest levels [like this] is embarrassing. It is still not known what this game should be. Other [studios] a year before the premiere are worried about fixing bugs. We don't even have a vertical slice!

Apparently, one of the main things that’s derailed Dying Light 2 is conflict between head writer Chris Avellone and creative director Adrian Ciszewski. The gist is, Avellone wants to create a complicated, layered RPG-style story, but that doesn’t necessarily match up with the type of game Techland wants to make. When reached for comment, Avellone played down any conflict…

I like working on Dying Light 2, and I like working with Techland. Of course, we discussed individual elements of the project and of course it changed during subsequent iterations…but this is a normal part of the creation process.

That said, word is Ciszewski has insisted on getting his fingers into the story, and his constant tinkering with the game has forced a lot of work onto developers, with many having to work 9 am to 10 pm days.

Our creative lead [Ciszewski] has coined the philosophy 'design through iteration' Every time he made an apparently 'final decision', it was reverted. People have worked really hard thinking they're almost finished, but they never get to reach the finish line. It burns them out a lot.

Unfortunately, the Dying Light 2 crunch is reportedly having an adverse effect on Techland as a studio, as they’ve lost around 50 people in the last year (a major blow for a 300-person studio). These departures include Pawel Rohleder, Techland’s former head of technology, who was largely responsible for the company’s impressive Chrome engine. According to PolskiGamedev.pl, they’ve even heard a Microsoft buyout of Techland might be in the works.

Of course, take this all with a grain of salt, but sadly, nothing about these rumors sounds too outlandish. Again, the vertical slice of Dying Light 2 I’ve seen looked fantastic, but the game’s ever-shifting release date has certainly raised alarm bells. So, all other gossip aside, when might Dying Light 2 come out? Several devs were asked, and the consensus seems to be that a 2020 release probably isn’t happening unless Techland reduces the scope of the game.

What do you think about these rumors? When do you think Dying Light 2 will arrive, and what kind of game do you hope it will be?

Update: Techland PR representative Ola Sondej has shot down a Microsoft purchase on Twitter. Wccftech reached out to Techland for a more comprehensive statement, and Sondej denied they were in talks with any buyer, saying the company would remain independent  - you can get more details on that here.

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