|Developer(s)||SIE Bend Studio|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release||April 26, 2019|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, survival horror|
Days Gone is an action-adventure survival horror video game developed by SIE Bend Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4 on April 26, 2019. Set in a post-apocalyptic Oregon two years after a global pandemic, former outlaw-turned-drifter Deacon St. John discovers the possibility of his wife Sarah still being alive, which leads Deacon on a quest to find her. Days Gone is played from a third-person perspective, in which the player can explore an open world environment. Players can use firearms, melee weapons and improvised weapons, and can use stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures known as Freakers. A major game mechanic is Deacon's drifter bike, which is used as the player's primary mode of transportation as well as mobile inventory.
Production of Days Gone began in early 2015. Technical director Christopher Reese stated that Bend Studio wanted it to "push the PS4 somewhere it's never been before." The game was first revealed by Sony at their E3 2016 panel. It was then announced by Reese the game would utilize Unreal Engine 4 and would have "a very strong narrative". The original score was composed by Nathan Whitehead.
Widely anticipated and originally slated for a 2018 launch, Days Gone was delayed several times and received mixed reviews.
Days Gone is an action-adventure survival horror game set in a post-apocalyptic open world, played from a third-person perspective. The player controls Deacon St. John (Sam Witwer), a former U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division Afghanistan War veteran outlaw-turned-drifter and bounty hunter who prefers life on the road to wilderness encampments. The game takes place two years after a global pandemic occurred which killed almost all of humanity, and transformed millions of others into "Freakers", mindless nocturnal zombie-like creatures that are quickly evolving. In the E3 2016 stage demo, two types of "Freakers" were revealed, Newts and Hordes. In the E3 2017 stage demo, infected animals such as bears and wolves were revealed to also comprise the "Freakers", and human enemies are revealed to be featured in the game as well.
The player can complete objectives in multiple ways, such as by using stealth or long and short ranged weapons. A dynamic weather system and day-night cycle will also feature, making "Freakers" weak and slow by day but fast and strong by night. Deacon's main transportation vehicle is a motorcycle that can be modified with parts to enhance its speed, durability or maneuverability, among other parameters. The player is able to craft new items to improve combat efficiency.
According to SIE Bends Studio's Emmanuel Roth, “Our game is not about saving the world. Deacon will not be the hero finding the solution to this pandemic. The pandemic is something that hit people in the world. They don’t know where it came from. One thing’s for sure: survival is not [simply] living.”
When a virus causes a large portion of humanity to become uncontrollably violent, Deacon, his wife Sarah (Courtnee Draper), and his friend Boozer (Jim Pirri) attempt to flee for safety. However, Sarah is stabbed and critically wounded, forcing Deacon to evacuate her on a National Emergency Response Organization (NERO) helicopter. Due to the helicopter being at capacity, Deacon stays behind with Boozer, intending to reunite with Sarah.
Two years later, civilization has collapsed and large hordes of the infected, now called "Freakers", roam the landscape and are a persistent threat to surviving humans. Deacon and Boozer now work as freelance bounty hunters in what's left of Oregon, with Deacon believing Sarah is dead after finding out the NERO refugee camp she was evacuated to was overrun by Freakers. Deacon and Boozer plan to head further north to find better opportunities, but Boozer has his arm badly burned by a gang of cultists called Rippers, forcing him to stay at their safehouse to recuperate and delay their trip. Deacon also learns the Rippers have placed a price on his and Boozer's heads. In addition, Deacon catches sight of NERO helicopters carrying a research team several times, leading him to believe there is a chance Sarah may be alive. He manages to track down and confront one of the NERO researchers, O'Brian, who evacuated Sarah. He reveals that his helicopter was diverted to a different camp mid-flight, rekindling Deacon's search.
Boozer's health begins to decline rapidly from his burn wounds, forcing Deacon to take him to the Lost Lake camp for medical treatment. Boozer has his arm amputated due to an infection. O'Brian contacts Deacon, requesting his help in investigating what NERO is researching in return for helping him track down Sarah. Meanwhile, Lost Lake has an uneasy nonaggression treaty with the Rippers, held up only by Lost Lake's leader Iron Mike (Eric Allan Kramer) while his lieutenant Skizzo is skeptical of Rippers' willingness to honor the treaty. Skizzo makes a separate deal with the Rippers and turns Deacon over to them, where it is revealed that the leader of the Rippers is Jessie, an old enemy of Deacon and Boozer. Deacon escapes custody and together with Boozer, drowns the Rippers by destroying the dam above their camp and kills Jessie. Skizzo is exiled from Lost Lake for his betrayal.
Later, Deacon remembers that Sarah worked at a government lab and would have had federal security clearance, meaning she would have been a priority to evacuate from the camp. O'Brian confirms that Sarah was evacuated to a military outpost at Crater Lake, but the area is now under the control of the Deschutes County Militia. O'Brian also warns Deacon that NERO's research has shown that the Freakers are evolving, meaning their threat will only increase as time passes. He meets the leader of the Militia, Colonel Garret, under the guise of wanting to join up. At the Militia's main stronghold, Deacon is able to reunite with Sarah, who is working with the Militia to create a bioweapon that can destroy the Freakers permanently. Deacon reluctantly stays with the Militia in order to help her. Deacon and Sarah head to the Cloverdale lab she used to work at in order to obtain a DNA sequencer. However, upon arriving at the lab, Sarah realizes that Cloverdale used her research to develop the virus that created the Freakers.
Upon returning to Sarah's lab, she reveals that she is not actually working on a bioweapon to kill the Freakers, but a cure to save them. Deacon suggests that they desert the Militia and complete the cure at the Cloverdale lab, but complications arise when an increasingly paranoid Colonel Garret puts Sarah under protective custody. Deacon attempts to extract Sarah, but the plan is foiled by Skizzo, who lies about Deacon's criminal past to Colonel Garret. Deacon is arrested but is freed by a sympathetic officer. He returns to Lost Lake, which has managed to repel an assault from the Militia but Iron Mike is mortally wounded. Deacon warns Lost Lake that the Militia will return in greater numbers to exterminate them all, and decides to perform a preemptive strike by destroying their headquarters with a truck bomb. Deacon then kills Skizzo and Colonel Garret, rescuing Sarah and dismantling the Militia for good.
Afterwards, Deacon becomes the new leader of Lost Lake, living there with Sarah, Boozer, and his friends. He is then contacted by O'Brian again, who reveals that NERO had known about the virus' mutagenic effects all along and that O'Brian himself is infected with a strain of the virus that makes him an intelligent Freaker. He warns Deacon that NERO is coming and that there is nothing they can do to stop them.
Days Gone went into full production in January 2015. The game uses Unreal Engine 4. John Garvin is the creative director and writer of the game, and Jeff Ross is the game director. The game was scheduled to be released on February 22, 2019, but was delayed to April 26, 2019, to allow the development team to polish the game. Announced via Twitter, development studio Bend confirmed Days Gone's gold status in a celebratory tweet and accompanying photo.
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Days Gone received "mixed or average" reviews according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critics felt that the gameplay and world design showed promise but ultimately felt underdeveloped. The story was also criticized as "dull" and "meandering", noting that it did little to characterize the protagonist, although Witwer's performance was praised.
Days Gone was the best selling physical game in the United Kingdom in the week of release. It went on to be the best-selling software release in all the format sales chart for the second consecutive week. In the third week, the game remained the best selling software.
In Japan, Days Gone outsold two other PlayStation 4 exclusives at launch as well, God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn. Days Gone went on to surpass the lifetime sales of God of War and another exclusive PlayStation 4 game, The Last Guardian, in Japan.
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