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Dying Light 2 director “stands his ground” on no firearms at launch

The Dying Light 2 Reloaded Edition finally adds firearms, but despite complaints, director Tymon Smektała doesn't regret no guns at launch.

A dark haired man holding a handmade ax, bringing it down on an undead creature, he's wearing a black leather jacket, with a red hoodie underneath

There’s nothing more intense than having a bloodstained, mangled zombie running at you full pelt. The adrenaline kicks in, your heart begins to pound, and you pull out your pistol, hoping – praying – that you land the critical headshot that’ll send the creature’s brains cascading across the ground. The original Dying Light nailed this moment, but its sequel, Dying Light 2, was sorely missing it… until now.

The headliner of the new Dying Light 2 Reloaded Edition is, of course, the addition of firearms. It’s been two years since the zombie game unleashed hordes of infected on the world, though, so while this is a great addition for long-term players, it’s hard to say whether it’ll draw back those who dropped off after launch or perhaps even those yet to venture through Villedor.

In an exclusive PCGamesN interview with Dying Light franchise director Tymon Smektała, I ask whether or not the team, in hindsight, would have added guns at launch. The answer is a pretty resounding no.

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“The lack of firearms on the original release was important for two reasons,” he tells me. “First we needed that for world-building, reinforcing the ‘modern dark ages’ direction – the big idea was that
humankind has collapsed. The civilization, the industry is gone and no one really is capable of making guns, especially [because] the existing ones have been seized by the military. Secondly we wanted to emphasize how important melee weapons are for Dying Light as a franchise.

“But… It seems that people really love to score those sweet zombie headshots and the community has been requesting it with a density so big we really had to accept this challenge. So we did, proving at the same time that our approach to development is very much collaborative as we try, and try, and try to go hand in hand with our community.”

A man in a black leather jacket with a red hoodie underneath and white t-shirt raises a handmade ace, slicking a zombies in an industrial area as others shoot at them

Smektała notes that the Reloaded Edition “represents the most comprehensive and refined version of Dying Light 2 Stay Human,” stating that “it replaces our current standard edition.” With that in mind, I ask whether or not he regrets not having guns at launch, given firearms are seemingly the last addition needed to create the perfect DL2.

“I think we took a meaningful risk betting on ‘modern dark ages’ as a setting and I am really proud we did that,” he says. “Yet, since we want Dying Light 2 Stay Human to become the ultimate zombie playground it makes sense to add all possible tools of destruction to [the] player’s toolset.

“No, I’d stand my ground on this one,” he concludes, and it’s an interesting perspective. One of the things I raved about in my own Dying Light 2 review was that sense of isolation. I vividly remember the ‘end of the world’ party at the beginning of the game, and was moved by the sequence where Aiden encounters two corpses positioned next to each other on a lounger. Beside them lies a photograph of their glory days, and it’s a harsh reminder of the fragility of life.

It’s a moment that’s stuck with me all these years, and while I too was desperate for the inclusion of firearms, I wonder if things would have felt different had they been there – there’s a sense of desperation with an axe that isn’t there with long-distance weapons. When the Reloaded Edition comes out, though, I’ll be diving in to find out – and to shoot this big guy, who takes center stage in this PCGamesN-exclusive screenshot, in the head.

A huge hulking zombie creature moves towards a man holding a gun, smaller zombies flanking it

The Dying Light 2 Reloaded Edition will replace the original Dying Light on Steam and is available as a free upgrade to those of you who have already dove into the hellish world of Villedor.

If you haven’t tried the game, though, you can celebrate the release of the Dying Light 2 Reloaded Edition with a free weekend on Steam, which runs from Thursday February 22 until Monday February 26. If you choose to buy the game afterwards, your progression will carry over – and given it’s 50% off, there’s no better time than the present.

If you’ve splashed the cash on the Reloaded Edition, we have a list of the best free Steam games to help ease the burden on your wallet. Alternatively, if you, like me, love the adrenaline that courses through your veins when you jump from rooftop to rooftop, we have a rundown of all the best parkour games, too.

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