Game director Jeff Ross has spoken about his ideas for the cancelled Days Gone sequel. One of them would have been the addition of a swimming mechanic to address one of the first game's key problems.
In a new interview on For The Win, Ross admits that the lack of swimming in Days Gone was "the worst," explaining that its omission was due to an engineering restraint. To justify it in game, a narrative reason was given to explain why protagonist Deacon St. John doesn't swim.
"This character can swim but refuses to, and later makes the decision to do it," says Ross. "There’s a screenwriting principle behind all that. But from a gameplay point of view, I hated it. I’m like, ‘Alright, we’ll figure this out later.’ By the time we circled back around we were probably in the final year when the user testing was coming back, and people were complaining about the water."
In Days Gone, Deacon can only be in water for so long before he drowns. Ross believed surface swimming should've been added to give players a chance, especially since telemetry data revealed drowning as the most common cause of death.
"We spent probably five days in meetings with ten people from different departments, and you’re asking questions like, ‘What is that going to mean for this? What is it gonna mean for that?" he explains.
"But we really just have to try it. So we spent more time in meetings arguing about this and I finally said, ‘Look, we need four hours of this guy’s time. He has been in these meetings for eight hours. What are we doing?’"
The sequel that will never be
Had Ross been able to make the sequel, he would've created what he calls the "definitive version" of Days Gone. In the interview, he talks about continuing the game's narrative and exploring the dynamic between Deacon and his wife Sarah. He also wanted to give allies and enemies more varied behaviours, like allowing bears to be able to rummage through trash cans.
The lack of a Days Gone sequel has been one of, if not the biggest talking point surrounding the game. Word of Sony rejecting the idea prompted fans to put together a petition demanding Sony give it another chance. At the time of writing, more than 140,000 people have signed it, but Sony has yet to even acknowledge it.
Ross recently made headlines for his comments about Days Gone selling just as well as Ghost of Tsushima yet Sony seemed to consider the former a failure while celebrating the latter.
Studio Sony Bend is currently working on a new project but, according to PlayStation boss Herman Hulst, it's a new IP unrelated to Days Gone.
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Michael is a freelance writer with bylines at the Metro, TechRaptor, and Game Rant. A Computer Games Design and Creative Writing graduate, he's been passionate about video games since the Game Boy Color, particularly Nintendo games, with Xenoblade Chronicles being his favorite game ever. Despite everything, he's still a Sonic the Hedgehog fan.