Dying Light 2 Interview: Director Teases New Crossover Events For Near Future

The Franchise Director also shared his personal dream of adding a Survival mode among other things.

Story Highlights

  • Dying Light 2 is an action role-playing game released on February 4, 2022.
  • The game recently added firearms, bringing a major shift to its play style and mechanics.
  • We interviewed Tymon Smektała, Director of the Dying Light franchise, over an email Q&A session.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human has become one of the most popular survival horror games since its release in 2022. While the game does many things to near perfection, the parkour system and melee combat have been praised extensively for enhancing its gameplay. After polishing these core mechanics for over two years, Techland — both the developer and publisher — has boldly decided to add firearms to the title.

Despite it being a fan-requested feature, an addition as big as firearms in a melee combat-focused game is definitely a challenging task, even for Techland. This also shows that the studio is open to making big changes, but to what extent? With that question in mind, we spoke with Tymon Smektała, Director of the Dying Light franchise, over an email interview.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Infected Jumping At Player In Dying Light 2: Stay Human – via Techland.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human has recently undergone major gameplay changes, thanks to the addition of guns. Despite being a requested feature, is the community happy with how Techland has added the firearms?

Tymon: Judging by the reaction and the voices that have reached us, the community is very happy with this implementation. I think we did quite a decent job in introducing and embedding firearms in our world both on the narrative and the gameplay level, solving most, if not all, of the challenges that come with adding such a game-changing mechanic to an existing project. We’re no strangers to this – we added a driveable vehicle to a game about parkour (DLC to Dying Light 1 – The Following) – but it’s always a huge undertaking by all members of the design team.

The game's core mechanics, like parkour and combat, have been polished significantly over the last two years. How long will it take before the firearms reach a similar level?

Tymon: I hope that they’re already at a good enough level, as our team spent months making sure that they look great, animate great, and give you that sonic kick that you expect from shooting a gun. Please remember that as Techland, we have also already worked on first-person shooters (e.g., the Call of Juarez series), so we’re not really new to this. But we do plan to expand on the feature as we move forward – with the possible direction of adding more makeshift weapons and special, craftable ammunition.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Human Enemies In Dying Light 2: Stay Human – via Techland.

Now that the community knows that Techland is open to such major features, has there been an increase in the demand for another feature that has surprised you and the team?

Tymon: We’re actually used to our players coming up with big – or crazy! – ideas. We even started a special section of our community hub, Pilgrim Outpost, where Dying Light fans can leave their ideas for game additions that can be voted on by other Pilgrims… and then delivered by us. I admit that following the community’s expectations is a constant dev challenge, but it’s also a pact that we’ve made with our players – and I think both sides are keeping their parts of the deal.

Is there another title or piece of media that influenced the devs for its firearm action against zombies?

Tymon: As always, we’re inspired by everything that’s around us – movies, comic books, other games and even reality. Actually, one of the most impactful sources of inspiration was our trips to the local firing range, where we were able to test real firearms under the supervision of specialists in a fully safe, controlled environment.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Horde Of Infected Enemies In Dying Light 2: Stay Human – via Techland.

Are there any plans to add crossplay?

Tymon: It’s still an option we’re considering, yet all of it is a matter of managing priorities, resources, and the real value of various features. We’ll share more info when we’re ready.

Aside from the mixed reaction to the Night changes, players also seem unhappy with how the devs nerf some of the gear. I am curious to know the team’s process to decide which items or gear need changes.

Tymon: In general, I’m confident that the night changes have been received very positively – we’re aware of some voices highlighting how the night got more difficult or how, in some edge-case scenarios, it can be seen as unfair, but the first impression was actually our goal and the second is something we’re closely monitoring and tweaking those scenarios to remove any frustrations. When it comes to nerfing items, it’s usually a response to exploits either discovered by us or the community members, and it’s not a practice unique to us as many games are doing this.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Screenshot From Dying Light 2: Stay Human – via Techland.

Is the Cyberpunk/Witcher collaboration still something that we can hope for?

Tymon: We’re working on a few crossovers that will happen in the near future, and I think that’s the most I can say at this stage. Please stay tuned for more info!

What was the general reception like for the Halloween and Winter event in 2023? And do you think that the team improved after the negative feedback from these events in 2022?

Tymon: I can’t really say that these events have received much negative feedback in 2022 – they were actually some of the most praised events from that year. But, to answer your question, I think we improved both of these for 2023 by adding new elements on top of the elements that we introduced on the first go.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Scenic Environment In Dying Light 2: Stay Human – via Techland.

With several more years of promised post-launch support, is there another major addition that you would personally want to make to the game?

Tymon: I have the multi-page list I have stored on my work PC. There are tons of things I’d like to see added to the game, hopefully, some of them will make it… My personal dream right now is a Survival mode and a feudal Japan/ancient China take on the game’s mechanics with samurais and ninjas fighting with zombies in an evil emperor’s palace. But that’s just me, and these are just ideas… though give me a shout if you like them!

Has the work on the next Dying Light game already started? Will it be DL3 or a spin-off game? And can players expect to see or even play it before the support ends for DL2?

Tymon: We’re constantly thinking about expanding the Dying Light universe, but I don’t have anything to announce at this stage. Right now, the focus is on two upcoming updates that will bring Nightmare Mode and Tower Raids to the core Dying Light 2: Stay Human experience.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Dying Light 2: Stay Human – via Techland.

The horror genre has been popular for a long time, but there has certainly been a surge in quality horror content in video games recently. How do you personally feel about this trend?

Tymon: I love those kinds of games, so they’re only good for me. I think there’s no genre other than horror where the unique characteristics of video games (immersion! interactivity!) shine more. Of course, they also bring their own level of difficulties for game developers – interactivity allows you to break directing and scripts used to such great effects in horror movies, but still, it’s a challenge worth tackling. And the quality and variety of horror games released in recent months are absolutely amazing. I’m glad this trend continues.

Tencent recently laid off about 11% staff at Riot Games. Considering how the same parent company also owns Techland, did the Dying Light 2 team feel worried they might be next?

Tymon: The times are difficult for the game industry, but I hope we’ll all adapt, get better, and prevail. I’m confident that with the continuous success of Dying Light, we’re in a position that will allow us to avoid hardships other studios face.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Masked Enemies In Dying Light 2: Stay Human – via Techland.

Several notable developers have expressed how the game development costs have become absurd in the past decade. What is your stance on that? And how do you feel about the current state of the gaming industry?

Tymon: Definitely, we’re at the moment where the game industry needs to rethink its strategies and processes. It’s true that the cost of making games has skyrocketed recently, especially when we’re talking about games that fully utilize the power of current machines and the advancements made by games in the last few years (grand scope, cinematic elements, etc.). Yet not every game needs to be like that, and not every game has to follow the same business model. I’m optimistic about the future, but a grand shift in approach to game production – and game consumption – is needed.

What can we expect to see from the Dying Light team in 2024?

Tymon: Currently, we’re focusing on two update drops – Nightmare Mode and Tower Raids. Both are shaping really great. We’re constantly gathering feedback regarding their current state, and I’m sure they will be an interesting addition to Dying Light 2: Stay Human’s repertoire of features.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers? Something we haven't touched upon yet.

Tymon: As always, I’d like to thank our community for their constant engagement in all things Dying Light. I appreciate the mutual respect we share and hope that it will continue in the following years. There’s a great future ahead of the Dying Light franchise, and I’m really happy and excited we’ll be experiencing it together.

YouTube video

Dying Light 2: Stay Human is an action role-playing game developed and published by Techland. It was released for PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on February 4, 2022. We thank Tymon Smektała for answering our questions and Paulina Dziedziak for helping with the interview.

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Mudassir is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the stories behind our favorite virtual worlds. Armed with a trusty notepad and a keen curiosity, he dives headfirst into the gaming industry's most exciting personalities. His knack for insightful questions and his ability to connect with developers and gamers alike makes his interviews a must-read. While on the lookout for the next person to interview, Mudassir keeps himself busy by writing news surrounding the gaming universe. Experience: 4+ Years || Senior Journalist || Education: Bachelor's in Psychology.

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