Sony’s high-profile tier of PlayStation exclusives—The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted—has steadily grown since the days of the PlayStation 3 and one of the most talked-about incoming exclusives, for better or worse, has just gotten an official release date. Days Gone is the forthcoming Bend Studios take on the zombie apocalypse (they call them “freakers,” but c’mon), in which the Pacific Northwest is the stage and gearhead bikers are the actors.
What differentiates Days Gone from other zombie videogames—The Last of Us, specifically—is its central cast, how the zombies work and the central mode of locomotion. The player protagonist, Deacon St. John (yes, that is his actual name), is an ex-biker gang member and thus, he still uses his motorcycle to get around the danger-infested game world. The motorcycle becomes a character unto itself with crafting options, a gas meter and the player having to retrieve it if left somewhere. The freakers (zombies) can manifest themselves in giant, dangerous, World War Z-like hordes, and they present a genuine threat to the player. They can also be baited and lured to enemy camps, and in turn, the player can use the hordes as a devastating, natural weapon. In addition to the threat posed by the freakers, there are multiple factions of hostile humans, predatory animals and a dangerous, Ed Hardy-like fashion sense that plagues every character in the game.
This new trailer for Days Gone doesn’t deliver a whole lot of new insights as much as it reinforces the core conceits that the game has been building its individuality on since its announcement. Everything in the world is out to hurt the player and the persistent, reactionary AI will prove very troublesome to the carefree biker. Safety, stealth and planning are the names of the game. When hurt, players have to actually heal at camps or craft their own healing items. None of this is wholly new but, as a package, Days Gone takes place in a unique place with characters yet unexplored in gaming—though biker culture has been explored in Grand Theft Auto 4: The Lost and the Damned. All in all, Days Gone will live or die on the fresh ideas that it brings to the open-world survival genre and by the caliber of the story it tells.
Days Gone is biking its way onto PlayStation 4s everywhere on Feb. 22, 2019. Check out the new trailer below and expect more to be shown of the game during E3 next week.