SONY and PlayStation delivered the goods at E3 again this year. Opting for a similar movie theater approach to some of their most exciting upcoming content, the most prominent of which featured Bend Studios new open-world property, Days Gone. Fronted by a drifter/former motorcycle enthusiast Deacon St. John, Days Gone sets the player in the gorgeous woodland setting of the Pacific Northwest. The world has fallen, an apocalyptic outbreak bringing humanity to the point of extinction. Those that remain are plagued by the essentially zombified hordes known in this mythology as “freakers.”
The gameplay demo on display today features St. John searching an abandoned rural factory (likely a paper mill) for a certain character. No sooner than he finds the character, all hell breaks loose. Just upon finding the character, the game gives the player its first view of the impossible stakes they’re set against: a seemingly endless horde of zombies flooding the area. One footfall the wrong way and a thousand-strong herd is giving rabid chase. The challenge than becomes through force of arms, rampant cardio or inventive booby-trapping finding a way to escape the flesh-eating freakers.
Bombs go off. Endless clips of machine-gun bullets are rattled into the multitudes. Molotov cocktails are thrown. It’s all-out war. Though zombies have reached near over-saturation in the public consciousness, the moment of reveal here is the game’s strongest asset. Your jaw hits the floor when you see the scale of just how impossibly outnumbered you are. With its backcountry splendor, this visage makes you feel for a video game what TV viewers have enjoyed on The Walking Dead for many years. True shock and fear.