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Techland Discusses Differences Between Dead Island & Dying Light

The Dead Island series is polarizing. Hacking apart zombies in first-person is fun, but the games are blemished with technical bugs. It makes sense, then, that developer Techland might want to create distance between Dead Island and Dying Light – a new IP with a startlingly similar premise coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and current-gen systems. Players team up with up to three friends to explore a tropical setting, hack apart zombies, and craft items. Dying Light innovates on the formula by injecting free running and a day/night cycle, but we couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room during a live presentation of the game. We asked Techland’s brand manager, Blazej Krakowiak what separates the two titles.

Krakowiak reveals Dying Light is being developed by the core team that worked on the original Dead Island. The more criticized follow-up, Dead Island Riptide, was developed by the company’s studio in Warsaw, Poland. I asked Krakowiak to explain how Dying Light relates to the developer’s past zombie games.

“I hope it shows that we are really trying to build something from a different starting point here,” says Krakowiak. “Zombies as a genre are huge, not just in terms of popularity, but also in terms of potential and where you can take them. Our game, the first Dead Island, was a good example because it was so unexpected for people. You have little beautiful games like The Walking Dead and so on, and so on. There’s a lot of room in the [zombie] space so we feel like we can do something unique and interesting. In this case, this game’s development began back in early 2012 with the original Dead Island team, the big core team that we have. After finishing the first game they really wanted to do something even bigger and better. Not by evolving something existing, but starting a new IP with a completely different focus. This is the case: Dying Light is a new, original IP with no relation to Dead Island whatsoever.”

While Krakowiak says there is no direct relation between the titles, the developer is applying lessons learned from Dead Island to this new IP. Krakowiak didn’t go into specifics, but affirms that, “…there isn’t a single game that we’ve released that we haven’t learned from.”

Dying Light’s free-running gameplay is one of the core elements that separate it from Dead Island. Krakowiak believes this contribution also helps separate it from all other zombie games.

“Free running, for us, is a survival mechanism,” says Krakowiak. “This is not something those characters are doing to show off. This is something they have to do, because that’s how humans avoid getting eaten in zombie situations. This is something that we believe Dying Light can really contribute to the zombie genre.”

On the topic of survival, we asked Krakowiak if Dying Light will go as far as open-world zombie games like DayZ by adding hunger and thirst meters.

“I don’t think we’ll go that far,” says Krakowiak. “We are looking at options of maybe including something like that as a completely hardcore offering. With the main game this is definitely not our goal so please don’t take this as a promise. We are of course looking at this trend, but Dying Light will be an action-survival game. This has to be a blast to play. We don’t want to punish people. We don’t want them to spend the day in a hideout just trying to dress their wounds, or something. “

It’s tempting to jump to conclusions regarding the games’ similarities, but this is just Dying Light’s first showing. Techland isn’t spilling all the beans just yet, so we’ll have to hang tight until we get our hands on the game at E3 before drawing more parallels. Dying Light will be arriving on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 by the end of the year.

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  • Really, REALLY, should of changed the setting then.
  • Um I personally thought the Dead Island games were a disaster and filled with bugs and glitches. Hopefully Techland can improve with their next game and take that extra time to work bugs out. Either way that's great for Zombie fans and more of an uh for myself.

  • I'm just now playing Dead Island and I love what I'm experiencing.  I'd love to see more of it expanded, after I heard the sequel is underwhelming.  This looks pretty fun, as to me, more of a good thing is never bad.

  • Even though the game seems quite similar to the Dead Island series I can see why they would want to differentiate this new title if they are going for something more divergent. The Dead Island games were not very polished and they were simply mindless fun, they weren't emotionally impactful. So hopefully this game is looking to improve upon these aspects in addition to providing the new gameplay mechanics.
  • It still seems to me like Dead Island with some cool new features. I understand why they'd like to distance it from Dead Island but they have to show some more significant differences between the two.

  • I really enjoyed Dead Island, but it seems like Techland got way too comfortable resting on their laurels way too early.

  • I liked the Dead Island series, especially for the coop, but it was a host of huge bugs, glitches and mediocre stories. If this game can build on what Dead Island has already done, it may be pretty good. I just hope its not a near exact clone, where all you do is run around collecting weapons -90% of which are useless- and doing a bunch of fetch and retrieve side missions. I would love to see a mix of like Dead Island action with the amazing story telling of The Walking Dead. Cause we sure as hell don't need another boring zombie game.
  • wow thats all that sucks

  • So its like...Dead Island...only co op and it takes place at night and day...Seems like a new IP to me!
  • They need new material and start from scratch.  Dead Island was moderately successful and out-of-stock for several weeks in multiple stores.  I heavily enjoyed it, despite the game not being quite what i had in mind ( I blame the trailer).  I've put in many hours and nearing 100% it.  The combat and world were immensely satisfying, the first chapter of the resort was breathtakingly surreal.  That said, the game suffered from bugs/glitches, repetitive fetch quests, terrible story & dialogue and some of the worst character modeling i've seen in years ( seriously every quest giver animates oddly and jarringly).

    They had plenty of material and time to really improve the formula, touch up the animations and maybe rethink how the game's characters play out.  Completely scrap how the story is told ( or dive into the B-movie cheese, instead of masquerading as a serious-yet-not-so-serious game) and spruce up quests, bugs and glitches.  Yet...what they did was overly rehash the *** out of the game with Riptide.  A game that tweaks the game barely enough and comes off as a dlc addition, rather than a full fledged game.  They added one new character, re-done the skill trees, added new weapons/mods, and a couple new enemy types.  While simultaneously keeping all that was wrong with the first game.

    Now, they announce this and yet again, it looks like a rehash of their past material VS actually starting  fresh.  So disappointing, I had high hopes for this company to really make a good mark on Zombie games.

  • In other words this would of been Dead Island 2 but the publishers got greedy and had a mediocre studio rush out a sequel ahead of time. The sequel then got ripped apart with terrible review scores, so they decided to give what would of been Dead Island 2 a whole new name and identity.
  • I seriously cannot wait for this zombie fad to be over.
  • The game reminds me of mirrors edge, but with zombies. I really wish it wasn't a tropical setting again, because that's too much like dead island, which they should try to keep separated in my opinion. I think it would be a nice change if you could actually design your own character this time around too. Does anyone think that dead island 2 is worth buying? I haven't got it yet, but was considering it.
  • 'On the topic of survival, we asked Krakowiak if Dying Light will go as far as open-world zombie games like DayZ by adding hunger and thirst meters. “I don’t think we’ll go that far,” says Krakowiak.' Seriously, why not? That would be pretty awesome to me. I thought the hardcore mode in Fallout New Vegas was a lot of fun to play, so why not make an entire game along those lines? (A game that isn't DayZ or WarZ mind you)
  • Still sounds kinda neat and a blend of Mirror's Edge, metro, and Dead Island.

  • This is just embarrassing

  • hey guys what do you think of this new free-running survival zombie game announced by Techland, developers of Dead Island? Its coming on both next-gen console (PS4 and Xbone) and also on PC!

  • personally, i'm excited. i was surprised at how much i enjoyed the original dead island (and the sequel, despite all its bugs). even if this does turn out to be more of the same, i am sure i will enjoy it. heck, free run and a day/night cycle alone are already improvements. alrighty, techland; i'm in.

  • What the *** does "free run" mean? Like you can sprint?
  • i would prefer it to be like dayz,where it is open world,does have a story and stuff,but u can play it as long as u want