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Dying Light 2: Everything we know about the next zombie parkour game

Dying Light 2 - a character stands atop a statue with a crude axe
(Image credit: Techland)

Dying Light 2 looks even better than the original. And the original was pretty great—Techland's first zombie parkour game left a lasting impression, and received decent post-release support. In 2016 there was The Following DLC, which let you roam an expansive countryside while smooshing the undead beneath an armored buggy, and a battle royale-esque spin-off followed. 

Dying Light 2 was originally announced at E3 2018 with a snazzy trailer, but details after 2019 were sparse for a long time. It was delayed in January 2020, near the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It then eventually got a late 2021 release date before being delayed once again to February 2022.

A report published by TheGamer doesn't paint a rosy picture of the company culture at Techland. Employees complained about the "autocratic" management style of CEO Pawel Marchewka, over-reliance on external consultants who lack experience in the games industry, conflict at the production level, a high rate of staff turnover, and micromanagement, all of which has collectively had the effect of stripping the game of a "coherent vision."

Here's everything we know right now.

When is Dying Light 2's release date?

Dying Light 2 has been delayed until 2022, but it has a (presumably final) release date: February 4, 2022.

"The team is steadily progressing with the production and the game is nearing the finish line. The game is complete and we are currently playtesting it," Techland CEO Pawel Marchewka wrote in a statement. "It is by far the biggest and most ambitious project we've ever done. Unfortunately, we've realised for us to bring the game to the level we envision, we need more time to polish and optimise it."

At the Microsoft E3 2019 conference, Dying Light 2 originally had a spring 2020 release window. In January 2020, Techland announced its first delay. A new release window wasn't given, with Techland simply saying it would release before the end of the year.

Dying Light 2 is getting 'five years of updates'

On Techland's official twitter page for Dying Light 2, they announced on January 14th that Dying Light 2 will receive 5 years of support after launch. Specifically, the post called out events, locations, stories, and in-game items. Given how free roaming Dying Light 2 is poised to continue to be, there's a ton of space to play with between new weapon options, new places to parkour through, and all sorts of quests and intrigue between the different factions.

Dying Light 2 will take 500 hours to 'fully complete'

In a recent tweet from the official Dying Light 2 Twitter account, the developer claimed that the game will take 500 hours to fully complete, comparing it to the 534 hours it apparently takes to walk from Warsaw to Madrid.

A follow-up note explains that this is just referring to the 100% completion rate, including exploration, collectibles, and achievements. In a follow-up tweet, Techland clarified that "a regular player should finish the story + side quests and do quite a lot of exploring in less than 100 hours." 

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Dying Light 2 got one last cinematic trailer at The Game Awards

Sad song, check. Glass breaking in slow motion, check. It's a cinematic trailer, all right.

Here are the Dying Light 2 gameplay videos we've seen so far

In May 2021, Techland showed off a new seven-minute gameplay trailer. This one is an overview of Dying Light 2's story, factions, and nighttime.

The long demo shown behind closed doors at E3 2019 was worth the wait. The demo is an impressive showcase of Dying Light 2's ambitious expanded parkour systems, combat, and choice-driven story. We also see new traversal gadgets, like pulleys that zip Aiden to a rooftop, a swinging hook, and a glider.

Dying Light 2's premier trailer from 2018 gave us a snapshot of what to expect from the game's branching storyline, where entire parts of the city will change based on your choices. Check it out above. 

Another Dying Light 2 video focuses on stealth, showing off improvements Techland has made since the first game. Aiden and a partner sneak through a dark hospital, keeping quiet and low to the ground to avoid being noticed by the infected.

Gamescom's 'decide the fate of the city' trailer has more parkour and combat, demonstrating the grappling hook, ziplines, and glider some more as well as showing some combat. Aiden does the classic Dying Light double-kick, slows time with blocks, and has an over-the-top ground pound too.

Dying Light 2 has (fairly melodramatic) narrative choices

(Image credit: Techland)

Our own Wes Fenlon got hands-on with Dying Light 2 for a four hour preview of what's to come. He got to electrocute goats for fun and profit—earning himself a shocking mod for his mace—but didn't have the same level of enthusiasm for the ambitiously described branching narratives.

"Every conversation I had was overwrought and amusingly melodramatic" Wes said, "...the writing and acting for story beats feel like they belong to a game from a half decade ago that hasn't aged particularly well." He also detailed further that the characters all feel morally ambiguous, but in a fairly obvious way we've come to expect from anything painting itself with the post-apocalypse color scheme.

These choices do have concrete results that can be worth your time, though. As you sway the groups who control an area, you may find parkour aids from helping out the survivors, or traps for killing zombies if you work for the more militaristic and ironically named peacekeepers.

We don't yet know how the smaller sample will add up in the larger story—and access to the other districts of the city—and there could be far more compelling characters and choices ahead. But for the moment, the most exciting part remains the gun-free melee combat and running wild-and-free on the rooftops and ruins of Dying Light 2's massive city.

Dying Light 2's setting

(Image credit: TechLand)

Lead designer Tymon Smektala discussed the "modern dark ages" setting with Digital Foundry, saying that they had partnered with Chris Avellone to define the world and its rules. (Avellone is no longer contributing to Dying Light 2 after he was accused of sexual misconduct by several individuals.)

"It's a setting that explains, presents a world where the civilisation has gone back to [the] dark ages," Smektala told Digital Foundry. "Right now, everything is brutal, primal and merciless. Chris Avellone helped us to define that world, define the rules that govern it, and [helped] define the factions that operate in the city."

Techland is also joined by at least one member of The Witcher 3 writing team: Karolina Stachyra, known for her work on the Bloody Baron questline.

Though specifics on Dying Light 2's plot haven't been revealed, the developers have given us some broad strokes of what we can expect. Set 15 years after the first game, your mission is to retrieve an object which could 'change the future of humankind.' A source of clean water? A way to turn the Wi-Fi back on? Your guess is as good as ours. But you're not alone in this grim locale. Far from it, actually. The city is full of multiple human factions, each of which will vie for your assistance, cooperation, or death.

Here's what Dying Light 2's nights are like

(Image credit: Techland)

The original game's awesome day and night cycle mechanic is back. Infected will roam the streets at night, forcing you to make for the rooftops. We asked creative director Adrian Ciszewski how the day/night system works. "Humans rule the city during the day," Ciszewski said, "but the streets are overrun with Infected at night. The floor is lava, basically. You should stay on the rooftops. If you jump to ground level, it's gonna be painful. You'll be pursued and encounter Screamers."

Screamers, returning from the original Dying Light, can disorient you and alert other enemies to your location. There are reasons to go out at night, however. "If you travel the world during the day," Ciszewski said, "you're gonna see a lot of Infected in buildings—almost like I Am Legend—who are asleep. They're waiting for night to go hunting. So when they go out at night, they leave those interiors almost empty. And that's an opportunity for you to visit these places."

While the infected are out on the streets, their Dark Zone nests will be emptier. It's worth making a trip there, you'll just have to survive long enough to break into one. 

The superpowered volatiles are returning, too. As always, they'll chase you in a dead sprint, forcing you to get crafty with your UV flashlight and some environmental tools.

Rosario Dawson is in it

Rosario Dawson, the star of Death Proof and Sin City who recently appeared in The Mandalorian, will play Lawan. In a video reveal, Dawson described her character as "a very tough woman who is fighting her past", and said that who she becomes will be dependent on the player's choices. "Is she going to be this rage-filled killer who is obsessed with her goals? Or will she be a Nightrunner who risks her life to save others?" The Nightrunners are one of Dying Light 2's factions, semi-mythical altruists and helpers who once protected people from night-time dangers, and it seems like we'll have a chance to make these lost legends a reality.

Some narrative choices can be reversed, but not easily

(Image credit: Techland)

Speaking to Official Xbox Magazine, lead designer Tymon Smektala explained how choice reversal isn't a simple reset button. "It’s not like you can like go back to the moment of that decision and just change it," Smektala said. "You need to do some additional stuff, like complete a couple of extra missions, to fix the things that you think you wronged. But apart from those rare instances, all of the decisions are permanent."

Make no mistake, choices still carry significant consequences. Most decisions can't be undone, but it was important for Techland to allow for reflection in some cases. "So sometimes in crucial moments for the narrative where we feel there’s a space for you to think back and realize that maybe what you decided to do wasn’t the thing you really wanted to do, even if that’s not a 'good' thing... there are a couple of instances where we give you a chance to rewrite those decisions," Smektala said.

Dying Light 2's combat should offer more crafting variety

Speaking of combat, the same first-person melee looks like it's still our primary way of bashing heads in. Just like the last game, it looks like you can combine weapons with certain elements to add a little flavor to your swing. We've seen tomahawk axes with what look like electrical cords, plus a street sign cut in half. 

Smektala has said the crafting is being expanded, and that there will be around 50 new combos you can apply to weapons, but you'll also be using the environment to fight back. We've seen the player whip a bucket at an enemy's head, creating an opening to shove him off the roof.

The black market seen atop that Arc lookalike will sell you weapon blueprints, drugs that give you extra powers, or just more brutal tools of torture. Stealth will also play a larger role in Dying Light 2, with bushes and trash bins to hide if things get grisly. You'll also be able to sneak up on enemies for quieter kills.

More Dying Light 2 details

  • Dying Light 2 will have double the parkour moves of the original, including going through windows above doors, pole vaulting, swinging on ropes or lines, and even using a blade to slide down a flag or banner to street level.
  • The grappling hook is back, and is joined by a paraglider, and both will be upgradable based on story choices you make and facilities that get upgraded.
  • The city map is four times bigger than the first game, and is closer in style to the Old Town section than the wider open slums, with some reclamation by nature taking place to boot.
  • There's roughly 20 hours of core story content, and about 100 hours of total content.
  • Dying Light 2 will support ray-tracing with am emphasis on environmental lighting and greater volumetric effects.

Development has been described as "total chaos"

Following news about its lead writer leaving, there were concerns about Dying Light 2. A report claiming that its development has been "total chaos" hasn't helped.

Techland responded to fans speculating that Dying Light 2 was trapped in "development hell" and would never be released by admitting that, "we announced the game too early" and claiming it definitely wouldn't be canceled.

While we waited to hear about the sequel, Dying Light continued getting DLC

(Image credit: Techland)

Techland released a new DLC in 2020 for the original Dying Light game, a fantasy horror adventure set inside an arcade cabinet. Hellraid is actually based on an older Techland project by the same name. 

Even so many years after Dying Light's release, former Techland senior PR manager Ola Sondej told Gamecrate that "We don’t think of Dying Light—Hellraid as the final DLC and we plan to continue our support for Dying Light."

Techland hope to give the sequel a long tail of post-launch support as well. "Thanks to our fans, Dying Light is still alive and we constantly improve this title", said lead level designer Piotr Pawlaczyk, "Just like we want to do it with Dying Light 2 Stay Human and every future project."