2020 is almost here, so we’ve asked GameSpot’s staff to share which games they’re looking forward to most in the new year. New consoles are going to dominate the headlines, but at the end of the day it’s all about the games, and there are a ton of exciting ones to look forward to. When you’re done reading this entry, follow along with all of our other end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best of 2019 hub and our Most Anticipated of 2020 hub.
Techland’s Dying Light is one of my favorite action games of 2015. Though I was lukewarm on, the studio’s first crack at an open-world zombie-apocalypse game, Dead Island, the ambitious follow-up of Dying Light was a more realized take on its predecessor, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Set in a massive open-world where you were always out-numbered and where staying outside after nightfall was the worst thing that could happen to you, Dying Light is a spectacular mix of advanced parkour traversal and slick melee-combat that uses a variety of custom weapons. Even at the game’s conclusion, I still couldn’t get enough of exploring the massive space, trying to uncover items I missed and encounters left unresolved. With the upcoming sequel, Techland is upping the stakes even further by letting you have a say in where the story will go next.
Dying Light 2, surprisingly, takes place two decades after the end of Dying Light’s Following DLC. What makes this so surprising is that the ending of the epilogue concludes with former-protagonist Kyle Crane unintentionally spreading the disease throughout the world. It was an incredibly dark ending, but I can’t deny that it made me excited for where things could go in the sequel. In Dying Light 2, the modern world is a thing of the past. With dwindling resources, along with a noticeable lack of guns, it looks as though the zombie-apocalypse has brought civilization back to the dark ages. Set in one large city, which is five times bigger than the original game, you’ll take on the role of a new runner working his way across the city to form alliances, come to blows with rival gangs, and, of course, face off against hordes of infected.
All of this sounds like the makings of a standard sequel, but what has me excited about Dying Light 2 is that it also implements elements of adaptive storytelling from role-playing games. RPG writer and narrative writer Chris Avellone is serving as the narrative lead on Dying Light 2, who’s previous game credits include the Fallout series and Planescape: Torment. During E3 2019, I got to check out some of the dynamic changes that can occur from your choices in the game. During one of many critical moments, you can either choose to side with one faction or betray them for another. Doing so will not only lead to significant changes in existing relationships but also affect the world map itself. Based on your choices, certain areas may be uncovered or destroyed entirely.
On top of all this is a renewed focus on traversal and melee combat, which now includes some clever new tricks that work the two more in-tandem. Dying Light 2 is shaping to be a sequel that not only builds upon what worked great in the first game but also fleshes out the world in some exciting ways. I was impressed with the showing at E3 2019, and given that the game’s scope will gradually expand over time, I’m digging where the story can go, even if it will take several playthroughs to see the full story to its completion.