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''Days Gone'' is a 2019 action-adventure survival horror video game developed by Bend Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows. Set in a post-apocalyptic Oregon two years after the start of a global pandemic, former outlaw-turned-drifter Deacon St. John discovers the possibility of his wife Sarah still being alive, which leads Deacon on a quest to find her. ''Days Gone'' is played from a third-person perspective, in which the player can explore an open world environment. Players can use firearms, melee weapons and improvised weapons, and can use stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures known as Freakers. A major game mechanic is Deacon's motorcycle, which is used as the player character's primary mode of transportation as well as mobile inventory. Originally slated for a 2018 launch, ''Days Gone'' was delayed several times. The game eventually released on April 26, 2019. Upon release, it received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the open world aspect, gameplay, and Sam Witwer's performance as Deacon, although the story, lack of character development, and several technical issues were criticized. As part of Sony's efforts to bring more of its first-party content to Microsoft Windows following ''Horizon: Zero Dawn'', ''Days Gone'' is set for release on Windows in May 18, 2021.


Gameplay


''Days Gone'' is an action-adventure survival horror game set in a post-apocalyptic open world, played from a third-person perspective. The player controls Deacon St. John (Sam Witwer), a former U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division Afghanistan War veteran outlaw-turned-drifter and bounty hunter who prefers life on the road to wilderness encampments. The game takes place two years after a global pandemic occurred which killed almost all of humanity, and transformed millions of others into "Freakers", mindless nocturnal zombie-like creatures that are quickly evolving. In the E3 2016 stage demo, two types of Freakers were revealed, Newts and Swarmers. In the E3 2017 stage demo, infected animals such as bears and wolves were revealed to also comprise the Freakers, and human enemies are revealed to be featured in the game as well. The player can complete objectives in multiple ways, such as by using stealth mechanics, and long and short ranged weapons. A dynamic weather system and day-night cycle make Freakers weak and slow by day but fast and aggressive by night. Deacon's main transportation vehicle is a motorcycle that can be modified with parts to enhance its speed, durability or maneuverability, among other parameters. The player can craft weapons that can be repaired after extended use. Player can pick up already crafted weapons from enemies. The player is able to craft new items to improve combat efficiency.


Plot


In 2017, a virus causes a large portion of humanity to become uncontrollably violent, Deacon St. John (Sam Witwer), his wife Sarah Whitaker (Courtnee Draper), and his friend William "Boozer" Gray (Jim Pirri) attempt to flee for safety and escape the carnage. Sarah is stabbed and critically wounded, forcing Deacon to evacuate her on a National Emergency Response Organization (NERO) helicopter. Due to the helicopter being at capacity, Deacon stays behind with Boozer, intending to reunite with Sarah. Two years later, civilization has collapsed, and vast hordes of the infected, now called "Freakers", roam the landscape and are a persistent threat to surviving humans. Deacon and Boozer work as freelance bounty hunters in what is left of Oregon, with Deacon believing Sarah is dead after finding out the NERO refugee camp she was evacuated to was overrun by Freakers. Deacon and Boozer plan to head further north to find better opportunities, but Boozer has his arm badly burned by a gang of cultists called Rippers, forcing him to stay at their safehouse to recuperate and delay their trip. Deacon learns the Rippers have placed a price on his and Boozer's heads. In addition, Deacon catches sight of NERO helicopters carrying a research team several times, leading him to believe there is a chance Sarah may be alive. He manages to track down and confront one of the NERO researchers, James O'Brian (Bernardo de Paula), who evacuated Sarah. He reveals that his helicopter was diverted to a different camp mid-flight, rekindling Deacon's search. Boozer's health begins to decline rapidly from his burn wounds, forcing Deacon to take him to the Lost Lake camp for medical treatment. Boozer has his arm amputated due to an infection. O'Brian contacts Deacon, requesting his help in investigating what NERO is researching in return for helping him track down Sarah. Meanwhile, Lost Lake has an uneasy nonaggression treaty with the Rippers, held up by Lost Lake's leader "Iron" Mike Wilcox (Eric Allan Kramer) while his lieutenant Raymond "Skizzo" Sarkozi (Jason Spisak) is skeptical of Rippers' willingness to honor the treaty. Skizzo makes a separate deal with the Rippers and turns Deacon over to them, where it is revealed that the leader of the Rippers who goes by the name of Carlos is Jessie Williamson (Scott Whyte), an old enemy of Deacon and Boozer from their Mongrel days. Deacon escapes custody and, together with Boozer, drowns the Rippers by destroying the dam above their camp and kills Jessie. Skizzo is exiled from Lost Lake for his betrayal, which had also inadvertently led to an attack on Lost Lake. Later, Deacon remembers that Sarah worked at a government lab and would have had a federal security clearance, meaning she would have been a priority to evacuate from the camp. O'Brian confirms that Sarah was evacuated to a military outpost at Crater Lake, but the area is now under the control of the Deschutes County Militia. O'Brian warns Deacon that NERO's research has shown that the Freakers are evolving, meaning their threat will only increase as time passes. He meets the leader of the Militia, Colonel Matthew Garret (Daniel Riordan), under the guise of wanting to join up. At the Militia's main stronghold, Deacon is able to reunite with Sarah, who is working with the Militia to create a bioweapon that can destroy the Freakers permanently. Deacon reluctantly stays with the Militia in order to help her. Deacon and Sarah head to the Cloverdale lab she used to work at in order to obtain a DNA sequencer. However, upon arriving at the lab, Sarah realizes that Cloverdale used her research to develop the virus that created the Freakers. Upon returning to Sarah's lab, she reveals that she is not actually working on a bioweapon to kill the Freakers, but a cure to save them. Deacon suggests that they desert the Militia and finish the cure at the Cloverdale lab, but complications arise when an increasingly paranoid Garret puts Sarah under protective custody. Deacon attempts to extract Sarah, but the plan is foiled by Skizzo, who lies about Deacon's criminal past to Garret. Deacon is arrested but is freed by a sympathetic officer, Derrick Kouri (Phil Morris). He returns to Lost Lake, which has managed to repel an assault from the Militia, but Iron Mike is mortally wounded. Deacon warns Lost Lake that the Militia will return in greater numbers to exterminate them all, and decides to perform a preemptive strike by attacking their headquarters with a truck bomb. After fighting his way through the Militia, Deacon kills Skizzo, and Sarah poisons Garret, dismantling the Militia for good. Afterward, Deacon returns to Lost Lake, living there with Sarah, Boozer, and his friends. He is contacted by O'Brian again, who reveals that NERO had known about the virus' mutagenic effects all along and that O'Brian himself is infected with a strain of the virus that makes him an intelligent Freaker. He warns Deacon that NERO is coming and that there is nothing their groups can do to stop the organization.


Development and release


Production of ''Days Gone'' began in early 2015 under the working title ''Dead Don't Ride''. Technical director Christopher Reese stated that Bend Studio wanted it to "push the layStation 4somewhere it's never been before." The game was revealed by Sony at their E3 2016 panel. It was announced by Reese the game would utilize Unreal Engine 4 and would have "a very strong narrative". The original score was composed by Nathan Whitehead. John Garvin is the creative director and writer of the game, and Jeff Ross is the game director. The game was scheduled to be released on February 22, 2019, but was delayed to April 26, 2019, to allow the development team to polish the game. Announced via Twitter, development studio Bend confirmed ''Days Gone''s gold status in a celebratory tweet and accompanying photo. Jason Schreier of ''Bloomberg'' reported that Bend Studio had pitched a sequel to ''Days Gone'' in 2019, though the proposal was rejected due to the mixed critical reception and lengthy development of the first game. A version for Microsoft Windows is set to release on May 18, 2021.


Reception




Critical reception

''Days Gone'' received "mixed or average" reviews according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critics felt that the gameplay and world design showed promise but ultimately felt underdeveloped. The story was criticized, noting that it did little to characterize the protagonist, although Witwer's performance was praised. IGN awarded the game a score of 6.5/10 saying "''Days Gone'' feels bloated, like a movie that goes on for an hour longer than it needs to or should've. It's messy and confused, but peppered with genuinely thrilling encounters with rampaging hordes of zombies and occasionally breathless firefights. There's a good game in here somewhere, but it's buried in a meandering storyline, repetitive missions, and just too much obligatory stuff to do without an eye on the smaller details that could have given it much more character. Some fine tuning and editing could have removed the tedium and celebrated what makes this game unique and interesting, but Days Gone rides strictly down the middle of the dusty road and never finds its rhythm." ''Game Informer'' gave the game a 7.8/10 saying "''Days Gone'' has good gameplay foundations. The scarcity of supplies and ever-present threat of zombies put me on edge as much as it gave me options to escape by the skin of my teeth. But the inability to fully deliver on either the story or open world fronts makes it a title of both possibilities and limitations."


Sales


Despite mixed reviews, ''Days Gone'' was the best selling physical game in the United Kingdom in the week of release. It went on to be the best-selling software release in all the format sales charts for three consecutive weeks. ''Days Gone'' would also debut at the number one position in the retail charts in Switzerland, where it remain there for three consecutive weeks. In Japan, ''Days Gone'' outsold two other PlayStation 4 exclusive games at launch, ''God of War'' and ''Horizon Zero Dawn''. It went on to surpass the lifetime sales of ''God of War'' and another exclusive PlayStation 4 game, ''The Last Guardian''. In its first three days after launch, it sold approximately 114,319 physical units. In North America, ''Days Gone'' was the second best selling video game software for the month of April, behind ''Mortal Kombat 11''. This marks ''Days Gone'' as the 7th highest debut in sales for a Sony-published title, and the best selling game developed by Bend Studio. ''Days Gone'' proceeded to become the second best-selling video game software in North America for April 2019. By June 2019, it was the eighth best-selling video game of the year. It was the 19th best-selling game of 2019 in the US. According to game director Jeff Ross, ''Days Gone'' sold more copies than all of Bend Studio's previous games combined.

Awards




References





External links


* {{Official website|https://www.bendstudio.com/game/days-gone Category:2019 video games Category:Action-adventure games Category:Horror video games Category:Motorcycle video games Category:Open-world video games Category:PlayStation 4 games Category:PlayStation 4 Pro enhanced games Category:Post-apocalyptic video games Category:Single-player video games Category:Sony Interactive Entertainment games Category:Survival video games Category:Third-person shooters Category:Unreal Engine games Category:Video games about viral outbreaks Category:Video games developed in the United States Category:Video games set in Oregon Category:Video games about zombies Category:Windows games