It's been a long road for Techland's open-world zombie title, Dying Light. The developer's previous game, Dead Island, sold well but didn't exactly blow critics away. Its stand-alone expansion, Dead Island Riptide, gave gamers more of the same, doing nothing to solve the clunky combat and repetitive fetch quests that plagued the original. Techland grew increasingly frustrated with the direction the series was taking under publisher Deep Silver, and eventually split off to create their own, supposedly superior, zombie-killing franchise.
But Dying Light's development process has been anything but smooth. While a demo at E3 2013 revealed an innovative take on the traditional zombie game, with a game-changing day and night system and Mirror's Edge-inspired parkour, the game was ultimately delayed until 2015, missing the crucial holiday season. Dying Light's last-generation editions were cancelled at the last minute, citing performance concerns.
Now, just a few weeks from Dying Light's release, another problem hit the troubled title: physical copies won't be available at launch in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia - basically, everywhere other than North America, where the release is expected to proceed as planned. No specific reason for the delay was given, although an official statement from Techland reads:
As physical production has a longer lead time than digital there is some delay in the aforementioned territories. We will share information on the availability of physical copies as soon as it is confirmed.
Techland confirms that they are still planning a "global digital release" for all three versions of the game (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC), although Joystiq notes that Steam stores in various regions list January 30 as the release date (not January 27, as in North America).
It's an odd problem, and doesn't bode well for the Dying Light's final release. The game's "Be a Zombie" multiplayer mode, which lets players invade other people's games as an ultra-powerful creature called the Night Hunter, sounds like a breath of fresh air, but the most recent E3 showing raised a number of concerns. During our play session we noted that the combat system has been changed to something more traditional, while the once-fluid parkour-inspired movement system feels clunky and weighed down.
Still, a fresh take on the genre could be exactly what gamers are looking for. We'll find out for ourselves later this month.
Dying Light is scheduled for January 27, 2015, on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.