Techland is a developer that never strays far from controversy, starting back with the launch of first-person zombie title Dead Island. The game’s first cinematic trailer won awards, but was misleading when the trailer’s emotion was compared to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the final product. The studio faced criticism for some questionable phrases left in the game’s code and the fairly buggy in-game experience. Followup Dead Island: Riptide would not be outdone, with one of the limited edition bundles requiring a quick apology from publisher Deep Silver.
There was plenty of excitement for Dying Light, though. Techland was yet again stepping into the zombie apocalypse, this time incorporating Mirror’s Edge-style parkour elements. Unfortunately, news regarding the horror title has not always been positive. Dying Light was one of a number of titles hit with long delays in 2014, with further delays announced for the international release of the game. The title was also initially meant to release on both new- and last-gen consoles, but Techland then revealed that Dying Light was to skip a PS3 and Xbox 360 release.
However, the controversy doesn’t stop there. Techland has previously stated that Dying Light would not see a review embargo, and that the video games press could share reviews of Dying Light in advance of the game’s launch. Unfortunately, that statement did not quite paint the correct picture. According to Forbes, there were delays in receipt of any download codes for the zombie title, claiming that review codes were only received with 12 hours to go until the game’s launch. We can verify that this holds true to when we received ours (we’re currently playing through the game for review at the time of this publication).
It seems as though Techland took the decision to sign up YouTube channels to specific brand deals as a priority rather than the traditional press. Although this is not a specific issue in itself, particularly since YouTube video creators now disclose any brand deals they have with developers or publishers, there is still concern over the role of YouTube with franchise promotion in the wake of paid promotion deals.
The delay in giving reviews download codes is also a concern, given release-day embargoes have also been used by the likes of Sonic Boom and Assassin’s Creed: Unity recently. Although Dying Light impressed during an initial hands-on preview with the title at E3, further previews have left many feeling underwhelmed, with the creeping doubt that the title would struggle to live up to that early promise. Given the delays that have faced Dying Light so far, the concern is that the title may end up underwhelming in comparison to expectations.
On the pro-consumer front, there were some issues as well. Some savvy video game fans over at Cheap Ass Gamer noticed that they received a full game download if they bought a Dying Light Season Pass. It turns out that the purchase of a $20 Season Pass for PS4 from Gamestop’s official website also allowed the buyer to receive a full download of Dying Light free of charge. According to Reddit, Gamestop has now realised the error and corrected it – but will still honor any purchases made.