As is becoming increasingly clear, Days Gone 2 was pitched by Sony Bend but was never given the go ahead. Despite the first title being profitable, it seems neither the sales nor critical reception were good enough to convince PlayStation bigwigs to make another one. Speaking as part of a livestream with God of War creator David Jaffe, however, game director Jeff Ross – who’s since left the first-party developer for personal reasons – teased that the sequel would have featured a “shared universe with co-op play”.
“We wanted co-op from the beginning [in Days Gone], but obviously you have to make concessions for what you’re not going to be able to do,” Ross revealed, as transcribed by VGC. “It would’ve been a secondary mode if we’d have done it in the first one, or even in another one. I wouldn’t have complicated the main narrative […] because that’s really what we’re good at. That was the strength of the first title, so build on that and make it better.”
He continued: “But then take this world that you’ve built, and all these assets and systems, and repurpose them for some sort of similarly themed multiplayer version of this universe. So, [it] would be with guys like Deacon trying to survive, building up a clubhouse or a crew. I think it would be fun to be in that world co-operatively and see what horde battles could be like. It’s one of the things that we had in our pitch, yeah. It was the idea of a shared universe with co-op play.”
This is also the direction we envisaged a Days Gone sequel taking: online survival games are absolutely massive these days, and the idea that you’d be able to build camps and bases, manage your crew, and ride out with friends to take on hordes sounds really compelling. The frustrating thing is that Sony Bend was halfway there, really – many of the mechanics and systems are already in place to make this work, and a sequel could have really knocked the concept out of the park.
Ross, who’s bound by NDAs, couldn’t confirm or deny the status of the sequel – although he did hint that the original game simply didn’t perform well enough in the end. “For games where you have to sell four of five million copies just to break even […] there’s got to be a confidence in the return, because Sony doesn’t have the cash that Microsoft does and they’ve got to use it very intelligently and they’ve got to stay focused on a diverse portfolio,” he admitted.
It’s a shame we’ll probably never see what Sony Bend had in store, but maybe there’s a chance PlayStation will revisit the intellectual property in the future – never say never. Bloomberg reported last week that, after a brief period helping Naughty Dog on The Last of Us’ multiplayer mode and a new Uncharted game, it’s now started work on something brand new. It’ll be exciting to see what it cooks up.