Before we dig further into this, it’s worth noting that this is a published article from Poland, and as such is in the native Polish language, so translations may be a bit off here, but the core of the story is still there. Essentially, according to some employees at Techland, development on Dying Light 2 has been absolute hell and “is a total mess.” As always though, these are still rumors and we must all take them with a big spoonful of salt.
As for what that actually means, well it seems like some Techland employees have been frustrated and unhappy with the working conditions, as well as the game’s general direction. According to a few of them, Dying Light 2 is roughly a year away from release and there’s no core gameplay loop, including a lack of a vertical slice, and many point towards problems with the game’s director, Adrian Ciszewski.
Supposedly, Dying Light 2’s lead writer, Chris Avellone, of Fallout: New Vegas fame, wrote a coherent story with an interesting world and factions, however once his story was implemented, all game direction was lost and a lack of vision has soured the game’s potential. Most of the interesting quests Avellone had written were turned into watered-down fetch quests or banal objectives.
This isn't to say that Dying Light 2 is unplayable, as is clear by the gameplay demo below, just that there is a possible lack of clear direction or gameplay loop.
There also seems to be a problem with toxic work culture, as developers are expected to crunch even during the Alpha build phase, with many employees complaining about being called late at night to work on development. A recent review for Techland by a current employee on Glassdoor cites that “upper management blocks good initiatives, doesn't listen to feedback and desperately avoids any changes, doesn't trust its devs,” and describes the workplace as “chaos, lack of high-level management, planning.”
However, according to the article as well, Avellone has denied a soured relationship between him and the game’s director, as well as a few game designers who stated that Dying Light 2 has a stable build right now and that everything is fine, closing with “Yes, we're still working on Dying Light 2. But that's just how games are done.”
Obviously this hasn’t been officially confirmed by reliable sources, but the author of the article and the publisher he works for are both credible sources in Poland. There may be some errors in translation, but it’s clear that some employees are unhappy with the work conditions, but Dying Light 2 might still be doing alright despite the issues.
What do you think? Is this normal for game development? Is this to be expected? How will this affect the industry and development of Dying Light 2? Let us know your thoughts!