Days Gone director, Jeff Ross gives more insight into what could have been a follow-up to Days Gone during an interview with USA Today.
Ross who left developer, Sony Bend, in December 2020, admitted the first game has some faults. He adds that a Days Gone sequel would have been ‘the definitive version’ of Sony Bend’s ‘Walking Dead meets Sons of Anarchy‘ game concept. It would have been a game that Ross says he “didn’t have to necessarily apologize for so much”. The director at one point was working on a Days Gone 2 pitch but would not reveal details due to an NDA with Sony.
Narratively, the sequel would continue Deacon St. John’s story alongside his partner, Sarah who is alive and well in later parts of the game. Ross hinted that while they are back together, they might not be happy as they are still in an apocalypse with no idea what the future might hold. After Deacon acquired NERO tech in the 2018 game, Ross revealed the tech would give players more tools to play with in the sequel.
“We would have kept the heavy, strong narrative. We would have kept the bike, obviously. And I think we would have expanded the tone a little bit in a more technical direction, kind of like, alright, now we have all this NERO tech – what can we do with it?” Ross said during a USA Today interview.
“The tone would have expanded one ring outward towards some of the new reality. I think this would have been a little bit more – I don’t want to say Avengers, but something where the player had resources, he had some sort of the remnants of whatever the government had.”
Days Gone has had its fair share of criticism, but Ross feels that the first entry in a popular series is weaker compared to later games. Followups to those franchises expand on ideas and the scope of the initial game while executing it more successfully thanks to having the experience from developing the first game. Ross adds that if Days Gone 2 was given the chance by Sony, that it would have been a big improvement over the first game.
“I just see that as a trilogy, first games [like] Batman: Arkham Asylum, the first Uncharted – are basic. They are a platform to build on top of for subsequent titles. [Uncharted] didn’t start with scuba diving, they built towards it [and] that applies to every game,” Ross explained.
“You create the minimum viable entry and then hope you get to build the second one. Because you’re not arguing over the foundations, you’re arguing over the epic new ideas that you’re gonna be putting into it.”
Last week Ross revealed in response to Ghost of Tsushima surpassing the 8 million milestone that Sony made the Days Gone developer feel like the 2018 game was a ‘big disappointment’. Ross claims he heard the Sony Bend game sold over 8 million copies as he left Sony more than a year ago.