Days Gone’s Hordes are living ecosystems that affect the world around you

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You’re having a great day with your pals. The sun is shining, nature is glorious and it’s nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of having prepubescent tweens discover that certain curse words can be used as an adjective to describe your mom’s lady parts. WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN! A swarm of infected face-biters appears on the horizon, scrambling over one another and going mental as they pursue you.

What do you do? How do you survive…the horde? While the best tactic of pushing your friend into the ground and outrunning them is sadly unavailable (I’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU GEOFF!), there are other options in Sony Bend’s Days Gone, a game whose dangerous world hides dozens of dangerous Freakers who roam the land as part of a massive swarm of infected death.

That’s one of the key features of the game, as dealing with a Horde takes strategy, cunning and at least a box worth of Speed Stick for the sweat that’ll gush forth from your armpits as if you were a smelly Niagara Falls. With around 40 hordes inside of Days Gone and each one of these viral mosh pits numbering between 50 to 500 ankle-biters each, they’re dangerous enough on their own. But seeing them actually roam about? Now that’s an interesting wrinkle. “I think that’s the thing that makes Days Gone unique,” Days Gone’s Creative Director John Garvin said to IGN.

It’s the fact that [a horde]’s not just sitting at the old sawmill; they will go into those buildings and hibernate during the day, but then they’ll come out at night and go down to the watering hole and they’ll migrate around. All 40 hordes in the open world do that.

Days Gone (1)

“Something we wanted to do with the infestations is actually affect your gameplay loop of traveling through the world,” Lead Open World Designer Eric Jensen added.

This manifests in Deacon having to plan out his fast-travel routes once he unlocks them. If an area is too overrun with infected, be it a horde or an infestation zone, he won’t be able to fast-travel through that zone and must instead find another way, either at the cost of expediency or extra fuel for his motorcycle.

It’s kind of a staple in open world games, but, you know, we wanted to put the Days Gone spin on it.

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“The Hordes are living in this world the way that you would expect an animal to live and behave and migrate,” Game Director Jeff Ross chipped in.

It leads to really cool, emergent moments where the player forgets that they’re there when [they’re] chasing a bounty or [they’re] hunting, and then [they] comes across a horde and then… it’s on.

I’ve faced a horde in the Days Gone convention demo that has done the rounds. I’ve cocked up royally in the process, but doing so is still a hell of an experience that’ll leave you breathless when done properly. Only a few more weeks to go now until Days Gone makes it to the surface, and I’ve still got a feeling that Sony Bend’s long in development project is going to throw some very interesting spanners at the sandbox genre when it arrives.

Last Updated: April 9, 2019

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