One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft's E3 conference was Dying Light 2. The big surprise wasn't just that it appeared and was showcased in a lengthy gameplay demo, but that it was presented by legendary game designer Chris Avellone, who is serving as Narrative Designer for Techland's zombie apocalypse sequel.
Avellone is a veteran of choice-driven RPG epics like Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and the underrated cult classic, Alpha Protocol. Having him be the face of Dying Light 2 is a statement that the story is taking a greater importance this time around. Not that the story was bad or anything in the original Dying Light, but it's clear that Techland is focusing on integrating narrative importance into every aspect of this follow-up.
By the looks of things, the gameplay looks like its iterating on the parkour and melee action of the original, making everything smoother, faster, and more responsive, and adding cool with new moves like swinging on a pipe to kick an unlucky enemy off a ledge to his doom. If all goes according to plan, Dying Light 2 will play just like the original, but even better.
The real innovation here comes with the core theme of "choice." According to Chris Avellone, everything you do as a player will have an effect on the world. The example on display in the stage demo gives the player the choice of securing a cache of water from a pair of gangsters who are planning to sell it on the black market. The player can secure the water for the Peace Keepers, who distribute it to the local population, but their militaristic and fascistic rule over the area is strengthened. On the other hand, the player can betray the Peace Keepers and side with the gangsters, opening up trade opportunities with them but attracting the real dregs of society. As in most of Avellone's games, these decisions won't have plain, black & white consequences, but may have unforeseen ripple effects which can drastically change the game world. Avellone promises that there are "hundreds" of these types of decisions which will go a long way towards individualizing each person's odyssey through the world of Dying Light.
Dying Light 2 is currently in development.