Back in 2016, Sony's E3 press conference ended with a teaser for what we now know is Days Gone. It's a post-apocalyptic survival game that features zombie-like hordes known as Freakers. They're massive in numbers and they're especially menacing in the cold.

But what happened? Why did they turn? What does the future hold for civilization? Those are questions we'll get answers to in due time, but for now, let's focus on everything we know about Days Gone.

What is Days Gone?

You're in for a third-person action survival horror game, something the industry has been quite fond of lately. It's easy to draw comparisons to State of Decay 2 and Dying Light when talking about Days Gone, but Sony Bend's take on the genre should offer enough unique elements and fun gameplay to make it worth the stress these kinds of games can induce.

For starters, the game is open world, and while that in itself isn't exclusive to Days Gone, it's still rare to see open-world zombie games done right. There's also this unique blend between hell-on-earth post-apocalyptic mayhem and the chill feeling of playing as a badass biker who still has a reputation to uphold in a world surprisingly controlled by other biker gangs. It's not Sons of Anarchy: The Game, mind you, but it makes for an intriguing main character and some fresh gameplay ideas.

Your time in the Pacific Northwest is spent as Deacon St. John, a biker turned mercenary who is seemingly only in it for himself at first, but we later learn his drive is fueled by a vengeful quest to make someone accountable for his significant other's death. Named Phoebe, it's implied she fell victim to a Freaker attack. These Freakers have been running around for two years at this point, and there doesn't seem to be any major quarantine.

St. John's quest isn't sanctioned by the gang he runs with and they aren't aware of his plans, so he appears to be all alone in his endeavors. In the trailer, St. John does mention that brotherhood used to mean something in this world, a hint that he may suspect one of his own biker bros was responsible for what happened to Phoebe.

There's no telling whether St. John has any allies left and whether he'll ever find any. He'll at least have his bike, however, which we know will have a bit of significance as far as gameplay is concerned.

Aren't Freakers just zombies?

That's what we're thinking. Freakers are described as humans turned by some sort of plague or contagion which makes them bloodthirsty and rabid. They move fast, and they move in packs. Zombies, on the other hand, tend to move slowly and don't have much coordination at all.

Mostly, though, Sony Bend is probably just hoping to make their own take on zombies sound unique. For all intents and purposes, these are undead creatures who no longer have any hope for normalcy.

It's not just humans, either. The wildlife has been infected, too, and they are even faster and more vicious than the humanoids. There will be bears, wolves, cougars, and even ravens looking to bite a piece of your flesh and convert you to a life of mindlessness.

Other enemies

Aside from slaying zombies, it appears St. John will come across other survival groups. Some are definitely hostile, and others may be nice, and you may have several options in any given scenario for dealing with them.

In one of the trailers, it's shown that you can choose to bypass a sure fight by instead setting up a diversion consisting of a bear trap. St. John throws a rock at the trap, and one of the enemies moves toward it to check it out. After he stumbles into his demise and lets out a big scream, his comrades rush over to help and St. John skates by undetected.

This element of tactical strategy will likely be pushed heavily onto the player as a stealthy approach is typically the safer, less resource-intensive way to go.

Classic zombie survival gameplay

More often than not, these types of games are just as much about managing scarce resources as it is running from or killing hordes of zombies. Expect Days Gone to follow that path.

St. John is a crafty individual in this game. He takes scraps of materials and stuffs them into his bag in order to craft various items and weapons he needs. There'll be first aid kits and gun repair kits and maybe even bats with nails sticking out of them. We don't know the full extent of the crafting system or whether Days Gone will keep it reeled in when it comes to the sort of silly weapons you can make, but it's clear that'll be a big focus.

St John will face foes under a number of different circumstances. Freakers roam by day or by night, the latter time slot likely having some sort of extra dangerous twist to it. They are also stronger in certain weather conditions, such as snow. And they absolutely can run at him in overwhelming numbers. We're not talking about dozens at a time. We're talking hundreds.

As for transportation, St. John will get around on his trusty bike in most cases. This bike isn't just for show or to make him look good in front of all the zombie ladies. It's a character all on its own, complete with its own upgradeable skills, traits, and items.

We know you'll at least be able to manage an extended inventory using the bike, and one of the upgrade paths will likely be to increase its storage capacity. We're also hearing some sort of Twisted Metal-like upgrades could be coming along for the ride, including wheel spikes, mounted machine guns, or bulletproof tires, though this is all just heresy for now.

The world is your weapon

Thankfully for you, however, the world is expansive in more ways than one. Days Gone is being designed to allow the player to handle Freakers in a number of creative ways. When the crowds get really big, you can lead them into traps within the world, such as a bundle of limber that can be released to crush a big horde, a sawmill, or even a broken bridge.

In that respect, Days Gone is doing some pretty different things. Large-scale zombie killing is usually carried out by miniguns, grenades, or your melee weapon of choice and an infinite pool of stamina, and while those options look like they'll be well-represented here, these environmental set pieces are definitely set to steal the show.

When can you play it?

Days Gone has officially been given a February 22nd, 2019 release date. It'll be available exclusively for the PlayStation 4 family, with the Pro model offering enhanced visuals with support for 4K and HDR.

You can pre-order Days Gone right now if you want to ensure you'll have a copy once that glorious day arrives. It'll run you $59.99, and there are no known pre-order bonuses or alternate editions available just yet. We're sure to learn more at E3 2018, so stay tuned!

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