When Bend Studio introduces the world to Days Gone, it came with a look at the terrifyingly huge Freaker hordes. These masses of foes flow like water and kill quickly. Players manage massive crowds of enemies, trailing them through macabre killing grounds littered with explosive barrels, choke points, and other tools of destruction. Learn more about hordes in the latest Days Gone Countdown to Launch update with Bend Studio’s Jeff Ross and John Garvin, Creative Director / Writer and Game Director.
Creating the Horde
“Early in the development of Days Gone, we realized that we had to find a way to create a creature type that was going to be unique to us. And the answer to that was numbers — sheer numbers of them.”
“We had to figure out a way to make it fun to fight that many creatures. Because it can’t just be, hey, get up on top of a rooftop and rain down explosives, because that’s not going to be fun. And it can’t just be run for your life and all you’re doing is running. It has to be an experience that is engaging and challenging, but ultimately winnable.”
“Once we revealed the horde at E3 2016. It’s so long ago now. It was the moment where the — I think the team was excited about it, but they were guarded, like, do we really have something here. And then just the — from the presentation we put forward to the reaction of the world was really positive, and I think for people who were sort of believers or on the fence, it gave them permission to come on board.”
“They each have their own ecosystem, they each have a place where they live. They hibernate, they drink, the eat, and they sort of have this migration pattern.”
“So if you stumble into a cave, for example, during the day when Freakers hibernate, you will stumble a horde that’s in there hibernating and it’s terrifying because you can actually kind of walk up amongst them and they’re all kind of sleeping. And if you make a noise, then they’ll rise up at once to attack you.”
“Where the hordes live, which typically is at mass grave sites that you can find throughout the Farewell Wilderness. it’s really unsettling to see a hundred Freakers sort of swarming over [a mass grave site] like crows at a garbage dump.”
“Part of the physiology of Freakers is that they have very, very high metabolisms. They run really hot. And that means that at night, when it’s cooler out, they get stronger. And if it’s raining, they will become stronger. And in the snow they become stronger.”
The Right Mindset for Facing a Horde
“Against multiple enemies coming at once, shotguns and their spread are really good at killing them outright or knocking them back a little bit. But against the horde, especially against our larger hordes, what you realize is there’s possibly more horde then there is ammo available. So we have some guns with increased penetration values. When you get these upgrades, what you’ll find is you’re fighting the horde and you should actually aim in such a way that you’re not only aiming at one, but you’re trying to aim at the guy or the other guy behind him. So you can have a bullet go through two or three enemies at once. And it’s almost essential for defeating the horde efficiently.”
“That’s the key: just thinking about it as a flood. ‘Okay, I’m going to be running from this giant wave. I don’t have a choice, but eventually I’m going to figure out a way to make it a smaller wave and then a smaller wave,’ and eventually you get it whittled down until you’re literally facing that last one — because there’s always a final one — and using your melee weapon to take it out. That’s a very satisfying moment.”
“One time I saw a guy beat a horde with just three bullets. He had a plan. He had some strategies in mind, and he executed.”
“One of the fastest ways to die in Days Gone is to ride your bike into the middle of a horde. And I’ve seen players do that. If you’re riding down the highway and you aren’t paying attention, then you turn a corner and suddenly there’s like 300 Freakers in the middle of the road, it’s easy to lose it and not turn around fast enough. Next thing you know, you’re being swarmed. I recommend not doing that.”
“When players are fighting the horde, the emotions I want them to constantly have are a range of different emotions from, “Oh my god. I’m completely overwhelmed. This is impossible” to “I think I can do this” to “I got this” to “Oh no. I don’t got this” to “Oh, holy crap. I’m in trouble. Oh my god.” And then from there it can be, “Oh my god. I totally pulled it off,” or “Oh my god. The last guy killed me.” It’s gonna be the gamut, and that’s what makes it awesome.”
Confronting hordes — from small to enormous — is one of the most satisfying experiences of Days Gone. Yes, clearing out the map, earning experience, and finding new resources are big incentives for wiping out hordes, but the sense of accomplishment is unparalleled. Once you exterminate one when Days Gone hits PS4 on April 26, you’ll want to clear the entire map.