Since its 2018 reveal, developer Techland’s highly anticipated Dying Light 2 has been plagued by setbacks, ranging from multiple delays to high-profile staff departures. A new report has now shed additional light on the troubled project, painting a picture of chaotic, unfocussed development driven by an overbearing CEO.
TheGamer recently spoke to former and current staff about the inner workings of Techland, with numerous accounts blaming Dying Light 2’s troubles on an “iterative” design process that is, in reality, as chaotic as it is directionless. One source even when as far as calling it “a production pipeline that changes so quickly and rapidly that it might as well not exist”.
“What is going on in Techland is just total chaos, not iteration,” explained another. “There are plenty of examples where there is someone responsible for a given feature…but [creative director Adrian Ciszewski and CEO Paweł Marchewka] just overwrite this because of some bullshit reason, like they’ve seen something working differently in other games.”
Another source called it “a well-known joke at Techland that nothing is ever approved including the name of the game. You can be told to redo some work you had approved for a month just because the CEO changed his mind after seeing something on the internet.”
Indeed, Marchewka’s “autocratic” management style is repeatedly cited as the cause of project setbacks. “It could also be something like the shape of spikes on the enemy,” explained one source, “how [a certain] AI kicks the player, or some visual aspect where Marchewka will give his famous feedback like, ‘That just looks bad’ or ‘This character looks gay’.
“It is 100 percent true that there is nothing written in stone in Techland. Dying Light 2’s story was rewritten like six times or so. It could have worked in Dying Light…but it makes production for Dying Light 2 – a much bigger project – just impossible to move forward.”
According to TheGamer, at least 20 people – around five percent of Techland’s 400 staff – have left the studio in recent months, yet efforts to hire more producers to bring order to the chaos are also said to have failed, with the “old guard” blocking any attempts to implement change. “As soon as they start challenging it,” said one source, “they’re out the door”.
TheGamer’s substantial report touches on a wide range of other issues within Techland, and notably includes a number of responses from Marchewka himself, tackling at least some of the claims made by current and former employees. It’s well worth a read.
As for Dying Light 2, Techland made the decision to delay the game indefinitely in January 2020, and the studio has said little else about the project since then. It did, however, refute reports last May that the game was in a sorry state, and more recently promised, at the start of this year, that it would be “sharing exciting news about Dying Light 2 soon”.