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Dying Light: Bad Blood wants you to betray your friends

In the grim darkness of the near future, there is only Battle Royale. And things vaguely similar to Battle Royale.

Dying Light is the latest game to announce news of such a mode. This one will be arriving in the form of a standalone expansion called Bad Blood and it actually sounds far more suited to the game than I initially suspected. That’s mostly because it doesn’t sound like it has that much in common with the battle royale sub-genre, whatever this here press release might say.

Dying Light is already a game about scavenging, scouting and fleeing from calamity, and putting players into conflict with one another as they try to survive the zombie-infested streets could well work. I’m encouraged by the fact that Techland aren’t going for mass battles – there will only be six players in a match – and your goal is to escape rather than to kill your competitors.

There are still lots of zombies, you see, including the specialised boss types, so you really want to get out of the city. Unfortunately, the evac helicopter has limited seats and some people are going to get left behind. Oh, and you’re going to have to pay for one of those seats if and when you make it to the chopper.

You won’t be paying with cash though. Of course not. You won’t even be paying with the scrap you find as you loot your way through alleys and across rooftops. You’ll be paying with blood.

To pay for a seat on the extraction chopper, you need to harvest blood samples from the infected. Form dynamic alliances with other players to get tactical against formidable zombie bosses – and then turn on your allies to steal their samples. In a cruel set-up where everyone fights for the survival of the few, betrayal is not a question of “if”, but “when”.

The more samples the players harvest collectively, the more seats are unlocked. But everyone pays for their seat individually, which means the alliances are short-lived and can easily end with a stab in the back. Make sure you have enough evacuation points once the chopper arrives, and don’t get killed as you race to the extraction zone.

I reckon this might work. It’s coming next year but you can sign up for a pre-release global playtest right now at the official site.

It’s no surprise that the extraordinary success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has inspired other developers to dip their toes into the battle royale waters but this sounds like it has more in common with The Division’s dark zone than with Battlegrounds and the like. In fact, it sounds a lot like Dying Light with a clearer short-term objective, time limit and other people to play with and pester.

One day, every battle royale (or battle royale adjacent) game mode will be dropped onto an island, where they’ll fight until there’s only one left standing. And it will, of course, be Battlegrounds because it’s not even one of the competitors. It’s the actual island.

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Adam Smith

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