It's been a while since we've seen much of open-world zombie sequel Dying Light 2, and a new report this week implies a troubled working atmosphere at developer Techland may be to blame.
An extensive report from website The Gamer claims the studio has been marred by "autocratic management, poor planning, and a toxic work culture" with several former and current staff apparently giving accounts that paint an unfavourable picture of Dying Light 2's "iterative" design process, with one calling it "a production pipeline that changes so quickly and rapidly that it might as well not exist".
Another issue, according to these sources, is that the developer looks at other studios—such as Cyberpunk 2077 developer and fellow Polish studio CD Projekt Red—too closely and don't then put their own spin on these systems, with one claiming: "There is nothing wrong with benchmarking the competition, but [at] Techland it goes beyond any logical threshold. You are very often being asked or rather expected to show references of competitors' work before your own. It often ends up with simply re-doing what others did which has nothing to do with [the] creativity that the company is so big about."
Morale at the company is said to be at an all time low as a result of many of these issues, claims the report, with one of the sources saying "Company culture teaches you that you will never get anything approved. This is actually 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. Then you are being told that you work too slow and you have no skills to deliver any work on time."
On Dying Light 2 in particular, one source has gone on record as saying "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 because the project was smaller, but it makes production for Dying Light 2 - a much bigger project - just impossible to move forward"
As per The Gamer's report, some 20 people have apparently left Techland in recent months, including the departure of Dying Light 2's lead narrative designer last month. CEO Pawel Marcheswka, who is also pointed at by many of the sources within the report as another source of contention at the studio, feels that this high turnover isn't too out of the ordinary however: "We have been operating on the market for 30 years and many of our employees have been with us for a long time," he responds in an email within the report. Making games is tough and it is normal that sometimes there is a need to change the workplace and look for new challenges. I am very sorry that some of our employees left us and decided to find their way outside the structures of Techland but I’d always wish them the best."
You can read the full extensive report by The Gamer for yourself here. It's tough to say when we'll next see something from Dying Light 2, which currently still doesn't have a new release date since being indefinitely postponed earlier this year, though Techland promised it would be sharing "exciting news about Dying Light 2 soon."