When Sony Bend pitched the world of Days Gone as dark and brutal, they weren't kidding. Its world isn't just chaotic despair, it's brimming with danger as a virus has zombiefied everything: including children.
In Days Gone, there aren't just adult "Freakers" players will come across and need to savagely beat across the head with a baseball bat. There's child Freakers called Newts, who are smaller in stature and look like they have the body of a, I don't know, maybe 10, 11 year old child? However, while newts aren't as aggressive and bold as their adult counter-parts, they are still an enemy that tries to kill you, and thus you need to kill.
It's a questionable decision on the part of Sony Bend. It's realistic, and fits the whole dark and brutal theme. But, does it cross the line? Well, Sony Bend doesn't think so.
"No, they are not [children]," said Sony Bend's Emmanuel Roth when asked about the decision to include child Freakers by Stevivor. "Really, they're more of a crawling creature and more of a different type of gameplay. It's a variation on the kind of creature we can offer."
"They're interesting creatures. They're afraid of the taller Freakers; they need to protect themselves on the roof — to be away from the swarmers that go after them and feed on them. But they are still dangerous — they will look at Deacon's health; when your health is low they will jump on you and will attack you. We hide some here and there to surprise the player."
Roth added that the idea behind the name "newt" is a reference to a tadpole, which of course seems to conflict with what Roth said about the enemy not being children. Further, it also conflicts with what Sony Bend has said in the past about the enemies, who they called "infected adolescents."
Because what Roth said seemed to conflict with previous things said about Newts, Stevivor reached out Sony Bend for more clarification, and was given the following:
"The devastating pandemic infected and killed almost all human life. Some adolescents were infected and transformed by the virus. The survivors call these Newts. We don't think of any of the Freakers as human beings. They are all feral, cannibalistic creatures with ferocious appetites that live on instinct alone. The virus has mutated them into something entirely new."
So, are Newts child Freakers? Yes. But according to Sony Bend, there's nothing human about Freakers, so there's really nothing childlike about Newts.
Personally, I'm not super keen on the idea of hitting Newts with baseball bats like a game of Whack-a-mole. I like killing zombies, but child zombies, gives me pause. That said, it isn't going to stop me from playing the game, which by all accounts, looks quite good.
Days Gone is poised to release on April 26, exclusively via the PS4. For more coverage on the highly-anticipated action-adventure game, click here.
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