Days Gone on PC | Interview With Eric Jensen and Zachary Lewis of Bend Studio - Prima Games

Days Gone on PC | Interview With Eric Jensen and Zachary Lewis of Bend Studio

by Morgan Shaver

Originally released on PS4 back in April of 2019, Days Gone is a game that offers action, adventure, and zombies, in spades. Set in a post-pandemic world, Days Gone follows Deacon St. John, a lone man on a motorcycle trying to survive in a harsh world full of even harsher inhabitants. 

The PC release is a fantastic opportunity for gamers who haven’t played Days Gone to experience this amazing title, and is a good excuse for fans of the game to jump back in and replay it on PC. 

Curious about what to expect from the PC port and the process of porting a game like Days Gone to PC, we spoke with two members of Bend Studio – Lead Designer, Eric Jensen, and Senior User Interface Programmer, Zachary Lewis.

Join us as we learn more about the PC release of Days Gone! 

Days Gone on PC | Interview With Eric Jensen and Zachary Lewis of Bend Studio

Before we begin, can you introduce yourselves and talk a little bit about what you do at Bend Studio? 

Eric Jensen:  My name is Eric Jensen, I’m currently a Lead Designer at Bend Studio. I was the lead open world designer on Days Gone. I was in charge of the entire open world, all of the open world content systems, side missions, encampments, all that stuff.

Zachary Lewis:  I’m Zachary Lewis, I’m a Senior UI Programmer here at Bend Studio. I worked on the user interface for Days Gone on console and the majority of the UI on the PC port. 

How long has Bend Studio been working on the PC port for Days Gone?

Eric:  After launch on PS4 in April of 2019, the first six to eight months were kind of updates for challenges, and different game modes, and stuff like that.

And it was shortly after that, that we had started discussions of what we were going to do for the PS5 patch, and then exploring options for the PC port.

What was the initial conversation like before beginning work on the Days Gone PC port? Were there any specific goals that the team had in mind?

Eric:  The initial goal was just to get it in the hands of more players. We saw an opportunity to appeal to a market that was typically vastly different than the console market.

And even more so, specifically with PlayStation. I think that number one on our list was to try to make sure that we could take that core Days Gone experience and then adapt it for the PC market.

And trying to support as many of the typical PC features as possible.

Were there any challenges in porting a game like Days Gone to PC? 

Zach:  The big issues that we faced were the ability to support multiple screen resolutions, including ultrawide support. On console we were locked. We knew that everybody would play the game at a 16 by 9 ratio.

When we came to PC, we couldn’t be sure what players were playing on and we wanted to give them the best experience possible. 

We had to go back through and hand touch every UI menu and go into every single cinematic and update them to make sure that they were clean and flawless in 32 by 9 if players wanted to play it at ultrawide resolutions.

That leads into the next question which is what are the features for Days Gone on PC? Are there any differences or additions to the game on PC that people can look forward to? 

Eric:  In addition to the ultrawide support that Zach mentioned, we updated our Photo Mode to support Super Resolution – which is our fancy way of saying that no matter what resolution you’re able to play at on your PC, you can take photos that are higher resolution. 

So, your PC spec might only allow you to do 1080p but you want to take 4K screenshots, we allow you to do that through our new Photo Mode. In addition to that, we’ve unlocked a whole bunch of settings for binding keys the way that you want to and a multitude of controller support.

Obviously, you can play with your PS4 controller, we have DualSense controller support, but we even have Xbox, Nintendo Switch Pro, Steam Controller, and then obviously full mouse and keyboard support.

Zach:  We also wanted to make sure that we gave PC players the kind of stuff that they expect, so you’ll also see most of the PC standards in there. You can adjust your field of view, your render scale, change all of your LED or shadow settings, all of the typical tuning settings that you would find in most PC games.

After Days Gone releases on PC, are there any content updates or patches or expansions planned for the game? 

Eric:  We’re currently focused just on getting Days Gone on PC out there. You know, a lot of the plans that we had post-launch for the title we were able to do on PlayStation.

After our PS4 launch, we added our Challenge Mode which gives the player the opportunity to jump into a lot of the same core mechanics that they experienced in the game, but kind of in an arcade mode.

We let you play against a ton of different hordes in various settings. We have infinite hordes, we have hordes where they’re trying to break into a building that you’re held up in, we’ve got a fun mode that is kind of like an attack the arcade game where you get to go around in a golf cart and pick up survivors and drop them off at their locations.

Even beyond that, we added a bunch of new difficulty modes and accessibility features and stuff over time. A lot of the stuff that we wanted to do for Days Gone post-launch we were able to do on PlayStation, and then we’ve been able to package all that stuff up together for the PC launch.

So all of that content is included with the PC launch? 

Eric:  Yeah. 

For people who’ve never played Days Gone before but are considering doing so now that it’s available on PC, what are some of the reasons that you personally think people should check out the game?

Eric:  I think the thing that, you know, especially seeing how the game has been out for two years and seeing all of the people that have kind of gravitated towards it… some of the potential misconceptions that people have had on the surface, like it’s another zombie open-world game or something.

At the surface facade level, some people might see it that way, but really it’s a story that we wanted to tell about what if this kind of global event happened in our world and how we would survive it. 

The game takes place in Central Oregon, which is where our studio is and our backyard, and we wanted to put you into a scenario where you would have to make these tough decisions as a character and trying to fight to survive and find hope in this world. 

And something that we thought would be cool was to give the player this somewhat relatable backstory of hey, I’m just a regular guy on my motorcycle. Deacon was ex-military, he was part of a motorcycle club. He was a regular person thrust into this situation where [he’s thinking], now what do I do?

And so, having the motorcycle as a tool in this post-apocalyptic kind of setting was really attractive to us because not only is the world dangerous but the environment that they’re in is dangerous.

Everything is trying to come for you, and being able to utilize his experiences as a veteran and as part of a motorcycle club, it played out really well. I think there’s there’s a much deeper story and a lot bigger of a message that you can get out of it than then what might be seen on the surface.

With Days Gone coming to PC, there’s been a hope shared among Days Gone fans that a sequel might one day be possible. There have also been petitions created for Days Gone 2. Is the team open to doing a sequel to Days Gone? 

Eric:  I mean, it’s definitely exciting to see all of the support for our game, and we’re excited to see even more people join the family now that the PC release is coming out. But at this time we’re not going into any future plans for right now. 

With Days Gone releasing on PC, could we see the game release on other platforms in the future? 

Eric:  We’re part of PlayStation Studios, so at our core PlayStation is always going to be the home to our games. PC was an opportunity that a couple studios have had now, and so we jumped on it because it’s an opportunity for us to kind of branch out and get more of a player base. But, you know, being part of PlayStation Studios, our focus is PlayStation.

What are each of you most proud of when it comes to your work on Days Gone, and the work on porting it to PC? 

Zach:  I’ve always focused on the user interfaces and user experience. From the start of the PC port we had a lot of internal talks and we wanted any player to bring whatever they wanted and play the game in a way that felt right to them. 

We spent a lot of time to not only make sure that, as Eric had mentioned in the past, multiple controller support that’s seamless and feels native. But also making sure that the keyboard and mouse keeps the vision of what the Days Gone is.

We allow players to remap any action including stuff that sometimes gets overlooked like all of the menu and UI navigation. 

One of the things that I’m most excited about is I worked on the Survival Wheel for the console release and I had an opportunity to work on it again for the PC port, and I spent a lot of time developing multiple prototypes. And you know, I came up with something that feels really good on keyboard and mouse. 

And users can go in, they have a couple different options as to how to interact with that to switch weapons craft stuff, as well as giving PC players the kind of weapon selection that they are used to by just using hotkeys or the mouse scroll wheel.

So basically, the ability for any player to play the game they want, it’s something that I’m really proud about.

Eric:  For me, I was on the team from the beginning, so I’ve been with Bend Studio for almost 16 years now. And so I was there from the beginning of Days Gone, and it was definitely a passion project for the studio.

It was something that we were all really excited to do. We had done portable games for almost a decade before getting the opportunity to go back to console. So, with our first big foray back into console, an opportunity to work on a new IP, we were all really excited about that.

And so being able to accomplish that was super awesome. Moving on to the PC version, being able to get more people to play it, obviously, is exciting. The Photo Mode for Days Gone is really, really, really cool.

I use Photo Mode in every game that has it, I’m constantly taking pictures. When we had the opportunity to do Photo Mode for Days Gone I was really excited that we had somebody that was passionate about not only photography, but what we could do in the game for it.

For the PC version, we added the Super Resolution option for Photo Mode. So, being able to take the screenshots at whatever resolution multiplier you want based on no criteria relating to constraints of your computer. You can have the computer set to 1080p and still take 4K screenshots, which I think is really cool. 

I think the stuff that we’ve done for the PC port to make it available for a wider audience and to kind of capture the core of what we did on PlayStation with Days Gone and then just being able to kind of elaborate on that for more players, that’s super cool to me.

In addition to Photo Mode, are there any other aspects of the PC port for Days Gone that you want to highlight? 

Eric:  Yeah, something else that I would mention is that we had people pretty excited with our trophy support on the PlayStation version. We have a built-in trophy tracking menu in the game that allows you to see the progress and stuff of your trophies.

A lot of times you’ll have like, collect 500 of this thing, and then you get halfway through maybe and you don’t know how many more you have to get. So, that was something that was important for us to put in there.

We’ve got full Steam and Epic Games achievement support, we brought all that over. The trophy tracking menu works one-to-one with all of those. 

We’re also supporting some of the Steam features like the Steam Trading Cards and the little emoticons and stuff like that. We really wanted to make sure that we were able to appeal to the very different audience of PC players because it is very much a different ecosystem between PlayStation and PC.

We really took the time to understand what expectations are for that sort of thing and to make sure that we were hitting everything that we wanted to.

Zach:  Yeah, and also on Steam, we spend a lot of time to make sure that Steam Input is fully compatible with our title. So if you want to use Steam to update your inputs however you like, that works out of the box.

A huge thank you to Eric Jensen and Zachary Lewis of Bend Studio for taking the time to speak to us about the release of Days Gone on PC! 

To check out this phenomenal game on PC, head over to Steam or the Epic Games Store.

To keep track of Days Gone updates and news out of Bend Studio, be sure to follow Bend Studio on social media including Twitter and Facebook.

To learn more about Days Gone, head over to the game’s official website


Morgan Shaver

Morgan is a writer, metalhead, horror lover, and indie game enthusiast. When it comes to games, they love nothing more than to wax poetic about all the latest and greatest indies to anyone who'll listen. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver