In Days Gone, players won’t be able to change their clothes, but there are good reasons for that. Days Gone, the new PlayStation 4 exclusive from the developers at Sony Bend, is an open world, narrative-driven title about survivors of an undead apocalypse.
The lead character, Deacon St. John, was a member of a biker gang before the world collapsed into madness, and bikers are known for their particular fashion sense. In Days Gone, Deacon dresses in a character-appropriate attire of a biker in the Northwest United States, and there’s a good reason players can’t change his outfit, which includes his signature backwards cap.
During our interview with John Garvin, the writer/creative director of Days Gone explained exactly why players can’t change Deacon’s clothes – nor remove his hat:
“The way Deacon looks has huge story implications. This is something the player may or may not notice, but in flashbacks, Deacon is pretty clean shaven. He doesn’t have his scruffy beard. I wanted there to be this really stark contrast between these periods in Deacon’s life. From flashbacks with Sarah to the prologue where you see him having to make this horrible choice between saving his wife and saving his best friend, and then the game itself, where you see things happening two years later. These different time periods all have a different version of this man. We had to make sure that the player couldn’t mess that up.”
As fun as it is in games like Saint’s Row, where players can dress their characters up in all sorts of wacky costumes, or even Grand Theft Auto V or Red Dead Redemption 2, which features a wide variety of clothing options, Garvin maintains that approach simply wouldn’t work in Days Gone. Deacon St. John has clothes he wears, and he wears them due to the game’s story. The game makes use of flashback sequences which are vital to understanding his character, and his clothing options at various points in time are all part of the tale being told. That includes the arguably infamous wedding sequence shown in trailers, which isn’t as far-fetched as internet commenters would have you believe:
“Let me tell you, I took a lot of s*** for that in the wedding trailer; a lot of comments were, “hey, why is he wearing a hat at his wedding?” And he’s wearing it the same way, backwards. But I can tell you, and I know from the research I had done, bikers do that! I got a lot of support from people who are actually in biker culture. They said, “yeah, we don’t dress differently just because of a special occasion; we are who we are.””
Biker culture can seem outlandish, especially since there are countless wannabe bikers, people who like to play with their hogs on the weekends and aren’t true “one-percenters,” like the members of Deacon’s old gang, the Mongrels MC. The real hardcore bikers, they’re an entirely different breed of human being from regular folks. They don’t wear a tuxedo just because they’re getting married. It’s part of their culture, Sony Bend wanted to reflect that in the way Deacon St. John dresses throughout the game. That being said, they did compromise in one area: bike customization.
“You can change how the bike looks. That was the compromise we made. There’s literally millions of combinations of colors and trim and all that, and it’s entirely possible to create a bike that looks like one Deacon St. John would never sit on. You can have a pink gas tank and green chrome and it can be garish and ugly. But if the player wants to do that, they are empowered to do whatever they want with the bike.”
It sounds like a fair compromise; Deacon St. John dresses how he wants, but the player can choose how his motorcycle looks. This can be explained in-game as being due to the end of the world; Deacon owns his own clothes, but he can’t be picky regarding the parts he scavenges for his bike. If it works, he’ll use it, even if it doesn’t exactly fit his traditional biker style.
More: What Days Gone Learned From Uncharted’s Amy Hennig