Video games have got a graffiti problem. So much video-game graffiti is dumb, unrealistic, or hamfisted. Considering that I’ve gone out of my way to criticise games that get graffiti wrong, it seemed worth taking the time to high-five a game that gets it right.
Dying Light developer Techland could’ve very easily screwed up the graffiti in their game. I’m almost surprised that they didn’t, that the city of Harran isn’t covered in scrawled, apocalyptic messages: “DOWN WITH THE GRE”, “WE ARE THE ZOMBIES”, “ALL OUT OF HOPE”, that sort of thing.
Instead, Dying Light‘s graffiti is pretty great. That’s largely because follows the most important rule of video game graffiti: It looks like actual graffiti. Most of it seems like it was probably there before the infection hit, which means that rather than embellishing the zombie outbreak itself, the graffiti serves to make Harran feel like it was a real place before it was a zombie wasteland.
I’ve been taking screenshots of graffiti anytime I see it in the game.
As you can see from these screenshots, there’s a fair bit of repetition. Fortunately, the variety is mostly good enough (with a few exceptions) that if I weren’t paying close attention to it, I probably wouldn’t notice the dupes.
In other places, survivors have left messages on walls and buildings, but those messages are almost always functional and believable.
Then there’s this one, which, I don’t know either:
There’s also this, which maybe doesn’t qualify as graffiti, but is still pretty cool:
So: Good job with the graffiti, Dying Light! You get a gold star.