Dying Light is a first-person zombie apocalypse-themed game set in an open world.
Players traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious epidemic, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population with a heavy focus on parkour mechanics, allowing players to perform actions such as climbing ledges, leaping off from edges, sliding, jumping from roofs to roofs and zip-lining.
Parkour mechanics also apply to combat. Players can perform actions such as drop-kicking when engaging in combat with enemies.
A grappling hook is also featured in the game, allowing players to climb up buildings and travel between places quickly.
The game is mostly melee-based with the majority of fighting using melee weapons.
There are more than 100 weapons that can be used and more than 1000 weapon possibilities when players begin crafting new weapons.
The melee-weapons have a limited lifespan and will be degraded and eventually broken if the player uses them for combat for a long time.
Players can repair a weapon a limited number of times.
Crafting weapons requires crafting ingredients such as gauze and metal parts, and a blueprint, which can be scavenged or purchased from a shop.
Guns are also featured in the game, but players only gain access to them in the latter half of the game.
Guns do not break or degrade; however, ammunition is generally very scarce.
However, it is also possible to buy gun ammunition from the various traders located in safe houses around the map.
Dying Light contains a dynamic day and night cycle.
During the day, the player has to scavenge for supplies to send back to the safe zones.
They can set up traps, save random survivors, and make their way to airdrops. The infected are slow, apathetic, and easily visible, allowing the player to simply avoid them, but their danger grows in numbers.
Players can also use environmental traps, such as spikes and electrified fences to kill the infected.
Lead game designer Maciej Binkowski stated that day time will last for approximately 64 minutes, while night time will last for approximately 7 minutes.
The game also features a physics-based lighting system and a dynamic weather system, which includes a variety of conditions such as fog, rain, and wind.
At night the infected transform to become much more dangerous. Without daylight, the senses of the infected become more acute and accurate.
They gain the ability to sprint after the player and inflict more damage, as well as the ability to jump and climb buildings like the player.
In order for players to avoid contact, they need to use their 'Survivor Sense' to locate the infected in the dark to stay out of their way.
If spotted and trying to escape their pursuers, players can use distractions and traps to lower their numbers. Players can use sound to lure the enemies.
The player's main defense against the infected is ultraviolet light, which slows them down.
A variety of actions in Dying Light can help players to earn experience points.
Engaging in combat with enemies will help players to earn Power points, while performing parkour movement can earn Agility points.
Completing missions, challenges and quests will help players to earn Survival points.
As the player earns experience, they can spend skill points on a skill tree and upgrade the playable character with new skills.
During daytime, if the player's character is killed, survival points will be deducted.
In contrast, no survival point will be deducted if the player's character is killed at night. All experience points will also be boosted if the player explores at night.
On 1 October 2014, Techland announced that there will be over 50 hours of gameplay in the full version of the game including all downloadable content.
Online multiplayer features up to 4 players in the co-op mode.
At EGX 2014, lead game designer Maciej Binkowski revealed that there will be challenges throughout the world for players to engage in for experience.
Two challenges were showcased with one being a fight to kill as many infected as possible and the other being a race to an airdrop.
The game's campaign is also fully playable in the co-op mode.
The game offers an asymmetrical multiplayer feature.
A multiplayer feature included is a game mode known as Be the Zombie that allows the player to play as a particularly strong and fast infected mutant called the "Night Hunter" and invade other players' servers.
The players who are playing as humans are tasked with destroying the infected nests and surviving attacks performed by the Night Hunter, while the Night Hunter's goal is to deplete the players' collective life pool and therefore prevent them from attacking the nests.