In the post-apocalyptic open world of Days Gone, people have been transformed into monsters called “Freakers,” which are more or less zombies. This includes children, who will appear in the game as a special type of Freaker called Newts, and their inclusion seems to have upset some people.
Since a recent gameplay preview event reminded everyone that Days Gone will effectively have child zombies, there have been multiple editorials, Twitter hot-takes, and YouTube videos made about the issue. Most violent video games go out of their way to not include children at all, like in the Grand Theft Auto series or Resident Evil, even though their absence doesn’t make sense in the context of the game world. Other times children are included but players can’t kill them, like in Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises. And so some are disturbed by Days Gone allowing players to kill child zombies.
In an interview with Stevivor, Sony Bend’s Emmanuel Roth was asked about the child zombies in Days Gone. In the interview, Roth claims that the Newts are not children, but he was later contradicted by a Sony Bend representative. “The devastating pandemic infected and killed almost all human life. Some adolescents were infected and transformed by the virus. The survivors call these Newts,” the representative explained. The representative went on to clarify that once people become Freakers in Days Gone, they are “something entirely new” and shouldn’t be looked at as human beings.
— ❄️Ryukiroku™❄️ (@Ryukiroku) March 6, 2019
While some people have expressed disappointment or even disgust at Days Gone‘s decision to include child zombies, it’s worth pointing out that it’s not an entirely new concept. Dead Space 2 featured literal zombie babies that would crawl on the walls in an attempt to ambush Isaac and explode near him. Dying Light also has zombie children called Screamers.
Others online have pointed this out, and don’t seem to have a problem with Days Gone including child zombies. After all, if a zombie apocalypse did happen, then children would be turned into zombies as well, and so not including them is unrealistic.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue, it seems anyone that plans on picking up Days Gone when it launches next month will have to be prepared to kill some child zombies.
Days Gone launches April 26, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.