Every eye in Days Gone is permanently filled with tears and dilated pupils, and I'm not sure how I feel about that

Days Gone is full of bikers, Freakers (think 28-days later infected for reference, but in hordes), and bandanas, but one of the things that players have really noticed is how darned good its characters' eyes look. In an AMA on Reddit the Lead Rendering Programmer Graham Aldridge revealed the tricks they use to make the characters' eyes stand out, and the small details they've added aren't down to lighting, or textures - instead the tweaks focus on tears and pupils. 

In the AMA Aldridge said that "we have a tear line in our eye rendering - an effect to represent the buildup of liquid between the eye and lower eyelid. It’s a surprisingly difficult effect to render, but without it the character just looks wrong somehow. We have control of this too - it’s surprising how much adjusting the tear line can change your perception of a character". So each character in Days Gone technically permanently has tears in their eyes, making those optical orbs look a tad reflective and more realistic. 

But that's not all, as Aldridge continued to explain that "another subtle example is iris/pupil dilation; we change the size based on how bright the scene is. It’s super subtle but when you see a character in a dark space with a small iris it just feels wrong". Now that is impressive. You probably did a similar experiment at school that had you watch a friend's (or tolerable classmate's) irises dilate when they were in shadow, and it's phenomenal that such a small but crucial detail has made its way into Days Gone. So the next time that you play, spare a moment to look deep into Deacon's eyes and marvel at the dev's handiwork… but we don't recommend doing the same with Freakers. Or you'll rapidly find their teeth sunk into the flesh of Deacon's neck.

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Zoe Delahunty-Light

While here at GamesRadar, Zoe was a features writer and video presenter for us. She's since flown the coop and gone on to work at Eurogamer where she's a video producer, and also runs her own Twitch and YouTube channels. She specialises in huge open-world games, true crime, and lore deep-dives.