Dead Island 2 had its first cinematic reveal shown in 2014, and was being represented as a goofier, lighter and more colorful take on the original zombie RPG. Publisher Deep Silver was originally using Spec Ops: The Line developer Yager to create the game, but later dropped that studio in 2016 in favor of Sumo Digital.
However, news from the game has been scarce ever since. Many theorized the game to be a dead project, long abandoned by Deep Silver, but Deep Silver has gone on to confirm that the game is still very much alive, and still crawling its zombified corpse slowly – but steadily – towards the surface.
The Dead Island series has had mixed options at best. The original game was met with mixed reviews after both players and critics criticized its simplistic melee combat, uninteresting story, one-dimensional characters and buggy game world. Later, Dead Island: Riptide was released as a sort of large expansion to the original game, running on the same graphics technology and near-identical gameplay mechanics; the only changes were a slightly more interesting world map and new characters with different skill trees.
Meanwhile, developer Techland would go on to show that they’d had enough of publisher Deep Silver, showing their true potential through the release of Dying Light, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews from both critics and fans, was graced with full years of free content updates with no season pass required, got one of the best DLC expansions featuring an open world twice the size of everything from the base game for just $30, and had a full sequel announced back at this year’s E3. If Deep Silver wants to show that it can still contribute something to the Open-World-Zombie-RPG sphere, it’s certainly got a lot tougher competition to stand up to then it did back in 2014.
To get people talking about the possibility of a Dead Island 2 again, Deep Silver released the mobile spin-off Dead Island: Survivors in early 2018. This was quite successful: Many were excited to see the Dead Island name hit the gaming sphere once again and took to Twitter to question the Developer about progress on the title, which was when they first revealed that the game is still kicking.
Deep Silver has also issued a statement as to the reason for the split from Yager, which, according to an article on the topic by PCGamer, was due to conflicting creative visions for the game. According to Deep Silver, their ideas for Dead Island 2 were originally aligned with those shared by Yager, but midway through development, that synergy started falling apart. Deep Silver says the split was a difficult decision, but it was a decision that they felt was correct and that needed to be made.
Personally, I feel that this decision may have been influenced by the release of Dying Light, which was shipping out footage and trailers around the time of the split. It is possible that Deep Silver saw where Techland had taken the concept, and wanted Yager to make Dead Island 2 more like Dying Light. When Yager couldn’t do that, Deep Silver decided to turn to a different developer. However, this is just my take on the situation with no real evidence as to whose vision was what, and I could be completely wrong.
In any case, look out for more footage or trailers from Dead Island 2 in (possibly) the near future.