It feels like a lifetime ago that the original Dead Island was released. It launched in 2011, and thanks to an effective formula of exploration, RPG elements, and brutal combat, it sold well and was generally well regarded by fans. Developed by Techland, the sequel was announced at 2014’s E3 with the now infamous dystopian Jogger video.
Techland was originally set to develop the sequel but the next several years would prove to be problematic with the project changing hands multiple times. After Techland left to develop Dying Light, Producer Deep Silver handed the reigns to Spec Ops The Line developer, Yager Development. After a couple of years of development, Deep Silver cut ties with Yager and development was handed to Crackdown 3 developer, Sumo Digital. After another few years, it changed hands yet again to Homefront: The Revolution developer, Dambuster Studios. Got all that?
While there were rumblings throughout the gaming community that Dead Island 2 was still in development, there was no official world for a long period of time. Of all things, it was a “Day One Edition” leak from Amazon that brought it back from the dead. Thankfully, Gamescom’s Opening Night Live in August gave us the proper reveal fans had been waiting for.
Dead Island 2 takes place in a dystopian Los Angeles aptly named HELL-A and features iconic locations such as Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, the Santa Moncia Pier, and more. There are 6 playable slayers of which Jacob and Amy have been revealed so far, with more being revealed in the coming weeks leading up to launch. What’s unique, however, is that they are not merely trying to survive, but rather have already been bitten and are now somehow stronger for it.
This aligns with the more comical tone of the game. Creative Director James Worrall stated that Dambuster wants to portray a pulpier, more light-hearted tone rather than something like the Walking Dead. In a quote provided to Game Informer, he said:
“We wanted to shy away from the he grim and the gritty. Our Heroes aren’t survivors, they’re thrivers. They run towards the horde and they absolutely take thrill in the slaughter.”
And when it comes to slaughter, Dead Island 2 is aiming to take it to an entirely new level. The game features a system called F.L.E.S.H. which stands for Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids. It allows players to destroy zombies in countless ways with much of the destruction and bloodshed being procedurally generated every time you attack. In action, it’s looking to be hugely impressive.
The F.L.E.S.H. system was designed around Dead Island 2 primarily being focused on melee combat. Similar to the original Dead Island, while guns are present they take a back-seat to the hack, slash, and smash of the D.I.Y melee weapons which return in even more glorious form. There is even a “FURY” mode which acts as an ultimate ability and allows players to obliterate zombies with their bare hands.
Character progression and skill building plays a large part in Dead Island 2 with skill cards acting as the primary progression system. Cards can be rewarded or discovered and come in tier levels. Players define their playstyle by building decks which are fully customizable and can be re-created endlessly thus allowing players to experiment to their heart’s content.
Perhaps notably, the game is not fully open-world. Rather, Dambuster has clarified that it is broken out into Districts which will feature hub locations with NPCs, quests, workbenches, and more. Each District will feature a wealth of activities, secrets to uncover, area-specific “Apex Predators”, and more.
There will be a wide variety of zombies that need killing including the aforementioned Apex Predators. Screamers alert all of the zombies in an area, Crushers well, crush you, Slobbers will shoot bile at you, and many more. The apex version of these predators add another layer of complexity. For instance, the team at Dambuster has discussed the Inferno Crusher which is exactly what it sounds like – a massive zombie who rushes to crush you while also being fully engulfed in flames.
Fortunately you won’t have to battle the hordes alone (unless you prefer to). Dead Island 2 supports full co-op for up to three players. So you can take turns demonstrating your zombie-slaying skills and competing for the messiest kill.
Dead Island is set to release on April 28th for Xbox, PS, and PC platforms including the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Pre-orders are open now including a “Hell-A” edition with a bonuses like a custom art steelbook, map, and in-game weaponry.
We’ll have a lot more on Dead Island 2 leading up to launch so stay tuned to Seasoned Gaming!