“Dead Island 2” was announced all the way back in 2014 with one of the coolest and funniest CGI trailers I have ever seen. The trailer was good, and the gameplay that followed also looked equally interesting, with the series’ staple DIY weapons returning alongside a more casual and lighthearted tone. Though called Dead “Island” 2, the game this time took its zombie-slaying action to the state of California, with cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco being where the game will be set. It all went silent after that, as the game pretty much disappeared into the void with no new information following. Initially developed by Techland, the people known for the first “Dead Island” and now “Dying Light,” they gave up on this project due to creative differences, and the series switched hands to Yager, the guys behind “Spec Ops: The Line.” A couple of years later, Yager showed us their version of this game, which followed suit with the original while adding a few flairs of their own. Unfortunately, though, Yager also left the project and the game, and the publisher Deep Silver went radio silent on this. We learned a while later that it’d be developed by Sumo Digital next, but what do you know? They left the project behind as well.
It started to look like “Dead Island 2” was cursed in some way and wouldn’t be seeing the light of the day as everyone who worked on it left it for one reason or another. On the other hand, fans of the series wanted the game to come out and constantly kept talking about it online to keep the fire warm and let the publisher know that they were still looking forward to it. The game became a meme of sorts; I mean, why wouldn’t it? It’s not every day that a game enters development hell, after all. The years kept adding up, and finally, in 2022, during the Summer Game Fest hosted by Geoff Keighley, “Dead Island 2” made a glorious comeback with another brilliant CGI trailer. It was announced that the game is being worked on by Deep Silver’s in-house DamBuster Studios, the people responsible for “Homefront: The Revolution.” They quickly followed up with some gameplay that looked really impressive. A massive overhaul to the game, its visuals, and even the tone, I’d bet, were on display as DamBuster changed the game a lot and made it with their very own vision. They gave us a release date of February 2023, and the excitement for the franchise and the game was back on the menu.
Unfortunately, once again, it was announced that the game will be delayed once more to April 2023. Though a short delay, the developers were quick to acknowledge that the irony of delaying this game isn’t lost on them. They quickly followed with more gameplay, showcasing a deeper dive into what you can expect from it and all the new and different mechanics in the store. So, for now, we have to wait until we finally get our hands on it. While we are waiting, allow us to give you a look at what to expect from the game and why we are excited about “Dead Island 2.”
The biggest selling point for me personally is the game’s open world which will be The City Of Angels, Los Angeles, affectionately being called HELL-A here. It looks like the developers are aiming to create pretty much a one-to-one representation of LA, as it looks massive. All the famous landmarks like the Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Sign, Venice Beach, and more seems to be here. The game world is vibrant and feels like it’s packed with places to go and see, including being able to go inside various buildings and even underground. What has caught my attention in particular but isn’t confirmed yet is that it looks like the game will also include California’s infamous earthquakes. Why do I say that? Well, in the gameplay trailers that we have seen so far, it looks like the walls, vehicles, and roads are shaking a bit in certain scenes. It may just be something else, but then again, earthquakes in Los Angeles are a common occurrence, so it won’t be surprising to see them replicated in the game.
I love open-world games because they let me explore both known and unknown lands in ways that won’t be allowed in real life, and here in “Dead Island 2,” the sun-baked city of Los Angeles looks as colorful and vibrant as ever. After an entire generation of games that were dark, gloomy, and brown, it’s really nice to see colors popping in just about every game we see these days, and the world of “Dead Island 2” seems like it’ll live up to that vibrancy. It also looks like they are taking a page from the “Dying Light” franchise and adding mild parkour elements to this game as well, which is always a welcome addition. From what they have shown us, there’s no doubt in my mind that this will be a playground worth exploring and will live up to the expectations, and I personally cannot wait to kill zombies in Hollywood.
Another reason to be excited about “Dead Island 2” will be all the action this game will come packed with. I mean, it’s a zombie game, so we’ll be killing a crap-ton of zombies after all. It looks like we’ll have a ton of options when it comes to killing the undead with melee weapons, ranged weapons, and DIY weapons. From what they have shown us so far, we can expect to wield katanas, machetes, baseball bats, bear claws, and a huge selection of guns ranging from pistols to shotguns to different types of rifles. All of that sounds good, but just like the first game, DIY weapons are also making a comeback, and they seem to be better than ever this time. Slap a battery to a knife, and you have an electric knife, or how about a liquid nitrogen tank to a sword, and voila!! It freezes your enemies. This is the kind of beauty that I love in video games, especially zombie games, where the creativity and carnage on display are always cathartic and hilarious at times. If it’s anything like the first game, then all weapons will wear down after being used for a bit and will need repairs, or we’ll have to make new ones, which is annoying, sure, but it is a fair balance. If that weren’t the case, then what would stop you from making the best weapon right at the beginning and turning the game into an easy mode for you? In my opinion, this is a fair compromise.
There will also be ways to use the environment to take enemies down and a ton of explosions that will follow, which I am super into. Zombies will also come in all shapes and sizes and will include your standard grunts along with more creative, unique, and deadlier zombies. The coolest part about all of this is that DamBuster Studios has come up with tech that procedurally generates layers of skin, flesh, and muscle on zombies that will tear down based on where and how many times you hit them. That’s visceral, cool, and very metal, isn’t it? We have killed billions of zombies over the years, but now we literally get to see them fall apart piece by piece.
Finally, there’ll be another way to kill zombies. How, you may be wondering? To put it simply, the player character has been bitten by a zombie and, because of that, the player can use zombie powers. Unoriginal but awesome. I’m not sure how this entire system will work, but it looks and sounds really cool, and I’ll take more ways to kill zombies any time of the day, please. The gameplay and action here look brain-chomping good, and I am very excited to spread carnage across LA.
The co-op will also be making a return here, so you’ll be able to play the game in up to a 3-player co-op here with your friends. Does this point need more explanation or justification? Every game is more fun with friends, and a zombie game is best played with friends. All the carnage you’ll be spreading alone will get multiplied by three, which means it’ll be even more chaotic and fun. How the difficulties will affect cooperative play is unknown, but a fair balance is always welcome. This game looked interesting to me as a solo player, but with confirmed co-op, I can think of a few friends I’ll be playing it with, and I can already imagine and be happy about the laughs we will have while doing so.
The Tone And Characters
I’ll just immediately come out and say that I am not a fan of stories in these kinds of games. Just give me a gun or a knife, and let me stab or shoot some zombie faces in place. Despite that, the cast and tone that “Dead Island 2” is going for look promising and hilarious. From the initial look we got, I like that the game is not taking itself seriously and is going for more of a “Zombieland” kind of vibe and less of a “28 Days Later kind of vibe.” Yeah, we know the world is ending, but it doesn’t have to be gloomy all the time. We can have some fun at the end of time, can’t we? The tone seems to be on point, but what has me more interested are the characters we have seen so far. Each of them looks quirky and weird and comes with a “who gives a crap” kind of attitude. Now, I hope that the dialogue isn’t cringing here, as it tends to be in these types of games, and then we’ll be golden. As I mentioned in the beginning, I don’t care about the plot in these kinds of games, but hey, if they can pull off a funny one, then why would I even complain? The tone seems to be perfect, and that’s all that matters to me.
Despite years of waiting, we still don’t know a lot about “Dead Island 2.” We don’t know how the difficulty will work. We don’t know how many RPG elements this game will have or how it will handle them. We don’t know if driving vehicles will be a part of this game, among so many other things. What we do know, however, is that this game will allow us to kill zombies in a variety of ways in the city of Los Angeles and that the game looks gorgeous and better than expected, and that’s enough reason for me to be excited. We’ll learn more about it as the release date approaches, and we’ll definitely see for ourselves if this game lives up to expectations when it releases on April 28th, 2023, for PlayStation 5 and 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.