The Dead Island franchise feels as if it has vanished from public consciousness. This zombie-slaying series was the talk of the town when the original title released way back in 2011. Despite being rough around the edges, Dead Island offered an engaging and entertaining experience from start to finish. Obtaining only one expansion in 2013, publisher Deep Silver announced a sequel the following year at E3. Since then Dead Island 2 has had a rocky development, leading many to believe it would never happen. However, Deep Silver assured players that Dead Island 2 was still happening.
This makes us wonder what is the actual possibility that Dead Island 2 shows up at E3 2018. Below we will dive into the facts surrounding this title and speculate whether there’s a reasonable chance we see anything from Deep Silver’s undead co-op game.
What to Expect
With E3 2018 in full swing, some people have noticed that Dead Island 2 has made an appearance on the Microsoft Store. The only thing written in the description reads “Welcome to Dead Island, where Paradise meets Hell,” and the game hasn’t been rated yet. Additionally, it’s sporting the classic placeholder date of December 31, 2018. With Xbox’s conference set for Monday, could we finally be seeing this franchise make a return?
While the original Dead Island was set on a lovely island resort and the surrounding area, Dead Island 2 is set in California. Originally, developer Yager Productions was tasked with making the sequel and aimed to make all of California free to explore.
This was certainly an ambitious choice, but sadly Yager was taken off the project. The studio closed their doors shortly after the development of Dead Island 2 stopped. Managing director Timo Ullmann opened up to GameRant about the departure, saying:
“I really don’t blame them, and we wish them all the best. It’s tough, and not being given the chance to finish Dead Island 2, that… that hurts, you know? Right after the announcement, a part of the team was a bit shell-shocked, of course, but you have to motivate yourself to keep going. Cancellation of projects, especially if the stakes are so high, is not unheard of. It hurt us, yes, but it happens.”
Developer Sumo Digitial then took over the project with the publisher releasing this statement about Dead Island 2.
“Dead Island 2 is in development at Sumo Digital, and we are excited by the progress the team are making with Deep Silver’s most successful IP. When we are ready to share more information, we will.”
However, this was back in 2017 and there has been no word from the developers or publisher regarding the game this year. Sumo Digital’s Twitter account still lists Dead Island 2 as an official project. Since there has been no cancellation of this FPS/RPG hybrid, we suspect that it will make a return during this year’s E3.
As far as what will be shown, there’s a high chance that we’ll at least get a cinematic trailer for the game. Given how rocky the development has been, Sumo Digital might not have a working version to show the public.
When it comes to the game we don’t expect a radical departure from the core series’ gameplay. The up-close fighting has always helped Dead Island stand out, so players should expect it to return. If Sumo Digital continues to take the series in a more open world direction is unclear, but the prospect of exploring all of California does sound fun.
If this title does get scaled down, it’d still be nice to have sunny Los Angeles as a setting. There’s a lot of unique locations that would keep exploration varied and the development team could have a lot of fun designing movie-themed weapons.
We also suspect that co-op will make a return along with being able to select different classes. In the original game, there were four characters you could assume the role of and each had their own benefits.
These RPG design choices are what made the first game shine so it would be a shame if Sumo Digital dropped this. Additionally, we don’t expect any PvP multiplayer – even with the massive rise of the battle royale genre – since that never aligned with the overall design of this franchise.
Finally, Dead Island as always focused on scavaging for supplies and crafting ludicrous weapons to kill zombies with. This is a core component of the first game and even in a very early gameplay released we could see this concept returning. Again, it’s currently unclear how much of the game Sumo Digital has decided to keep so take any footage with a grain of salt. We doubt that Deep Silver would want to stray far from the series formula, but smaller details could be altered.
When to Expect it
If Dead Island 2 is still in development players should expect it to show up at E3 this year. The title’s first trailer debuted there and if it’s going to have any kind of impact it will need to show up during this event. Assuming that Dead Island 2 does arrive, we expect the game to drop in late 2019. Unless Deep Silver plans to pull a Bethesda and surprise everyone with a 2018 release, there is a very good chance it comes out next year.
Keep in mind, while retailers such as Amazon do have Dead Island 2 listed for purchase right now that release date is not official. Think of this date as a placeholder until a real once is announced.
The only major competition for Dead Island 2 will be Dying Light 2, so Deep Silver will want to steer clear of having those two titles compete against one another. Both have strong followings, but Dying Light is currently leading that’s to a constant stream of updates.
Dead Island 2 is a game that has a chance to make a glorious, blood-soaked return. There’s a lot of potential in this title and Sumo Digital is certainly a talented developer. Whether this game is destined to be stuck in development Limbo is unknown, but we hope to get our hands on it soon.
Make sure to check back with us as we will update this article when new information becomes available.