Dead Island 2 has been in development for an unusually long time, having first been revealed all the way back in 2014. Since then it’s gone through multiple changes, even jumping between different studios as it’s been worked on. Thankfully, it seems as though it will indeed be launching this year. Here’s hoping, anyway.
From what we’ve seen, Dead Island 2 is exactly what you’d expect it to be, as a follow-up to the genuinely very fun Dead Island, and its DLCs. This time, you’re not on an island at all, and will instead be making your way across a post-infection LA. There are six playable characters, hundreds of weapons, and even some zombie-powers that you can turn against the undead that litter the streets.
Now that we’ve finally seen what Dead Island 2 will be like at launch, here’s what you need to know about the upcoming zombie game. This includes trailers, a look at gameplay and all of the latest news and rumors.
Dead Island 2: cut to the chase
- What is it? The long-delayed sequel to Dead Island
- When can I play it? April 28, 2023
- What can I play it on? PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Dead Island 2 trailers
For a very long time the only Dead Island 2 trailer we had was the original 2014 reveal cinematic. It was a tasty thing, showing a rapidly decomposing jogger running along Venice Beach in LA.
While it didn’t really reveal anything about the game, it set the stage for what we could expect from Dead Island 2’s tone.
Skip ahead eight years and we now have three new trailers for the open-world Zombie survival game. A new cinematic, in the vein of the original, giving you a tasty for this apocalyptic version of LA, can be viewed below.
Though, after an eight year wait between cinematic trailers, you can understand that fans may want to actually see Dead Island 2 in action. Thankfully, developer Dambuster Studios was happy to cooperate and released a gameplay trailer, too, showing off just how violent this long-awaited sequel will be.
A showcase aired on December 6, 2022, and ave us a few minutes of brand new gameplay footage. It was more of the same, but showed off some new weapons that can be used to batter the undead. In addition, zombie abilities were shown off, which allow the player to use their infection to enter a sort of frenzied state. You can watch this below.
Dead Island 2 release date and platforms
Dambuster Studios has once again delayed Dead Island 2. It will now release April 28, 2023. This is a 12-week delay from the former release date. In a Twitter post, which you can view below, the team states that this is now the final release date. We’ll see.
Fans will be waiting with bated breath. The development of Dead Island 2 has switched hands twice since the sequel was originally announced eight years ago, leaving players disappointed in the past. It was first under development at Yager, the same studio that created Spec Ops: The Line, and was originally scheduled to release in 2015. But it never materialized.
In 2016, it was announced that development had passed over to Sumo Digital. Three years later, the game changed studios again, with Dambuster announcing it had taken over work on the game. Fingers crossed that it makes it past the finish line this time around.
The delay is just 12 short weeks and development is on the final straight now. The new release date for Dead Island 2 will be April 28th 2023.#DeadIsland #SeeYouInHELLA pic.twitter.com/Vf1NARTECoNovember 17, 2022
Dead Island 2 gameplay and story
Now that Dead Island 2 has been given what seems to be a final release date, we’re starting to see more and more gameplay. In a recent showcase, a few minutes of new gameplay footage was shown off. Melee combat was highlighted, featuring hammers, blades, and DIY-modded gear. There are guns in the game too, and so far we’ve seen pistols, shotguns and assault rifles/SMGs.
One interesting mechanic that has been shown off in gameplay trailers is the frenzy ability. It comes from the zombie bite on your character’s arm, and allows them to enter a state where they become momentarily zombified. It looks like a useful tool, one that allows you to tear through hordes of zombies with ease.
In an interview with PCGamer, creative director James Worrall revealed that while the game doesn’t have a branching narrative, the six player characters offer different perspectives.
“Each player character has their own voice and their own dialogue,” he said. “So you might get one character who’s particularly driven or energised or upbeat. You might get another character who’s a little bit more of a cynical individual. Some characters are quite low key, subtle. We’ve written those characters to reflect broad playstyles.”
As for the zombies, there’ll be variety there, too, with Dambuster confirming there’ll be “dozens of distinct zombie types, each with their own mutations, attacks and hundreds of LA-themed variants”.
In a preview of the game, IGN touched on the game’s ‘FLESH’ system, or ‘Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids’, which “procedurally shreds zombies with each strike” and makes the game a truly gory experience. We caught a glimpse of that ourselves in the trailer.
When it comes to combat, IGN said that the game “encourages constant movement, with dodges, kicks, and jumps all integral parts” and that while there is a stamina system, it’s not punishingly restrictive, allowing you to “experiment with a variety of different techniques”.
Dead Island 2’s story is still a bit of a mystery, although it sounds as if you’ll play as a survivor of a deadly virus that’s wrecked Los Angeles. Banding together with other survivors, you’ll try to “uncover the truth behind the outbreak” as you “harness the zombie inside” of yourself.
As part of that banding together, Dead Island 2 will support single-player gameplay but there’ll be co-op mode, too, with up to three players able to take part. We’ve still got quite a lot to learn about just how the co-op will work, though.
There will be six playable characters at launch. So far, we’ve seen four of them. There’s Amy a Paralympian, Dani, who is a mosh-pit loving rockstar, Jacob, an English stuntman, and then finally Ryan, an exotic dancer from Fresno.
Dead Island 2 news and rumors
Dead Island 2 Showcase shown in December
Alongside the news of a delay, a gameplay showcase was revealed for Dead Island 2. It took place December 6, 2022. You can watch it via the links in the Tweet below.
Can’t wait to show you more on December 6th:- our Twitch channel: https://t.co/4H3F7wbjIh- our YouTube channel: https://t.co/xW0cNwjmS7- our Website: https://t.co/Erh4Juv3fJNovember 17, 2022
Dead Island 2 consulted a diversity council for a more “representative” LA
During a recent interview with Dead Island 2 developer Dambuster Studios, Art director Adam Olsson told The Loadout (opens in new tab) explained how they tackled its version of Los Angeles. While there’s more comical exaggerations like Hell-A’s Muscle Beach having bodybuilder zombies, Olsson confirmed decisions were made after speaking with Dambuster’s diversity council.
“It was a really interesting exercise trying to break down what makes something LA and what stands out as a truly unique LA experience. “We were very cautious to take anything that would feel like a hurtful stereotype and that’s why, in the studio, we have a diversity council that helps us understand whether we’ve pushed something too far,” Olsson explains.
“The council has worked very closely with us to make sure we’re pushing out a good tone because we want to make sure that we bring Dead Island 2 into the 21st Century. We want to be contemporary and we want to be representative.”
Alexa Game Control integration
Dead Island 2 will come with an interesting feature: Alexa Game Control. Announced during Gamescom 2022, Alexa Game Control will give PC and console players the option of using voice commands to make things happen in the game. You don’t need an Amazon Echo device or an Amazon Prime account to use it. In fact, you don’t need to say “Alexa”, either. All you need is “any microphone or headset” connected to your PC or console and a standard Amazon account linked to the game.
According to an Amazon blog post (opens in new tab), with Alexa Game Control, you’ll be able to say things like “where is the nearest workbench” and “swap to my best weapon” during play to do things like find the nearest workbench and, um, swap to your best weapon. The post even mentions being able to “manipulate zombie hordes” just by saying “hey zombie”.
Dead Island 2 will be the first game to support the feature and the FAQ (opens in new tab) reveals that it’ll be available in English in North America on PC and Xbox at launch, with more regions, languages and maybe even platforms to come down the line.
Dambuster Studios takes over development
Back in 2019, the development of Dead Island 2 was moved from Sumo Digital to Dambuster Studios. No further details were provided at the time, but it did indicate that the sequel was at least still in the works.