Dead Island 2 loses its developer, should we let this series shamble off into the sunset?
In a shocking turn of events earlier this week, publisher Deep Silver announced they were parting ways with former Dead Island 2 developer Yager. Offering no explanation for the move, but assuring fans the publisher was “dedicated to delivering the sequel that Dead Island fans deserve,” the fate of the open-world, zombie apocalypse sequel seems uncertain.
Speaking to Gamesindustry, German developer Yager’s managing director Timo Ullman shed some light on the surprisingly news saying, “Our team is made of the best creative minds and tech specialists, who all share a common identity,” he continued, “The team worked with enthusiasm to take Dead Island 2 to a new level of quality. However, Yager and Deep Silver’s respective visions of the project fell out of alignment, which led to the decision that has been made.”
Now, it’s unclear who is at the helm of salvaging the 3 years of work Yager had dedicated to Dead Island 2, which made its first public appearance back at E3 2014. With the game previously slated to release this year, it’s not hard to imagine that we likely won’t be seeing this beleaguered undead adventure shamble to release until holiday 2016 at the latest. By then, will we still care? After all, we’ve seen what happens when too many studios play hot potato with a property with train wrecks such as Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem: Forever. Do we really want to see Techland’s zombified baby suffer the same tragic fate?
From the little information we know about the game, the main thing that separated Dead Island 2 from the previous Dead Island and its follow-up, Dead Island: Riptide is the shift of scenery. The undead outbreak has spread from the confines of the ravaged Banoi Island, infecting the Western United States. Set against the backdrop of a zombie-ravaged California, Dead Island 2 was poised to pit players in a fight for survival against the backdrop of a ghoul-controlled Los Angeles, San Francisco and even Hollywood. However, with the open-world zombie genre already as saturated as the Nazi-slaughtering trend of the late ’90s and early 2000’s, it’s hard to imagine a fresh change of scenery will be all it takes to make the melee-centric action feel fresh. After all, you can only smash so many zombie melons with an electrified sledgehammer before it gets old, can’t you? Maybe it’s time for Deep Silver to hang up the flame-spewing bowie knife and move on to greener, less necrotic pastures.
Techland, the studio behind the original two entries in the series showed that it’s still possible to inject some much-needed life into the zombie genre with their implementation of a fluid parkour system in this year’s Dying Light for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Unless the next studio to take over the reigns of Dead Island 2 is able to emulate their success by providing a truly drastic change to Dead Island‘s now-tired mechanics, it’s hard to imagine many will be eager to dive into the next undead nightmare when or if it ever sees the light of day.
As for me, I’m pretty sure I’ve had my fill.
So, what are your thoughts on Dead Island 2’s tumble into development purgatory? Would you be interested in seeing another familiar entry in the series, or would it take a radical shift in the game’s system for you to take the plunge this go around? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below.