Dead Island 2
Zombie slaying met open-world, RPG-lite progression when Techland developed the first Dead Island in 2011. The backbone of the first-person series is built on tropical paradises ravaged by a zombie apocalypse. Publisher Deep Silver has partnered with a new developer, Yager (Spec Ops: The Line), for the official sequel to the first game. We got a glimpse into what Yager has in store for us in Dead Island 2 during an E3 2014 presentation today, including dual-wielding weapons and a familiar west coast U.S. setting.
A New Developer
Techland developed both Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide, but won’t be partnering with Deep Silver for this full sequel. The original developer is currently working on Dying Light, a game with a similar concept being published by Warner Bros. Interactive. Yager’s development chops lie in Spec Ops: The Line – a solid third-person military shooter with an emphasis on the emotional weight of war. Dead Island 2’s “fun in the zombie apocalypse” setting is a tonal departure from that game, but the studio appears to be up to the task based on alpha build footage of the game in action.
Dual Wielding & Motorized Weapons
Speaking of action, Yager is doubling the amount of weapons players can wield in Dead Island 2. Not all weapons can be dual wielded, but it’s safe to assume machetes and other handheld weapons can be held akimbo (complete with workbench-free upgrades that add elemental effects like fire and electricity). Heavier artillery, like motorized weapons, don’t seem like likely candidates for dual wielding. These contraptions, like a weed-trimmer/lawnmower hybrid or power drill/table saw combination are powerful but loud. The volume of these weapons attracts zombies, which can be bad if you’re not prepared for a full-on assault.
Not only will this sequel double the amount of weapons that players can wield, it also doubles the amount of survivors in a game. Dead Island supports 1-8 players, including modes focusing on cooperation, competition, and pure unaligned coexistence. Yager didn’t show multiplayer in action, abut fans of Dead Island can imagine the chaos of trekking across the infected island of Banoi with twice the people.
A New Setting
The archipelago of Banoi hosted the original Dead Island. This tropical resort was a gorgeous backdrop for the gory chaos that followed. Yager is slightly changing up the formula by moving the undead antics to California. Palm trees, blue skies, and rolling green hills still offer the illusion of paradise. But beyond that a scourge of zombies lie in wait to attack survivors. Yager promises to take players to iconic California landmarks like the Hollywood hills, the beaches of Los Angeles, and the San Francisco pier. The presentation we saw was set in a sleepy suburban town under attack by the undead.
New Character Classes
We don’t know too much about the new classes in Dead Island 2, but we do have their names. The classes are berserker, speeder, bishop, and hunter. The berserker seems to be a beefy damage-dealer that specialized in two-handing huge, powerful weapons. The bishop is a man of the cloth with a post-apocalyptic flair for violence. Little else is known beside the fact that all four will have unique Fury attacks (special abilities that can be activated after killing enough zombies).
Dead Island 2 is being developed on Unreal Engine 4 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s due out in the spring of next year. Here’s hoping Deep Silver’s new developer can deliver on the potential of the original.