Dead Island 2 joins the 2016 exodus – which could be great news

Dead Island 2 is the latest game to slip into 2016. Oh well, Uncharted 4 will have some company at least. But maybe this is a good thing?

Yager’s upcoming zombie smasher had been very quiet of late and was originally pencilled in for a Spring 2015 release, which seeing as we’re in it, we should have realised wasn’t happening. It turns out Yager were not happy with where the game was at, so it’s getting considerably more development time, which we’re seeing happen more often nowadays.

Here’s a collection of a series of Tweets the Studio put out earlier today:“We have always set ourselves a big goal for Dead Island 2: to create the sequel that takes Dead Island to the next level. A game that takes what our fans tell us they love about Dead Island – multiple different characters to play with, co-op, and turning a paradise setting into a zombie slaughter melee – and a game that adds a ton more content and combat options on top of that.

And we wanted to have all of that that done for release in Spring 2015.

We have been looking at the game long and hard, and we have decided we didn’t reach that goal we set out to achieve quite yet. This is why we have decided to delay Dead Island 2 to 2016.

Right now we are focusing purely on development, and we will have more info to share at a later stage.

We know that our fans will be disappointed by this news, but by giving Dead Island 2 more time we are confident that everyone will get a better game to play as a result.”

We have to say, fair play to Yager. While we’re sad to see one the year’s bigger releases slip, we’d much rather wait for a more enjoyable game. That Uncharted delay hurt more though to be honest. We suspect this won’t be last game to slip into 2016 either, The Division looking like the most likely candidate. Fingers crossed some of the older delays for the likes of Arkham Knight and Project Cars (both finally out soon) will have been worth the extra dev time.

On a personal note: I played a bit of Dead Island 2 at last September’s Eurogamer Expo, and I wasn’t particularly impressed to be honest. It felt very similar to the painfully average original game by Techland. So, I’m happy to see it get some additional dev time, especially as Dying Light has raised the bar for first-person zombie experiences.

Yager have some ambitious plans for the series, as they’re attempting to expand the online side of the game to feature random online players (a bit like Destiny) and have actually cited Journey as a key influence in that regard. This sounds like a fantastic idea, but the game will need to have some bulletproof netcode if it’s doesn’t want to fall on it’s face at launch like Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

We only hope the core melee gameplay will be enough to make people want to keep playing, as players soon got bored with it in the first Dead Island and the awful Riptide game lost even more fans. The less said about the Escape Dead Island spinoff the better too.

Yager could be the right team for the job though as they were behind the excellent Spec Ops: The Line, so we’re far from writing this one off yet. Dead Island 2 will be a considerable challenge for them, especially as they’re trying to make the zombie series more fun and humorous (Yager are German, so I’m sure it’ll be hilarious). Are all the things that made Spec Ops a great game going to be relevant to smacking zombies around with sledgehammers and flaming chainsaws though? Yager may well have shown us by this time next year.

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