E3 2014: Dead Island 2 Is a Less Serious, More Carefree Form of Zombie Bashing

You are who you eat.

It was going to take a lot for me to come away impressed with a Dead Island sequel. But there are signs that Dead Island 2 is going to improve upon its predecessor. For starters, it's getting a fresh development team in the form of Yager, the studio behind Spec Ops: The Line and the upcoming "aerial armada" game Dreadnought. Also, despite the name, it's not actually set on an island, and instead takes place on the West Coast of America in sunny California.

Welcome to California. Bring guns.

Leaving the tropical island of Banoi behind for the vast expanses of California is quite the change, although just how much of the western state is making it into the game isn't clear. What I do know, though, is that the likes of LA's beaches, San Francisco's pier, and the Hollywood Hills are being touted as locations. Instead of largely uninhabited swaths of jungle, there will be houses, and offices, and regular joes trying to live out their lives in the middle of zombie apocalypse. Well, some regular joes at least. According to Dead Island 2 lore, the entire state of California was declared a quarantine zone by the US government, leaving just a handful of people around to fight it out amongst the zombie hordes. Cue the introduction of Dead Island's merry band of zombie-bashing zealots.

Max has a cat, and his name is Rick Furry.

Leading the charge from a clapped-out van is Max and his cat companion, Rick Furry, which--in a rather odd moment--Yager confessed to being the first motion-captured cat in a video game. You maybe remember Max from the trailer, or at least his foot, as he jumped out of the van to pick up a shoe. He's the fun-loving, adrenaline-junkie type, the sort that wants to get out there and smash some skulls in a bid to clean up the streets of California. Trouble is, he's not immune to the zombie virus. Enter Bezerker, Hunter, Bishop, and Speeder, Dead Island 2's collection of zombie-immune heroes that roam the streets of California. You're not the only ones causing havok on the streets, though. Other militarized factions and the US government will be there, guns blazing, waiting to take you down.

Merry melee

Speaking of guns, there will be projectile weapons in the game--including an AK47 and some neat flame-powered crossbows--but like its predecessors, Dead Island 2 focuses on melee combat. Crafting all kinds of kooky weapons from scavenged parts around the island will give you plenty of ways to bludgeon and chop zombies up, while the introduction of dual wielding means you don't have to give up your favorite slasher in order to have something long range. Also new to series will be motorized weapons--hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and the like--which you'll also be able to modify a la Dead Rising. They'll be noisy, though, attracting zombies, while the fuel to power them will be in short supply.

Killer combat

Whether these additions will make combat more fun, though, remains to be seen. I was never a fan of the combat in Dead Island; it always felt too slow and too awkward to be truly enjoyable, while the animations attached to them--particularly the disembodied leg kicking--were hilariously janky. Thanks to my time with Dead Island 2 being a hands-off demo, I can't give you a definitive answer on whether it fixes any of my gripes, but--thanks in part to its Unreal Engine 4 visuals--it certainly looked the part. Sledgehammers sent zombies rocketing into to the air, huge axes sliced them apart in an explosion of blood and guts, while flaming crossbow projectiles started up a smoking zombie BBQ.

Zombie, run!

Yager says the aim with Dead Island 2 was to make the combat less realistic and more entertaining. That's a positive change in my book, and based on the demo I saw, it's definitely looking less awkward than its predecessor. There are some other positive changes to the game too, including a new fury attack for the heroes, and "social" multiplayer that lets up to eight players share a map, and either compete, cooperate, or simply coexist on it. Sadly, like many of the games announced at E3 this year, Dead Island 2 isn't being released (on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC) until 2015, but we are at least getting a window of "spring."

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69 comments
danielwolf_
danielwolf_

They should add a scary drag queen Zombie with a hatchet  in this game for the first time ever. in a carnival level. only because i never seen one in a zombie game before that would be kinda cool and more realistic to.

meowstan
meowstan

I enjoyed the first Dead Island, sure it had several...make that tons of glitches but still it was a fun game. Maybe they are going for a Dead Rising type feel since the combat in that is crazy, unrealistic, joy. The trailer looked pretty solid, and there will be a cat, I think they are taking a step in the right direction and maybe it will finally get some praise?

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

At first I thought 'another Dead Island? Another Techland game when their last ones were just delayed ?'


But now that it turns out to be made by Yager, I'm suddenly very interested in the game.

kenaddeh
kenaddeh

Who Do You Voodoo, B****

durpdurp1234
durpdurp1234

Dead Island is all about combat. The horribly cliche story, awful writing, and poor voice acting were easy to ignore thanks to the meaty gameplay. I don't care if they decide to abandon the serious tone, but if they turn it into a Dead Rising clone, that would suck. Just leave the combat alone.

willpak
willpak

Had so much fun with DI... I know it's a "love or hate" kind of game (seems this comments section is leaning towards the latter) with its bugs, poor story, voice acting, etc. And I hated playing the game by myself. But playing online with my brothers/friends, it was probably the most fun I've had in a game in a long time. 


I actually like the change to a less serious atmosphere, because that's really what the original DI was anyway. They tried to be serious and failed miserably. Instead of changing the game to fit the tone, they're changing the tone to fit the game, which I'm happy for. They're simply changing to what Dead Island truly is. 

EliOli
EliOli

I loved Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide.  Not sure about changing the tone to humorous.  The comedic tone of Dead Rising was a turn off for me.  I hope this doesn't turn out to be a poor Dead Rising imitation rather than a fresh take on Dead Island.  Seems like it could go either way.


I guess I'll just have to wait and see.  I will most likely wait for the reviews and game play footage for this one.  Not a pre-order title for me.

devilzzz2014
devilzzz2014

So they want it to be more like the Dead Rising series.  Eh nothing wrong with trying something different.  I applaud them.

pelvist
pelvist

Ill give this a miss then, the silly parts in Dead Island 1 where the parts that put me off it the most.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

loved the first one, gonna grab this one too.

skipper847
skipper847

If Deep Silver is the publisher again I am not buying.

vadagar1
vadagar1

the zombie survival genre has devolved to a ret@rded version of its own self



Talavaj
Talavaj

Well since Techland left I see no reason to be excited for this one.

vadagar1
vadagar1

wow can this game get any worst ??!! 


pathetic

AzatiS
AzatiS

This less serious thing kiling it for me ... Not that the first was serious but i can imagine ....

thettt
thettt

what was realistic in the first game? 

havanasammich
havanasammich

Shame. I really liked watching a runner sprint at you full tilt as you side stepped like a samurai and gracefully decapitated them with Zed's Demise in one fell swoop. I hope that's not deemed too realistic and gets cut. 

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Well this a change of pace, let's hope it pays off when the game come out.

DirkXXVI
DirkXXVI

Please dear God no leveling up zombies, or at least give us an option to not have leveling up zombies.  It sucks when you grind all the way up to something like level 34 and it  feels like level 1.3.  

chuckles471
chuckles471

including a new fury attack for the heroes"


So you haven't played the Dead Islands?  Because they were always part of the game.

FernoFrY
FernoFrY

This seems quite a surprising announcement since they are also bringing out Dying Light next year which looked like a successor to Dead Island.

Richie_Kotzev
Richie_Kotzev

They will have to allow 3rd person on this game, otherwise they won't get my money. I'm tired of the big 1st person wave of games. 

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

I'll give them another chance, but it will definitely be after I see some actual gameplay. They do great trailers, but they try to hard to impress with them, and at some point it just becomes dishonest. Just do short films if that's where you want to put the work/money. Otherwise, just show me the game, or at least have some continuity between the two.


This new trailer seems like a much better fit, but I'm a little disappointed they didn't see what they did with the last game as a challenge. A better developer would actually try to turn that original Dead Island trailer into a quality game. 

HiroArka
HiroArka

I mostly noticed the DJ Woman in the back ground grooving :D Also I am excited a bit for Dead Island 2

Jaxith
Jaxith

Well, I do distinctly remember duct taping a battery to my axe with the logic that it would electrocute zombies.  ...Somehow...  The first game wasn't all that serious to begin with.  Not the gameplay at least.  The game's story tried to take itself seriously, but was undermined by a cast of really, really unlikeable characters, and some crass, poorly executed storytelling.  In a lot of ways, gameplay and story were always at odds with each other.

What's more, considering the apparent direction of Dead Island Epidemic, I can't say that this tonal shift in the second game really comes as much of a shock.  The important question is though, whether the game is fun to play.  Secondarily, one does have to wonder if we'll get to play as less unlikeable characters this time around.  Who knows?  But I will say that if they do succeed with the lighter tone, and have interesting characters as well, this second game may actually have a chance to surprise us all with more emotional weight than the first game ever did.  Having characters interesting enough to care about is the key.

MaddenBowler10
MaddenBowler10

I thought Dead Island was non-serious to begin with...especially after the incredibly misleading trailer that evoked emotion before it was released. I was actually hoping the next Dead Island would be serious and emotional like the first one should have been.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

It seems like zombies and Nazis are in an arms race to be the guys you shoot.

hehe101
hehe101

the voice acting in DI 1 makes me cringe. Hope DI 2 will be better 

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

Walton doing an article about a Dead Island game...I hope you stay away from the review.

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

What a misleading title. It implies that Dead Island 1 was serious.

Megamandrew
Megamandrew

Wait, Riptide wasn't Dead Island 2?  Or are they just pretending that one doesn't exist?

TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

Surviving the undead has never been as fun as The Last of Us for the serious approach. But for the overwhelming hordes of undead, I gotta give it to Left 4 Dead... Unfortunately the game has been scrapped for now. Unless there is something I don't know.

PsychoChick966
PsychoChick966

I like a very realistic, tougher to survive kind of game... and I enjoyed both previous iterations..  I am looking forward to this one as well... sounds like fun.  I just hope it doesn't get ridiculous.  Humor, I love, but I am not looking for this to be anything like Dead Rising 2.

Gbullet
Gbullet

Fooled me once...won´t fool me again with your flashy trailer...Dead Island.

DemoKnight10656
DemoKnight10656

removed analog controls no cross reference of anybody from dead island 1 (maybe) and no tie into dead island epidemic and the same 4 classes expect for 1....... thank god for dying light dead island had there chance with riptide but they snubbed it this game does not sound appealing to me at all

punisher1
punisher1

I hope they ditch the system where the zombies scale with you and are always over powered.

runningman5ksmak
runningman5ksmak

@durpdurp1234 yeah hopefully see better acting this time a round It probably wont zombie games are all about bad voice acting  but with this being the same people that did spec ops the line hope to see a good story that game had a pretty decent story. but yeah I am hoping it wont be like Dead rising most overrated and crappy zombie game ever made

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@vadagar1  People like games with comedy in them. They  can be more fun than serious games. Look at GTA and Borderlands as examples. Both are  have tons of comedy and both are very successful.

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

Can u has does engrish so not good as me?

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@thettt Zombies walking the streets man. Happens everyday (I have to chop four each time I go to get some bread to the bakery)

harry_james_pot
harry_james_pot

@FernoFrY Dying Light is being made by Techland, who made the first Dead Island. And Dead Island 2 is being made by the Spec Ops The Line Devs.

Cochleadoc
Cochleadoc

Should less homophobic Insecure/Foreigner..

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

@Jaxith Zombies are extremely susceptible to low DC voltages which is why the  battery axe is so effective. Lol.  I've got to admit that I was initially skeptical of DI2 figuring they'd abandon the Dead Island franchise for Dying Light.  But the more I hear about it, the more it peaks my interest.  DI is extremely campy and half-baked in a lot of ways, but I always had fun with it, which is more than I can say for some recent AAA "blockbusters".  Definitely a game that shouldn't take itself seriously.

bearfan15
bearfan15

@runningman5ksmak @durpdurp1234  Dead rising wasn't about a good story or great acting, it was about having fun. You clearly took the game too seriously.

Jaxith
Jaxith

@SingletreeAve @Jaxith  There is certainly something satisfying about taking careful aim and then lopping a zombie's head off with an axe.  I definitely had fun with the first game.  If they're making improvements to the combat, it's a welcome boon, I think, but I still hope it carries that weight.