Dead Island 2 has a new developer

2 min read


No disrespect to Techland, but I thought Dead Island was rubbish. The zombie apocalypse sandbox was filled to the brim with great ideas, but it fell flat in its execution (and it wasn’t helped much the frightening number of bugs).

The game made a big, big splash though, thanks to its unbelievable trailer – something that, in truth, probably did more to hurt the game once it was released than it should have. For the most part, Techland made up for its faults with the excellent Dying Light – which perfected the formula.

Given how good Dying Light is, trying to do the same sort of thing is a daunting prospect. Dead Island 2 needs to be amazing.

Unfortunately, it’s been in a bit of a development debacle. Originally announced at E3 in 2014, Publisher Deep Silver went on to drop the game’s developer. That developer was Yager, the folk behind the Spec Ops: The Line.

“With Dead Island 2, Deep Silver has always been dedicated to delivering the sequel that Dead Island fans deserve. After careful consideration, today we announce the decision to part ways with development partner Yager,” the publisher said last year. ”We will continue working towards bringing our vision of Dead Island 2 to life, and we will share further information at a later stage.”

Nearly six months later, the game finally has one. Sumo Digital, the guys behind LittleBigPlanet 3, and one of my favourite Kart racing games ever Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed is the new lead on Dead Island 2.

“Sumo showed so much understanding of the brand, had creative ideas and an excellent, vision that was aligned with our own,” Koch Media CEO Dr. Klemens Kundratitz told MCV.

“It just made perfect sense for us to move the project to them. We will reveal more details at a later stage, but for now I’d like to say that we are obviously super excited about the progress that we are making with them.”

While this does mean we probably won’t be getting a new Sonic racing game any time soon, I’m really keen to see what Sumo can do with the Dead Island licence.

“It’s an honour to be charged with the evolution of such an important franchise in Deep Silver’s catalogue,” said Sumo COO Paul Porter. “We’re looking forward to exceeding fan expectation with an ambitious design that we’re confident will take bone-crunching, visceral, zombie action to a whole new level.”

This, obviously, means Dead Island 2’s release goalposts have been moved further back – but if you want in on the Dead Island action, there’s a Definitive Edition of the first game and its quasi-sequel coming to the PS4 and Xbox One this year.

Last Updated: March 10, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Umar

    Still can’t see the relevance of this game now that Dying Light is out. Dying Light is far…FAAAR better than Dead Island.

    • Yep it sure is.

      • Until I saw a guy on steam who has about 12 hours in Dying Light and 1076 hours in Dead Island. He was claiming it’s the better title. My brain cannot compute.

        • Pariah

          Personal preference is a thing. Sometimes completely non-sensical, but still a thing. XD

          • I guess that’s what people say about my gaming habits as well… Considering I put a lot of time into Elite Dangerous.

          • Pariah

            That still looks interesting. I don’t know if I’d buy the game, but if I got it in a Humble Monthly I’d be excited. Not just “eh that’s kinda nice” – actually happy.

            I think every game has its merits, and even overall bad games can provide enjoyment to some people. I don’t think Elite Dangerous is a bad game, from what I heard the only thing people don’t like is the travel time. But it’s space, what did they expect?

          • Don’t ask me. I’m very biased on the game. It’s my favorite game. I would recommend it to everyone, but in reality it’s not for everyone. It’s a full on open world game, there is no story line. You make your own story, you build your own character and you are in control of what you do.

            And not every person can play a game like that.

            Travel time is part of the mechanic I guess, sure there are some station like in the LHS 3447 system (Which is the system every new player starts in) has stations which are 100 000 light seconds away from the central star. Which means a travel time of about 10 minutes between the star and the station. Dependent on which ship and layout you have of course. I don’t mind it though, gives me a chance to read the in-game news and explore the maps. Or plan my next route.

          • Pariah

            See, now that sounds quite immersive. Sounds like how space would be if we were space-faring. That sounds like a great experience.

          • In my opinion it is. Not to mention the planet surface exploration is great fun. They have some very cool ideas for the game. The next big update is apparently going to bring a lot more to the mission system. Which might just solve some people’s complaints about the game.

        • Captain JJ the Isolated

          Well, I spent about equal amounts of time on both. Dead Island was a ball in co-op though.

          • Both have their charms.

          • Captain JJ the Isolated

            They do.
            Look, I enjoyed Dying Light more. Was scarier too. The parkour (or parkoer as my friends say) was just an awesome addition

    • Pariah

      That might not remain the case in a few years with Dead Island 2 – depending on what they do with it. Games don’t make something then rest on their laurels. You continue to improve and innovate. Otherwise, would Quake even exist? They’d have stopped with Doom.

      • Umar

        Doom was a good game. Dead Island was kak lol Look, I get what you’re saying, i’m interested to see how they improve this series. Hope it’s good.

        • Pariah

          IF they improve the series. They still have to produce the goods lol. But the potential is there, so one shouldn’t just outright dismiss what could be an amazing game – before we’ve even seen anything about it.

          • Umar

            I personally don’t see the potential. From the footage I’ve seen, it looks bland and copy paste of the original. I’m only midly interested now that Sumo is developing and I’m hoping they can improve it because they do have a pretty good track record.

          • Pariah

            See that’s the thing. New dev, new opportunity. They have the potential to take what the previous guys did, and make it good. As the article says, they have ideas, they have a plan. So while there’s no guarantee that it will be good, there’s also no guarantee that it’ll be bad either.

    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      Yes, that is true! Everything they did with the melee combat was well thought out, even the skill tree surrounding it was excellently thought out, giving you just enough to feel as if you can escape a horde, but not enough to take them head on… Loved dying light…

  • chimera_85

    Much disrespect to techland, all their games are utter crap imo.

    I agree whole heartily that dead island had very good ideas but the execution was horrendous to say the least.

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