Dead Island 2 is a zombie role-playing game that has been in production for over a decade and has gone through so many hands that someone forgot it was still cooking. This is a week earlier than expected, which is excellent news. The funny thing is, the game’s creator, Dambuster Studios, has come out and said that the game’s troubled development brought them “quite a lot of goodwill in the end.”
In case you forgot, Dead Island 2 was announced during E3 2014, with development beginning in 2012. Techland, the studio behind Dying Light, was initially supposed to take the lead on the project but ultimately put all its efforts into that game instead.
Because of this, publisher Deep Silver looked about for a developer to lead Dead Island 2 until Spec Ops: The Line’s developers, Yager Development, stepped up to the plate. Yager spent several years on Dead Island 2, which debuted at conventions in 2014 and 2016. Yager didn’t make it, sadly. Dead Island 2 was in limbo until Hood: Outlaws & Legends studio Sumo Digital took over production in March 2016. Deep Silver closed the studio in July 2015.
Once again, like Yager, Sumo didn’t stick around for long. Once more, Deep Silver has outsourced development to Dambuster Studios, the team behind Homefront: The Revolution. This indicates that over its more than ten years of production, Dead Island 2 has been worked on by at least four studios.
Some Goodwill Came Out of Development Hell
After all this scrambling and restarting, Dambuster Studios claims in a VGC interview that the development hell for Dead Island 2 wasn’t that horrible.
“It definitely concerned us at the start,” technical director Dan Evans-Lawes said. “I remember when we took the project on, I was thinking ‘Is this a poisoned chalice,’ you know what I mean? I think, though, that once we announced the game, people were interested because they knew it had been in ‘development hell’ for however long, and I think people were expecting it to be terrible, and so we were pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t.”
“And I kind of feel like it’s actually given us quite a lot of goodwill in the end. But that’s obviously reliant on people liking the game. But as long as they do, which I think they will, then I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all.”
Dambuster Had to Start Over With Dead Island 2
You would be accurate to conclude that development on Dead Island 2 was restarted when Dambuster Studios acquired it, given the game’s history of passing through so many studios. It was, albeit not everything was thrown away. The Los Angeles setting, for example, is still there. But almost everything else was completely redone.
“It was basically a complete restart,” Evans-Lawes said. “Obviously there were some things that had been communicated out already, the [Los Angeles] setting and things like that, and when we looked at it the setting was something that we definitely did want to keep.”
“We felt that it as an opportunity to have a really crazy, diverse cast of characters, and also it’s a very iconic location, so obviously we wanted to keep that. Other than that, it was totally from scratch.”
We had previously written a few articles about Dead Island 2. Visit the following links to learn more:
- Dead Island 2 Revamps Skill System with Exciting Skill Deck Feature.
- The Dead Island 2 Gameplay Will Be Revealed on December 6th.
Kotaku reached out to Deep Silver for comment-
In a way, Dead Island 2 could be considered a customarily developed game under typical circumstances. I mean, Dambuster Studios started working on the game in August 2019, not long before the global pandemic impacted the development of many games.
Despite the development challenges, especially under the effects of a widespread health crisis, Dead Island 2, under Dambuster Studios, has only been in the oven for almost four years. That’s not a wrong timelineIt’s been just wild for Dambuster Studios to insinuate that development hell has helped them in a roundabout way. You know, if the game ends up being any good.
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