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Dead Island 2: news, rumors, and everything we know so far

Dead Island 2 appears to be alive and kicking. Eight years after its initial announcement, the much-anticipated and long-delayed zombie looks to finally be crawling out of its grave.

Many series fans had suspected Dead Island 2 would forever be stuck in development hell, as ownership of the sequel flipped back and forth between developers. But it now looks more likely than ever that the zombie-bashing follow-up is finally on track to hit shelves.

While the game hasn’t yet been officially revealed, an Amazon listing page appeared earlier this month, hinting at much of the game’s content, and even suggesting a Dead Island 2 release date. It looks like you’ll be sent to Los Angeles to beat hordes of undead ghouls with a variety of weapons, tools, and characters.

There are still plenty of details we’re yet to hear about, and we’re hoping a good chunk of them will appear at Gamescom 2022. Given the game’s recent appearance online, we suspect developer Dambuster Studios is gearing up for a full announcement sometime soon and the Gamescom Opening Night Live 2022 showcase would be the perfect opportunity. So make sure to check out our guide on how to watch Opening Night Live so you can catch the biggest announcements as they happen.

Want to know more about the long-awaited survival horror sequel? Read on for everything we know so far about Dead Island 2. 

Dead Island 2: cut to the chase

  • What is it? The long-delayed sequel to the melee-focused zombie hit Dead Island
  • When can I play it? TBC, but likely February 23, 2023
  • What can I play it on? PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Dead Island 2 release date and platforms

A zombie on the beach in Dead Island 2

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dambuster hasn’t officially revealed a Dead Island 2 release date, but there’s good reason to think it’s coming early next year. The Amazon store page that originally leaked the game’s announcement lists a release date of February 23, 2023. That’s specific enough to likely not be a placeholder.

Fans will be waiting with bated breath. The development of Dead Island 2 has switched hands twice since the sequel was originally announced eight years ago, leaving players disappointed in the past. It was first under development at Yager, the same studio that created Spec Ops: The Line, and was originally scheduled to release in 2015. But it never materialized. 

In 2016, it was announced that development had passed over to Sumo Digital. Three years later, the game changed studios again, with Dambuster announcing it had taken over work on the game. Since then, we’ve largely been in the dark about Dead Island 2’s development. Fingers crossed that it makes it past the finish line this time around.

As for platforms, it looks as if Dead Island 2 will be coming to new- and old-gen consoles. So expect to find it on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One and PC

Dead Island 2 gameplay and story

A zombie attacking the player in Dead Island 2

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Details of Dead Island 2’s gameplay are slim, but, thanks to the aforementioned Amazon listing leak, we have a few morsels of information to chew on until the game gets a full reveal.

The screenshots on the game’s listing page suggest it will continue the series’ emphasis on melee fighting. Expect to be smacking zombies with clubs and baseball bats, rather than unloading magazines from assault rifles. Although there’ll still be plenty of gore. The Amazon blurb says the game’s combat will deliver “the most intense, visceral and gory first-person experience possible”.

You’ll have a variety of weapons to choose between, the blurb claims, offering different tactical advantages, as well as six playable characters to pick from. Each character – or Slayer, as they appear to be called – can be outfitted with different abilities and skills. The blurb claims that you’ll be able to re-spec them instantly to “try out the craziest builds”, and the day-one DLC mentioned on Amazon suggests they’ll be cosmetic pieces to dress them up with, too.

Of course, they’ll be “dozens of distinct zombie types, each with their own mutations, attacks, and hundreds of LA-themed variants”. No word yet on what those variants will look like, though.

Dead Island 2’s story is still a bit of a mystery, although it sounds as if you’ll play as a survivor of a deadly virus that’s wrecked Los Angeles. Banding together with other survivors, you’ll try to “uncover the truth behind the outbreak” as you “harness the zombie inside” of yourself.

Dead Island 2 news and rumors

A group of zombies attacking the player in Dead Island 2

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 release date leaked on Amazon
Dead Island 2 appeared as a listing on Amazon in August, alongside a description, release date, and mock-up of the game’s box. Most of what we currently know about the game comes from that leak.

Dambuster Studios takes over development
Back in 2019, the development of Dead Island 2 was moved from Sumo Digital to Dambuster Studios. No further details were provided at the time, but it did indicate that the sequel was at least still in the works.

What we want to see

A sunset in Dead Island 2

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

We’ve been waiting nearly a decade for Dead Island 2, leaving us plenty of time to think over exactly what it is we want to see from the game. As the thought of a sequel to the cartoonishly dark zombie brawler has festered in our minds, our expectations have grown bewilderingly high, tempered only by the game’s beleaguered development process. We might not know exactly what Dead Island 2 will look like, but that hasn’t stopped us from daydreaming.

For starters, we expect it’ll continue the first game’s focus on melee combat. The original Dead Island tried to set itself apart from other zombie games of the times by placing much emphasis on makeshift handheld weapons that could be upgraded with mods you’d find across the island. Although guns could be found, ammo was limited, so you’d spend most of our time bashing the undead with nail-filled baseball bats, or electrified hammers.

The leaked screenshots of Dead Island 2 suggest the sequel will follow that trend. The player can be seen carrying a wrench that’s been modded with a spiked wheel, and what looks like a homemade stun baton. We’ll have to wait and see the variety of weapons and upgrades on offer.

We’d also love to see Dead Island 2 lean into the series’ humor. The original was hardly serious, and at its best when it embraced the colorful ridiculousness of fighting hordes of zombies in a tropical paradise. Hopefully, the sequel takes that even further, forgoing the hamfisted melodramatic narrative in favor of some good old-fashioned ghoul thumping.

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