Dead Island 2 Developers Says Things Aren’t As Horrible As They Seem
Dead Island 2, a sequel to the popular zombie role-playing game, has been in production for almost a decade but will finally be released on April 21. We are pretty pleased that this has come a week early than expected. In a humorous twist, Dambuster Studios has come forward to claim that the game’s troubled production led to”quite a lot of goodwill at the end” for the company.
Dead Island 2 was officially revealed at E3 2014, and development supposedly began in 2012. Techland, developers of Dying Light, were supposed to take the lead but ultimately decided to put all of their energy towards that game instead. This prompted Deep Silver, the game’s publisher, to search for a new studio to lead Dead Island 2 until Spec Ops: The Line’s developers, Yager Development, stepped forward.
Yager spent several years developing Dead Island 2, revealing it at conventions in 2014 and 2016. Yager didn’t make it, sadly. In July 2015, Deep Silver shuttered the studio, leaving Dead Island 2 in limbo until March 2016, when Hood: Outlaws & Legends developer Sumo Digital took over production.
As with Yager, Sumodidn’tt stick around for too long. Dambuster Studios, developers of Homefront: The Revolution, have taken over the game’s development after it was passed from one developer to another by Deep Silver. If you’ve lost count, four development studios have contributed to Dead Island 2 for almost a decade in production.
Some Goodwill Came Out of Development Hell
Dambuster Studios claimed in a VGC interview that the development hell for Dead Island 2 wasn’t all that bad after all this rushing and restarting.
“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.”
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Dambuster Had to Start Over With Dead Island 2
Given the game’s history of going through so many firms, you’d be correct to deduce that production on Dead Island 2 was restarted when Dambuster Studios bought it. It was, albeit not everything was discarded.
The Los Angeles setting, for example, remains. But practically everything else has been entirely redesigned.
“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.”
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 timeline. It’s been 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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