Dead Island 2 has been an enigma shrouded in mystery ever since its announcement, delay and switching of developers from Yager Development to Sumo Digital. But while publisher Deep Silver has long assured us that Dead Island 2 is still in development, we haven’t seen anything about it in three years. If anyone is anticipating an announcement right around the corner, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Sumo Digital confirmed via Twitter that, while some of their personnel might be at Gamescom, which starts on August 23, the Dead Island 2 developers “won’t be showcasing anything ourselves.” See the Tweet for yourself below:
We’ll certainly have some members of the Sumo team around, but won’t be showcasing anything ourselves 🙂
— Sumo Digital (@SumoDigitalLtd) August 16, 2017
This comes only days after the publisher Deep Silver received its monthly question on whether or not Dead Island 2 is still happening, to which they answered in the affirmative. Gamescom, though, has special significance for Dead Island 2, as it was at Gamescom 2014 where the first (and, to this day, only) gameplay footage for Dead Island 2 was revealed. This as three years ago, and, then under the development of Yager, Dead Island 2 might not even resemble anything shown in that gameplay footage.
While it’s certainly understandable that Dead Island 2 would be taking a backseat this season, with Sumo Digital being one of the developers on the hotly anticipated Crackdown 3, this lack of showing at Gamescom could mean that Dead Island 2 is a long way off from release, if it releases at all.
Game releases in the modern day don’t just happen, not for big games anyway. There’s an easily identifiable calendar, and it all starts with these tentpole events where all the big upcoming releases are showcased. They were sticking to that schedule pretty rigidly with the original Dead Island 2 footage. First there was a cinematic trailer at E3 (seen below), then there was the gameplay footage at Gamescom, and this all would lead up to the eventual Q1 2015 release of Dead Island 2.
The 2015 release would never happen. Dead Island 2 would be delayed to 2016, with this decision coming suspiciously close to the release and success of Techland’s Dying Light. Techland, of course, is the polish development studio behind the original Dead Island who broke away from Deep Silver due to creative differences. Rumors swirled that Deep Silver wanted Yager Development to add light parkour elements in order to compete with Dying Light and, somewhere along the line, Yager decided it was all too much and left the project, leading to the game being delayed indefinitely.
But the corpse of Dead Island 2 was reanimated when Sumo Digital came onto the project, but the timeline has always been unclear. The official answer has always been something along the lines of “it’s happening, but we can’t say more.” Now that we know it’s not happening at Gamescom, we could see a fall release date announcement, maybe with a trailer. Truthfully, though, we may not see anything substantial for Dead Island 2 until E3 2018, assuming Deep Silver wants to stick to the tried and true hype-to-release schedule, which means the game might not be released until Q4 2018 or even Q1 2019 at the earliest.
By that time, the question must be asked, will anyone still care? Dead Island released in 2011, with a standalone expansion being released in 2013. Six years later, after there’s already a very similar and higher-acclaimed game (Dying Light), which the developers promised to support for at least another year, Dead Island 2 might be a much tougher sell.