Thereâ€™s no denying how massive zombies have become in the gaming industry. While they have been prevalent in the industry for years, it was not until recently that they truly reached critical mass, spreading (fittingly) to such a degree that many have become downright fatigued with the genre. In order to succeed in a crowded marketplace, video game zombies these days need to find some way to shamble out in front of the competition. This is where Dead Island 2 comes in.
Unveiled during Sonyâ€™s presentation at E3 2014, the trailer for Dead Island 2Â shows off a markedly different, far more stylized and cartoony look. With the seriesâ€™ first iteration turning heads for its strong first cinematic trailer, itâ€™s no surprise that that their latest E3 showing is bound to be equally notable. While itâ€™s only a CGI trailer, itâ€™s clear that – like the Saints Row series – publisherÂ Deep Silver is looking to take the Dead Island series in a… lighter direction.
Rather than trying to present a deep and emotional story of loss and sacrifice, Dead Island 2 instead looks to lighten the mood of the apocalypse with slapstick humor and over-the-top action. While the first title definitely had its share of light moments, it was still a darker experience than what has been shown of its direct sequel. If anything, this game looks to be moving in the direction of Dead Rising 3 and Sunset Overdrive,Â rather than the more realistic approach of DayZ.
According to Deep Silver, this iteration will find players traversing iconic California landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Venice Beach. As evidenced by the trailer, the California of Dead Island 2 will be a highly-stylized one, developed in Unreal Engine 4. While the original game encouraged multiplayer, this title places it at the forefront of the experience.
Bringing together up to eight people, players can forge whatever path they like in this open world. Whether through cooperative play, ruthless competitiveness or as a lone wolf, Deep Silver intends for the world of Dead Island 2 to be a more social one. With the rise in popularity of emergent gameplay stories in open-world titles, this could be the perfect direction for a title such as this to take.
For players looking to personalize their play experience, Deep Silver has also shed some light on the gameâ€™s character classes; the Berserker (as the name implies) will be the more down-and-dirty action-based class, most likely prioritizing the use of larger melee weapons like sledgehammers, while the Hunter will take on a stealthier play style. In addition to this, there will also be a skill system that will allow players to augment their character and weapons in the same ways as those which came before.
While it may not be setting out to reinvent the wheel, Dead Island 2 looks like it could find success by acknowledging the faults of both Techland’s first title, and the follow up Riptide.Â Like the first Saints Row, its strengths were overshadowed by the increasingly saturated genre it found itself connected to. By allowing the game to take itself less seriously, there may be a good chance it’s able to find the niche that it had hoped for from the start.
Would you rather Dead Island 2 be a serious title or more tongue-in-cheek? What kinds of melee weapons would you like to see in the final product?
Dead Island 2 is slated for release in spring of 2015 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. PS4 players can also expect a 30-day beta in advance of the game’s release.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ThatRyanB.