Sure, it might've had zombies and first-person, melee-focused combat, and yes, it was developed by Techland, but Dying Light wasn't a Dead Island game - and despite the rumors, it didn't start as one. While the original Dead Island was pretty successful, selling a few million units, Techland split with publisher Deep Silver around 2012 and used their newfound freedom to create "the game Dead Island fans want."
Those are fighting words, but Techland can back them up: Dying Light went on to become the studio's best-selling title, and emerged as a surprise hit this past winter. That puts a lot of pressure on Yager Development, who signed on to develop Dead Island 2 after Techland's departure. Not that Yager's a bad developer - the company made Spec Ops: The Line, which is considered one of the most narratively sophisticated shooters of all time - but with Dead Island's creators publically throwing shade at the sequel, it's going to be hard to regain players' trust.
To their credit, Yager's playing things safe. Dead Island 2, which was revealed at E3 2014, addresses many of the original's flaws, with a deeper and more accessible crafting system and first person open world gameplay reminiscent of the Far Cry series. Yager's also taking their time to make sure that it gets things right. While Dead Island 2 was originally scheduled to come out in Spring 2015, the season's almost over; as such, it's not much of a surprise Yager delayed the game until 2016.
In an official statement, Yager is completely candid regarding the reasons for the delay: "We've been looking at the game long and hard, and we have decided we didn’t reach that goal we set out to achieve quite yet." As Yager explains, "by giving Dead Island 2 more time we are confident that everyone will get a better game to play as a result."
Dead Island 2 takes the original game's most popular features - "different characters to play with, co-op, and turning a paradise setting into a zombie slaughter melee," according to Yager - and ups the ante, with streamlined combat and a sun-and-slaughter-soaked Los Angeles setting.
Hopefully, the extra development time will pay off. Despite an incredible trailer, Dead Island received mixed reviews and suffered from poor technical performance, and a series of increasingly shoddy sequels tarnished the brand's reputation. There's lots of potential in a first person, open world zombie game - Dying Light proved that - and hopefully Yager can craft a title that finally delivers on Dead Island's intriguing premise.
Dead Island 2 is in development for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: Dead Island 2