When it was first revealed at E3 2014, Dead Island 2's comedic tone and humor helped it stand apart from the multitude of other zombie games available, and had fans of the original extremely excited to get their hands on it.
Since then, fans have long been anticipating the full-fledged sequel to 2011's Dead Island sleeper hit, but unfortunately, the game's development status has now been thrown into jeopardy. It was announced today by publisher Deep Silver that the studio working on Dead Island 2, Yager, has been pulled from the project, leaving the game without a developer.
Deep Silver's official statement reads:
With Dead Island 2, Deep Silver has always been dedicated to delivering the sequel that Dead Island fans deserve. After careful consideration, today we announce the decision to part ways with development partner YAGER. We will continue working towards bringing our vision of Dead Island 2 to life, and we will share further information at a later stage.
It seems likely that Yager simply wasn't working at the pace that Deep Silver wanted in order to get the game finished and released in a timely manner. After all, Dead Island 2 was originally slated for a 2015 release, but a few months ago, it was delayed to 2016. With Yager pulled from development and Deep Silver yet to name which studio will be taking over development duties, don't be surprised if it somehow slips into 2017 or beyond.
Another possibility is that Yager simply wasn't meeting the quality expectations that Deep Silver expected. After all, Dead Island is one of the publisher's premiere franchises, and really helped propel them to more prominence in the gaming industry, so it makes sense that they would be protective of it. Of course, this is all speculation, and until either Yager or Deep Silver comments more on the breakup, we won't know definitively why the split happened.
This tumultuous development cycle should be familiar to those that followed the original Dead Island, as the developers of that game, Techland, first revealed it at E3 2006, only to delay it constantly until it did eventually release five years later in 2011.
Deep Silver sought out a studio other than Techland to create the Dead Island sequel, as Techland has been busy developing a similar franchise for Warner Bros. with Dying Light.
Dying Light is very similar to Dead Island, but with a focus on parkour inspired maneuverability. As it turns out, Dying Light has been a huge success, earning the title of the best-selling game in January this past year, and amassing 3.2 million units sold total, surpassing Dead Island and making it Techland's best-selling game ever.
Even though Dead Island 2 is no longer being developed by Yager, Deep Silver has yet to say if the game is delayed from its planned 2016 release date on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.