Dead Island 2 isn’t dead yet. During a THQ Nordic Interim Report Q1 for April through June 2019, the company confirmed that it is still trying to make this game happened. It is now on a third developer. Things are in progress. The thing is, should it be? Should Dead Island 2 still be made? Is it even still relevant eight years after the original release? While THQ Nordic’s new “thing” is resurrecting dead properties, this is one that shouldn’t leave its grave.
Dead Island 2 has the worst history behind it and comes from a series where there really isn’t even need for there to be another installment. Techland, the original developer, moved on from the series to start creating the superior Dying Light. Yaeger Development tried to get things together between 2012 and 2015. But, Deep Silver took it off of the project due to the developer and publisher having different visions for what it should be. Sumo Digital picked up the pieces in 2016, but we don’t really know how long it had it. All we know now is that Dambuster Studios was assigned it in in 2019.
A game careening from developer to developer, like a pinball bouncing off of bumpers, isn’t a good thing. We have no idea what has changed in the process. Nothing has been shown from it since gamescom 2014. We have no idea what it has looked like over the past few years. There have been no updates on stories. All Deep Silver has said is that it is still in development. That isn’t exactly encouraging, coming from a series that does not have a good pedigree.
We also have to remember that the Dead Island games we did get weren’t all that great. The first game had some novel elements, but it was quickly forgotten. If anything, people may remember it now for being an average zombie game in an unusual location that was filled with tons of glitches. The PC version was never even really fixed. Dead Island: Riptide, which was really more of a stand-alone expansion, had all of the same problems of the original and didn’t do much beyond adding a fifth survivor.
Plus, nobody wanted the spin-offs. Escape Dead Island appeared in 2014 and fell into an open grave. It was a technical mess with missions that were unappealing, mechanics that didn’t always work right, dated visuals and the mountain of unpleasant bugs and glitches Dead Island games are practically known for. The Dead Island MOBA, Dead Island: Epidemic, never even was released. It was canceled back when it was an open beta. Why? Saying “Because it is Dead Island” is a tempting response. The only game to actually do well is the Dead Island: Survivors mobile game, which is a free-to-play tower defense title that is, well, fine. It’s fine, for what it is, but not exactly a household name.
Sometimes, it is best to let nature take its course. Dead Island 2 isn’t working. Dead Island, as a whole, hasn’t worked for years. Spin-offs came, went and shambled into obscurity. Dead Island 2 has been in development hell since the end of 2012. Just because a company owns a property doesn’t mean it has to keep throwing money at it. This is a case where it’d probably best for all parties involved to just let the game go.