Dead Island 2 for Xbox & PC: Release date, trailers, gameplay, and everything we know

Cover art for Dead Island 2.
(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island became an instant cult-classic in 2011, drawing players in with its surprisingly fulfilling zombie-slashing combat and twisted sense of humor. Over a decade later, Dead Island 2 is finally happening — after a long, convoluted development journey.

2023 looks to be positively bursting with incredible-looking games, but Dead Island 2 is still gunning for the greatest Xbox games with its reimagined, brutal zombie sandbox. Here's what we know about Dead Island 2, including when and where it's releasing, how it'll play, and more.

What is Dead Island 2?

Screenshot of Dead Island 2.

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the original Dead Island, which was released all the way back in 2011 during the Xbox 360 era of gaming. The game, which pits players against hordes of ravenous undead within the confines of a dilapidated and decaying rendition of Los Angeles, was initially announced back in 2014 as a same-generation follow-up to its predecessor. Unfortunately, Dead Island 2 has been trapped in "development hell" since its reveal.

Led by publisher Deep Silver, Dead Island 2 started development in the hands of Yager Development shortly after the release of the first game in the series. In 2015, the studio was replaced by Sumo Digital. After years of total silence from Deep Silver regarding the state of Dead Island 2 (with many excited fans assuming the game had quietly died), it was revealed that Dead Island 2 had shifted hands again. Since 2019, Deep Silver's internal studio, Dambuster Studios, has helmed development of this complicated action-packed title and, finally, brought the dream of Dead Island 2 to fruition.

Re-revealed during Gamescom 2022, Dead Island 2 is official and coming to modern gaming platforms in early 2023. Players can look forward to a reimagined Los Angeles, nicknamed "Hell-A," filled with bloodthirsty zombies intent on removing the flesh from your bones. An RPG with heavy action elements, Dead Island 2 will follow the spirit of its predecessor but with plenty of new mechanics, systems, and content to shake things up.

When is the release date for Dead Island 2?

Screenshot of Dead Island 2.

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

When Dead Island 2 was re-revealed during Gamescom 2022, it also nabbed a release date — and it's sooner than you may think. Dead Island 2 officially arrives on Feb. 3, 2023, and it's coming to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC through the Epic Games Store, and Google Stadia. Dead Island 2 has not been confirmed for Xbox or PC Game Pass.

On Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, Dead Island 2 will support the whole slate of current-gen gaming features, including up to 4K resolution and 60 FPS (or greater), full HDR support, spatial surround sound, Smart Delivery to ensure you're always playing the best version of the game, and more. The game will also feature Xbox Achievements, cloud saves, and up to 3-player online co-op.

You can now preorder Dead Island 2 ahead of its release, with more information on the various available editions detailed below.

Where can I watch the trailers for Dead Island 2?

If you're dying to see more of Dead Island 2, look no further than all the must-watch trailers for this upcoming zombie-slayer. Because of how gore-tastic Dead Island 2 is, many of its trailers may only be available to view on YouTube.

Dead Island 2 re-reveal trailer

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Dead Island 2 gameplay reveal trailer

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Dead Island 2 E3 2014 trailer

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

How can I preorder Dead Island 2?

Screenshot of Dead Island 2.

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 is now available for preorder in both digital and physical editions, and is clearly confident that it's delivering a "AAA" current-gen zombie-splattering experience with its hefty price tag. You can find links below to preorder Dead Island 2 for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC, as well as information on every digital and physical edition.

  • Dead Island 2 Day One Edition (Digital). The default version of Dead Island 2, the Day One Edition is priced at $70 on Xbox and PlayStation, and $60 on PC. This edition includes:
    • A digital copy of the base game
    • The Memories of Banoi Pack preorder bonus, which includes two melee weapons, a weapon perk, and a skill card
  • Dead Island 2 Deluxe Edition (Digital). An upgraded version of Dead Island 2, the Deluxe Edition is priced at $75 on Xbox and PlayStation, and $65 on PC. This edition includes:
    • Everything from the Day One Edition
    • The Gold Weapons Pack, which includes one melee weapon and one ranged weapon
    • The Character Pack 1, which includes a unique costume and weapon
    • The Character Pack 2, which includes another unique costume and weapon
  • Dead Island 2 Gold Edition (Digital). The ultimate version of Dead Island 2, the Gold Edition is priced at $90 on Xbox and PlayStation, and $80 on PC. This edition includes:
    • Everything from the Deluxe Edition
    • The Dead Island 2 Expansions Pass, which will include two post-launch DLC expansions for Dead Island 2 featuring new areas, missions, enemies, weapons, and abilities
    • The Pulp Weapons Pack, which includes two signature melee weapons
  • Dead Island 2 Day One Edition (Physical). The default version of Dead Island 2, the Day One Edition is priced at $70 for Xbox and PlayStation. This edition includes:
    • A physical copy of the base game (this version is not compatible with Xbox Series S, Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, and PS5 Digital)
    • The Memories of Banoi Pack preorder bonus, which includes two melee weapons, a weapon perk, and a skill card
  • Dead Island 2 HELL-A Edition (Physical). The ultimate version of Dead Island 2, the HELL-A Edition is priced at $100 for Xbox and PlayStation. This edition includes:
    • A physical copy of the base game (this version is not compatible with Xbox Series S, Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, and PS5 Digital)
    • Everything from the Gold Edition, minus a digital copy of the base game
    • An exclusive steelbook
    • A Venice Beach travel map
    • Six slayer tarot cards
    • Two pin badges
    • One patch
Image (opens in new tab)

Dead Island 2

Preorder Dead Island 2 right now for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC before it releases on Feb. 3, 2023. Players can choose from three digital editions and two physical editions.

Preorder from: Xbox (Day One) (opens in new tab) | Xbox (Deluxe) (opens in new tab) | Xbox (Gold) (opens in new tab) | Amazon (Xbox & PlayStation) (opens in new tab) | Amazon (PC) (opens in new tab)

What is the story for Dead Island 2?

Screenshot of Dead Island 2.

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 takes place in Los Angeles, otherwise known as LA, the City of Angels, and Hell-A (during a zombie apocalypse, at least). Players will take control of one of six characters, each with a unique personality and dialogue. In the game, Los Angeles has been consumed by a deadly zombie virus that has infected the entire city, leaving millions as mindless husks hungry for human flesh. The American military has given up the city to the virus and quarantined the entire area, preventing anyone from entering or leaving.

You and a handful of other survivors have shown surprising immunity to the virus, even after being bitten and infected. Hardly unaffected, though, the virus manifests in your body in mysterious, terrifying new ways that could be the key to surviving the fall of Los Angeles and finding a cure for the zombifying disease. Players will need to explore the city and learn to harness the zombie virus inside them while surviving against hordes of vicious undead.

There's a whole roster of unique, voiced characters to meet in Dead Island 2, and a line of missions and quests that will bring you closer to unraveling the mystery of the virus and what you're becoming. Like its predecessor, though, Dead Island 2 isn't a serious, drama-laden tale of death and survival — instead, it unleashes players in a gore-filled sandbox dripping with dark humor and a plethora of powerful weapons and abilities. You may be saving the world, but Dead Island 2 wants you to do it in style.

What is the gameplay for Dead Island 2?

Screenshot of Dead Island 2.

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 is classified as an action-RPG. Players will have plenty of options to personalize their playstyle and choose how they tackle the challenges of this devastated world, but ultimately Dead Island 2 is a never-ending stream of chaos, dismemberment, and ridiculous bloody action.

The abilities of each character can be fully customized, with a new skills system letting players quickly tweak and even completely alter their builds on the fly. A huge arsenal of melee and ranged weapons are available to discover and turn against the armies of zombies seeking your brains, with many possessing unique attributes and abilities to help you gain an edge. In addition to player skills, it also seems that weapons can be equipped with powerful perks to further upgrade their capabilities.

Dead Island 2 is a gore-tastic sandbox that lets you rip and tear, burn and shock, and hack and slash through an endless stream of zombies in first-person, complete with full dismemberment. When it comes to your undead foes, there are dozens of distinct variants, each possessing different characteristics, mutations, and attacks. Zombies in Dead Island 2 also pull from the diverse cultures of Los Angeles to provide hundreds of visual styles among the zombies, ensuring no two fights look the same.

Deep Silver and Dambuster Studios want every encounter with Dead Island 2's zombies to present new threats to players, with plenty of tactics available to overcome those challenges. You also don't have to do it alone, as Dead Island 2 will include online co-op multiplayer for up to three players. Invite some of your friends and explore Los Angeles together, combining abilities and strategies to best even the most difficult obstacles in your path.

Interestingly, Dead Island 2 will be the very first video game to employ a new feature from Amazon: Alexa Game Control. While it's not clear how valuable this feature will be in practice, in theory it'll allow players to interact with Dead Island 2 with just the power of the voice. Without the need for the "Alexa" hotword or standalone hardware, players should be able to taunt zombies, request in-game help, and even activate abilities during combat, all with the power of their voice.

Will there be DLC for Dead Island 2?

Screenshot of Dead Island 2.

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 hasn't arrived yet, but some players are already wondering how the game will be supported after its release with additional content. While details aren't available yet, it has been confirmed the players can expect post-launch DLC expansions for Dead Island 2 in the months following its release.

The Dead Island 2 Expansion Pass, which is now available for preorder as part of the game's Gold and HELL-A Editions, will include two DLC expansions. Each unnamed expansion will bring new areas of Los Angeles to explore, additional story missions, and accompanying weapons, abilities, and foes to add further variety to the gameplay. We'll likely have to wait a while longer before we hear more about what these expansions will entail, but players can preorder the game now to guarantee access to the DLC the moment it does release.

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Dead Island 2

Hack and slash your way through a hellish, zombie-infested city in Dead Island 2, an upcoming action-RPG that combines dark humor, an arsenal of weapons and abilities, and hordes of gore-filled undead enemies.

Preorder from: Xbox (Day One) (opens in new tab) | Amazon (Xbox & PlayStation) (opens in new tab) | Amazon (PC) (opens in new tab)

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.