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Dead Island 2 reappears at Gamescom with new trailer and release date

Dead Island 2 character
(Image credit: Deep Silver (screenshot))

What you need to know

  • Dead Island 2 was first announced in 2014 before entering development hell.
  • Though Yager Development was first tapped to helm the project, they were replaced by Sumo Digital and then finally Dambuster. 
  • Dead Island 2 will finally release on Feb. 3, 2023.
  • It will feature six playable characters and be set in Los Angeles.

During Gamescom Opening Night Live, Dead Island 2 made an appearance after years in development hell. The title, first announced in 2014 as a sequel to the zombie survival horror from Techland, has had a troubled development cycle, shifting between multiple studios. Now fans have received a new glimpse with an expected release date of Feb. 3, 2023.

While Techland went on to develop the Dying Light series, Dead Island 2 was passed between Yager Development and Sumo Digital before settling at Dambuster, one of publisher Deep Silver's internal studios.

Dead Island 2 will feature six playable characters and take place in Los Angeles. Or as the trailer affectionately calls it, Hell-A. Its 3-minute gameplay trailer features a ton of blood and gore, as expected given the apocalyptic setting. Players will be severing a lot of heads come February next year. 

Interestingly, playable characters seem to be immune to the virus. And not just immune, but they gain enhancements as Deep Silver says you can "harness the tainted zombie powers running through your veins."

If you're curious about how the tone of Dead Island 2 has changed — or hasn't — its 2014 announcement trailer showcases a similar setting with a jogger slowly turning into a zombie as he runs next to the beach. Both trailers display a humorous tone, indicating it's going for fun instead of serious like the first game. 

Whether Dead Island 2 will live up to expectations is anyone's guess, as eight years is a long time between an announcement and game release. Though some fans are skeptical given it's changed hands a few times, others are optimistic that it will be a worthy sequel. 

In addition to Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, Dead Island 2 is coming to PS5, PS4, Stadia, and supports Alexa Game Control. If you're wondering what Alexa Game Control is, it seems to be a feature that allows players to interact with the game using their voice. 

“We are excited to debut Alexa Game Control in Dead Island 2,” said Steve Bernstein, Alexa Games Director. “Gamers will enjoy a more immersive gaming experience by using their voice to goad zombies, ask for help, activate special abilities during combat, and more, without having to say 'Alexa,' use an Echo device, or purchase any special hardware.”

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.