Shambling: Yager Taken Off Dead Island 2

Polish studio Techland may have created open-world zombie-smashing FPS-RPG Dead Island, but publishers Deep Silver got the rights. That’s how come Deep Silver went on to have folk make daft things like the MOBA-y Dead Island: Epidemic and baffling drek Escape Island while Techland went on to make another open-world zombie-smashing FPS-RPG in Dying Light.

Straight-up sequel Dead Island 2 [official site] was in the works at Spec Ops: The Line devs Yager, and this one actually looked promising. But its future is now looking as safe as a lecherous, wisecracking wino in a zombie flick, as Deep Silver have announced Yager are off the game.

Deep Silver issued the following statement last night:

“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.”

O-kay then. Huh! That’s all. Whatever the issue was between Yager and Deep Silver, they don’t say. Presumably Deep Silver will now try to find another studio to finish it up.

Last time we saw Dead Island 2, in August 2014, it entertained our Graham. It seemed to embrace the fun and silliness of twatting zombies with naily bats. Hmm. Perhaps we’ll hear whispers of strife over the coming days and weeks.

Here’s how Yager’s Dead Island 2 looked last September in a demo-o-Q&A at EGX:

21 Comments

  1. The_invalid says:

    Huh. Yager are one of the few devs that work with Deep Silver who I would actually trust to turn out something interesting from that IP. Unless it goes over to Dambuster (i.e. most of Crytek UK). That’d be cool.

  2. USER47 says:

    To be honest, while I respect Yager for what they did with Spec Ops, Dead Island 2 looked like complete sh*t. They were developing it as neverending sandbox with no main story at all, generated missions that “happen over and over and over again” (not kidding, these were their words, they considered a feature) and some MMOish nonsense mixed in. The gameplay didn’t exactly looked very entertaining either. Lots of passive zombies standing around waiting to be killed by some over the top gruesome moves. Meh.

    Just take a look at this video.
    link to youtube.com

    Maybe this frees Yager to use their talent to make something interesting again.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      “while I respect Yager for what they did with Spec Ops”

      Sadly, the writing was nothing to do with Yager, a writer was drafted in by 2K. And that was really the only special thing about, er, Special Ops.

      • Blackcompany says:

        This explains a lot. Because the game they built around that writing, largely ruined the experience the writing tried to convey.

        The story seemed to want you to feel something. The horrors resulting from the things you did, etc. Except…you didnt do it. The protagonist did. At no point were choices offered; at no point could I have taken a harder, more dangerous road to preserve the lives of civilians or minimize casualties. At no point could I have held back and called for reinforcements. I didnt make those choices, the game made them for me, in the form of a linear, railroaded experience that belonged not to me, but to the protagonist.

        Frankly, I may as well have watched a movie.

      • USER47 says:

        It’s true it was the writing that made the game. But the rest wasn’t that bad either. The shooting mechanics were solid, the environment was beautiful and together with the soundtrack the whole thing had great atmosphere.

      • DanMan says:

        Interesting. The game part wasn’t great indeed.

      • Okami says:

        While it’s true that the writing was done by a 2K employee, the whole vision for the game and the setting came from Yager itself. Most story beats and events were decided upon before Walt joined the project and the final narrative was pretty much a collaboration between him and many people on the team. Make no mistake, he had a big impact on the final product, but it sure as hell wasn’t a case of genius witer coming up with all the good bits, while Yager just made the shooty bits in betwee..

  3. Unsheep says:

    I like what Yager did with Spec Ops The Line, it was very different from your regular military action shooter.
    However Dead Island 2 looked far too much like the previous two games, at the very least they could have placed the game in a more unique environment, like Alaska or something.

  4. Jalan says:

    I… I really don’t know what to write about this.

    How far off from Deep Silver’s expectations could it possible have been for them to tell Yager to hit the bricks? Maybe Deep Silver should consider putting this “franchise” to bed, what with the comedic car crash that was the PC release of the first game, the only really appreciated by those who trudged through the first’s release of the “expansion” and the mess that is Escape Dead Island, it just seems like they’re trying to squeeze cash out of the small number of individuals who refused to move on.

    • Jalan says:

      possibly*

      edit function, bleh.

    • Geebs says:

      “Yager were removed for exceeding the standards of quality fans of Deep Silver and the Dead Island franchise have come to expect. We apologise unreservedly.”

      • Jalan says:

        As plausible a reason as any.

        I’m genuinely curious, though it’s likely no one will come forward with specifics until whoever works on and releases the game is ready to push it out there (because everyone in the gaming world appear to be cunning PR foxes who know when to pull the trigger on the sniper rifle at just the right time).

  5. burth says:

    “With Dead Island 2, Deep Silver has always been dedicated to delivering the sequel that Dead Island fans deserve.”
    That doesn’t sound threatening at all…
    Reading the articles here, Escape Dead Island already was exactly what the fans deserved.

  6. vlonk says:

    Game about the apocalypse – developer crashes and burns!
    Poor YAGER, I wonder what went wrong here.

    • manio22 says:

      Usually the issue is $$ and is solved by more $$.

      • vlonk says:

        Really like to see a follow-up on this topic. What baffles me is this:
        published games developed by Yager going by wikipedia
        2003: Yager
        2005: Aerial Strike: Low Altitude – High Stakes
        2012: Spec Ops: The Line
        Some pretty big holes there!

        • Jekhar says:

          Aerial Strike is just the name of Yagers US release, so that hole is even bigger. Their german wikipedia entry even states that they only published two games since their inception (though both to critical acclaim).

        • USER47 says:

          They might have been doing some contract work for other studios, projects canceled before they were announced etc…

        • DanMan says:

          Seems like it’s enough to only-just finish games and get your money for that.

  7. DanMan says:

    link to gamesindustry.biz

    Creative differences. “No, it’s not you. It’s me.”