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Yager's unfinished take on Dead Island 2 has shambled online

Six years after announcement, and we’re still no closer to knowing when Dead Island 2 will shamble our way. Somewhat unexpectedly, though, that hasn’t stopped a select few from getting their hands on a playable build of the thing. Sort of. This week, a 2015 build of Dead Island 2 emerged online, with videos and screenshots revealed Yager’s long-buried vision of a multiplayer blood-in-the-sun sequel.

Our buds at Eurogamer report that the five-year-old build of Dead Island 2 allegedly surfaced out of internet trashcan 4Chan. The outlet has since verified that the copy is legit, a claim reinforced by EA Dice game designer (and former Yager employee) Jan David Hassel on Twitter.

As Hassel alludes, this build of Dead Island 2 is sourced from shortly before Yager ceased work on the game in 2015. The devs parted ways with publishers Deep Silver later that year, who handed development over to Sumo Digital. Then, last year, work shifted hands once again – this time to Homefront: The Revolution devs Dambuster Studios.

So, obvs, the version of Dead Island 2 kicking around the internet right now probably bears very little resemblance to the game as it exists right now, tucked away somewhere on Dambuster’s internal drives. But from screenshots and clips circulating Twitter, it is indeed the same sun-soaked bloodbath our Graham poked at all the way back in 2014 – albeit with plenty of placeholder assets and a heaping dose of in-development jank.

Yager’s version of Dead Island 2 would have features eight-player co-op across a sun-dabbled Californian open world. It would’ve featured the same loot-grabbing skill tree guff as the first, but Yager hoped to smooth out some of the first game’s uneven (often offensively gross) tone. Fair play, coming from the folks who’d previously developed Spec Ops: The Line.

Not that Dead Island 2 would’ve had you talking to the monsters, mind – theirs was very much still a game about lopping off heads with electro-charged axes held akimbo.

Five years after Yager moved on, Koch Media CEO Klemens Kundratitz insisted to GamesIndustry.biz that Dead Island 2 is still coming – even if we still don’t know when. “It’s a great story to tell everyone that it’s on its third studio, but we like to be judged on the end result and we’re really confident that when it comes out it’s going to be a kick-ass zombie game,” said Kundratitz. “We’ll certainly give it all our power.”

Techland – the folks wot made the first Dead Island – might not be involved in this long-troubled sequel, but they’re having a few issues getting their own zombie follow-up out the door. Dying Light 2 was delayed indefinitely from its planned Spring 2020 release earlier this year, though the devs insist the game is still “in good shape”.

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Natalie Clayton

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