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Dead Island 2 release date, trailer, gameplay, and everything we know

Learn more about Dead Island 2, including the release date

Want to know the Dead Island 2 release date? It has been almost a decade since the original Dead Island 2 reveal, and it suffered countless delays during that time. The troubled development, during which it swapped developers multiple times, left many of us wondering what to expect from Dead Island 2 and if it would ever release.

Fortunately, the long-anticipated sequel recently resurfaced at Gamescom 2022, and we now know that the wait is almost over. If the journey to launch has left you feeling a bit confused, then you're in the right place, as we're here to break down everything we know about Dead Island 2.

In this guide, we'll explain everything we know about Dead Island 2, including the release date, platforms, a look at various trailers, and details about the gameplay, combat, and story. We'll also provide our hands-on thoughts from two previews, which were done eight years apart.

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Dead Island 2 is a still-in-development sequel to the original 2011 action horror game Dead Island.

Dead Island 2 release date and platforms

The Dead Island 2 release date is set for April 21, 2023. It will launch on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series consoles.

The release date has changed plenty over the past decade, but this is actually a slight bump from the previously-planned launch of April 28, 2023. The new date was announced via Dead Island 2's Twitter page.

Of course, April 21 is still much later than was originally planned, as Dead Island 2 suffered a delay towards the end of 2022. It was pushed back by a few months from the planned release date of February 3, 2023, which was announced during Gamescom Opening Night Live 2022.

Dead Island 2 trailer

Below, you can find the latest trailer for Dead Island 2, released in December 2022.

Watch on YouTube

It shows plenty of ways to kill the zombies in Dead Island 2, interspersed with a mix of gameplay clips and cutscenes showing glimpses of the world, with this sequel taking place in LA, and the characters we'll meet. It quickly focuses back on the killing, though, and we get a good look at the weapon blueprint system that'll return from the original. Electrified blades, hammers with little flames coming out of the side, you know the deal.

You'll need those extra-powerful melee weapons when you're attacked by Dead Island 2's range of special infected, which we also see towards the end. It has the explode-y ones, muscly ones, and scream-y ones, as you'd probably expect.

For fun, you can also look at the original trailer from E3 2014 below, followed by the Gamescom 2022 trailer.

Watch on YouTube
Watch on YouTube

One features a guy obliviously running past zombs, and the other a guy clearly exhausted while killing countless zombs. They have very different work ethics, that's for sure, but the vibes are very similar.

Dead Island 2 gameplay

Watch on YouTube

For those who didn't play the original, Dead Island 2 is a hack-and-slash action game set during a zombie apocalypse. You complete missions across the world, which is comprised of LA and San Francisco, and earn rewards such as money, crafting materials, and blueprints. You can then buy or craft new weapons, which are usually quite extravagant in nature thanks to mods that you can attach. As you can see in the trailers above, you can expect to wield electrified machetes and flaming hammers. To fans of the original, this should all sound familiar.

Unlike its predecessor, Dead Island 2 features a new skill card system. As you explore, you'll find cards that you can equip to gain new skills and abilities. These might give you a dodge mechanic, or grant extra health whenever you set a zombie on fire - that sort of thing. They're small, yet significant tweaks that you can use to create the perfect build for your playstyle.

Players will also get access to a RAGE mechanic, allowing you to temporarily reach new levels of power thanks to an unfortunate bite that's left undead power surging through your body.

Dead Island 2 image showing a big muscly zombie swinging down towards the player, who is holding up a modified sledgehammer.

During his visit to Gamescom, Ed also found that Dead Island 2 may not be an open-world game, with the developers referring to it as more of a "traditional guided tour that'll take us through iconic slices of LA". The original had large open areas that you could explore, but they were split by loading screens. You couldn't, for example, wander from the resort to the city. They were separate world spaces, but you could otherwise still roam around freely. For now, the extent of Dead Island 2's exploration remains to be seen.

Regardless, Dead Island 2 certainly retains the creative and outlandish ways to kill zombies that made the original so popular. While that wacky tone didn't always match with the original's more serious premise, Dead Island 2 is leaning away from the dark, brooding vibes of its predecessor. The trailers paint it as a silly romp with delightfully violent combat and an endless stream of jokey one-liners (which may or may not actually be funny).

Dead Island 2 combat

The gameplay breakdown above should give you an insight into what combat looks like, but Dead Island 2 expands on the original in one very specific way. It features a new FLESH system, which is all about eye-grabbing levels of gore. Zombies explode in showers of blood, sure, but that's just the start.

They'll stumble around with torn-open, flappy faces, chunks of missing flesh revealing the bones underneath. When you move in to attack, each swing is incredibly destructive, allowing you to chop zombies up and send their limbs flying in all directions. Kill moves are also filled with fantastically ridiculous levels of guts and gore.

In the gameplay trailer above, for example, you can watch the player plunge their fist deep into a zombie's face, unleashing a shower of blood as their skull caves in. You aren't just swinging around at big chunks of undead flesh - you'll carve that flesh into lots of tiny little bits, and it looks glorious.

Dead Island 2 story and setting

Dead Island 2 image showing zombies across a warmly lit beach, as the sun sets over the ocean in the background.

Dead Island 2 takes place in what the developers have dubbed "Hell-A". I hate that a lot, so let's just refer to it as LA. You'll explore iconic locales in the City of Angels, while also diving into San Francisco on your blood-soaked tour of the West Coast.

The plot remains a mystery for now, but one thing is clear. As was the case in the original, your survivor will get bit by a zombie early on in the game. Fortunately, you are seemingly immune to the virus, and can even use it to temporarily unleash some devastating punches via the RAGE mechanic mentioned above. The game's official website refers to it as a "thrilling pulp story", so we can confidently expect plenty of over-the-top action throughout.

Will Dead Island 2 have multiplayer?

Yes, Dead Island 2 will have multiplayer. Up to three players can team up on their journey through LA, but it isn't clear whether this includes cross-platform capabilities. We'd expect more precise details on how multiplayer will function in the run-up to launch, so we'll update this page with more info in the coming months.

It's worth noting that the latest version of Dead Island 2 seems quite different from what was originally planned with regards to multiplayer. Graham got hands-on with Dead Island 2 way back in 2014, and he noted that it was an eight-player co-op session. The current official site only refers to three-player co-op, so those with a large group of pals might need to split the party into a few different sessions.

Dead Island 2 hands-on thoughts

The player in Dead Island 2, wielding a wrench, stands on a street corner facing down a horde of zombies

Over the years, we've had two hands-on previews of Dead Island 2. One, as mentioned above, was back in 2014, shortly after the initial reveal. The other was much more recent, when Ed tried it out at Gamescom 2022. Ed's look at the current state of the game is what matters most, of course, and he found it to be a "fairly fun ride" that was "polished up to a surprising, bloody gloss".

For what it's worth, Graham came away from his original preview with similar sentiments, stating that combat became "more frenetic and exciting the more undead are thrown at you". Combat is the name of the game for the Dead Island franchise, and it seems that Dead Island 2 will indeed make it better, bloodier, and far more brutal.

That wraps up everything we currently know about Dead Island 2. Make sure to check back regularly for more on the upcoming zombie-slashing sequel over the coming months.

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Dead Island 2

PS4, Xbox One, PC

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About the Author
Hayden Hefford avatar

Hayden Hefford

Former Guides Writer

Hayden was a guides writer for RPS between 2021-2023. They're a big fan of survival games, especially those that focus on the undead. Zombies. Walkers. Shamblers. Whatever you call them, Hayden is definitely a fan.