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E3 2014 | Bright Lights, Big Zombies In “Dead Island” Sequel

Posted on June 16, 2014 AT 01:42pm

When the trailer for Dead Island 2 premiered at Sony’s press conference I was taken aback by its tone. Gone were the dark, heartbreaking backwards-moving family members beaten attacked by the undead as a slow piano melody plays over the carnage. Instead we were given a happy-go-lucky jogger-turned-zombie running around California as those around him are transformed like he does. It was funny, bloody, and strangely upbeat, and what could be the proper direction to take the series next. (After all, the dramatic undead games certainly outnumber the humorous ones.)

This time the series reins have been shifted from Techland over to the developers at Yager, who were responsible for the brilliant Spec Ops: The Line. Dead Island 2 takes the zombie apocalypse out of Banoi and instead transplants it into sunny California. The skies and seas are blue, the flowers are in full bloom, and the smell of human carcasses rotting in the heat fill the air. Players will find themselves jumping from one side of the state to another, from the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles to the sight of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, killing zombies and having a fun time at it. Of course the undead aren’t the only threat that lies in California, as there are a few survivors that don’t quite play well with others.

During the presentation the folks over at Yager and Deep Silver showed off an early build of Dead Island 2, where the object of the mission was to rescue a helpless survivor at a beach house. Through this demo we were shown off some of the more advanced zombie-battling techniques, which — while in even its earliest of stages — was able to present some of the next-gen graphics capabilities it will be bringing to the series. Hitting a zombie in the head will show off their rotting brain, and if you manage to successfully throw in some combo moves you can throw in a Fury attack that’ll put an end to a zombie once and for all. In our demonstration we were shown one such attack, which allows you to kick a zombie before sending it flying high up in the air via your sledgehammer.

Returning in Dead Island 2 will be the weapons-crafting system, only this time you don’t need to find a workbench to create some new and ridiculous weapons. Instead you simply just need the proper materials and the blueprints to build your weapon, and then proceed to make it on the spot. You can also double-wield these weapons, meaning you will be free to go crazy as much as you’d like (especially now that the Stamina Meter is no more). The new motorized weapons will require fuel that can found throughout the Golden State, but if you don’t have the energy to use them then the regular and not-so-regular stationary gear you’ll have packing will do the job just as well.

One other humorous tidbit the developers were happy to show off was the fact that the game will feature the very first cat animated via motion-capture techniques. While it’s quite the silly thing to put in the game, at the same time it’s pretty unique to see a developer go through the lengths in order to capture the right movements for such a small creature. No word on how the cat will enhance the gameplay, but only one can hope that Yager’s hard work will not go to waste just to see a feline licking its crotch or sleeping around the RV you travel in.

Dead Island 2 is due on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in Spring 2015.

An accomplished music, anime, and video game critic, Evan Bourgault has been a Contributing Editor and Podcast host with ElectricSistaHood since 2008. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Follow Evan on Twitter at

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