Back in June 2014—nearly a decade ago at this point—Dead Island 2 was revealed with a very good trailer and a 2015 release window. Only now, in 2023, following numerous delays, multiple studios, and even canceled versions, Dead Island 2 is almost here. In fact, it’s coming out a week early now, and only eight years late.
The first Dead Island, developed by Techland, launched in 2011. It wasn’t a perfect game, but its mix of first-person combat, open-world hijinks, co-op zombie killin’, and gorgeous tropical beaches connected with enough people to warrant its publisher trying to turn the game into a multi-game franchise. That flopped hard. Yet, that didn’t stop open-world zombie RPG Dead Island 2 from being announced at E3 2014 with that very memorable trailer involving a jogger. And then the game was delayed and delayed and different teams worked on it and it was thought to be dead and then re-announced and now, after all these years, Dead Island 2 is somehow coming out early. 2023 is weird, y’all.
As announced today, Dead Island 2, developed by Dambuster, is set to come out on April 21, 2023. Originally, it was due on April 28. The news of this “early” release came via a video showcasing comments from players asking if the game was ever coming out to which a man says “Abos-fucking-lutely” before revealing the new release date of April 21.
Dead Island 2 has been on a journey, to say the least. Its original developer, Techland, went off and worked on a different zombie game, Dying Light. Meanwhile, Yager took on the task of developing the sequel. After being announced in 2014 with a 2015 release window, the game was delayed and Yager left the project in July 2015. Then in March 2016, Sumo Digital took over, and for the next two years or so, publisher Deep Silver kept telling people the game wasn’t dead and was totally still being worked on. But in August 2019 the publisher’s parent company, THQ Nordic, announced that Sumo Digital wasn’t working on it anymore and that instead an internal team at Deep Silver known as Dambuster was developing Dead Island 2.
It’s wild to think that, after all these delays, Dead Island 2 is finally catching a break. I remember when the game was first announced in 2014. I was barely 22 and didn’t work at Kotaku. I lived in a different state. The Xbox One and PS4 weren’t even a year old. Truly a different era.
Dead Island 2 comes out April 21, 2023 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. Hopefully.