Well, this is quite the setback. Making a very rare and drastic decision for the development of a video game, publisher, Deep Silver has confirmed that they’ve fired Dead Island 2’s developer, Yager, best known for 2012’s Spec Ops: The Line. No direct reason was given for the termination, though they did issue a statement saying that they want Dead Island 2 to be the best game it can be, and after careful consideration, have decided to part ways with Yager. Yager themselves issued their own press release afterward, citing creative differences for their removal from development of Dead Island 2.
The most likely assumption is that Deep Silver felt that Yager’s development builds of Dead Island 2 were very sub-par, and didn’t seem to be improving. Since we now live in a world of Steam refunds, with the fiasco of things like the awful PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight being yanked from sale fresh in our minds, it seems like a lot of publishers, Deep Silver included, are now taking more careful consideration of the kinds of products that they release.
The real question however is what happens now that Dead Island 2 has no developer. It’s probable that Deep Silver will want to go back to the drawing board with the game, scrapping Yager’s work entirely, and this means a lot of development hours and money wasted. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to easily call on former Dead Island developer, Techland either, as the two outfits had something of a falling out after the release of the first game’s direct story follow-up, Dead Island: Riptide, over creative disputes that ultimately led to Techland partnering with Warner Bros. to release this past January’s Dying Light. In the meantime, Deep Silver released one more Dead Island game for last-gen consoles and PC, the single-player-driven and largely maligned Escape Dead Island, which was developed by Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 studio, Fatshark.
It’s unknown for now whether those who have already pre-ordered Dead Island 2 will have their orders cancelled, and any deposits refunded. The planned 2016 release window is also no doubt being pushed back even further, assuming the game isn’t cancelled entirely, since a new developer for Dead Island 2 has not yet been found.
Dead Island 2 was initially announced at Sony’s E3 2014 press conference, where it was first confirmed for PlayStation 4, and announced to include several PlayStation 4-exclusive bonuses, including an exclusive beta for owners of Sony’s console, before a later press release also pegged it to come to PC and Xbox One. It seems safe to assume that plans for that PlayStation 4 beta have probably now been scrapped however, at least until further notice.
Keep vacationing to Eggplante for all news and updates on Dead Island.