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Dead Island 2 No Longer Being Developed by YAGER

Publisher Deep Silver emphasizes that work on the game will continue.

I feel like this zombie is about to explain the importance of liability insurance to me.
I feel like this zombie is about to explain the importance of liability insurance to me.

In a press release sent this afternoon, Publisher Deep Silver has announced that Dead Island 2 will no longer be developed by YAGER, the studio behind Spec Ops: The Line:

With Dead Island 2, Deep Silver has always been dedicated to delivering the sequel that Dead Island fans deserve.

After careful consideration, today we announce the decision to part ways with development partner YAGER. We will continue working towards bringing our vision of Dead Island 2 to life, and we will share further information at a later stage.

Dead Island 2 debuted with a CG trailer at Sony's 2014 E3 press conference, with further details and gameplay footage coming out of last year's Gamescom. Though that gameplay footage was all marked as pre-alpha, interviews with YAGER development staff reveal that the team had been aiming for a Spring 2015 release. In April, Deep Silver announced that the game had been delayed until 2016.

The first Dead Island was developed for Deep Silver by Techland, but that studio left the franchise behind to instead develop spiritual successor Dying Light for Warner Brothers. While Techland switched up Dead Island's design by introducing free-running and a day-night cycle, YAGER's take on a Dead Island sequel sought to build on the first game's multiplayer focus. Set in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, Dead Island 2 was going to feature 8 player, drop-in drop-out co-op, repeatable quests, dual wielding, and on-the-spot crafting.

At this point, it's hard to know what the future of Dead Island 2 will be. Will Deep Silver bring in a new studio to finish the work YAGER started, or will a new game be built from the ground up? Is the publisher's "vision" for Dead Island 2 incompatible with the design (or budget) of YAGER's project? How (if at all) did Dying Light's success affect Dead Island 2's development?

I'm curious to see how this will all shake out and what the future will look like for both YAGER and the Dead Island franchise.