German-based Yager Development is no longer working on Dead Island 2 after being dropped by publisher Deep Silver.
The open-world co-op zombie game had already been delayed to 2016, and has been in development purgatory for 3 years. Techland, the developers of the original Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide, were originally set to make Dead Island 2, but instead ended up developing Dying Light due to what it described as creative differences.
Yager, known for the excellent Spec Ops: The Line, was handed the reigns for Dead Island 2 in 2012, and while it looked pretty solid when it was shown at conventions last year, there were questions surrounding the ambition of the project and how well its randomly-generated multiplayer missions would work.
“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,” the publisher said in a statement. “We will continue working towards bringing our vision of Dead Island 2 to life, and we will share further information at a later stage.”
In a statement released earlier today to GamesIndustry.biz, Yager boss Timo Ullman said that the studio’s and publisher’s vision for the game “fell out alignment.”
“Our team is made of the best creative minds and tech specialists, who all share a common identity,” Ullman told the site. “The team worked with enthusiasm to take Dead Island 2 to a new level of quality. However, Yager and Deep Silver’s respective visions of the project fell out of alignment, which led to the decision that has been made.”
Judging by the sound of the statement, publisher and developer have reached an impasse with regards to the creative direction of Dead Island 2, in a similar manner that led to Techland being taken off the project.
Delaying a game is never usually good news and when you couple it with Dead Island 2‘s no show at E3 2015, perhaps the writing was on the wall. If Deep Silver has to completely change developer to bring their vision of Dead Island 2 “to life”, don’t be surprised to see the game delayed even further.
As for Yager, the studio is currently working on another project, Dreadnought, a free-to-play multiplayer combat game where players do battle with massive spaceships. Dreadnought is due to be published by Grey Box. According to Ullman, Yager has other projects lined up, and hinted that more about those would be revealed at this year’s Gamescom.
Below is the most recent trailer released for Dead Island 2. Whether or not it ends up being representative of the final game – or even if Dead Island 2 ever comes out – is anyone’s guess.