Dead Island 2 release date, trailers, gameplay and news

Dead Island 2: Character sitting on green inflatable in a body of water holding a cocktail and a bloodied sword while zombies move through the water towards them
(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 has been a long time coming, having initially been revealed all the way back in 2014. 

Since then, the game has changed hands between a number of studios, and has clearly been subject to a very difficult development process to say the least. Thankfully, it's now mere days away from launch.

We've even played it already. Visit our Dead Island 2 review to hear our thoughts. Here's everything we know about Dead Island 2 so far, including the new release date, info on playable characters, and a look at gameplay.

Dead Island 2: cut to the chase

  • What is it? The long-delayed sequel to Dead Island
  • When can I play it? April 21, 2023
  • What can I play it on? PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC 

Dead Island 2 release date and platforms

A swollen zombies stands in an abandoned burger joint.

(Image credit: Dambuster Studios)

Dambuster Studios has once again changed the release date for Dead Island 2. It will now release April 21, 2023, one week earlier than expected. 

As for platforms, Dead Island 2 will be coming to new- and old-gen consoles, with PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC all confirmed.

Dead Island 2 trailers

Latest trailer

The latest trailer released for Dead Island 2 is its cinematic title sequence. It's a hazy, sleeze-drenched affair, that well and truly sets the tone for the game. Check it out below:

More trailers

We've included some key trailers for Dead Island 2 throughout this article. To see every trailer released for the game so far, be sure to visit the Dead Island official YouTube channel.

Dead Island 2 gameplay

Now that Dead Island 2 has been given what seems to be a final release date, we're starting to see more and more gameplay. In a recent showcase, a few minutes of new gameplay footage was shown off. Melee combat was highlighted, featuring hammers, blades, and DIY-modded gear. There are guns in the game too, and so far we've seen pistols, shotguns and assault rifles/SMGs.

One interesting mechanic that has been shown off in gameplay trailers is the frenzy ability. It comes from the zombie bite on your character's arm, and allows them to enter a state where they become momentarily zombified. It looks like a useful tool, one that allows you to tear through hordes of zombies with ease.

In an interview with PCGamer, creative director James Worrall revealed that while the game doesn’t have a branching narrative, the six player characters offer different perspectives. 

"Each player character has their own voice and their own dialogue," he said. "So you might get one character who's particularly driven or energised or upbeat. You might get another character who's a little bit more of a cynical individual. Some characters are quite low key, subtle. We've written those characters to reflect broad playstyles."

As for the zombies, there’ll be variety there, too, with Dambuster confirming there'll be “dozens of distinct zombie types, each with their own mutations, attacks and hundreds of LA-themed variants”.

In a preview of the game, IGN touched on the game's ‘FLESH’ system, or 'Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids', which “procedurally shreds zombies with each strike” and makes the game a truly gory experience. We caught a glimpse of that ourselves in the trailer. 

When it comes to combat, IGN said that the game “encourages constant movement, with dodges, kicks, and jumps all integral parts” and that while there is a stamina system, it’s not punishingly restrictive, allowing you to “experiment with a variety of different techniques”.

During an interview with GameInformer (opens in new tab), it was revealed that Dead Island 2's skill tree will be based on a card deck-building system. Creative director James Worrall described the skill deck as, "A collection of slots that represent all kinds of different abilities and you swap the cards in and out on the fly, however you want, whenever you want."

Dead Island 2 story and setting

Dead Island 2’s story is still a bit of a mystery, although it sounds as if you’ll play as a survivor of a deadly virus that’s wrecked Los Angeles. Banding together with other survivors, you’ll try to “uncover the truth behind the outbreak” as you “harness the zombie inside” of yourself.

As part of that banding together, Dead Island 2 will support single-player gameplay but there'll be co-op mode, too, with up to three players able to take part. We’ve still got quite a lot to learn about just how the co-op will work, though.  There will be six playable characters at launch. So far, we've seen four of them. There's Amy a Paralympian, Dani, who is a mosh-pit loving rockstar, Jacob, an English stuntman, and then finally Ryan, an exotic dancer from Fresno. 

Dead Island 2 news

body-builder zombie lunging towards player

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Dead Island 2 gets new Skill Cards
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Studio Community Manager, Toby Gallagher detailed new Skill Cards. Each allows you to unleash a different ability, and can be accessed from the deck building menu.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.

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