USK doesn’t care about Dead Island 2 – developer promises new level of violence

Screenshot from Dead Island 2 with the text Interview

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Of: Joost Rademacher

Dead Island 2 wants to make full use of the adjective “brutal”. In the interview, the developers talk about fights, gore and the fine balance between horror and humor.

Cologne – At Gamescom 2022, Dambuster Studio unveiled the release of the long-lost Dead Island 2. Anyone who has seen the new trailer should not have been able to avoid the numerous fountains of blood and the professional picking up of zombies. Dead Island 2 is unquestionably not a game for children, and the developers rejoice that their game should get such a high age rating. We chatted to Creative Director James Worrall and Lead Narrative Designer Ayesha Khan about the new FLESH system and its impact on Dead Island 2’s story.

name of the game Dead Island 2
release February 03, 2023
Publishers Deep Silver, Plaion
developer Dambuster Studios
platform PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
genre Action, open world

Dead Island 2: Everything new – This is how Dambuster Studios used the restart as an opportunity

The story of Dead Island 2 began in 2014, but the involvement of Dambuster Studios only began in 2018. Instead of continuing to use existing content, James Worrall’s team relaunched the entire project from scratch. Ayesha Khan explained the game reboot with the fresh studio in more detail:

It actually only made sense to us. I mean it wouldn’t have helped [die alte Technik] to use and bring to console generation 8 and 9. We’ve taken some inspiration from what’s happened so far under the Dead Island 2 name, but that’s only for the setting and premise. The rest is completely new.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the focus on first-person melee combat against zombies. James Worral: “We stuck with it, just turned everything to 11 and saw what we could do with it – that’s how FLESH, our gore engine, came to be“. FLESH, which stands for “Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids“, which is a fully location-based mutilation system for humanoids. This engine allows you to virtually disassemble or deface any zombie into its component parts. Each wound is procedurally generated based on which weapon you hit with and how hard.

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Not only does it look really muddy, there is also direct feedback on how to deal with the zombies at all times. “You could turn off the HUD and understand from hit feedback exactly how effective your weapons are against certain enemies and how much damage you’re doing‘ Worrall says.

Dead Island 2: Creative Director James Worrall on the wit and seriousness of the zombie apocalypse

With so much blood and injections, the USK should certainly raise more than just an eyebrow, after all, the first part was on the index for several years before the BPjM subsequently released it in 2019. So we asked Dead Island 2’s creative director if he was in any way concerned about the age rating. He was quite calm:

We don’t have too many worries about that. We’re going through the grading processes right now, but from the start we wanted to gloat over our adult rating. That’s our goal – whatever happens then, just happens.

Whether the USK and the BPjM see it that way remains to be seen. For Dambuster, however, the focus is first and foremost on making the game they want to make, with countless zombie entrails and the humorous pulp atmosphere of the game – what the USK says about it doesn’t matter for the time being.

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USK doesn’t care about Dead Island 2 – promises new level of brutality in interview © Deep Silver/Dambuster Studios

A certain amount of humor is of course given by the six different characters and their unique dialogues, but the joke is also characterized by the brutality of the game. “The comedy doesn’t necessarily come from silly situations, it lies more in the fact that people respond to tense situations with jokes“. Horror should not be neglected in Dead Island 2 and the developers promise more than enough dark and exciting moments in which humor plays second fiddle:

These different levels of humor allow us to prepare for the moment when the main character then becomes very serious and cares about the situation. So then the contrast holds

So if you feared a pure gag festival with Dead Island 2, you can rest assured that Dambuster Studios wants to find a balance in this regard. If you want to get even more insights into Dead Island 2, we have summarized our opinion on the first demo in the Dead Island 2 Preview.