‘Dead Island 2’ Release Date In Jeopardy? Deep Silver Drops Developer Yager Late In Project

The Dead Island 2 release date could be pushed back further than 2016 if a recent development proves to be enough of a setback. The game’s developer, Yager, has been dropped from the project after the game was in one of its late stages.

The sequel to Deep Silver’s signature zombie-ridden adventure was met with a relatively “meh” reaction from the public after Riptide turned out to be basically the same game all over again with the same glitches. The biggest difference was that there was a new swamp element where the undead could catch up more easily and grab you out of your boat.

This could have been why the original sequel had been renamed Dying Light, and the actual sequel was given to another developer. However, according to VG 247, Deep Silver ended their relationship with developer Yager in July because the publisher’s vision “fell out of alignment” with that of Yager.

After three years in development, Yager’s failed plan to hit the December 2016 Dead Island 2 release date could be the least of their problems. Most games these days are usually finished in around three years’ time, including most Assassin’s Creed titles and Batman: Arkham Knight. What this means for Deep Silver is that unless they plan to use Yager’s template and modify it to their taste, that’s the game’s full development time down the proverbial drain.

Some gamers who actually anticipate Dead Island 2 might feel let down if the release date is postponed to around 2018. However, they might be more disappointed if a developer decides to cut corners and churn out an unfinished “good enough” product.

That’s what allegedly happened with Saints Row IV, and Deep Silver was lucky it turned out as good as it did. For this reason, weighing consumer expectation against development time, the publisher may cancel the game altogether.

No publisher wants to be known as the one that released a game as lackluster as Duke Nukem Forever after being over a decade in production.

Employees of Yager are feeling the sting, as having their project canceled so late in development has been considered “catastrophic.” Gamespot revealed that since July, when Deep Silver announced their split with the developer, some were consoled by Germany’s guarantee of three months’ pay. Others left the company to start their own. Yager managing director Timo Ullmann recounted why the delay of the Dead Island 2 release date might not be their worst fear.

“Having a project [canceled] in such a late state is a catastrophic event on so many different levels. It really is the worst possible outcome. Everybody involved loses. I really don’t blame them, and we wish them all the best. It’s tough, and not being given the chance to finish Dead Island 2, that hurts, you know? Right after the announcement a part of the team was a bit shell-shocked, of course, but you have to motivate yourself to keep going. Cancellation of projects, especially if the stakes are so high, is not unheard of. It hurt us, yes, but it happens.”

The official statement, which may or may not indicate the cancellation of Dead Island 2’s release date, came from Deep Silver in July 2015.

“After careful consideration, today we announce the decision to part ways with development partner Yager. With Dead Island 2, Deep Silver has always been dedicated to delivering the sequel that Dead Island fans deserve. We will continue working towards bringing our vision of Dead Island 2 to life, and we will share further information at a later stage.”

It is possible that Deep Silver will find a developer that can take Yager’s code and alter it to bring the game closer to their expectations by the proposed Dead Island 2 release date. The chances of that happening remain to be seen, and if it’s not delayed, the game could possibly be canceled entirely.

[Image via Deep Silver / Techno Buffalo]

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