If there’s anything Dambuster Studios wants you to know about Dead Island 2, it’s that it’s going to be pulpy in tone. This tone, which strikes a balance between the humorous and the horrifying, took centre stage at Gamescom’s Opening Night Live this year and was arguably one of the biggest focuses during our interview with developers behind closed doors.
But while Dambuster is certainly trying to evolve the series, the development team is taking steps not to go too far. Art director Adam Olsson tells The Loadout that while the game features stereotypes like bodybuilder zombies that patrol Hell-A’s Muscle Beach, the decisions on how to parody Los Angeles for Dead Island 2 have been taken with care in consultation with the company’s diversity council.
“It was a really interesting exercise trying to break down what makes something LA and what stands out as a truly unique LA experience,” Olsson tells The Loadout. “We were very cautious to take anything that would feel like a hurtful stereotype and that’s why, in the studio, we have a diversity council that helps us understand whether we’ve pushed something too far.”
The diversity council, which Olsson explains was formed a few years ago, exists to not only improve diversity in games but offer informed opinions on a game’s development – whether that’s on a game’s beats, its cast, tone, or more. The council in this case has been invaluable in helping Dambuster develop its striking tone.
“The council has worked very closely with us to make sure we’re pushing out a good tone because we want to make sure that we bring Dead Island 2 into the 21st Century,” he says. “We want to be contemporary and we want to be representative.”
This is something we’ve already seen in the game’s trailer, although as the Dead Island 2 release date creeps ever closer, we’re bound to see more action soon.
If you’re dying to find out how the game plays though, you’re in luck – we got the chance to try out one of the game’s many levels behind closed doors at Gamescom and we’re delighted to say Dead Island 2’s combat system encourages more than just brainless brawling.