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Dead Island 2 could feature gaming’s most realistic zombies yet

Dambuster Studios' FLESH system is giving Dead Island 2 the most realistic zombies in gaming and raising the bar for undead hack-and-slash games going forward.

Dead Island 2 realistic zombie gore system: an image of a woman infront of a zombie from the new FPS game

Dambuster Studios’ Dead Island 2 is almost upon us and, as sceptical as we were about this hack-and-slash FPS beforehand, we’re excited to explore an undead-filled Los Angeles when the Dead Island 2 release date rolls around. Why? Well, Dead Island 2 could very-well feature video gaming’s most realistic zombies yet – and we’re not saying that lightly. Move over Dying Light 2, step aside The Last of Us, and don’t even think about it Back 4 Blood. Dead Island 2 is going to establish a new standard when it comes to the virtual undead and it’s all thanks to the “FLESH system” in play.

If you’re sitting there wondering just what the FLESH system Dambuster Studios is using to raise the bar when it comes to video game zombies actually is, you’re not alone; however, a couple Dead Island 2 devs have taken a moment to explain exactly how it works in a Game Informer interview – and it’s fascinating.

“Lots of games have gore and they all work in different ways, but where the FLESH system really takes it forward is how it has this progressive effect”, senior render programmer Aaron Ridge explains.

But, what does this actually mean? Well, it means that the zombies in Dead Island 2 are going to react much more realistically to being bashed about than what we’ve seen in the past – which should give players a “real feeling that the zombies are made of something and they’ve got bits inside”, according to Ridge.

A succinct way of describing Dead Island 2’s undead is that they’re a “volume of mass” over “just a shell” that you’re whacking with a baseball bat or a sledgehammer – both terms are used by Ridge. However, technical art director Dan Evans-Lawes goes into more detail about – well – the technical details of Dead Island 2’s FLESH system and why it’s going to be stand-out.

“It’s really just a procedural way to damage characters in [Dead Island 2],” Evans-Lawes begins. “All of the different zombie types are all set up in the same way, so that we can apply damage anywhere on the zombie and it will go through the layers of skin, fat, muscle, and then break through to bones and the internal organs.” This, as you can see for yourself below, leads to some of the most detailed dismemberment and authentic-yet-chaotic gore we’ve seen in a video game.

Evans-Lawes talks a lot about replicating the sensation he felt as a child watching Robocop, which we’re not sure is too relevant when it comes to Dead Island 2, but he does also explain in a little more detail that this game’s FLESH system is going to offer players an accurate outcome to their attacks and even go as far as to include things like “bruising around the wound”.

We know that’s a lot of words explaining something very visual, so perhaps it’s best if you check out Ridge and Evans-Lawes’ interview for yourself below:

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We know the new Dead Island 2 zombie types echo iconic Left 4 Dead 2 enemies, but this game’s undead really do look like they’re going to be the best we’ve ever seen; we certainly can’t think of another zombie slasher where this much detail has gone into the realism of taking them down (as real as that can get anyway). So, it looks like the wait was well worth it.

If you’re looking forward to this game, you can check out the latest on the Dead Island 2 characters, whether Dead Island 2 has co-op multiplayer, and more on why Dead Island 2 will be just as humorous and horrifying as the original right here.