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Soak up sunshine and slaughter in the first Dead Island 2 gameplay

Yager, the studio behind the critically acclaimed Spec Ops: The Line, has released the first gameplay footage of Dead Island 2, its open world follow-up to Techland’s zombie-slaughtering. loot-driven RPGs, Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide. The game follows a new set of zombie-immune protagonists — Beserker, Bishop, Hunter, and Speeder — as they hack, slash, blast, and burn their way through a quarantined California. The sunny sandbox will be open for up to eight players to compete, collaborate, or simply coexist.

The trailer is non-stop zombicide, showing off the wide variety of weapons that will be at your disposal to destroy the undead just how you want to. Mechanically the game introduces dual-wielding, which opens up a combinatorially wide space of tactical options as you can pair one-handed melee weapons with one-handed projectiles.

Related: Dead Island: Riptide is a rough-edged sandbox that doesn’t go far enough (review)

For instance, you can freeze a zombie with a frost gun and then shatter them with a wrench. In practice it looks similar to BioShock’s system of exploring combos between Vigors/Plasmids and weapons. You will also be able to cobble together weapons from found objects in the world, crafting electrified crossbow bolts that chain lighting between nearby zombies, or what looks like a whirling outboard motor with handles.

As this is the developer’s first outing with the franchise, we have a lot of questions. Open world multiplayer zombie survival with loot gathering and item crafting worked well enough in the previous games, but how can Yager innovate?

The studio have proven itself as more than capable of breathing surprising life into another over-iterated genre, as we saw in its contemporary military shooter Spec Ops: The Line, so we are cautiously optimistic about what the team — a new group, it should be mentioned — can bring to zombies. Dead Island 2 arrives in spring 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The developer will be sharing more gameplay and story details at Gamescom 2014.

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