Dead Island 2 Has Breakable Weapons to Balance Its ‘Over-the-Top Mentality’

Dead Island 2 will feature breakable weapons, so you might want to stock up.

During an interview with VG247, developer Adam Duckett defended the game’s durability system.

“Ranged weapons have ammo, so melee weapons have degradation,” he stated. “We’re generous with it; we want players to explore the full arsenal of weapons – so we have so many great mods, and so many perks, and so many other things in this game that we want players to cycle through. It also helps that players can keep a wide variety of tools in their arsenal, so they’re never going to be without something they can use.”

Dead Island 2 is set to debut on February 3, 2023, and follows the highly successful Dead Island, this time seeing players fighting off a zombie apocalypse in the middle of Los Angeles. Whether you like it or not, durability is going to be a big factor.

“I think [weapon durability] helps fit with our tone a little bit, too,” added art director Adam Olson. “Because this is a game that just keeps going, this is a game that’s over-the-top – but we want to be grounded in reality. Having one foot in reality – and having weapons that break – helps us push other parts of the game into that over-the-top mentality.”

It’s often argued that controversial weapon durability systems add a level of realism to games. You can find these systems in the likes of Breath of the Wild, Yakuza, Far Cry, and even Minecraft. But many players are simply irritated by the constant need to attend to their weapons.

Dead Island 2’s developers say that a weapon falling apart in your hands is part of the experience.

“There’s nothing better than cracking a katana, looking at the hilt in your hand, and then seeing the rest of the blade embedded in a zombie’s skull,” he explained. “You can quite easily turn off the HUD and be able to see the weapon degrade in front of you, in various stages. So, players can look at their weapon and think ‘hm, that’s looking a bit crude’ and know they’ll need to switch it out.”

“That’s something we really wanted to do with this game; we want you to be able to turn off the HUD and know everything that’s going on,” added Olson. “From our point of view, we want you to be able to tell the enemy’s health, how damaged they are, how degraded your weapon is, how long you’ve been in the fight… just from looking around you. We want everything to be obvious to you, with the UI or without it.”

Seeing the degradation of a weapon happen in front of you is a nice addition, and considering the survival-horror genre, it’s very fitting. In fact, it sounds as though it was a key consideration when designing the game.

“We want to make every hit feel like it connects with a zombie – so that you can see it on the zombie, and on your weapon,” said Duckett. “Weapon degradation and durability makes sense, from that point of view.”

“In the full game, players will be able to go between full HUD, dynamic HUD, and fully immersive HUD-less, and a lot of our game design decisions have been made around the fact that the world should be readable in that,” said Duckett. “If players aren’t seeing clothing or skin get torn or damaged or ripped, they should be able to tell that the weapon they’re using isn’t doing the damage they’d expect it to do. That connection to what’s happening on-screen should come through for people that want a more immersive experience.”

Want to read more about Dead Island 2? Check out what you’ll get in each Dead Island 2 edition and get a glimpse of the game with our hands-on preview.

Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

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