Here’s Your Complete Guide to Dead Island 2’s ‘Flesh System’

Zombie spotted action adventure Dead Island 2 spent the last nine years bouncing between studios – original developer Techland, then Yager Development, then Sumo Digital and finally Dambuster, which has ties to TimeSplitters series in its former life in the 00s as free radical design. Recently it gained enough momentum to find an actual release date for next month, development…not quite the hell, let’s call it purgatory, and a nauseating meat system. Yes, “meat system.”

That’s how Dambuster describes the procedures responsible for its fall-off-the-bone battle graphics—layers of skin blowing away in clumps, like a too-high mound of whipped cream and springy eyeballs. Whether or not you’ve maintained your enthusiasm for this sequel (Dead Island: Riptide was more of a disappointing expansion than a true sequel) in the nearly full decade since launch, its next-gen macabre “meat system” deserves some of your attention, or at least your gag reflex. I’ve rounded up everything you need to know about it and more Dead Island 2 basic.

When is Dead Island 2 comes out?

It lets go a week ahead of its last announced release date – April 21st instead of April 28th.

What consoles want Dead Island 2 be on?

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

OK cool. What is a “meat system” and is it illegal?

I’m glad you asked. It’s gross, but far more legal than some videos I’ve seen on YouTube in 2007.

The game’s “meat” system apparently stands for “Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids,” game director David Stenton told IGN in 2022. It’s a procedural system that the developers applied to all enemies in the game, and it creates a “progressive effect,” senior render programmer Aaron Ridge said. Game Informer last month“so you can continue to harm in many, many different ways.”

This means that even after you knock their jaw out of their face, zombies lunge at you, scarlet blood pouring out of their drained eye sockets until you knock them back in – with a blade? A baseball bat? That two-legged eye openermaybe? – and watch their decaying bodies react accordingly. More skin shedding. The blood bursts. Their skull cracks and hollows. Vomit!

Image: Dambuster Studios

But also cool if you’re a fan of Cronenberg freakishness in your games, like me. Dead Island 2‘s developers certainly seem to be enjoying it, the press tells us at a presentation this week that in the game “anatomically correct layers of skin fat and muscle can be ripped away with machete-point accuracy to reveal breakable bones and individually destructible internal organs.”

“Sharp weapons can sever heads or limbs at any time and cut torsos cleanly in half using advanced fluid and soft body physics,” they said.

Even after you’ve taken down a zombie, you can continue hacking through its layers of skin, fat, and muscle until you finally hit a sturdy bone. You can break it and discard it too. There’s no limit to how far you can go – the meat system lets you chop even zombie hearts if you want.

It turns the game into a slaughterhouse. It gives you the “real feeling that zombies are made of something,” Ridge shared Game Informer, “that they have bits inside them, and they are a volume of mass.” More dark, said technical art director Dan Evans-Lawes Game Informer that the flesh system also reminds players that these monsters were once “people who actually lived in LA before the zombie outbreak happened.”

“They’re recognizable as that,” he said. “They feel like people.” The fascination of the abomination, indeed.

Is there a less disgusting new feature in the Dead Island 2?

It is there, yes. Instead of the original and Rip tides‘s skill treesto lead you through combat, the game will use trading cards, or skill card, which provide buffs and abilities you can add to a customizable deck. Just like the original, though Dead Island 2 will have more playable protagonists, multiplayer options and fragile weapons.

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