Arriving shortly after Dying Light‘s January 27th release date, Dead Island 2 will try to keep pace. Sure the games are months apart in release date, but the comparisons are inevitable, and the discussion is shaping up much like another popular debate: Call of Duty vs. Battlefield. So, which one should you be looking forward to more?
Casual vs. Hardcore
Although the difference has waned in the last few years, with a new Battlefield releasing almost as often as a Call of Duty title, the debate was once heated. Battlefield was the more serious game, its proponents cried, requiring actual strategy and tactics, whereas Call of Duty appealed to the more casual audience, with a lighter tone and emphasis on accessible multiplayer.
Looking at all we know about Dying Light, and the little we know about Dead Island 2, the conversation is becoming eerily similar. Dying Light is the deeper version of the open-world zombie survival, adding a revolutionary free-running system and a day-and-night cycle, as well as sporting a much more serious tone. The developers of Dead Island 2 have routinely said that their game is light-hearted, while still dealing with serious themes. In addition, Dead Island 2‘s focus on seamless multiplayer puts it firmly in the Call of Duty category.
If either of the titles flops, the debate will be moot. The reason Call of Duty and Battlefield competed at all was because they have always been successful franchises with dedicated fans. If one sells far better, or is more well-received, the other one may as well forfeit. The height of this competition was during the Bad Company 2 days of Battlefield. Call of Duty was riding the equal success of Black Ops, and fans of either series butted heads in a way only rivaled by Dota 2 and League of Legends players. Then, Battlefield rattled off a disappointing No. 3, and famously went full fiasco in Battlefield 4, while Call of Duty kept its casual audience with ease.
The only hope of a viable counterweight is Battlefield: Hardline, and Visceral Games is taking its sweet time, presumably to make sure it launches without a hitch. In the mean time, Call of Duty reigns supreme, with many calling its latest installment, Advanced Warfare, a game-of-the-year contender. The debate has virtually disappeared. Since Battlefield 4, Call of Duty has seen two installments that can easily compete. The ball is in Battlefield‘s court.
When Dying Light releases, the ball will be in Yager Development’s court. If they can succeed in similar fashion, we’ll have a new “great debate” in gaming between the casual and hardcore. The major beneficiary of any power struggle between gaming giants, though, is always the gamer, so sit back and be fought over.
Battlefield and Call of Duty developers went back and forth throughout the height of the competition. When Infinity Ward announced that Modern Warfare 2 would only be peer-to-peer, it took DICE all of two days to announce that they would have dedicated servers for Bad Company 2. Since Dead Island 2‘s announcement, each developer has thrown its fair share of punches. Yager poked loads of fun at Techland’s bug problems in the first Dead Island game. Techland responded back by saying Dying Light will be much more mature than Dead Island 2.
The plot in the Dying Light and Dead Island 2 debate is even thicker, since Techland famously broke away from its publisher Deep Silver to work on Dying Light. With one developer working off the scraps of another, Techland might have a good argument to say they win by default. That is, if the game is bug-free. Yager had a point: Techland is known for rushing games, and could easily shoot themselves in the foot if this game isn’t scot-free at launch.
The final verdict remains to be seen, but Dying Light and Dead Island 2 have spurred what might be the most entertaining rivalry among two zombie games.