One of the best elements of 2011’s Dead Island was the ability to cut down Walkers and Infected with up to three friends. For the sequel, developer Yager was inspired by the Xbox One’s new technology, and will offer 8-player multiplayer.

Dead Island 2’s producer Michael Kempson spoke about the sequel recently to, and revealed the origin of its multiplayer upgrade. Kempson stated, "Dead Island was four players, and when we were looking at that online aspect of it for pre-production we thought 'okay, we need to iterate on that.'” He continued,

"Then suddenly Microsoft turns up with a new console and says 'cloud-based servers, always online!' So we immediately looked at that - we'd already decided it was going to be open-world, but with four players? Would I see another guy? "We thought we could conceivably take it up to eight at least, and we progressively increased the player numbers until we got there, where it was kind of like, 'okay, now we're actually running into people a lot.' For us, that seemed to make the most sense in how we progressed with the online - make a seamless, bigger open world, and more players."

There are a few unanswered questions about Dead Island 2’s multiplayer upgrade, like whether or not strangers will appear in games and how mission objectives will be handled, but the original game handled co-op play very well, giving Yager a great template to work from. Perhaps the most interesting question is whether the PS4, which also features cloud-based servers but was not mentioned at the press event, will also get 8-player gameplay. Expect more updates on Dead Island 2 before its 2015 release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows.

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