Haus, the first story expansion for the zombie beatdown romp Dead Island 2, promises to take players on a journey through a "surreal, psycho-horror dreamscape" as they investigate a previously unknown cult that's fighting to survive (and spread a somewhat dubious vision for the future of humanity) in an all-new region of undead-infested Los Angeles.
It does not sound like an especially nice group of folks, in case there was any doubt on that front: It's a "billionaire's secret techno-death cult" (it's always a billionaire, isn't it?) and while I'm not entirely sure what that means, I'm quite confident that it's not cool. Its followers are led by someone named Konstantin, who speaks of the "paragon of a new future," in which—to use the words of publisher Plaion—"the boundaries of morality are pushed to the limit."
The Haus in the expansion's title is "a classic, '60s era modern mansion" located in sunny Malibu, which sounds lovely except of course that it's not: "This nightmarish location serves as both a sanctuary and as a machine to strip away flesh and harvest the soul. Players will weave through the deranged labyrinth of biomes where rational architecture is subverted by expanding narrative spaces."
Okay, that may not be the most desirable vacation spot of all time, but it could point toward Haus addressing some of our chief complaints about Dead Island 2: The "dull design choices, repetitive combat, and a painfully weak story," as we said in our 55% review. Most of us have probably lost count of the number of zombie skulls we've bonked over the years and Dead Island 2 really doesn't do much to expand on that basic concept, but squaring off against a cult of weirdos who are determined to make a bad situation worse could make for a more interesting narrative: Who are the real monsters and all that sort of thing, right?
Further to that end, developer Dambuster Studios has posted a bit of tone-setting background fiction about a faux-investigative report into "the most powerful cult you've never heard of." It doesn't really say anything about specifics players can expect in the expansion, but it does offer a little bit of advice: "If you receive an invitation to Haus—however curious you are, whatever promises are made—do NOT go." I suspect that advice will go unheeded.
There are some more practical changes coming in Haus as well, including a new weapon called the K-Rossbow which will "explode zombified brains with ease" and another called the Hog Roaster which is apparently some kind of BBQ-based implement of destruction, and eight new skill cards.
Dead Island 2: Haus is set to go live on November 2, and will be available for PC on the Epic Games Store. Check out some suitably "ultra-rich megalomaniac" screens below.