The game begins with a voiceover of a letter, addressed to a girl named Jenny, which is being written by her father, Adam 'Kane' Marcus. Kane is on his way to death row, following his manslaughter conviction. He meets death row inmate, James Seth Lynch. Lynch tells him that there will be a breakout. Their truck is involved in a head-on collision by a group of mercenaries. The two are broughtto a construction site, where they are confronted by members of The7. Kane receives a threat from them - to retrieve what he stole from them in three weeks - or his wife and daughter will be executed.
Kane informs Lynch as they're sent off, that he did not steal it, but he knows who did and where they stashed it. Kane is able to only retrieve half of the money, but believes to know where the other half is. Lynch, has then snapped and killed hostages leading to a chase. After losing the police, Kane informs Lynch that they need to go to Tokyo to retrieve the other half of the money.
They go after Retomoto, a Japanese crime lord who is the one who actually stole the briefcases from The7, by using his kidnapped daughter as bait. Lynch accidentally shoots and kills Rentomo's daughter while trying to stop her from escaping. Kane and The7's hired guns then proceed to escape from Retomoto's men. Kane is furious with Lynch, but realizes that they are out of time, and must return to The7.
Kane attempts to renegotiate with The7, Lynch questions his decision and Lynch reveals that he has secretly made a deal for his survival, and even a position within The7. These are revealed to be false promises to make Lynch a pawn. Kane's plea for extra time lands upon deaf ears, as The Brothers and Carlos depart for Havana, leaving Mute to execute Kane and his family. Kane's wife is killed by Mute who is in turn killed by Kane.
Kane decides to finish off The7 for the sake of his daughter's safety, Lynch too joins his cause, knowing the pain of loss himself. They free a group of "Dead Men" .Dead men are people who opposed The7 in the past and were disowned. They form a team. Before flying to Havanna, They return to Tokyo and kill Retomoto, Kane keeps everyone motivated with promises of payment as they track down the Brothers and Carlos. Carlos is found abandoned by the brothers, who have recaptured Jenny. The 'dead men' fight their way through the Venezuelan jungle, where they locate the Brothers' base of operations. Kane and Lynch storm the building and in the process kill the Elder Brother. However, the Younger Brother manages to escape.
Kane and Lynch then locate and confront the Younger Brother in the plane then Kane kills the Younger Brother. Which leads to a choices of Kane saving the dead men or leaving with a traumatized Jenny. In the canon ending, Kane chooses to rescue the 'dead men' who are pinned down. They are too late to save one, but Shelly is still alive. He feels betrayed, despite the rescue attempt. As they escape to the pier, Jenny is shot, Kane desperately carries her body along. Shelly loses his patience and attempts to escape on one of the boats, alone. Lynch is shot as he escapes on a boat with Kane, while Jenny's status is still unknown. the boat peacefully going down the river, while Kane holds Jenny and whispers to her ear about the letter he tried to send her.
In the alternate ending, Kane boards the helicopter with Jenny and leaves the battlefield, including Lynch behind. Lynch sees him flying away and only says "I knew it, I always knew it". Jenny resents her father's actions and tells him that she hates him.
In campaign mode the player takes the role of Kane. The player is able to play through 16 stages with Lynch by his side, at times accompanied by other hired mercenaries. Co-op mode is available in which the second player will assume the role of Lynch. Though almost identical to Kane's style of gameplay, Lynch has short bursts of aggression in which nearly all AI characters are police, some sporting an animal's head. Lynch carries a shotgun and a revolver as side arm, while Kane carries a submachine gun and standard pistol, though it is possible to swap weapons. Additional weapons such as grenades, sniper rifles and carbines can be picked up which can also be swapped between allies. The player can take cover by standing next to a wall, and can blindfire. While having hired mercenaries, the player can issue orders such as follow, move to a specific position, or attack.
Fragile Alliance is the game's online multiplayer mode, which consists of four maps: Hot Coffee, Late Night Opening, Withdrawal and A Walk In The Park. A free-to-download map pack released on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live provides four additional maps. The goal is to finish a several round match with the most money. Each round begins with all of the players as armed, balaclava-clad robbers, and players who have reached TrueSkill rank 50 and 30 will play as Kane and Lynch, respectively. Money can be used to buy better firearms and armor. Resistance is met in the form of armed AI controlled security guards and/or police officers. A player's money acts as a shield, but will quickly be dropped on the ground as the player is injured. To escape the level, a player must survive to meet a getaway car. All players who survive without turning on their allies will split stolen money evenly.
A player's appearance in the game is influenced by their TrueSkill rank on the Xbox 360. Unlike Kane and Lynch's campaign mode, players cannot sprint. If a player feels they have taken enough money to become a target for potential traitors, they can drop some of their money, becoming less of a scoring threat.
For the development of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Jesper Kyd was brought in to write the musical score for the game, having already written score for the Hitman series and Freedom Fighters. The single player was originally going to have online co-op but was dropped at the last minute and limited to offline due to time restrictions and difficulty. The game was originally going to revolve around Kane, with Lynch acting as a side-kick. But as the development went on, they decided to include Lynch in the story also. Martin Guldbaek, the art director for the game, said that for creating each of the locations, the team went to Los Angeles for photo shooting. They combined this with concept artwork to create "locations that matched the character's mood and perspective." Anders Poulsen is the lead character artist. According to him, he wanted to make characters "like no other." Kane was the first character to be designed, but was very different from his final appearance. When Lynch was brought in, it added more "life" to Kane's character.
The game went gold on October 31 2007, making the release date a full 10 days earlier.
Kane is voiced by Brian Bloom and Lynch is voiced by Jarion Monroe.
Downloadable content was made available for Kane & Lynch on April 17 2008, entitled "The Dope Bag". This contained four new maps: Clean Cut, Hooker’s Trail, Flying High, and Hasta La Vista, plus adding 250 Gamerscore for the Xbox 360 version bringing the total to 1250.
As announced by Eidos the sequel, named Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, is being prepared for an August 24,2010 release on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
A film adaptation is in the works from Lionsgate. The script was written by Kyle Ward. Bruce Willis has signed on for the film as the role of Kane and Jamie Foxx recently signed up for the role of Lynch.
In May 2010, IO Interactive announced a deal that would see a comic version of Kane & Lynch published under the DC Comics imprint WildStorm. The storyline is "not for the faint-hearted", and will explore the duo's criminal past, written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Chris Mitten, with cover art by Ben Templesmith.
The Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Original Soundtrack was composed, arranged and produced by Jesper Kyd and released on November 23, 2007. There are currently no intentions to release the soundtrack for sale, however, the special edition of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men contains a bonus disc with seven tracks.