Dead Island: Trailers and Entrails

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The top ten trending phrases on Twitter are an unpredictable mix of useless celebrities, #memes and eyewitness reports of breaking news, usually before it has been reported by traditional press outlets. Last month, the phrase ‘Dead Island‘ appeared and a click revealed it to be a game, and not a newly announced game, but one revealed some years ago and largely forgotten about. One stylish trailer later and it was one of the phrases on the tip of everyone’s Twit-tongue.

“The trailer we released was mostly a blessing,” says Vincent Kummer, Dead Island’s brand manager at Deep Silver, “because when you put something out there you don’t expect to generate that much interest in the game, especially not for free. However, we are cautious that people might be expecting things from the game, based on that trailer, that simply aren’t there. We’re aiming to make it very clear, early on, what the game is actually about.”

…Which is why they’ve invited me to a warehouse in East London to crawl through underground passages, check out the game and eat pizza in a deckchair. Dead Island is a first-person action RPG set on a tropical holiday island during the zombie apocalypse. There’s a heavy reliance on melee combat using items found lying around and you can combine and upgrade weapons at workbenches. We’re told that guns will feature later on in the game.


There’s also four-player ‘drop in and drop out’ co-op, with different character classes to choose from. One of these is ‘The Tank,’ and this is the class demonstrated in our playthrough as we were introduced to Sam B, a rapper who wakes up after a night’s partying and discovers the undead epidemic first-hand.

“We have a mixture of gritty, emotional storytelling and over the top characters such as Sam B. He’s the one with the cheesy one-liners to the game but the others are far more serious,” explains Vincent. “You begin the game not knowing anything and you’re going to spend the first two hours figuring that out as people discover that you are immune to being turned into a zombie.”

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Unlike other zombie games, and there have been many, what we have seen of Dead Island thus far has been set in bright sunlight. This makes me wonder what their approach to fear is.

“Our approach to fear is to have the player constantly worried for their life and that desperation that comes from having to survive using whatever you manage to pick up.”

“We’re saying that our environment is a paradise to die for and we’re building a full tropical island. It all starts at the beach hotel but you’re going to see jungle, city and some surprise locations that you won’t be expecting. There are also outdoor and indoor locations that are totally different and we manipulate the weather in certain ways to add a new level of fear.”

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In the good old days, games used to take the time to explain how their zombies come into existence, like Resident Evil and the T-Virus; but, given that they are so ubiquitous these days, hardly anyone seems to bother. I finished by asking Victor how Dead Island’s neck-munchers came to be.

“Zombies are obviously a part of our story and there is of course going to be background to that – it’s not like they’re just going to fall from the heavens. There are so many zombies out there in different media and different ways to use zombies as a metaphor for some failing of human beings. I’ve always liked to think of them as humans reverted to their basic primal instincts, with no good left in there at all.”

I’ll be keeping an eye on Dead Island and will be inviting the developer, Techland, to come on the blog to talk about the four-player co-op, so look out for that.

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  • One of the best trailers ever. Hopefully the game can match up to it.

  • I didn’t really get the fuss over the announcement trailer, since it was all pre-rendered. I’m glad there are actual gameplay shots now.

  • Killing Zombies never gets old! Can’t wait to check this one out!

  • I’m looking forward to this game, even if the trailer doesn’t represent the game in some ways, I enjoyed it very much, its a beautiful piece of art in my opinion.
    Can’t wait for more infos, Co-op zombie game will be awesome.

  • It’s an awesome trailer, but Deep Silver sucks… I will hold judgment until the game is done, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

  • You lost me at “first person”

  • Looks fun. Glad to see a zombie game that dosen’t give you tons of overpowered weapons, or has every zombie in the game dropping ammo.

  • Awesome!

  • Looks interesting, hope the game is good.

  • Awesome trailer. But it looks so certain the game itself will suck BIG TIME.


  • I’ve read other articles where Deep Silver has referred to the trailer as a “mixed blessing” and that the game will not truly reflect what we saw in the trailer. It’s a shame because they really captured the minds of many viewers and to ultimately deliver a game that will understandably receive Left 4 Dead comparisons, it feels like a major misstep.

    In other words, why not release a trailer that DOES REFLECT the game itself? Overall, it feels like a big, disappointing tease.

  • 1. first i would like to say that i really really loved the trailer, i have never sat here and hit replay on a trailer 5 times lol. ( that’s a good thing)
    2. Zombie games usualy are in the dark but if you guys can pull it off in the day, that would be cool and of course keep me on my toes looking around every corner to see who or what pops out of some tree :)
    3. Please come back and keep us posted on this game because it really looks cool & creepy. Bikini lady, right hand cut off. Guy, axe to kneck. little girl, tossed out the window.
    Gives us a “M” rated game and don’t be shy with the blood and gore as i believe these are essential in a horror game. thanks and now i’m gonna watch the trailer 1 more time lol.

  • First Person with “heavy reliance on melee combat”??? That’s gonna be really really hard to pull off.

  • amazing trailer!!! looking forward for some gameplay footage.

  • The trailer was very good but i have heard that the gameplay is nothing at all like the trailer.

  • I love the Call of Juarez series so now I’m REALLY looking forward to this.

  • After hearing the title and the hype from just an announce trailer, I have been intentionally avoiding that trailer. I just watched it now, and HOLY WOW! That was an impressive CG trailer.

    I will still turn a blind eye to this game until the zombie phase has died down. Black Ops zombies, Dead Nation, L4D2, the list goes on.

  • Zombies are a tough subject to make original anymore, but this has my interest. Having an open island world to explore at my leisure is what really intrigues me. I’m hoping for some fun optional activities, like being able to jump on a jet ski and cruise around (and then ram it into a group of shoreline zombies).

  • I saw this trailer about three weeks ago. I thought this was supposed to be new. Did I miss something?

  • The trailer was a big error, IMO, yes it’s generated hype and buzz for the game but…this is simply the eaxct opposite of the game.

    I was hoping for a fresh take on the over-used-zombie-genre. With emotional distress in-game as in the trailer the game could have been so much but without it, it’s just another zombie game.

    I’m tired of game devs alsways using the same ideas, why no game with hord of vampires? I t could put mroe action and fears because they’re quick and all. Then again, in 2 years maybe devs will jump on vampires and we’ll get 38 vampires games a year wich is not better than now with zombies.

    I’m also tired of FP (first-person perspective) games…

    The trailer makes me wonder, WHAT IF a DEV TEAM like the one behind UNCHARTED or HEAVY RAIN could bring to the zombie genre in term of a MORE CINEMATIC AND EMOTIONAL experience!

  • when is this game coming out? I cant wait to play it

  • I’m super excited for Dead Island! I’ve been waiting for this game since it was featured in a PC Gamer magazine ages ago. I’m really happy that it’s coming to PS3 as that’s my primary platform to play games. Best of luck to all the people at Techland, I can’t wait to play your game!

  • Why does the North American box art for Dead Island say “Dead Sland”?

  • the trailer was pretty amazing even if it didn’t include any game play & looked like something that would be done for a TV or Movie. the game sounds like it should be fun to play. I like that there won’t be numerous guns lying around & instead you get to make do with what ever you can find.

  • The trailer is amazing no matter what.just hope the game is half as good

  • Well done video. At first I was sad for the girl – suppose I still am a little bit, but then I got to see the reason she was thrown out the buildings window and then it all starts coming together. And also anytime someone wears a shirt with a number on it there is a record or personal significance to it, soo I’m guessing 15 was the amount of zombies he killed on that floor, which enabled him to stay alive. haha

  • It takes more than a flashy ad campaign to pique my interest, when all is said and done its just another zombie game.

    I’m excited for what horror games are like after the whole zombie craze is over, there is so much more that can be done with horror, come on developers!

  • Cant wait for this to come out looks hot !!!

  • I thought this was for xbox360 only…
    Oh ChurchOfSony your so vicious ,cant you let the xbotz have one exclusive this year ?
    Now they are really gonna cry
    PS3 4 life. Its that Blu cuz.

  • I don’t know how this game will turn out, but I will say one thing: those screenshots look absolutely gorgeous.

  • Such a powerful trailer.

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