CG-Cry: Dead Island Wants To Make You All Weepy Again

By Nathan Grayson on September 19th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

THIS SITUATION WILL RESOLVE WELL I'M SURE.

Once upon a time, Techland made everyone cry. Then it made some people cry again when it, er, didn’t make them cry again with Dead Island: The Game Based On The Hit Original Trailer. The final product was still pretty fun (if very rough-around-the-edges), mind you, but its over-the-top blend of Borderlands and zombies didn’t exactly scratch the itch people were expecting it to. Fast forward (and maybe also reverse and slow-mo) to now: Techland’s attempting to court attention again with a new sadvertisement for sequel Dead Island: Riptide. But – in this post-Day-Z-and-Walking-Dead world of ours – does it succeed?

In short, not really. I wouldn’t even blame the aforementioned zombo-drama standard-bearers, either. This CG spot’s just, uh, not really very great. The original easily blows it out of the water – especially in terms of clever gimmickery. But even then, that’s also not really the issue. I mean, anything can produce emotion if done well, right? And honestly, I like the idea of a brief, intimate moment taking priority over normal game-y tropes like chaos, time travel, and bloodtalities.

Here, though, they make the mistake of putting tons of focus on what should be nuanced expressions from a soon-to-be-snacked-upon couple. Problem is, they’re actually creeptastic staring-eyed aliens from Planet Mannequin (also the name of my upcoming vaguely erotic pulp sci-fi series), so most of it falls flat. There’s one moment that might get you – and you’ll know it when you see it – but beyond that, this seems like a quick, uninspired attempt at saying, “Hey, remember that thing we did last time? Well look, we totally did it again!”

Oh well. If anything, I’m actually kind of happy this exists. It’s a nice “How far we’ve come” measurement marker for the industry. I mean, now we do have zombie games that provide something along these lines emotionally. And it didn’t even take us a year. So hooray for games! They’re pretty cool and stuff.

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60 Comments »

  1. povu says:

    ” I mean, now we do have zombie games that provide something along these lines emotionally. ‘ Shame we get this from Dead Island trailers instead. Still, this time we know what to expect.

    Should still be fun in co-op.

    • Marik Bentusi says:

      Friends can make almost any game fun.

    • SelfEsteemFund says:

      I’m not trying to be sensationalist when I say this I am simply trying to be frank, so I’m sorry if it comes across incorrectly initially, regardless..

      This is now unfortunately a very common & poor attitude to put forward and will pretty much result in decline of single-player campaigns within the industry. Several devs/pubs have recently spoken out about the fact they won’t be making singleplayer-only games anymore (even Valve), everything has to be ‘social’ now & yet these additions are practically the exact opposite of the words definition (but that’s a rant for another day).

      Onto the issue! as Marik Bentusi points out any god damn game in existence is instantly improved by the addition of friends or family, that’s undeniable, you could be laughing at the crap animations or silly ragdolls together, anything.. I could play DAII, ME3 or whatever crap game alongside a close friend and suddenly they’re not so bad because I’m really only enjoying the company of my friend with a distraction on my screen that’s aiding the release of endorphins. As a result the publishers have caught onto this & realised SP games no longer need to be that great or compelling as now most of the time players (often subconsciously) judge the game based almost entirely on their experiences with friends/family while playing together – This, while most fans won’t like to admit it is the definitive reason why Borderlands is popular & now an ‘AAA franchise’. Gearbox themselves even came out & said they weren’t expecting much from it/didn’t give it much effort etc. but because the mp was there, easy to pick up/had no brain-power required gameplay people totally blanked the repetitive basic gameplay, bland story & horrendous ai and ended up just focusing on shooting anything that moved while playing with someone they knew & enjoyed the company of, this is all through no fault of there own of course & I’m not against them enjoying a game, I am against the message it is sending to the industry =(

      Honestly how often do you see a post somewhere that says.. Oh my buddies & I had a great time/’We’ really enjoyed the game/Co-op is AMAZING! (no mention of sp) – You get the idea, thanks for reading.

  2. MeestaNob says:

    I don’t get the hate this game got, I thought it was great fun – and I never even bothered playing it in multiplayer.

    • Irregular Peanut says:

      I fully agree with this.

      The gameplay was some of the best fun I’ve had with a zombie game, especially in the town.

      I had absolutely no expectation of emotional buildup because I had seen other trailers and knew what it was going to be like (and also given the precedent set by things like the GoW trailer at the time/now, it was likely to have some trailer like that being unrelated to the game in my opinion).

      The characters are awful I will give you that, but the rest of the game is pretty great, however they could’ve done a lot more than the somewhat Borderlands setup of progression (both experience and story/world).

      • Qazinsky says:

        I also enjoyed Dead Island, both in co op and in singleplayer. The melee combat felt quite fun and interesting, but there could have been more complexity to it, as you said, especially the talent trees felt a bit too simple, apart from the super mode, everyone but the gun specialist seemed to have one special move, the blade specialist had her jump stab, Sam had his charge and throw guy had AoE throws that he didn’t always had to retrieve is weapon from.

        Also agree that the town were fun, quite exciting to enter that quarantined area co op while the combat is still somewhat new and unwieldly and getting harassed by an unending wave of zombies as you try your best not to fall off the roof tops into almost certain doom.

        • Roshin says:

          The “hate” was due to the original trailer, which suggested that Dead Island was a different game and the mess they eventually released. They cleaned up most of the problems and I enjoyed it for what it was. There was a *lot* of wasted potential there, though.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      The hate was because of the initial state of the game on release — a buggy, sloppy mess, and one of the worst Day One experiences I’ve ever had. My mind still boggles at how the game turned out the way it did. Not only that, but the devs never bothered to fix the most crucial glitches like ghost combat, inventory issues, and disappearing weapons.

      I still think Deep Silver and TechLand deserve to go out of business for it. They’ve proven time and again that they are technically incompetent at making video games.

  3. Uglycat says:

    They should have stopped at 1.38.

  4. yurusei says:

    I see an Aussie flag.

    A real Aussie couple would’ve yanked am arm of a zombie and beat the rest to death with it.

  5. Wartooth says:

    I like it. You only get to experience the emotional impact of the first trailer once, but this one reminds you of that moment, which is a good outcome and probably the devs aim.

  6. PatrickSwayze says:

    Bar the Walking Dead game nothing has still come close to that original trailer.

    • mihor_fego says:

      As far as emotional impact goes, failing to save the wife in Project Zomboid’s first alpha was the strongest moment a zombie game ever delivered.

  7. RegisteredUser says:

    Sod using CGI to promote games.
    Use the game to promote the game please, and not with crap like “Its an RTS? Okay, then make 2 second cut-aways of completely zoomed in visuals nobody really plays at so that its completely misrepresented”, either.

    As for DI vs BL: The melee combat in Dead Island was 5.72 slaughter-o-metric times more fun than shooting at stuff in BL.

    • Hardlylikely says:

      Sod it so much.

      I like games, and I like short films, animated shorts even, but you can best sell me a game by showing me the game. If it’s a genuine tie-in supposed to be taken on it’s own merit, ok maybe.

      Some CGI promo that may or may not be tangentially related to the final content or gameplay? Thanks but no.

      • SelfEsteemFund says:

        This is how they sell games to everyone else though. You know what you want, they don’t – the propaganda is there to sway them!

    • Qazinsky says:

      Agreed, while I can appreciate some fun vid for the game on its own, it shouldn’t be the only thing we have to go on, they really should start out with some gameplay when promoting a game.

  8. razgon says:

    I liked the trailer, very evocative. Its a nice idea to set the tone and setting of a game,but hardcore gamers will not like it of course. They want details and want to know HOW to play the game, not the stupid setting or silly crying girls. Those belong in cartoons!

    • malkav11 says:

      It would be a lovely way to establish the tone if it indeed had anything to do with the tone of the game. Which is very unlikely indeed, especially after the first one. Dead Island was and is a lovely game with excitingly impactful melee combat, solid Diablo-ish loot-n-level game mechanics, and a lovingly handcrafted world with plenty of exploration value. But…well…it’s just not a game that tugs on the ol’ heart-strings. The plot is threadbare and incoherent, and the closest you come to characterization are the player characters, who only speak in cutscenes and repetitive catchphrases.

    • alinos says:

      Thing is though this sort of marketing isn’t for the hardcore.

      The hardcore have likely already decided on whether they will play it based off their experiences with the first game.

      Which I still don’t understand the hate for. I think half the issue was that trailer had us all expecting something more. Instead we got borderlands with Zombies which is great IMO.

  9. doom rpg says:

    “So hooray for games! They’re pretty cool and stuff.”

    Um, okay.
    I remember when RPS was still readable.

    • LukeNukem says:

      Goodbye, we won’t miss you.

    • beekay says:

      Sorry, which part of that quote is causing you difficulty?

      Is it that you’ve never seen an exclamation mark? Because that’s the most confusing thing I can see there.

      Edit: just so nobody is confused i mean it’s the most confusing thing i can see because i’ve never seen an exclamation mark either?

      • The Random One says:

        I am very familiar with exclamation points. They are used to indicate that you’re talking about a specific version of a character from your fanfic, as opposed to the “canon” one. For instance, emo!gay!highschool!wizard!Phoenix.

        I think Nathan’s not very familiar with them though.

  10. Hoaxfish says:

    Like dis if you cry evry tiem

  11. gschmidl says:

    I cried because their exploitative, cynical bullshit trailer for a goddamn zombie game actually made people think it would be good.

  12. f1x says:

    Dead Island: Return to the Uncanny Valley

  13. Xari says:

    How are they standing upright when the boat has been tilted onto its side?

  14. Thermal Ions says:

    Just finished playing “To the Moon” so this hasn’t got a chance of being cry worthy in comparison (and I know that even without watching it).

    Oh and we want a release date on “Planet Mannequin”.

  15. InternetBatman says:

    I think it’s better than the hamfisted first video. Anything can be emotional if it shows the death of a child, this one at least has to try. Neither of them are really Kiwi caliber though:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdUUx5FdySs

  16. BrendanJB says:

    I thought it was going to end on the shot of the lighter, which would have been great. Then they threw in a needless establishing shot to show of ‘da zombies’ and a really shitty explosion effect. Oh well.

  17. CaspianRoach says:

    Wow, did this explosion look shitty.

  18. aepervius says:

    As far as “sadgasm” goes I don’t even feel a skip in my heartbeat. We’ll see how the ingame gameplay is, and judge the game on that, the CGI trailer is just hype. (failed hype in this case).

  19. greenbananas says:

    “Once upon a time, Techland made everyone cry. Then it made everyone cry again, but with laughter.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDqJHV1q0qU

  20. jimangi says:

    Well, if this game doesn’t require me to commit suicide I’ll want my money back.

  21. Nebular says:

    How are the propane tanks (1:18) sitting on the stove so nicely when the boat is tipped almost completely over onto its side (1:47)?

  22. The Random One says:

    “Planet Mannequin (also the name of my upcoming vaguely erotic pulp sci-fi series)”

    How did you miss the much better name, Staring Eyes?

  23. TsunamiWombat says:

    So is this an expansion or a sequel? Nowhere says.

  24. Paul says:

    Dead Island is my favourite zombie game of all time along with DayZ, and I never even tried multiplayer.
    I hope Riptide delivers too.

  25. Fumarole says:

    There’s one moment that might get you – and you’ll know it when you see it

    I’ve watched it twice and I have no idea what this moment is.

  26. DanDeath says:

    Bah, the last trailer didn’t make me cry and neither did this one.

  27. doho7744 says:

    I found the original game play was “meh”. The controls lagged and the only good attack was the kick. And sorry, but I thought guns were stupidly underpowered and underrepresented. This was on the pc.

  28. Chaz says:

    I mean, now we do have zombie games that provide something along these lines emotionally. And it didn’t even take us a year.

    We do? And what game would that be, and don’t say DayZ, because to that I would say bollocks. The sort of emotional mood DayZ has is one of fear and frustration at being griefed by a server load of toss pots. But I used to get the same thrills from Eve when I first played it many years ago, as does any game really that features PvP and permadeath. So not really quite the same thing as evoking feelings of loss of a loved one.

  29. alinos says:

    I think the biggest issue with this trailer is that it doesn’t have the same level of heartbreak as the original did

    The music suited what it was trying to achieve far better than this trailer did.

    Nearly every scene in it has a high degree of emotion coming from the characters.

    —-

    While the giving up and taking as many of them with you as you can element is kinda neat.

    I think a better way to play it would have been similar to have him kill his family to prevent the oncoming onslaught only to have the gun jam when he goes to kill himself

  30. piesmagicos says:

    Hrm i actually felt Dead Island was a fantastic game on a emotional level that not many games have reached. Especially zombie games. Only one to come close/exceed it is Walking Dead. I see alot of cynasism on this thread about it that just confuses me. Yes it was a bit wonky on release but who cares…over all the game provided a ton of entertainment with a somewhat solid story. Heck i felt sick to my stomach when that one chick who drives that van gets assaulted and you have to rescue her only to watch her kill her own father later and then you fail to even save her at the end…unless your a robot that is just sad dangit! On top of that the other people you meet who are going mad or just given up was well realized and tragic. I dunno, im really looking forward to this game, i loved Dead Island, buggy warts and all. This trailer didnt have the impact of the first one but still…was well realized in my book.

  31. GDorn says:

    Wait, did she say “I lump you”?

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