On An Open Slay: Dead Island Details

Typical zombies, taking all the poolside chairs.

After the recent extraordinary trailer for Dead Island, it’s safe to say our interests are piqued. So an interview with the developers detailing the numerous ways to slay zombies is just what we’re after. Fortunately, GameTrailers did just such a thing. Unfortunately it does not offer any in-game footage, but at least there’s a nice man explaining things.

Some hoping for a pure survival thriller may be disappointed to learn that by the end of the game you’ll be a “zombie killing machine”. But they promise it won’t be wacky, and real-world restrictions will liomit your abilities, which is great news.

They also say it’s unlikely that the game will feature child zombies. It was just for the trailer, they say. But they confirm it’s out in 2011.


  1. McDan says:

    I love liomiting factors. But seriously, this will hopefully be the realistic-ish zombie game that finally makes it how we want it to be. Using your own wits to survive, not just the tons of guns around.

    • Torgen says:

      Hopefully there’s a “hard core” mode that limits you to only the tools/weapons that would be found in a tropical resort.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I think that was the point and that all difficulty types will have that.

    • Torgen says:

      Offhand, I’m having a hard time thinking of anything lying around a beach resort that would turn me into a “zombie-killing machine.”

    • etho says:


    • MrWolf says:

      Nearly-naked Europeans.

    • The Innocent says:

      Thinking of Tropico here, I’d say the thousands of Soviet weapons just lying around.

    • bascule42 says:

      Why the locals sick of all the tourists could quite easily turn into “killing machines”.

    • brulleks says:

      Military scientists, ala Far Cry.

  2. Torgen says:

    Being hearing impaired (people who insist I get on Teamspeak soon rue the decision) I will have to wait for the transcript. This is why I hate the fad the news channel sites have of putting news stories in video format with no captioning or transcript. :P

    • BobsLawnService says:

      I agree with you although for different reasons. I can read faster than people can talk so it annoys me having to listen to them. Also, you can always copy/paste a transcript and read a bit hear and there when you get a chance while compiling or doing something else processor intensive.

    • Baines says:

      I’m not hearing impaired and it annoys me as well. Like BobsLawnService, I can read much faster than people talk, and find reading more situation-convenient than watching video. Reading also just simply more convenient. I can scan an article for relevant info even faster than I can read it, but you have to watch an entire video or risk missing something useful. Even good videos have their share of filler time. Others have a much lower quality-to-quantity ratio. (It is extremely annoying to watch a five or ten minute video when there might be only two sentences that you actually care about, but those sentences are enough to get you to watch.)

  3. Eclipse says:

    “Some hoping for a pure survival thriller may be disappointed to learn that by the end of the game you’ll be a “zombie killing machine”. […] It was just for the trailer”

    So it’s another Dead Rising… :\

    • bob_d says:

      Disappointing, isn’t it?

    • Nomaki says:

      Well, I’ve lost all interest in this game now.
      Seems like instead of pushing the worn-out zombie genre further with an emotionally-charged survival horror, it’s just going to be Dead Rising with a bit of L4D.

      Was totally looking forward to it as well.

    • The Sero says:

      I quite liked Dead Rising, but yeah, I was hoping so badly for this to be something different.

      From that trailer, I was hoping for a true survival game, instead of a zombie game, but alas it is not to be.

      I AM disappointed :(

    • anotherman7 says:

      Yeah, there goes all of my interest. Looks like Dead State is my last hope for a good survival-based PC game.

    • Benny says:

      Yup, i was truly hoping for something different, then i considered that they had a very high budget CGI trailer, announced by IGN, and it was a console game. Those 3 factors alone means they wont take the risk of making something more niche or hardcore. Dead State though does seem alot more what i want out of this genre, everything else has been done to death.

      What a shame.

  4. Grey_Ghost says:

    No child zombies! Yet another sad case of false advertising. 8P

  5. DJ Phantoon says:

    Not that I relish the thought of killing children, but I think they’re wusses for deciding not to do so after having it in the trailer. Wusses!

  6. Torgen says:

    Yeah, think of the tension trying to save the kids from being eaten. I think that such storytelling would take the game to a higher level.

    • Iskariot says:

      “Yeah, think of the tension trying to save the kids from being eaten. I think that such storytelling would take the game to a higher level.”

      Agree completely. And it would be an incredible dramatic motivator.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Would you save the child? (And risk that it turns into screaming lil’ zombie biting your balls.)

      Or would you kill it? (Thus protecting the child from far worse fate.)

      And what about the Adam? Would YOU harvest it or would you send the child to the safety of the vent ducts?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I didn’t harvest them, but honestly it was a binary choice since you don’t see anything bad apparently. With no negative consequence beyond the personal ethical concerns of “I killed a thing in a video game” it makes it seem unreal. By contrast, I actually liked the second Bioshock more than the first because they at least tried to give a sense of urgency and commitment.

    • Bhazor says:

      Irrational kind of wussed out.
      A PCGamer podcast about six months before release talked about Harvesting the girls as (iirc) ” you don’t see anything you sort of pull them down out of shot and then theres snapping sound and you look down and she’s crumpled on the floor and there’s this sea slug in your hand”. I think removing this genuinely damaged the game, it made harvesting too easy and no where near as traumatic as it should be given the importance the narrative and setting puts on the decision.

  7. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    “Exploding suicider zombies” God, why do game developers always have to do this! Give them wings and an instant-kill attack, why don’t you! Masochists.

    • Urael says:

      This. Because creeping things that come up to you and explode aren’t popular in ANY other game, are they?

      When will developers le…..wait….


  8. noom says:

    We can combine the weapons? Soooo, I can combine a hammer and a machete to make a hammachate?

  9. bob_d says:

    Based on the description it sounds like a melee-focused Left4Dead with a few RPG elements, which would be fine, but in the context of the amazing trailer it’s incredibly disappointing, I must say. The trailer was smart and innovative and emotionally powerful, and perhaps I’m judging too early, but the game doesn’t sound like it’s any of those things.

  10. Tyshalle says:

    It sounds like a lot of you are jumping to conclusions. Like, really? The guy also says that they’re focusing on an emotionally-driven storyline that you’ll care about and all of that, which is not something that any zombie game has done in recent memory. But because they’ve got melee weapons they’re a melee-focused L4D? And because you’ll be able to level up they’re a less-wacky Dead Rising? I think judgment should be reserved until more information comes out.

    • Urael says:

      You ain’t from around these parts, are ya, son? This hi-falutin ‘Common Sense’ approach will likely only lead to trouble, mark my words.

    • bob_d says:

      I think the problem is that the trailer was so fresh and so powerful that when you then hear a description of the game that sounds exactly like existing games it can only suffer in light of the expectations created by the trailer. If I had just heard the game description, I would have said, “Well, I might play that. It could be interesting.” There’s nothing particularly interesting or innovative apparent in the description, not the least hint of greatness, but it also doesn’t sound bad, necessarily. Coming after (and more unfortunately, juxtaposed with) the trailer, it can only be a disappointment. It is only a description, so the game could still surprise us, but you’d think that if the game was as interesting and innovative as the trailer you’d get some sense of that from even a rough description.

      Edit: and after reading the Wired play-through, “less-wacky Dead Rising” and “melee Left4Dead” are apparently fairly accurate descriptions. Oh well.

    • Torgen says:

      Yeah, “workbenches,” and a “black market” selling you stuff on an island overrun with zombies. It doesn’t sound muck like the trailer led us to believe at all (tourist families struggling to survive when Hell comes to Earth.) I am disappoint.

      What good is your Western money in that situation? What’s the shopkeeper going to do with that money, bribe the zombies? “It’s game over, man! “

    • CrazyBaldhead says:

      What are you buying?
      Got a lot of good things on sale, stranger!

  11. fuggles says:

    It amused me once, it will amuse me twice:
    link to youtubedoubler.com

    In real news, yeah, bit disappointed.

  12. DigitalSignalX says:

    Wired did a summary of their time in-game and it’s not shaping up to be any where as serious as the trailer is.

    link to wired.com

    Basically, slightly better then Dead Rising, but no where near as visceral as Left for Dead.

    • Jesse L says:

      Excellent. Everybody come over here and read this link!

      I think we can forget about what we thought we learned from the trailer (nobody ever learned anything about gameplay, i.e. ‘the game’, from a CG trailer) and decide whether we’re interested based on what is currently being presented, here and elsewhere, as the real premise: a first-person hand-to-hand zombie fighting game. Probably linear. With drop in drop out co-op. Stats that go up. There are boomers, and therefore probably other uberzombies. The one character we have information on is a stereotypical black rapper.

      Okay? Let’s pretend that trailer has nothing to do with this game, at least insofar as our decision to buy is concerned.

    • Jesse L says:

      By the way, sounds okay to me so far. Brutal, visceral first-person hand-to-hand combat is a fine feature for a game developer to build a game on.

      Status after first preview: still interested. Somebody wake me when we have a gameplay video.

    • Vandelay says:

      @Jesse L: Quoted from the linked article “Dead Island… will feature between 20 and 30 hours of open-world, zombie-killing fun.” So, probably not too linear.

      Yes, less excited then I was, but still intrigued enough to keep an eye on it.

  13. Out Reach says:


    You can’t have a trailer with zombie children then backtrack. Lack of Zombie Children always destroys my willing suspension of disbelief in zombie games/films.

  14. Legionary says:

    If Dead Island is the trailer, it will be fantastic. If it is a mix of L4D and Dead Rising I’m really not that interested.

  15. 3lbFlax says:

    I just want one decent game that just has regular, run-of-the-mill zombies and nothing else. No superzombies, nothing that spits anything dangerous, no freaky plants, no crazy quarterback survivors trying to kill me with exploding footballs, no bosses, no demented scientists, no rampaging elephants from an abandoned zoo, no sinister monks with really big arms, nothing out of the ordinary except reanimated rotting corpses that want to eat me. Dead State, you can do it.

    • bob_d says:

      Plus, you could actually have quite a bit of subtle, but significant variation using just plain old regular “vanilla” zombies. (Missing limbs, or variable condition of the body would equate to different threat-values, speed, etc.)

  16. BAshment says:

    Hopefully no more room in hell comes out this year, to make up for this disappointment.

  17. kulik says:

    For me the feel of the melee combat is what matters. I hope it will be challenging and satisfying.

  18. passingstranger says:

    Indeed disappointing, but we pretty much saw this coming judging from the screens and info we were given before. Releasing a game in line with the trailer would be a risky move, but one I think might have paid off.

    I want a game in which I sprint to what used to be a beach-side bar, barricading the door immediately. There isn’t even time to check whether or not my small group are its soul inhabitants. Pushing a margarita machine on its side and flush with the door, hoping it will be enough to hold the masses back until I can find something to reinforce it with. One of my companions starts crying and we all pause at the sound of wood being pried from nails.

    That’s the kind of feeling I’d love, but it sounds like, in Dead Island, the above situation would play out fairly easily with the help of some conveniently placed fire axes.

  19. El Stevo says:

    I’m still hoping for a Survival Crisis Z sequel.

  20. bensmokey says:

    Really looking forward to this game

  21. outoffeelinsobad says:

    Can’t wait.

  22. Madlukelcm says:

    It’s all starting to come out now; my interest wanes.

  23. Mattressi says:

    Damn! I was really looking forward to a real survival zombie game (not “let’s shoot lots of guys who have no guns”, but actually “we need to hole up here, conserve our ammo, find some food and water” etc).

    Why make another Dead Rising? The first was boring after a few minutes (the “lol, look how I killed a zombie” thing gets boring very quickly for me) and I never tried the second because it looked even worse. Left 4 Dead was OK, but got extremely repetitive and was really just a typical horde shooter. I want a REAL zombie survival game!

  24. Araxiel says:

    liomitation factors? But I want to drive a children tricylce while wearing a hill billy slut outfit!

  25. wrath says:

    ‘Some hoping for a pure survival thriller may be disappointed to learn that by the end of the game you’ll be a “zombie killing machine”’

    So in short, the trailer was a big lie. Also I think I’ll just stick to L4D for my Zombie Action fix.

  26. Sivart13 says:

    It seems like a “Dead Rising 2” that isn’t quite as burdened by having to follow its predecessor’s bizarre game design.

    Which could be good. Or bad. Or too much of the same.

    Hard to say.

  27. RegisteredUser says:

    I agree that this just sounds like another DR2 with the worst and most pathetic promo-movie ever.

    I also worry that the inventory and amount of weapons you can carry will be extremely limited and that they might get the idea to make them expireable like in DR2, since all they seem to be doing is copying and stealing ideas anyhow.

    Weapons that constantly break(especially after just 3-4 zombies in a place with infinite respawn) annoy the crap out of me, just like an inventory into which you can either fit a health kit or a crowbar or a gun or the ammo for the gun, but not all three and then 5 more..

    Gaming seriously needs to get more fun again.

    Or, if you DO want to make limits, make it so that there is a kind of linearity in weapons/upgrades, so that you simply replace and aren’t constantly haggling over choice due to not knowing what’s coming next and feel like totally missing out on half the game’s items due to restricted inventory logic..