Ultra-Oops: Dead Island Dev Build Released?

A scene at Techland's HQ this morning.

Gosh, here’s a whoopsie. Dead Island is out now on Steam for the Americanish, except the version they’ve received probably isn’t the one Deep Silver were hoping they’d get. It seems the dev build of the game has been put out there, rather than the official version. Complaints about a bad port, mysterious goings on, and no-clipping all seem to come down to the fact that this is the bug-testing, cheat-enabled, not-for-release version of the game. Code that people are digging up seems to reveal that this might even have far too much of the 360 version left in it. Crikey, that’s a big oops. (I should note that the PC review build I’m playing certainly is optimised for PC.) A day one patch is intended to fix an impressive thirty-seven issues. Perhaps one of them will be the release of the internal debug of the game to US customers? We’ve contacted Deep Silver to see what’s really going on.

I don’t know what any of this means, but it certainly doesn’t look like something that should be inside the PC version of the game:

< X b o x L i v e S u b m i s s i o n P r o j e c t V e r s i o n = " 2 . 0 . 5 0 3 3 0 . 0 " x m l n s = " h t t p : / / w w w . x b o x l i v e . c o m / x l a s t " >

< G a m e C o n f i g P r o j e c t n a m e = " D e a d I s l a n d D i s c X b o x 3 6 0 " t i t l e N a m e = " D e a d I s l a n d D i s c X b o x 3 6 0 " p r o j e c t V e r s i o n = " 1 . 0 0 . 0 9 3 4 . 0 " s c h e m a V e r s i o n = " 1 . 0 8 . 0 0 0 0 . 0 " v a l i d a t e A g a i n s t = " . . \ . . \ . . \ . . \ . . \ U s e r s \ t e c h l a n d \ A p p D a t a \ L o c a l \ M i c r o s o f t \ X b o x L i v e \ 4 B 4 D 0 7 D F . p a r t n e r \ . . \ . . \ 4 B 4 D 0 7 D F . p a r t n e r \ . . \ . . \ 4 B 4 D 0 7 D F . p a r t n e r \ . . \ . . \ 4 B 4 D 0 7 D F . p a r t n e r \ D e a d I s l a n d . x l a s t " c l a s s i f i c a t i o n = " B a s e G a m e " t i t l e I d = " 0 x 4 B 4 D 0 7 D F " m u l t i p l a y e r = " t r u e " t i t l e T y p e = " 1 " a r n = " 0 x 5 5 E 2 C 5 D 2 F 1 4 A F 9 " >

Others have found information on the online authorisation that probably shouldn’t be in the public’s hands. And goodness knows what else.


  1. Premium User Badge

    theleif says:


  2. Echo Black says:

    Oh wow. I do hope this game is good, but is there any sort of precedent to this kind of fuck-up? History in the making!

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I think Merchants of Brooklyn or whatever it was called released an alpha build on Steam back when it was released.

    • JackShandy says:

      I remember this indie game was released as an alpha, took them ages to sort it out. Can’t remember the name… M something.

    • MD says:

      Flounce Boat.

    • jeffora says:

      World of Warcraft had an alpha version leaked complete with debug symbols that was a huge boon for hack/bot developers. I believe there was recently also a Mac PTR release that had some degree of debug info accidentally shipped with it.

    • pitak89 says:

      Surely JackShandy must be referring to Betheda Softworks “The Elder Scrolls” series.

    • warthog2k says:

      The initial release of Tiger Woods 99 on Playstation had to be recalled as the bod putting the release together accidentally copied an episode of South Park into the ISO image.

    • Christian Dannie Storgaard says:

      MD: The meme lives! …sort of. At least I remembered it as well :)

    • MD says:

      Hooray! I really liked it when I first saw it, and I’ve been waiting until now for an excuse to repeat it. I’m glad it didn’t go entirely unnoticed :)

    • HeavyStorm says:

      I think the worse was oldie Netstorm, which had a demo launched that could be easily turned into the full version.

  3. Roaring Panda says:

    As long as they sort it for the UK release that’s cool chaps.

    • max pain says:

      Do you see now why it’s good that there are oceans on the internet too? It divides us from the test rabbits.

    • Chizu says:

      But I like being a test rabbit, I feel all involved :'(

      I did actually do naughty VPN things and played the game just as it came out in the US, and was having fun with it too, I noticed the noclip thing, but left it well alone. The only issue that at all bothered me, was that I could see my shadow. And if anyone’s seen those clips of what your characters are doing in thirdperson, well. Yeah.

      The term Derpy has never seemed so fitting.

  4. Teronfel says:


    • Magical Melvin says:

      HAHAHHAHAHA! I’ll join you in your mirth!

      Initial trailer made the game look very interesting. Now, after watching many playthrough’s and demo’s it just looks like Dead Rising in first person.


    • Gnoupi says:

      The initial trailer wins the prize of the “successful marketing material which has nothing to do with the actual game”, in my opinion.

    • empfeix says:

      Really? Why did it have nothing to do with the actual game? Please tell me what you thought the game was going to be about after watching the trailer.

    • JackShandy says:

      Crying backwards in slow-motion.

    • Magnetude says:

      I was hoping for more defenestration of children, but consoles holding back the industry!

    • Magical Melvin says:

      From the initial trailer, I thought the game would be about realism, immersion, emotion and story.

      If you remember, the trailer was soft and slow with that melancholy backing tune – there was an emphasis not on combat, explosions, melee fighting… but on simple survival – of causality and fatality.

      The trailer opens with the girls eyes – and in the background we see a whole host of additional things going on – of people/zombies on fire, people battering away at zombies for their own survival – from that I got the sense that this was a ‘living breathing open-world’ in that there was additional action taking place away from the action inside the hotel. There was this sense of the arbitrary, that perhaps you could be doing something on one side of the island, and yet, over the other side other people would be battling away – almost in real time.

      The problem with so many games is that they don’t embrace this idea that ‘things can just happen’ – and I think this is essential in games focusing on apocalyptic themes. The idea that a character in the story could be killed miles away from you, and you wouldn’t know it, or that you attempt to save someone only for them to get knocked down mistakenly by some guy in a car.

      As it is at the moment, it all seems very scripted and arcade’y’ – your health and stamina meters bob along with you on the screen, when you level up a giant LEVEL UP! bubble appears, jostling with anticipation as to where you will spend your points on a scorecard-esque menu. Kicking doesn’t take away your stamina, and when you look at interact-able objects helpful little cogs and things float onto the screen like your something from Deus Ex.

      In the trailer, we had a family fighting for their lives – of people caught in a muddling melee, wielding weapons they may have never used before, making human mistakes such as rescuing an already wounded/bitten child because it would be human to do so – there was this sense of emotion over action, of family and humanity over mindless gore, and yet, when I watched through the IGN 45 minute playthrough the first time you encounter the zombies you fight off about 7 – which is about 3 more than we see entering the room on the trailer.

      I was hoping for a 28 Days Later – of mistakes, clumsy weapon wielding, senses of immersion such as physically having to open things (which would have made a sudden zombie attack all the more thrilling, imagine being halfway through opening a suitcase when a member of the undead lurches round the corner), of food and water and shelter, and of seeing and knowing that other people are dying/dead all of the time, and that you WILL NOT be able to save all, or even half, of them.

      I was hoping for a Red Orchestra or Far Cry 2 zombie game. Instead, we have Call of Duty and Dead Rising

  5. applecado says:

    This is going to become a cult game, I can feel it!!

  6. Burning Man says:

    I’d rather like a cheat enabled version.

  7. JackShandy says:

    How much crunch time have these devs been doing? They must be totally smashed on lack of sleep to make this kind of error.

    • Dyst says:

      Quite a lot, I imagine. They’ve had to release the PC version of Call of Juarez: The Cartel AND this in the space of a few days.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Sounds totally like it :S

  8. Tei says:

    Based on comments on some forums. Is a dev build

    – Include all the things the game need
    – Include things the game don’t need
    – Include things the devs may not want to include, like debug info databases, but nothing important (IMHO).
    – Include debug cheat Y key to fly like superman. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee jerks in space flyiing. Is that a bird? a jet? a griefer?

  9. SilverSilence says:

    Just to clarify, the day 1 patch is already out and it does not fix these issues.

  10. Icarus says:

    *doffs hat*

    *slow handclap*

    But seriously, this is probably going to mean someone’s job :/

  11. Anthile says:

    I guess that’s what the kids these days call “epic fail”.

    • almostDead says:

      Someone has been watching recent Breaking Bad episodes? I see Jesse is playing Rage.

      Without that trailer, I wonder if this game would have made any headlines at all. A bait and switch game.

    • Anthile says:

      Yup, Indeed BB-inspired.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Best show on TV right now.

    • Magnetude says:

      I think Id’s thrown a fair bit of cash at them, they’ve got screentime in 2 episodes in a row now.

      Also, that scene was a bit incongruous, especially after the great videogame zombie discussion from a few episodes back, which impressed me with its accuracy. It looked like he was playing an iPhone version of the game on his TV, with a lightgun. And he killed the same guy 3 times.

    • almostDead says:

      Not being a console owner and having a pile of plastic do-dads to offer alternative play styles, I was confused by Rage being played with just a gun. I didn’t know you could overwrite the move commands and play with an automove kind of thing. Did Id write a piece of software just for the show?

    • PanzerVaughn says:


      Prerecorded gameplay.

  12. MattyFTM says:

    Isn’t it pretty common for code from other versions of games to be left in. I’m pretty sure there have been plenty of cases of this in the past. It certainly sounds like the wrong version of the game has been released, but I don’t think there is anything out of the ordinary with Xbox 360 being mentioned in the code. No one is supposed to see the code, anyway. As long as it doesn’t actually do anything, there is no harm in the code being there.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Moreover that this is barely a remaining xml file which is needed for xbox validation, and does nothing at all to pc.

      It’s not “game code”, it’s just some description, seriously. It’s like complaining that there is a “readme-fr.txt” or “readme-de.txt” in your English version of the game.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Well, I’ve played the steam version and the bigger problem isn’t the text, necessarily, but the fact that there are no graphics setting options, no V-synch, all the control settings reference only the XBOX controller, and the game is buggy and crashes constantly. It does, strangely, seem like basically running an XBOX game on a bad emulator.

  13. Binary77 says:

    I’m wondering if it may be the deliberate actions of a disgruntled employee? Either way i feel sorry for the team working on this, as it seems to be getting a bad rep already.

  14. YeOldeSnake says:

    What a shame…

  15. The Sombrero Kid says:

    lol no, this is a non-story.

    • Bilbo says:

      The decider decides!

    • sneetch says:

      Oh thank God! Thanks for clearing that up, Sombrero Kid, we can all go back about our lives again.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      It’s just a build manifest, the games buggy because the games buggy not because they accidentally ticked xbox, the process is way more complicated than that.

      it’s true that they might’ve left the debug symbols in the exe but that’s not a big deal, the game is not more or less stable because of that.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I feel so stupid. I was really interested in this article and now I find out it’s a ‘non-story’? Next time tell me what I should be interested in or not earlier so I dont look like a fool.

    • Magnetude says:

      You didn’t even read the article, Sombrero.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      I did read the article, when I clicked through, to the steam thread i thought they were saying they edited their ini’s to enable noclip, rereading the thread i realise the ini came like that, it’s simply a case of commenting out the 3 lines in the ini to disable the cheats though, not exactly a big deal.

    • Mman says:

      Thing is, reviewers have already said that the PC version they were given had far less issues than the one on Steam right now.

    • Magnetude says:

      Not a total showstopper, but newsworthy, especially seeing as it sounds like they had some passwords and such in there as well. And I’d like to think we’re past the years when you had to expect to screw around in .ini’s to be able to play a game.

    • MCM says:

      I just loaded up the game and pressed Y. Instantly flying around in noclip mode. Whoops.

  16. Nemon says:

    Dev Island.

  17. stahlwerk says:

    Schadenfreude is the schönste Freude.

  18. Turin Turambar says:

    Things like the noclip key makes this build suspect, but people shouldn’t be surprised by the 360 references in the code, i have seen the same in lots of AAA games from the last years.

  19. genonist says:

    There are rumors that they also found code for the authentication process, which is probably very very very bad if that leaked out…

    • Juan Carlo says:

      No rumors. They posted it on the steam forums. Anyone can see it.

  20. Eclipse says:

    don’t know if anybody linked this: link to youtube.com
    Best Let’s Play ever

  21. Isheh says:

    this might be interesting to those of you who are unsure whats going on/want to see the game .
    Some SC2 Related community figures play Dead island: link to twitch.tv

  22. paco says:

    Played it for a few hours this morning.

    Yes you can press Y to go into noclip mode. Beyond that…the game has run flawless for me, and it was actually pretty entertaining. I didn’t go into this game thinking it was going to be, you know, a Deus Ex 3 or something…but it looks like it could be a real blast with co op.

  23. Wall says:

    thats a mega oops lol :)

  24. Thunderkor says:

    Shame that they had this sort of mistake. Though honestly I never hit Y and so didn’t run into the no-clip thing. My only real complaint after 3 hours of play last night was the lack of options which screamed “I AM A CONSOLE PORT!” to me. Fortunately for me it ran beautifully on my machine and if I had not run into this article this morning I wouldn’t have noticed a thing was wrong.

  25. PanzerVaughn says:

    This being the Xbox version would explain these issue of it causing some people to spike to 100% CPU usage and lagging for 5 seconds frequently.

    It hasn’t happened to me much, and im enjoying it. Its Fallout-Borderlands with Zombies.

    As for “oh no its not realism” I went off exploring, and got stuck deep in a area i probably shouldn’t have been in yet for just starting out. for a half hour i was inching around corners with a sliver of health and a bent pipe praying i didn’t run into another 4pack feeding frenzy.

    Though, a helpful stash of redbull would have returned my to my jump-attack ninjakicking combative ways.. i guess you have a point. Still goddamn fun.

    Oh, and aparently.. I cant seem to change it… but theres the option to turn on Analog Combat, allowing you to swing your weapon in whatever direction you want, Penumbra-style.

  26. Forceflow says:

    There’s no signs of X360 code in the current build, only configuration files. X360 binaries simply won’t run on your system. It’s very common practice in multi-platform development to have configuration options in several universal files. All the X360-specific stuff is ignored by the PC build and vice versa.

    It’s a bit sad to see all people yelling “PORT!” whenever an the 360 is mentioned. Portal 2 also contains commands to enable the console-only split-screen mode. Would you call that a port?

    This is just very normal for games which are developed for multiple platforms. I highly recommend everybody to read Valve’s talk on “How to go to console platforms without killing your company” from GDC 2008: link to valvesoftware.com…evelopment.pdf

    • zaphod42 says:

      Yeah, this is kinda frustrating me. Its just XML, XML IS NOT CODE! Its just a configuration file, a script, which is almost ASSUREDLY ignored by the build process and only used if you’re building targeting the xbox360 architecture.

      Rock, Paper, Shotgun, you’re PC only! I would hope you to know better. Its okay you don’t know XML from C++, but you’re practically slandering Dead Island here by making them look really foolish over something that is industry standard practice.

      This is not a dev build. >_> Yes, the game has some bugs. Yes, they released a day-0 patch. And yes, you *can* modify some files to enable developer mode, and get more options. You can do that in Deus Ex HR too, and RPS just did an article about how NEATO it was that you could enable developer mode and change some settings.

      So wait, its okay for Deus Ex to let you go developer, but not Dead Island?
      Srsly. Calm down. The bugs are being patched.

  27. Hardtarget says:

    so according to my steam a 76 meg patch just this and finished downloaded a few minutes ago
    also yesterday right before it unlocked a 115meg patch came out

    I have a suspicion the 115meg one was the day one patch and this new 76 meg one is something different but who knows, sadly I have to go to work now and can not test.

  28. Big Murray says:

    I think I just heard the faint sound of somebody’s head hitting a desk …

  29. lijenstina says:

    Help! Our publishers have turned up into zombies!\n Please help us! Our only way of communication is through xml code that those nasty zombies do not understand! They only know java and c#, we are safe this way.\n\n\n Send us a lot of money so We can buy a lot of weapons to fight them off!

  30. vodkarn says:

    Just a ‘360 code in PC version!’ comment:
    EA still has SNES, yes, SUPER NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM ‘code’ in it’s NHL/NBA/etc franchises.

  31. Jackablade says:

    So no mention of the whole “Feminist Whore” controversy that came about a side effect of this fiasco?