Dead Island is a first-person survival horror made by Techland and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is centered on the challenge of surviving a zombie-infested open world island with a major emphasis on melee combat. It was originally announced at E3 2006, but was pushed back to 2011. It was released on September 6, 2011 in North America and September 9, 2011 for PAL regions (excluding Germany).
Dead Island is a role-playing game and uses experience-based gameplay and character customization. The player earns XP by completing tasks and killing enemies. Upon leveling up, the player gains health and stamina, and can invest one skill point into a skill tree.
Combat is carried out through the use of melee weapons and firearms. Melee weapons are emphasized to the point that firearms are not available for the first quarter of the game, and consist of blunt and bladed weapons. Weapons are randomly generated and positioned in predetermined locations as well as found on some enemies; they have unique stats which are generally based on the player's current level. Each weapon can be upgraded four times to increase its stats, and most weapons can be "modded" - customized based on a blueprint to add special features, such as nails or electrified blades.
There is also a stamina bar, meaning that after a set amount of physical action, such as running, jumping, or swinging a weapon, the character needs to stop to regain his or her stamina before continuing to attack. The game features "special class" zombies, which are more powerful than the standard zombie. Players need to use flashlights in dark areas and during night-time sections, adding suspense.
Dead Island takes place on the fictional island of Banoi, located off the coast of Papua New Guinea, the home of a large tropical resort hotel. The night after a high-profile party, the four main characters—rapper Sam B., hotel desk clerk Xian Mei, former football star Logan, and bodyguard Purna—are awakened by a voice over the emergency intercom system directing them to evacuate the hotel. They discover that much of the population of the island have been taken by a contagious infection that has turned them into zombie-like creatures. Briefly overcome by the infected, they are rescued by lifeguard John Sinamoi, who believes them to be immune to the infection. After aiding Sinamoi and several other guests he rescued to reach a secure lifeguard station and call for help, Sinamoi requests they travel to the nearby city of Moresby to obtain food and supplies while they await rescue. The four travel to a nearby auto garage where they meet Earl, the owner, who has recently been bitten by the infected. He maintains his humanity long enough to create an armored vehicle that will allow them to safely reach the city, and requests that they take his adopted daughter, Jin, along to prevent him from attacking her once he turns. A promotional still featuring Xian Mei, one of the four playable characters, about to attack oncoming zombies. The still shows this in third person, while the game uses a first-person perspective.Upon arriving in Moresby, they discover a horde of infected attempting to break into a barricaded church where another group of survivors is hiding. After the four kill the infected, the church survivors inform them that while much of the city has been overrun, a violent street gang has secured the police headquarters. The church group's leader, Sister Helen, requests that the four help restore the church's water supply by entering the sewers and reactivating the neighborhood's pump system. After doing so, the group travels through the sewer tunnels to reach city hall, where several of the island's top politicians have holed up, but they refuse to assist the other survivors in any way. The main characters attempt to regroup to decide their next plan, and when they return to city hall, they find it has been overrun with infected, which were able to enter the building through the tunnels after the four drained the reservoir by activating the church's water pump. They return to the church and learn that Jin attempted to help the gang at the police station but was kidnapped, and they are focused to mount a rescue for her.
After acquiring supplies, the main characters return to the hotel, where the voice contacts them again. The voice identifies himself as Colonel Ryder White, a Banoi Island Defense Force (BIDF) commander, currently trapped in a prison located on Banoi, accessible only through the jungle. He states that due to the characters' immunity, he may be able to obtain an anti-virus to cure his wife of the infection. The group assists a small survivor encampment in the jungle and meet Mowen. Mowen does not know how to get to the prison, but instead takes the players to the location of a secure bio-research facility on the island; the researchers there have been examining a native cannibalistic tribe where they believe the infection may have started from. They affirm that the characters' blood type helps to make them immune to the infection, but at the same time, realize that an anti-virus cannot be created. Under direction by the scientists, the group rescues a native woman, Yerema, who was about to be sacrificed by the tribe. She willingly returns with the group to the laboratory to allow herself to be examined.
After completing tasks for Mowen and returning Jin to her home to put down her infected father, the characters return to the laboratory and find that the infected test subjects had been accidentally released and the scientists wiped out. They rescue Yerema and recover the sample of vaccine that had been created. With Yerema's help, the group, Mowen, and Jin travel to the prison to meet with White. They find that a number of prisoners have survived the infection, and are given their aid in arming themselves to get to White. When they reach an elevator to travel to White, the elevator is suddenly filled with knockout gas. The characters are awoken by Kevin, a technology-savvy prisoner, who reveals that White has stolen the vaccine and is attempting to flee, while readying to detonate an nuclear explosive to wipe out the island. The group race to the roof and confront White, who refuses to hand over the vaccine. Jin releases White's wife from a restraining harness, forcing White to defend himself. His wife bites him, infecting him, and he shoots both her and Jin before taking the vaccine. However, the vaccine's formula is flawed, and White becomes an inhuman monster, and the group is forced to kill him. The group escapes Banoi in White's helicopter along with Yerema and Kevin, and as they return to the mainland, ponder the fate of the world.
On July 18, 2006, in a classified location two weeks before the outbreak, Ryder White, a colonel in the Australian Defense Force, is being interviewed by his commanding officer. He was presented with targets which he was asked if he would kill without question (one of which was his wife, Emily White, which he agreed to reluctantly). Behind a one way mirror, two observers discuss Ryder's answer. After passing the test, Ryder was deployed on Banoi in order to aid with containing the recent infection outbreak. During the mission, Ryder and his squad on board of a helicopter were ordered to initiate a bombing run on the highway in the jungle. During their flight back to the base, the co-pilot of the aircraft became infected and attacked the other pilot, forcing the craft to crash land in Moresby. Ryder awakens from the crash several hours later to find himself the only survivor among his crew. He is then contacted by the B.I.D.F. who instruct him to regroup with Unit 4 stationed near Saint Christopher's Church. Ryder arrives at the unit's location to discover that everyone had been killed by the Raskols before being stripped of their weapons and equipment, which included the explosive charges needed to destroy the City Bridge in Sector 4 (Old Town) used to prevent the infection from spreading any further.
He is then informed by the B.I.D.F. to make his way to the Police Station in Sector 3 of the city in order to recover the explosives to complete Unit 4's mission. After fighting his way to the Police Station, Ryder is confronted by members of the gang who taunt him over the loss of his fellow soldiers. After a heated firefight, Ryder managed to kill the gang members and collected the stolen equipment before being instructed to proceed with finding and destroying the bridge. With most of the roadways blocked, Ryder climbed into a manhole that took him to the sewers beneath Moresby in order to gain access to the riverside. Upon exiting the sewers, Ryder's progress is again faltered by the Raskols gang and claim the City Bridge as their territory; leaving him with no other option but to kill them. Later, Ryder proceeded placed charges on the bridge and set it to explode. With the mission a success, the B.I.D.F. intel ordered Ryder to make his way to the evacuation zone in Sector 6 (Gas Station). Ryder then fought through waves of Infected as he waited for the evac chopper to arrive. While on board the chopper, Ryder contacted Emily telling her to prepare herself to be picked up. Emily however, replied that she had been bitten and told Ryder to go on without her before making her tearful farewell to him. Unable to accept the loss of his wife, Ryder ordered the pilot not to land on the aircraft carrier off the coast of the island and instead change course to the Prison in order to pick up his wife. The chopper then landed on the roof of the prison where Ryder ran his way inside to find Emily in hopes of not being too late.
When Ryder reaches Emily in the hospital wing of the prison, he finds her strapped to a bed trying to tell him to leave her in broken English as a result of the gradual transformation into an Infected. Ryder then travels deeper into the prison in order to find Kevin. Upon discovering Kevin, he discovers that Kevin is actually the terrorist, Charon. Ryder was then left with no other choice but to collaborate with Charon in order to ensure his wife's life. Charon instructed Ryder to active the prison's emergency power in order to activate the complex's surveillance cameras which Charon would then use to guide Ryder. Once the power was back online, Ryder was confronted by a groups of rebel prisoners that managed to obtain firearms from the prison's armory. After fighting through numerous groups of prisoners, Ryder arrived at one of the other medical wards in the hospital where he found an antibiotic, Tetracycline, to slow the effects of the Infection on Emily. Once Ryder obtained the antibiotic, Charon informed him that the Heroes were on their way to the island with the antidote and that the antibiotic would slow down the effects of the Infection on Emily until they arrived.
After administering the antibiotic to Emily, Charon notifies him that a group of prisoners were approaching in retaliation for the ones that Ryder killed in order to obtain the Tetracycline. With the prisoners dead, Ryder traveled to the control room in Block C and met up with Charon. As Ryder approaches Charon, he discovers that Charon was behind the deaths of the scientists, including Dr. West, at the Laboratory but hides his suspicion. He is then instructed to clear the Infected from the shower room in Block C for when the Heroes arrive. With the shower room cleared, Ryder used the sewers in order to return to the control. While eavesdropping on Charon's conversation with the group(the main characters), he discovers that Charon has been posing as him (The Voice). Out of rage, Ryder threatens to kill Charon for endangering Emily and making him betray his country. Charon then ensures him that the group have the 'antidote' and that the Heroes won't trust either Ryder or Charon if it is revealed that they were never actually speaking to Ryder. Charon then instructs Ryder to store knockout gas above the elevator lift that the group will be using in order to steal the antidote from them to avoid having to make any negotiations. After placing the gas and returning to the control room, Charon and Ryder watch the Heroes pass out from the gas. Before leaving to retrieve the gas, Ryder destroys the control room's computer in order to prevent Charon from pulling off anymore tricks. He then locks Charon in the control room and tells him that he's going to go get the antidote for Emily. Charon then replied to Ryder stating that the antidote would only work on people that were only in the early stages of Infection while Emily was already past the first stages. Shaken by his words, Ryder ran off to get back to Emily in the intensive care unit. With Ryder gone, Charon reveals that he had a hidden backup key card and taunts him stating that Ryder should have killed him when he had the chance.
Afraid of being too late, Ryder collected the antidote from the group and frantically fought through countless waves of Zombies to get back to Emily. Upon finding Emily, she has already become an Infected. Ryder then vows to make a complete antidote out of the serum and brings Emily to the roof where he discovers that Charon had turned the group against him. Jin then releases Emily to attack Ryder, forcing him to kill her and Jin in retaliation. He then injects himself with the antidote only to discover that the antidote was actually an enhanced version of the virus that transforms him into a powerful Special Infected. He is then killed by the group who fled to safety on Ryder's chopper afterwards. It is reveal that Charon plans on using Yerema as Dr. West called, "a ticking timebomb" to spread the Infection, as he shows a smirk on his face.
- Sam B (voiced by Phil LaMarr), a one-hit wonder rap star from New Orleans. He was booked by the Royal Palms Resort to perform his well-known song "Who Do You Voodoo" at a high profile hotel party. He gladly took the chance to play this gig. Once strong, self-confident and proud, Sam B has had a troubled past and a history of drug and alcohol abuse, as his private life became caught in a haze of fake friends and bad advisers. He believed his gig at Banoi was his last chance to get back on top.
- Xian Mei (voiced by Kim Mai Guest), a desk clerk at the Royal Palms Resort. Born and raised in China, she secretly works as a spy for the Chinese Government. Passed her hidden intentions Xian performs menial tasks for the hotel (as seen in the opening where she helps a sick guest). It is assumed that she does well at keeping be a spy a secret as all just refer to her as the desk clerk. However, during the Jin rescue scene Purna claims the she knows Xian's true nature.
- Logan Carter (voiced by David Kaye), a former star from the NFL, spoiled by life and successful in every possible way. And yet his own ego finally put an end to his bright future. Taking part in a reckless street race with tragic consequences, Logan not only killed a young woman - his unfortunate passenger - but also fractured his knee, putting an end to his sports career. His fall from stardom inevitably followed and he plunged swiftly into a life of bitterness and despair. He ended up letting a blood drive use his name, and in return received an all-expenses-paid trip to Banoi.
- Purna (voiced by Peta Johnson), a former officer of the New South Wales Police Force, referred to by the game as the "Sydney Police department." After losing her career when she shot a child molester who could not be prosecuted because of his wealth and connections, Purna then turned to working as a bodyguard for VIPs in dangerous places all over the world. She is mostly hired for her looks (not just her skills), as wealthy men do not mind showing up with Purna on their arm.
- Ryder White (voiced by Joe Hanna), a colonel with the Banoi Island Defense Force who communicates with the hero in Chaos Overture, providing directions for escape. Ryder has also been in contact with the survivors at the Pool House, advising they evacuate to the Lifeguard Tower. When the hero is able to communicate with Ryder once more at the hotel with Dominic, it is revealed that he is on the prison island and is dealing with his injured wife, Emily White. In the "Ryder White Campaign", it is later revealed that Ryder was not the voice from the main game, instead Charon, also known as Kevin, has been posing as him.
A promotional film, created by UK animation studio Axis and directed by Stu Aitken, featured the transformation of a young girl into a zombie, played in a nonlinear sequence, was commented upon by Ben Parfitt of MCV. Parfitt praised the trailer itself, but criticized the online reaction to it, writing "It's a video that uses an image of a dead girl and images of her dying to create an emotional bond with a product." Wired exclaimed, "It may be the best video game trailer I’ve ever seen; gorgeous, well-edited and emotionally engaging." However Wired urged caution, stating that Techland did not make the trailer and that "everyone is hyped up about a short film, not the game itself."
Dead Island was originally stated to be released in 2008, developed by Techland and produced by Adrian Ciszewski, but was delayed. An official teaser trailer, titled "Part 1: Tragedy Hits Paradise", was released on May 17, 2011 featuring various gameplay aspects. A follow-up trailer, titled "Part 2: Dead Island Begins", was released on June 6, 2011 along with the announcement of the game's release being set for September 6, 2011 for the US, and September 9, 2011 for the worldwide release. The game's zombies were rendered to have fully modelled layers of meat and muscle, meaning they have a multi-layered damage system with real-time injuries. On August 9, 2011, Deep Silver announced that Dead Island's development had finished and that production had begun.
"Gender Wars", an unlockable skill for the playable character Purna which increases her combat damage against male opponents, was referred to during development as "Feminist Whore". Although changed throughout the game before release, the original name could still be found in debug code on the PC version. Publisher Deep Silver described the line in question as a "private joke" made by one of the developers, and regretted its appearance in the final product.
The original Dead Island logo (top) and the censored version for release in North America (bottom).In Australia, a collector's edition was available to pre-order exclusively from EB Games. The collector's edition came with a Turtle Beach X12 headset, Ripper weapon DLC and Bloodbath Arena DLC.
The collector's edition in Canada has the Ripper and Bloodbath DLC.
On July 20, Dead Island became available for pre-purchase on Steam as a single copy of the game for full price, or a four pack with one copy free. Both the single copy and the four pack include the Ripper and Bloodbath DLC.
In PlayStation Home (North American version), the PlayStation 3's social gaming network, users can pre-order Dead Island from a special kiosk in the Central Plaza (Home's central meeting point redesigned for this promotion and includes a "Zombie Survival" minigame) and receive an "Exploding Zombie Outfit" (features a remote option for users to explode) for their Home avatar.
Deep Silver funded a four-part series of comedic short films written and starring hosts of Talkradar from the video game journalistic website GamesRadar, entitled Dead Island: Secret Origins. The film depicts fictionalized versions of the hosts who travel to Dead Island and become zombies out of choice.
There was also a novelization with the same name, released by Bantam Books on the same date to accompany the game. The novelization differs slightly from the game, with more mature themes and an alternate ending that were presumably unsuitable for the game.
On March 21, 2011, gaming licenser ESRB announced that the original version of the Dead Island logo was not suitable for release in North America, and Deep Silver was told to change it. Instead of the hanging corpse in the original logo, it was changed to a zombie standing by the tree. This logo change appears on the boxart of the North American release (the logo in-game, however, remains unchanged), with the logo remaining unchanged in other territories.
|Official Xbox Magazine||7/10 (UK)
Dead Island has received a mixed reception since its release, according to Metacritic. Metacritic scores were 80/100, 71/100 and 71/100 for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions respectively. The Italian PlayStation Magazine has given the game a rating of 8.0. praising its outdoor environments, realistic combat, and co-op mode but criticizing the indoor graphics and lack of split-screen multiplayer. IGN gave the game an 8.0, criticizing the game presentation, glitches, various bugs for the consoles, and texture loading, but praising the atmosphere and overall feel of the game and stating that the game's pro-points are significant enough to outweigh its cons. Game Informer gave Dead Island an 8.5, saying, "Just shy of the open-world zombie apocalypse you've always wanted."Official Xbox Magazine (UK) gave the game a score of 7.0, stating that while it falls short of its potential, there is more than enough to make up for the in-game issues, while the US version gave it 8.0. CVG awarded the game a more negative score of 6.5, stating "This budget zombie thriller ain't too pretty but could manage to capture a cult following." However, Edge magazine gave Dead Island a 3/10 score referencing a very large number of gameplay and technical issues. Screwattack gave the game a 6, mostly for technical flaws.
The PC version of the game also received many negative reviews from magazines and websites beginning from an accidental release of the development version of the game on Steam. This included features such as no-clipping and the ability to toggle third-person perspective. Rock Paper Shotgun also noted that the code revealed references to Xbox 360 version. The developers, Deep Silver, released a first-day patch seeking to address as many as 37 issues. A patch for the console versions has been released and fixed many issues, including corrupted savegames.
A one issue comic book version of the series was released by Marvel Comics, and begins with Roger Howard, an investigative journalist, as he looks into the illegal exploitation of Banoi Island's resources. He appeared in the game as a voice, leaving behind tape recordings.
The story begins just as Roger Howard arrives. He explains why he is at the Royal Palms Resort, and then begins to target Kenneth Ballard the Royal Palms' manager. After gaining access to his office, Roger finds detailed files on Xian Mei, Purna, Logan Carter, and Sam B. After going through the files, Roger hears a knock on the door. Before opening it, he begins to explain that he was looking for the bathroom. Unfortunately, after opening the door, he comes face-to-face with a zombie. The story then ends, with Roger's fate unknown.
On November 3, 2011, Techland registered the name 'Dead World'. This may or may not point to plans for a sequel to the game, possibly taking place in larger portions of the world. Sydney has been named as a possible location due to the fact that the helicopter was heading towards the city; this has not been confirmed by reliable sources, however.
On September 27, 2011, Lionsgate has announced that they have acquired rights to develop a film based on the game's release trailer, as its portrayal of a family desperately fighting for their lives provided artistic inspiration, and will be produced by Sean Daniel.[42