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Dead Island creators reinvent the game trailer

Screen grab of the title frame in the

Screen grab of the title frame in the official YouTube trailer video.

Two sequences, one starting at the end in reverse slow motion and the other from the beginning in jarring, fast-paced, real time, converge on each other at the climax. Sounds like a re-hashing of Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending film "Memento," right? Well, it’s actually the layout of the debut trailer for upcoming  zombie-survival game Dead Island, and it's so cinematic and spectacularly well done that you could easily shed a tear or two while watching.

Techland, the developers of Dead Island, released their debut trailer on Feb. 16 and, within two days, the official YouTube video had over one and a half million hits and has the gaming community in an absolute uproar.

The style and impact of the trailer is splitting gaming fans and critics into two distinct camps because the video fails to show a single second of actual gameplay. Instead, it relies on the emotional impact of what publisher Deep Silver is calling, “a scenario that might befall a typical vacationing family on the island,” as reported by Wired blogger Jason Schreier, who firmly falls in the camp of those who believe that gamers should be wary until real gameplay footage is out.

As Schreier also points out, Techland actually handed production of the trailer over to the Scottish company Axis Animation, so it's currently not known how much Techland even contributed to the package beyond the story.

The trailer draws its strength from what looks, feels and sounds like a modern Hollywood suspense thriller. I won't spoil the contents, so check it out below and try to keep in mind that this is actually a game trailer, and one about zombies. It should be noted that the video features animated violence and gore, so those squeamish to bloody zombie attacks should avoid it. 

Techland is certainly aiming for a high-art feel with this trailer, but it begs the question of whether this tear-jerking cinematic is a real representation of the game. Dead Island sure sounds like a cheesy zombie movie name, so until gameplay actually comes out, we have no way to tell just yet if the brains behind the trailer are just ballooning their own egos and creating an unstoppable hype machine in the process.

The shining feature thus far is that it's confirmed to be an open-world-style game, similar to the Grand Theft  Auto series.

Dead Island will be released later in 2011, although the date is not yet set, and if this buzz around the debut trailer is any indication, this is one zombie game that will stand out among the rest. 


Tags: Dead Island , Techland , video game trailer , zombies

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