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Dead Island Pre-Release Developer Roundtable Interview
08.31.2011

EMANUEL MERINO
CURRENTS COLUMNIST


Dead Island

RPGamer sat down with Deep Silver's brand manager, Vincent Kummer, to talk about Dead Island one last time before its launch next week on September 6, 2011. If you aren't familiar with Dead Island, think of the game as Left 4 Dead meets Borderlands with more hacking and less shooting, and you'll have a good idea of what you will be getting yourself into if you decide to pick up this action RPG.

The first question we asked Kummer during the roundtable interview was what features the Techland team are most proud of in Dead Island. According to Kummer, the team is especially proud of the open world environment and gameplay they crafted in the game. They feel that the open world environment combined with the first person gameplay and skill system sets their zombie game apart from the pack. The Techland team feels that the game is a nice homage to zombie movies of the past,f but still has its own unique story beats as well.

The other side of that question is what features didn't make the final cut, but they wish could have remained in the final product anyway. Kummer said that since the game has been in development for so long, a variety of interesting ideas made it on to the drawing board at one point or another. One interesting idea that was cut, which was mentioned in the last Roundtable Interview, was the idea of multiple choice missions that change the course of a branching storyline. Those, of course, never made it due to the co-op focus of the game.

Another interesting thing he mentioned was that the team played around with adding more transportation options to the game. For example, the team wanted to add more vehicles like boats to help get around the island. They even considered adding a swimming mechanic to game, changing up how you got around the island even further. While there are still cars on the island that will help you get around faster, the rest of the vehicles and swimming were dropped to focus on strengthening what was already in the game.

The Techland team is also happy with how Dead Island's narrative turned out. While the team wasn't able to implement a complex, branching storyline into the game, they felt that they still created an interesting tale of survival and loss, complete with four great characters. There were originally plans to have around ten different characters that you could play as on the island, including a chef. Eventually, that number was whittled down to four unique characters with different backgrounds and play styles. Each of these has their own specific reason for being on Banoi Island. This is also the reason why they decided not to incorporate custom made characters. They didn't want blank slate characters on the island; they wanted individuals with strong motivations to survive and to take the fight to the zombies.

Speaking of taking the fight to the zombie hordes, Kummer mentioned that if you plan on making it to the level cap of fifty, make sure you have a well-rounded arsenal of melee weapons at your disposal. While powerful, guns and ammunition are in short supply on Banoi. For example, the machete may not be as flashy as an assault rifle, but an upgraded machete can be just as deadly and it doesn't run out of ammo.

From everything that we have seen so far, Dead Island could prove to be as satisfying as the co-op RPG experience on Borderlands was. Keep an eye on RPGamer to see what we think of the final product in the near future.



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