When Dead Island first got our attention, it did so with a bang. The infamous CGI video presented the game's zombie apocalypse as something tragic, personal, and deeply affecting, a far cry from the reality of a game that's mostly about smacking mutants in the balls with electric crowbars.
Riptide's gotten in on the action as well, trying to make lightning strike twice with another "emotional" trailer. Despite this, Deep Silver has defended itself from allegations that such videos misrepresent Dead Island's content, painting the criticism as worthy of ridicule.
"We did many gameplay trailers with in-game footage before the release, so labelling the CGI misleading would be ridiculous," claimed creative director Guido Eickmeyer to Videogamer. "We never pretended to be something different.
"In addition, Dead Island was the biggest and most intense cooperative multiplayer experience in 2011 and I believe playing with your friends or strangers next to each other through a horrifying zombie apocalypse is an emotional experience."
Perhaps Eickmeyer's most controversial statement was his followup assertion that gamers shouldn't ever be looking for personally affecting narrative in videogames, at least not ones provided by developers.
"I truly hope that at some point, even the last people in our industry will understand that games live by user stories, not pre-defined narratives. For watching a scripted experience, I still prefer a good movie."
Quite a blinkered and absolutist statement there, especially given that last year's most critically acclaimed game was the intensely script-driven The Walking Dead. Not wanting to be heavy on story might work for Deep Silver, but to suggest the entire industry should march to that same drumbeat is, quite frankly, a bit of an ignorant imposition.
As for the misleading CGI trailer? Yeah, it was misleading. Releasing later, more honest trailers, doesn't alter the fact that Dead Island's first trailer made the game out to be something totally different. That doesn't make the game bad, and it doesn't mean all of Dead Island's marketing was dishonest, but those CGI videos are misrepresentative.
Trying to pretend otherwise is just silly. Embrace it, dude.