Dead Island concept art provides sun, sea, and splatter

I sincerely hope Dead Island is a metaphorical label rather than the resort’s actual name, otherwise the area’s tourist board really needs some new staff. You might as well open a theme park called Vivisection Land or invite people to the Necro-Erotica Hotel and Leisure Complex. Actually, scratch that last one. Advertise on the right sites and that place would be packed.

Naming issues aside, Dead Island is the new cavalcade of zombie carnage (Anyone sick of those yet? No, didn’t think so.) from Call Of Juarez creator Techland, set for a 2008 release on Xbox 360 and PC. It’s a first person survival horror following the story of a couple who’s romantic tropical holiday goes horribly wrong by way of a plane crash and an island paradise full of the old brain chompers. Nick played a very early demo of the PC build at E3 2006 and was distinctly unimpressed with the AI and some of the design, but with at least 18 months set to separate that disappointment from the game’s release, there’s plenty of potential for things to have improved by the time we get to play it.

Currently the main selling points (according to the press release at least) seem to be non-linear progression through a branching story, advanced group and individual enemy AI, freedom of player approach to combat, and most important in a zombie game, detailed and realistic anatomical damage modelling. Whether we’ll get to play as both halves of the couple at various points in the game, Call Of Juarez style, is unknown, but given that the dual character mechanic was so narratively impressive in that game despite the rest of the flaws, hopefully Techland have seen the potential of the set-up they’ve got here. 

We’ve got some concept art in the gallery showing off the game’s interestingly bright and sun-drenched approach to a zombie apocalypse, as well as the press release after the jump. Check them out and see if they raise the interest of your inner haemoglobin junkie. 

[Sorry David, I couldn’t help myself. -Niero] 

Developer: Techland
Publisher: TBD
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PC (Vista and XP)
Release date: TBD 2008

A couple flying to the vacation of their dreams is torn apart by a violent plane crash. Take on a harrowing quest to find your lost wife. Enter into the dark world of a devastated tropical paradise now plunged into chaos. It’s a place where the word “dead” has an entirely new meaning. Face the nightmare and fight for survival. Explore the secrets hidden in the darkest regions of the island and fight your way through. Survival is your main goal!

Dead Island is a non-linear FPP (First Person Perspective) survival horror title. The ultra-realistic combat system will ensure that every confrontation is a thrilling experience. Use anything you find in your surroundings as a weapon. Make decisions that influence the entire world around you. Take advantage of opponent behavior and game physics. Dead Island is a mix of intense action and chilling horror environments in an engaging, strikingly realistic story.


Ultra-realistic combat

Intense and amazingly realistic hand-to-hand combat based on dynamic character moves and camera angles

Realistic physical reactions of opponents to hits

Exceptionally faithful and detailed damage model, showing damaged skin, muscles and even bones

Innovative  system of targeting and hitting the opponent gives you precise control and a realistic combat feel

Advanced Artificial Life System

AL system allows you to take advantage of instinctive behaviors of groups and individual opponents

Living, breathing and dynamically changing ecosystem faced with the destructive influence of a spreading epidemic

Realistic and spontaneous NPC behavior

Through your actions, actively influence NPC reactions

Non-linear gameplay

Explore a vast, open world of a tropical island, on foot or in a variety of  vehicles

Freedom of choosing your allies and completing tasks that bring you closer to the finale

Player decisions influence the way in which the game progresses, making it a multi-threaded story

Fully Interactive Environments

The ability to use all elements of the environment as weapons

A liquid, gas and electricity physics simulation system, which allows you to create your own unique ways of eliminating enemies

David Houghton