Deep Silver have been keeping this title under close guard in the run up to E3 so it was great to get some more details on this zombie action FPS RPG hybrid title. IGN nabbed Vincent Kummer for a quick interview and to spill some more gory details on this zombie horror fest.
In terms of story, all we are told is that the outbreak has already happened and more about what has happened and why will be revealed as you play through the game. However, there will be side quests where you will be able to help other innocents who will then help you in return. The demo show had the player looking for two missing NPC characters.
During this demo where you control one of four characters, Logan, Vincent talks us through some of the more intricate details of what is Dead Island.
You start the game as just another visitor to the island so you will only have basic low level character abilities. Your character will depend on which of the four characters (Xian Mei, Logan, Sam B or Purna) you choose as each has their own strengths, weaknesses and background as well as a character class. These four character classes are Leader, Tank, Jack-of-All-Trades, and Assassin.
For example one will be best equipped for using blunt instruments whereas another will be great with sharp objects i.e. knifes, hatchets etc. Another will be very slow whereas the other is very fast.
These character specific attributes should lead to a different experience as you play thorough the game.
In regards to the levelling system, when you start off your character is obviously level 1, but as you go through the game killing zombies, taking on side quests (which you can accept or decline) and just general wandering around the island, you will earn experience points. Initially you will start with basic melee based combat but as you progress you will find and craft other weapons to fight the cause with. Side quests can also reward your character with mods.
The game is set in a large open world area, which will not just limit you to the tropical beach setting we have been only been shown so far. Vincent confirmed there will also be a jungle, city, police station, sewer and shopping mall settings, as well as indoor settings, each with various lighting effects to compliment them. Also with these new environments comes the chance to get new weapons, such as guns, ammo for which is scarce.
Moving between areas has been made relatively easy, although not all areas are accessible straight away. Hurdles include blocked off passages which clear after doing completing certain objectives or a group of higher level zombies than stand in your way until you’re levelld up enough to successfully take them down.
When you do get to other areas, you can get from point A to point B either by vehicle or by a quick transport point. How or what these transport points will look like and operate was not discussed, but it stops the need to keep travelling by foot or car.
We were also introduced to the players stamina bar and one of the player specific special attributes. The player’s stamina bar will add a much more strategic element as to how you traverse the Island and take on zombies. Aside from descreasing as you sprint, ff you go swinging your weapons all willie nilly, then your stamina will quickly decrease meaning you won’t be able to fight of the hoard of oncoming zombies. Also if you use a weapon that doesn’t suit your characters class, for example using a hammer as a knife specialist, each attack will use more stamina than usual.
One of the player specific special attributes shown lets us see Logan’s ‘Rage’ mode, which you can activate once you fill the bar and can be replenished by kill zombies. Once activated, time slows down for around 20 seconds and Logan is transformed into a gutsy, bad ass knife throwing mo fo, each hit causing phenomenal damage.
You can see everything the player can do in the controller layout below:
Onto the weapons, how to craft them and how they degrade over time. Now just like Dead Rising 2, Dead Island focuses heavily on weapons and their customization. While we were not introduced to much, if you find blueprints for weapons (such as the C4 throwing knife), you can then go make it and as weapons decay you can upgrade and repair them.
If you think you will be finding guns all over the shop, then think again. While they are there, the developers have made finding enough ammo harder, so you will need to use your imagination and a focus on melee weapon instincts to truly survive. Melee weapons can also be thrown at zombies and retrieved from their dead(er) bodies.
4 player co-op online will offer a seamless jump in, jump out system. This has to be one of the best features of the game, where you and your friends will be able to jump in and jump out of each others games.
Not only that but this system has got some nifty background operations going on as well. When you are playing Dead Island, the game will unleash zombies realtively in comparison to your character level, with a few tougher ones for good measure. However, if someone else jumps into the game, then it will recalculate the levelsand amount of the zombies to compensate for the extra player, so it keeps offering a challenging experience.
Graphically the Dead Island environment is looking impressive, with various lighting effects to really complement the setting. Outdoors it bright and sunny and indoors it really is dark, gloomy and scary. For indoor sections, you will be best off using the torch.
The game has been designed specifically for the adult audience and the team want to not just give you some great in game gore, but also have the game be sensible at the same time. This means that in terms of weapons you can craft. there will not be anything too over the top. There will be lot’s of blood with lots of limbs and heads flying all over the place as you slice and dice your way through zombie hordes.
If the games RPG style levelling system works as well as described by Vincent, then this could become one of the best action FPS/RPG open world hybrids we have seen in recent years. The inclusion of the 4 player online co-op with the instant jump in, jump out system will mean there will always be someone to play with, but rest assured, you can still go through the game alone if you want. Finished the story with one character and levelled them? Start all over again with another, adding lots of replayability.
Dead Island has certainly been hiding away for a while but with the recent details and what I saw of the gameplay demo, the game is looking incredible. The big question is can it really deliver on its promises? So far the answer seems to be a massive yes. Dead Island will be released in September this year, though no specific date has been given.