made an appearance at the annual Game Developer's Conference this week. Joystiq
were one of the lucky attendees at the gameplay demo, and have walked away with some fresh screenshots and more gameplay details. The game seems to focus on character and story development; a single playthrough is expected to be about 30 hours long.
A short video montage revealed the island setting for the "first person zombie-slasher/action-RPG". The island features hazards of its own over its many different environments, including sheer cliffs. There will be vehicles abandoned on the fictional island of Banoi, just off the coast of Papua New Guinea. All of the vehicles will be drivable, apart from the downed Boeing 747, the presence of which indicates that the outbreak isn't just confined to the island.
The story begins after the events of February's trailer. If you are yet to see this trailer, click here
to view what is likely to be the best game trailer of the year.
Your character has been saved by a group of survivors. Unfortunately, the man who initially saved your life is now in trouble, and your first mission is to help rescue him. Just to make matters worse, once you set foot outside, you face immediate attack from the zombie horde. Those zombies that aren't attacking you are happily feasting on the corpses of the surrounding holiday-makers who weren't as lucky as you.
As we mentioned in our previous article, Dead Island
can be played with up to four people using drop-in/drop-out co-op play. Players will have a choice of four character classes. Each character class has a special ability, and this is charged by killing enemies. In the gameplay demo, the developer chose the "tank" character class, who is powerful, but slow. The tank's special ability was reminiscent of that of the Berserker in Borderlands
, where the player can punch the heads of zombies clean from their shoulders.
As with any RPG, your progress in Dead Island
is made possible by upgrading your character. However, another key task will be to clear and secure new safe houses. Survivors will head towards these locations and will use them as bases. Only then can they offer you new missions.Dead Island
seems to reward a strategic method of playing; this game isn't like Left 4 Dead
or Dead Rising (Xbox 360)
. Although these games allow you to push zombies away, in Dead Island
players have the chance to block attacks, with the characters able to shove and boot them away. You can even choose how to slice and dice the zombies. Successful players will learn how to put some distance between themselves and the zombies and pick their fights; players can easily run past the slower zombies.
However, kills are rewarded with experience points, so being a complete pacifist isn't likely to get players very far. Experience points can be used to unlock more of your skill tree and upgrade your character's features, such as health and speed.
The game emphasises heavily on melee combat, as firearms are not that common, and for the most part are limited to the ammo that are with the guns when you find them. As with Dead Rising
, melee weapons will wear with use, but it appears that the option will be available to repair them. Weapons can also be thrown in combat. An example of this was shown in the demo, where the player threw a propane tank down the steps as he retreated from the growing horde of zombies. When the player then threw a hammer at the propane tank, the resulting explosion more than took care of the problem.
Players are encouraged to explore, and among the rewards that can be found are blueprints to allow you to construct new weapons. Workbenches can be used to combine weapons with other items to create more deadly instruments of death. One example saw a sort of "sticky bomb" created by combining a diving knife with plastic explosives, which is especially effective against the faster zombies. The screenshot below also showcases an electrified machete. This stuns enemies and the resulting lull from attack gives you enough time to escape or to plan how to strategically dismember them to gain more XP.
As an aside, the first-person perspective allows for the zombies to get right up to the edge of the screen. The amount of detail that can be demonstrated as you hack away at the zombies is reported to be extremely impressive.Dead Island
is due to be released in 2011.