by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
Objectifying women - again
Dead Island’s developer, Techland, are no strangers to controversy. Their debut title caused quite a ruckus for its graphic trailer featuring the death of a young girl which struck a sensitive nerve, understandably, among parents in particular. The game’s publisher, Deep Silver, seem to have learned that controversy is often a solid way to draw attention to a game and are again suffering criticism for their marketing decisions. This time, however, it is because of the bust they’ve decided to include in the Collector’s Edition of Dead Island: Riptide due to be sold in the UK. The bust is of a very well-endowed woman wearing a British flag bikini. Her head and arms have been removed as evidenced by the blood all around them, and the quantity of her endowment is obviously synthetic in nature. This has invigorated the debate about the objectification of women in the gaming industry, and I for one must agree with the critics. I do not know why, but when it comes to shooters (at least among my personal friends) the most avid fans of zombie games are women. If any sub-genre should focus their marketing toward women, in my opinion, it should be Zombie shooters.
Techland’s definition of the word “sequel” must differ from mine. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines a sequel as “a [video game] that continues the story of an earlier one.” By that definition, Dead Island: Riptide is a sequel to the original Dead Island, although the team would rather it be defined as a “spin off”.
Semantics aside, Riptide continues the story as the heroes land safely on a military ship off the coast of the apocalyptic island. Fortune does not favour them for long, however, as a monsoon storm hits the island and the fellowship soon finds themselves fighting for their lives once again. Marooned back on the now much altered island, you will have to find a way to get off the island once more. This may prove to be much harder than the first time around as the storm has rendered the sea the only way off and the streets are littered with boats and other flotsam.
This being the monsoon season, the weather can change at any moment. To emulate this, Techland have introduced a dynamic weather system which ensures that the conditions around you are constantly changing. Flooding has also been mentioned, but whether that is static flooding of familiar ground or dynamic flooding that reacts to the weather system remains to be seen. Regardless, the island will be very different from the last time you saw it, and undoubtedly a lot more desolate.