There may not be a more emotionally-charged game trailer than Wednesday’s trailer for Dead Island. The afternoon reveal spread like wildfire, quickly breaking into Twitter’s global trending topics (where it still remains as of Friday morning). I don’t know that I can recall a faster spread for an original title – whether people loved it or hated it, it sure got them talking.
As a three minute CG short film, I personally find it a stellar piece of work. For a game, however, the trailer sets a fantastic tone and atmosphere that is probably unlikely to be represented in the shipping title. Compare the closing shot from the trailer (above) to this screen in which we observe a red-skirted woman with a sword facing down a straight-jacketed zombie that appears to be a mix of Hannibal Lecter and the Quake 4 Berserker.
This is not a new problem, nor a new complaint. CG or otherwise pre-rendered trailers are typically more about style and theme than accurately representing gameplay. What makes Dead Island an interesting case is how far the theme and style of the trailer appears to fall from the actual game. While previews of the actual game still sound promising, I can’t help but wonder – what if the trailer actually did represent the game?