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Editorial: The Trick The Internet Fell For: Dead Island's Zombie Bait Edition

Dead Island Riptide Special Edition Zombie Bait Controversy Ps3 Xbox 360

A few weeks ago, the gaming community saw the reveal of Dead Island: Riptide's UK special edition. As you're all probably aware, things didn't go over too smoothly after people saw what came in this special edition - namely, the dismembered, large-busomed statue. The joke going around the internet was that it's pretty much a bust of a bust. But that's wrong.

A bust is made up of the head and shoulders of a character. This thing doesn't have a head and it goes all the way down to the torso. I mean, if you're going to do statue humor then do it right! I also think critics were incorrect to say that this statue was a bad idea in every way. It's certainly in bad taste, yes, but there was likely a calculated ulterior motive behind the special edition. So what was it? Well, read on to find out.

 

Trick Them With Emotion


All you really need to do to understand why this special edition was a good business move is to look at the advertising history of the Dead Island games. First we'll start with the obvious - the initial slow motion announcement trailer with the kid. The media and internet alike absolutely ate the trailer up. It made the game look like it would be a serious and emotional journey through an undead apocalypse.

If that was the only media you saw released for Dead Island, you would probably be pretty shell shocked when you started the game up for the first time just to see this video play. Warning, this video is not exactly safe for work.

Spoiler

So how do you go from that first trailer to that? Its simple. The announcement trailer was just made to drum up interest. Dead Island wasn't exactly "on the map" early on into its development. By this point, the zombie genre of games had started to wind down and people had had their fill. But that initial trailer made Dead Island look serious. It looked like a welcome change, and it got people talking.

Of course, then people started seeing gameplay and that all kind of went down the drain. But the game still had to get advertised to people! How were they going to do that now that we saw the game was pretty much Left 4 Dead with some light RPG elements? The answer is sex. Sex sells and it causes controversy. Controversy gets you advertising. Its a win-win. This leads us to the promotional images.

 

Weird Them Out With Sex Appeal


Once it became apparent that Dead Island wouldn't be the emotional rollercoaster ride implied by the game's trailer, it was time to move on to bigger and better things. Namely, posing the rotting carcasses of the game's island inhabitants in different promotional shots. You had girls with missing arms playing volleyball and women with eviscerated stomachs lounging next to the pool.

Posted Image


"This is pretty hot," said that one guy who isn't welcome here anymore.


It was weird and people didn't really take a liking to them. But they got passed all around the internet because of it. While it didn't have as large of an impact as the slow motion trailer, it still got the game some free advertising. Just some though. The images themselves were quickly forgotten. Just seeing a few still images wasn't going to get anybody's goat.

This can be considered sticking your toe in the pool to see how the water felt. It wasn't big enough to spread like wild fire across the internet, but it was enough to illicit a response from different websites. So, of course, the next step in this advertising operation was to just go all out with a dead booby statue. Man, advertising is weird.

Posted Image


Not a bust, not a bust, not a bust!


That brings us to the present. It was revealed that Dead Island Riptide (a game I didn't even know existed up to this point) would be getting a special edition where the statue was a woman's well-endowed dismembered body. Pretty much every major gaming website posted a news story about it along with a few news channels as well.

It was a bad idea, it was in poor taste, and the whole thing was just awful. That seemed to be the overall message following the statue's reveal. But here's the thing. That statue's image was plastered freaking everywhere. You couldn't throw a piece of the statue of David without hitting an image of the boob statue. The internet had played right into Deep Silver's hands and given them the advertising they wanted.

 
Of course, I could be wrong about all of this, but just look at their past history with Dead Island. Practically every big news release on the game was tailor made to get a response out of the gaming community. In my opinion, it's kind of a cheap way to drum up interest, but it clearly worked. What do you think about all this? Why not post in the comments below? As always, thank you for reading.


2 Comments

They do a fantastic job drumming up publicity for the series. I went in thinking Dead Island was going to be the best game ever and really felt let down. I don't think I'm going to risk it with Riptide.
I don't feel regret over parting with my copy of Dead Island after a few hours with it.

 

 

 

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