As the viral phenomenon that is the DEAD ISLAND video game trailer continues rippling across the net, the popularity and demand for the music heard in it has finally prompted the instrumental track’s release on iTunes. The DEAD ISLAND Trailer Theme is now available for purchase and download if you remain as haunted and touched by Giles Lamb’s somber composition which contributed the emotional impact of what FilmEdge and many others consider one of the best video game trailers produced.
The question lingers though: can the video game itself ever live up to the CG animated trailer depicting the tragic end to a vacationing family when flesh-devouring zombies overtake their tropical island paradise? The clever approach in marketing the game to audiences was reversing time in this event, opening on the dead eyes of an unfortunate little girl zombie and taking a slo-mo trip backwards to see how this nightmare began, ending on the happy vacation video of mom, dad and daughter waving at the camera as they arrive at the plush island resort. The trailer is a great storytelling hook, but video games (especially virtual battles with the undead) tend not to center around any type of dramatic plot, but rather offer players dire scenarios to blast, hack and pulverize hordes of zombie enemies with the push of a button. Will there be any innocent daughter to save in the game itself, and could it possible have the emotional power of this mini-movie? It doesn’t seem likely given the genre expectations, but time will tell.
Speaking of time, IGN hosts a reversed version of the original game announce trailer which starts with the family’s arrival on the island and ends with the young zombie girl dropping to the ground — but Lamb’s score remains in original form, of course. Give it a look and compare the viewing experience for yourself.
FilmEdge finds the original backwards version much more moving because viewer’s perception of the family’s plight becomes all the sadder as the on-screen action gets less dire until you arrive at the happy ‘ending’, now fully aware of how wrong it all goes for the vacationers. The surreality of reverse-action also added to the shocking impact of the violence because you saw effect never quite knowing when you’d view the cause, as axe blows and the like seemed much more abrupt as the culminating moment of horror instead of the opening act of the strike. Still, the reversed edition now makes the gruesome action and order of events much clearer without the disorienting effect of the action happening inverted in time.
The makers of DEAD ISLAND are making good use of all the positive word-of-mouth generated by this trailer, and rightly so. Let’s hope the game delivers as satisfying an experience when it finally hits consoles later this year.