The buzz around Axis Animation's trailer for the new game Dead Island is winning plaudits around the web.
The zombie survival game got an official announcement trailer yesterday. The footage caused controversy by featuring a considerable amount of bloodshed, and disturbing images of a dead child.
No footage of the game, which has been in development for PC, PS3 and 360 since 2007, was shown. Digital Arts has confirmed with Axis that company was the creator of the trailer as Glasgow production firm, previously responsible for Mass Effect 2 and Killzone 2's teasers.
The amount of attention this trailer has garnered considering it promotes a game that's been vapourware since 2007 is astonishing. Reactions have been far from universally positive, however, ranging from sudden excitement through frustration that no gameplay footage was shown to disgust at the gory images.
Ben Parfitt of industry newspaper MCV admitted that he felt "quite uncomfortable" when he watched the trailer. He argues that there's "nothing to learn from it" and that it's "not designed to make you think or explore a point of debate, it's a video that uses an image of a dead girl and images of her dying to create an emotional bond with a product."
Keith Stuart of The Guardian, however, noted that "horror movies have always traded on the emotionally wrenching duality of the zombie figure, part monster, part recognisable human. Resident Evil 5 co-producer Masachika Kawata said that zombies are particularly resonant for the very fact that they were once fathers, sons and mothers. They speak to us about mortality; they are death. "
The trailer has certainly performed its presumably intended role admirably, though. Dead Island is now a highly recognisable name that many gamers will be keeping a close eye on.