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"Dead Island" Trailer: Impressions

Update: The trailer was created by Axis animation, which has previously worked on trailers for Mass Effect 2 (and others), as well as numerous trailers for television and film. Axis Animation is based in Glasgow, Scotland.
http://www.axisanimation.com/

As I was checking facebook today, I noticed that my best friend/fellow gamer/gal-pal sent me a link to a video labeled "The Most Depressing Trailer Ever?" Being a fellow disciple of the more dismal stripes of art, I checked it out, and was treated to the most captivating and artistic trailers I've seen in years -- perhaps ever. It seems odd to give a "spoilers" warning for a game trailer, but in this case I must insist that you watch the video before reading on. Grab a box of Kleenex and your favorite bottle of antidepressants, this one's a doozy.

Read my thoughts after the jump!

In a word: Brilliant. The juxtaposition of somber music with high-intensity action is a familiar effect, but the Dead Island trailer uses it to the fullest. The entire presentation is truly moving. The music is hauntingly beautiful, with a post-rock style ambiance providing a fitting backdrop for the visuals. Those such as myself who bow at the altar of all things heart-wrenching will be especially attuned to the grace with which the trailer tugs at your heartstrings, fluidly and effortlessly immersing you in the atmosphere it creates. The reversed, slow-motion video and unconventional chronology are stunning, elevating it above your average bit of eye-candy and into the realm of art. What's most impressive is that this style lends itself so perfectly to the scene that, when put in order (IGN has a video of this), largely loses its impact. There are no gimmicks here, no obnoxiously pretentious attempts to tack on "artsy" effects for the sake of being different; it's simply the best way to achieve the desired emotional response. The film "Memento" comes to mind, another story that played with chronology in a way so skillfully that one simply couldn't imagine it playing out in a linear sequence without undermining the atmosphere. Like in the film, we see the two scenes converge at a moment that couldn't be more perfectly timed. The last moment before the title card shows the father saving his daughter, all the more poignent because you know what is about to happen. Yet because of the reversed video, it looks as though he's hugging her and slowly letting go of her arm, as though saying goodbye -- that's when I had to fight back the tears. Anything that inspires that kind of interpretation gets the highest of marks in my book.

Honestly, there aren't enough good things to say about the trailer. I've yet to see any gameplay, but as the purpose of these things is to draw you in, the kids at Techland will be delighted to know that I, as well as most people with eyes and ears, am very intrigued.

9 Comments

Shin Gallon said:

Yeah, this is the trailer I watched. Depressing as hell : (

Ginger Snapped said:

Oh wow... is it lame that I teared up? It's probably lame. Either way, I'm buying this game.

Limeade said:

Wow... that was very intense and moving. I put it up there with Ubisoft's 2008 PoP trailer.

Gumba Masta said:

I thought it was hilarious! =)

Super Swede said:

Ha, well i very nearly joined you in tearing up.

By the by, for those reading who like music in a similar vein of that in the trailer (being the resident pretentious music geek, i must do this) I recommend "A Thousand Paper Cranes" by Mono. It's a similarly beautiful song by an amazing Japanese post-rock/ambient/medolic noise group known for their incredibly emotional music. If you like it, i'd highly recommend checking out "The Kidnapper Bell;" it's the best 10 minutes you'll spend all day -- aside from reading the ever-wondrous gaygamer.net.

-End digression-

Orange_Drake said:

After so many frantic running and screaming fliks, you start to forget that zombies can be played for actual drama now and again.

faePuck said:

Wow - I thought you were joking, but I got all misty-eyed by the end. The Tarantino effect along with some ponderous piano made this one of the most moving trailers I've seen for any medium.

Yamil said:

I pretty much had my mouth open the whole time. This is awful...in a good way... And yes...I teared up...

blacksheepboy said:

@ music, see also:

max richter, rachel's, a silver mt. zion, a hawk and a hacksaw, yann tiersen, below the sea, bill frisell, hilmar orn hilmarsson, ingram marshall, m83, mogwai, the album leaf or one of those dozen or so string quartets who all seem to do decent stuff. and mono is pretty bad ass.

i am huge fan and defender of so-called "mood music," despite what some call a tendency of technical ease. it works, dammit! such a beautiful trailer.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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blacksheepboy on "Dead Island" Trailer: Impressions: @ music, see also: max richter, rachel's, a silver mt. zion, a hawk and a hacksaw, yann tiersen, below the...

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