So a new zombie game has been announced and its breathtaking trailer has taken the world by surprise. Not only did the trailer embraced experimental narrative ways and featured top-notch cinematography, but was a notable focus of both praise and criticism from the specialized media and gamers alike. Despite what your beliefs may stand for, the Dead Island Announcement Trailer is nothing short of worth seeing.
This audiovisual piece lets the audience realize in a shocking way the complete setting of the game. Accompanied with a stunning depressing song, the video starts with the deep and cold stare of the now famous little girl; her eyes looking somehow fragmented. As the plane starts to open up, and her skin slowly transforms to a more zombified form, we get to witness some other bizarre details, like a guy on fire and some kind of ruckus on the background. Suddenly, the girls rises up to the sky, letting us notice we are experiencing the events backwardly, and that she had fallen from the hotel room she was staying in with her mom and dad, whom she had attacked just moments ago. What follows is an exquisite amalgamation of Memento-like editing, slow-motion drama-inducing action, and small fragments of flash-forwards to give a further glimpse of the events leading to the sad ending.
In a technical and cinematographic sense, the trailer is flawless. It serves its purpose of having us hooked from beginning to end, and leaving us excited about the upcoming game, but that hasn’t stopped the controversy generated regarding the explicit images of a dying girl. The trailer is shocking, for sure, but the high quantity (although it must be said they remain a minority) of comments focusing on how f#%!d-up the girl scenes were is a little disturbing and disappointing.
Weren’t we, the gamers, desperately trying to fight against the overwhelming misconceptions our favorite games receive? Like the one where Mass Effect was accused of being a tool to become a rapist or some sort of sociopath because of the “full digital nudity” featured in it. So many times, games has been regarded as damaging to society, even as far as turning Manhunt 2 into a mess of epic proportions, because of strict censorship and moral activist who never get the time to play any game, yet they start campaigns against them. As of now, we’ve been offered an amazing trailer meant to get us excited and the audience remains split because there’s no tolerance in watching a digital dead girl or because the industry “has crossed the line”, or because what’s simply a device for enhancing the immersion in a dreadful situation is perceived as a “mere and cheap tool to sell a game”.
It’s hard to understand how and why the videogame industry keep being so stigmatized, while similar media, like films and TV, release equally shocking and powerful content (Dawn of the Dead and The Walking Dead had a pretty disturbing zombie girls, and Kick-Ass, even if humorously, had strong doses of violence and profanity towards an 11 year old girl) without a ridiculous array of controversy around them. It’s worth noting there’s a very functional rating system attached to every released game and there’s little to no proof that games makes gamers killing machines or people devoid of any social sensitivity.
So what’s preventing some gamers and the general audience to truly enjoy the trailer? Such piece is powerful, emotional and well told; it makes us, as viewers immerse ourselves in a fictional crisis like a zombie outbreak like never before. The whole trailer, if played linearly and avoiding the slowed-down speed shouldn’t take long, and yet we’re offered an extended, visceral take of the events, letting us wonder what our course of action would be; and above all, letting us think about the repercussions in our perception of the concept of humanity. That, if you ask me, is a lot more valuable than most violent and morally incorrect content out there.