"classic zombie trope" of barricading against the horde.
It makes "complete sense" to add areas that need defending by survivors with fortifications. Water is to play a larger role as monsoons "have now come to the archipelago." Dynamic weather FTW!
Our line of sight shall be assailed by the merciless force of nature by heavy torrential rain storms. The team also get to play around with lighting from bright or dark skies.
Also getting something of an overhaul in Riptide is how the game handles firearms. Essentially the team are adding more guns earlier with buckets of ammo. It shouldn't be as hard to land a headshot either. This should go nicely with the new 'defensible hubs' mechanic where we need to stave off hordes of the undead.
"They introduce something that is a classic zombie trope that you see in a lot of movies, where survivors fortify a location and try to hold on as long as they can," said creative producer Anthony Cardahi. “It’s something that makes complete sense in the world of Dead Island." We'll be building up barricades and even laying mines.
Getting around the island now can be done by boat, thanks to water gameplay. "The monsoons that were mentioned in the first game have now come to the archipelago,” says Cardahi. “So a lot of the areas are flooded. This then allowed us to bring in the boats, which open up a lot of new gameplay possibilities in regards to movement and exploration."
They also worked on the weather: “That allows us to play around with the atmosphere of the game a lot more thanks to the different lighting systems, from sunny blue skies to dark, torrential rains storms that will obscure your visibility."
“The ranged combat in the original was only pushed during the middle and latter stages of the game, and ammo was really sparse," continued Cardahi. “As such, most of the tweaking and balance time was focused on the melee combat and not so much on the shooting."
"It was a great hassle to get any kind of efficient headshot in the first game,” he admits, “but now we’re putting the ranged weapons and lot of ammo into the early stages of Riptide."
Improvements won't go unnoticed for long: “Because of the new shooting system, headshots are now really devastating. You can also improve and upgrade the guns to the same level as melee weapons. Guns now represent a completely viable combat choice that you can maintain throughout the game."
As the survivors get the chance to be a lot better at ranged combat, it only stands to reason then the undead be given the same courtesy. Techland are introducing a new enemy type called the 'Grenadier'. "He’s a lumbering monstrosity who has cancerous growths all over his body and he flings parts of his body at you," described Cardahi. "He’s a ranged attacker, which brings a freshness and variety into how the zombie combat takes place.”
Dead Island: Riptide releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC April 23rd in the US, 26th in EU.