The team want to be clear that fans are getting "more of the core gameplay" they enjoyed in the original Dead Island, but they did want to "add a lot of original stuff," so we get a whole new island.
It's a little off to call this an expansion or a sequel, Toplansky tries to explain, as by the time the team were finished with Riptide it had "just as much content as the original".
Riptide continues the rough time of it that the original four characters endured on the first island. They also learned a lot from fan feedback like that "running around, finding all these creative ways to kill zombies, is more fun than these big convoluted plots or stories," he said.
"So many people told us how they just liked driving around in a truck and slamming into zombies. So we decided we had to go more over-the-top with this kind of stuff, we have to be more about pure entertainment."
"So we wanted to satisfy this desire. John, for example, our new character, his power kick ability is pure “wow, I can’t believe how far that zombie just travelled”. It’s the sandbox stuff. John’s Fury skill was actually inspired by a fan video – Fist of the Dead Star. We saw a lot of things like that that inspired us."
Despite having more firearms readily available than in the original, the studio isn't making a shooter.
"So on the one hand you have the survival experience that you want to create, which doesn’t necessarily need firearms, but at the same time you’ve got this interesting situation in Riptide where, as we always say, the waters are rising now – both for humanity, and the water itself," explained Toplansky.
"But with this idea is that the stakes are rising too, so people need to be more prepared. So we felt that beefing up the firearms gameplay is just keeping up with the threat that’s rising alongside it. We will always remember that this is a melee orientated game, but it would be nice for Firearms to always be an viable option. We’re not turning this into a shooter, but we want it be a possible solution, instead of a “once-in-a-game” kind of deal."
Check outwith creative producer Alex Toplansky as we discuss Dead Island: Riptide, which releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC April 23rd in the US, 26th in Europe.
Dead Island: Riptide "still connected to the original experience"
15 March 2013 | By Simon Priest