Dead Island is spawning a new game with mystery in mind, thanks to a partnership between Deep Silver and Swedish studio Fatshark. Escape Dead Island, which is both the game's title and obvious directive, is a third-person game that favors sneaking over wild extermination of the undead, and it tells a different kind of story to match the slower pace.
Playing as Cliff Caylow, a stranded documentarian troubled by hallucinations and the fact that he could not look more generic, you'll explore a zombie-swathed island in the Banoi Archipelago, as it was left following the events of Dead Island. Exploration is gated by your steady acquisition of tools and abilities, some of which can smash through obstacles and the occasional zombie skull. As Caylow pursues the origin of the zombie outbreak, snapping some pictures along the way, he walks through a gauntlet of the surreal. He'll die beneath a sudden cloudburst of cargo containers, for example, only to wake back where he started, and as the only person with a memory of what transpired.
Deep Silver is calling Escape Dead Island a "survival mystery," and Cliff's bouts of delusion "story loops." Though zombies and their demise at the end of a shovel is still a prime factor in the game, as far as I can tell, developer Fatshark is placing far more emphasis on the unhinged story and the unusual, dream-like scenarios that come from it.
Escape Dead Island seems different enough from the regular franchise to impart some caution on the publisher's side: It's being released this Fall only on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC for $40.
Pre-orders made through Gamestop will grant fans access to the Dead Island 2 beta. Dead Island 2, meanwhile, is being developed by Yager, the company behind Spec Ops: The Line. And no, you weren't dreaming – that's the one claiming to have the world's first motion-captured cat.