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Dream Vacation… or Dread Vacation?

September 14, 2011

This trailer feels like an episode of LOST. It starts with an eyeball close-up, and ends with me feeling halfway between bittersweet and scared shitless but not understanding why.

I like it. I really, really like it. This is my favorite video game release campaign since Halo 3, which was no pushover. Halo 3 sold more copies on release day than any X-Box game of all timeany video game of all time …anything ever in the history of everything.

Well almost. The game outsold any entertainment product release in history with $170 million in sales in 24 hours (and this is when the dollar was actually worth something). Why the huge success? Well, sure, it was already a multiplatinum-selling franchise with millions of devout fans. But the real kicker was the marketing campaign, which centered mostly around… a diorama.

Diorama

For Reference: A diorama

Yes, a diorama. The Halo 3 marketing team decided that they weren’t telling just another war story. They were charged with strengthening, or in some cases establishing, an emotional connection between every single player of this game and its faceless, near-wordless protagonist.

Dead Island’s team takes a similar route, minus the miniatures. They artfully create that emotional connection with viewers – the result is just heartbreaking (I can’t even hear this music without tearing up now).

I have no complaints about the trailer, but I have heard whining from players that compared to this, the game lacks emotional depth. I guess that’s a risk you take when the ad campaign is this good.

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