Interview: Dead Island Riptide’s Creative Producer, Sebastian Reichert

by on March 4, 2013

Dead Island was an interesting game. A lot of fun with friends, but held back from greatness but a generally buggy feeling. But Deep Silver have acknowledged this fact, as they tell us about the lack of a Wii U version of the game, how they will ensure the quality is higher for Riptide, and much more, as we talk to the Creative Producer at Deep Silver, Sebastian Reichert.

Were you taken aback by the success of the first game? If I remember correctly, in the UK it was sold out for a while!

We had high hopes, but this was totally beyond expectation. We had a lot of fun developing the game and we were blown away by the response we had for the trailer. That was outstanding and probably something you see once in a lifetime. But selling more than 5 million units?

You’re asking a guy who worked on an English-German dictionary for a DS title a couple of years ago. This feels like a true Cinderella story. Obviously with a big, hairy Cinderella, but anyways – no, no one expected that. However, this comes with a lot of responsibilities. We need to follow up, get better, focus on delivering high quality, polished titles. The worst thing that could happen now is to feel comfortable. Fans expect nothing less than excellence.

What led you to keep the same characters and a similar environment rather than attempting something different, and are there plans to extend the series beyond the tropical island setting?

We have a great story to tell and Dead Island: Riptide is still just the beginning.

Dead Island: Riptide finishes the first chapter of the Dead Island storyline. Considering the expectations towards a completely new sequel, we felt that we should focus on content and polishing for this game.

Sebastian certainly believes that Riptide will improve on the first game

How do you ensure that Riptide will be as engaging as the first? What challenges do you face with a sequel, that didn’t arise in the first game’s development?

We don’t let the engagement stop. Just take your character from Dead Island and continue to play. No matter if you finished the game or not, just continue the fun with even more toys in the sandbox.

The biggest challenge for Dead Island: Riptide will most likely be the communication in regards to what to expect from it. It is not Dead Island 2, but nevertheless it is a full game experience. It is ‘more of what our audiences liked in the first place’, but nothing completely new from scratch.

The first game had quite a few bugs when released, what are you doing to ensure that doesn’t happen again?

We fix them. And there were far too many of them to call them ‘few’. We were really upset about the release and I believe we can avoid such a mess this time.

Comparisons have been made to the Fallout series. Is this flattering, or do you feel it’s a little unfair?

Fallout is an outstanding game. So it is absolutely flattering being compared to such an outstanding franchise.

Personally I believe we are closer to Borderlands. Not in regards to style and humour, but for game mechanics, this is probably the most influential game for Dead Island.

Will the gunplay be used sparingly like the first game, or will it be more prevalent like the Ryder White DLC?

Dead Island: Riptide stays a close combat focussed game. Firearms will get an upgrade, but we believe in the immersion being heavily supported by our current approach. And nothing will be close to the Ryder White DLC. We had removed too much of the playground – trying to tell a story in a narrative driven way – instead of letting the player create his own.

Can we expect more outlandish custom weapons?

You can bet on it. Our crafting and modding systems are essential elements for player motivation. With a new game, fans will rightfully expect a lot of new stuff to craft and to play around with and this is a must have.

Will there be split screen co-op, for those who don’t want to play online?

That would be really nice, for sure. However, our engine has some limits and with our focus on other features, this is something that should be in consideration for potential future titles in the Dead Island franchise.

Any chance of a Wii U version? Having your inventory on a second screen could be pretty cool!

Well, we liked Zombi U for some of its really creative ideas, but generally speaking, Nintendo platforms are really nice for Nintendo games. As long as we do not get a call about turning Zelda and Mario into bloodthirsty braindead killers, it’s thanks, but no thanks.

How would you convince someone to try your game? What will get fence-sitters to buy the game?

Experience the best out of the zombie apocalypse with your friends. If you don’t have any friends, you will have them after playing Dead Island.

Even better: It is the ultimate experience if you just like to let out all your frustration. You had a hard day at work or your relationship broke up? Dead Island brings you the perfect playground and you can beat the hell out of the undead!

The most important question we ask everyone, where do you keep the ketchup, in the fridge or in the cupboard?

Bedside locker, bathroom, desk and cupboard. Always be prepared if you need a snack.

Thanks for your time, Sebastian.

Dead Island Riptide will be released on April 23 in North America and April 26 in Europe – for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.