Dead Island Riptide: Why a Full Retail Release Was the Wrong Move

Today saw the much-anticipated release of Dead Island Riptide for zombie lovers everywhere who might somehow feel as if their tastes in the undead have yet to be met by the game industry. The first game came as a bit of a surprise, as it was a fun zombie shooter that incorporated in some RPG elements into the mix, which made it a breath of fresh air from a lot of the other zombie games that were limping to the market one after the other. For all that it did right, though, it still wasn’t really a perfect game, which makes some of the decisions in Dead Island Riptide all the more confusing. By all indications, not much in the way of core gameplay mechanics has been updated at all, instead it is Dead Island with a new character tossed into the mix and a new island to be terrorized one.

You won’t see anything really innovative or new with the game’s story, you won’t find much new while you are controlling your character or mowing down zombies in a tropical paradise. If anything, you’ll just be playing Dead Island, but be calling it Dead Island Riptide. Since the reviews have started to leak out the community has been torn on the issue, with some taking exception to Deep Silver releasing what sounds more like an elaborate expansion pack than a new game, while others just being happy with more of the same, as they enjoyed the first game. Now that the game has been out for the better part of a day, gamers are getting their hands on it and the issue still is as torn as ever.

Even if you are enjoying Dead Island Riptide, it has to feel kind of cumbersome that in an evolving game marketplace where there are more and more ways to deliver content to consumers that Deep Silver opted to do a full retail release of Dead Island Riptide, especially if it really doesn’t feel like a new game at all. What is especially interesting is that Techland, the developer of the game, is responsible for the Call of Juarez games, with Call of Juarez: The Gunslinger being released as a download only title for just $14.99. Selling a game like that for a heavily discounted price as a download-only title seems like a very reasonable way to distribute a game that might not do enough to be considered a full retail game, much like Dead Island Riptide.

Dead Island Riptide really feels like it should have been destined for the same type of release, hell, even the price of the full game at retail is $49.99, as opposed to the usual $59.99, so it wasn’t like the publisher was unaware that this might not be considered a “full game. Dead Island Riptide might be a lot of fun for those who enjoyed the first game, but even at a discounted price it seems like a steep cost for a game that really didn’t see much in the way of improvements and just tacked on a new character and a new campaign. Now would be the time to give gamers something to be happy about, not to try to squeeze more money out of them while the industry has been in a bit of a slump and under heavy scrutiny.

The game marketplace is evolving and games like this absolutely have a place in it, but being sold for a slight discount at retail is clearly not the right move for a game like this. People are going to be critical of it by nature, because even with the $10 discount, it is still a “premium” price for what probably can’t be considered a “premium” product.