Steam opens Dead Island preorders with bonus content

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We've had no shortage of zombie-themed games in recent years, but if you haven't had your fill of undead carnage, you might want to step in line for a taste of Techland's forthcoming zombie-slaying simulator. Due on September 6 in North America for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Dead Island vows to deliver a fresh take on the post-apocalyptic genre by blending the corpse-smashing slaughterfest of Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising with a healthy side of roleplaying and open world exploration.

Officially described as an "open world horror action adventure" game, players will traverse a zombie-infested tropical island as one of four class-based characters. Former rapper Sam B will serve as the tank, local hotel staffer Xian Mei has assassin-like attributes, a bodyguard named Purna has ranged attacks, while retired football star Logan is a jack of all trades. Naturally, by implementing class roles, Dead Island has set itself up to be team-oriented, so you should expect a rich multiplayer experience.

Dead Island E3 2011 Trailer (NSFW)

Based on what we've seen, Polish developer Techland (best known for creating Call of Juarez) is aiming for a drop-in, drop-out co-op mode that supports up to four players. We imagine the game won't support duplicate roles, so you and your comrades will have to commit to different characters during a given co-op session. This is the case with Left 4 Dead, but we suspect it will be especially pertinent in Dead Island because of the individual classes, not to mention the game's RPG-like experience and skill systems for character progression. It should be interesting to see how that juggling act is handled.

Along with your typical flesh-gorging zombies (both the slow and fast-moving variety), Dead Island is home to various special infected that are more powerful. Unique zombies include "The Suicider," a hefty boil-riddled enemy that explodes on you. "The Butcher" is expected to be an agile opponent that attacks you with bones protruding from its arms. "The Drowner" has a spit attack and can engage you in the water, while "The Ram" is a straightjacket-bound psychiatric patient with a charge attack.

Steam has opened preorders for Dead Island with pricing set at $49.99 for a single copy or $149.97 for a four-pack ($37.49 per copy). If you pre-purchase either offer, you'll receive a special weapon called "The Ripper," seemingly a baseball bat with a buzz saw mounted on the tip. You'll also get a free immediate access to the Bloodbath Arena DLC, which includes four survival arenas, a new weapon and more. Non-preorder customers will have to wait a month for the content, which will reportedly cost $10.

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