The co-founder of Glasgow based animation studio Axis has spoken out on his company’s decision to depict the death of a young girl in the hugely popular trailer for Deep Silver game Dead Island.
"I think we have been fairly restrained and grown up about it personally," Stuart Aitken told Develop. "The zombie genre is about gore and death and a primal fear of irrational violence so there’s no point trying to dodge those things at all.
"If you watch carefully almost all the really graphic bits of violence actually happen to the zombies, not the family. The violence that happens to the family is implied or is treated less graphically for the most part and that was quite deliberate. We feel the fear of the family, their sense of hopelessness under the onslaught, their lack of ability to save one another despite trying, and that is more dramatically interesting than seeing them actually being ripped to shreds or something.
"On the subject of the Daughter character specifically, we were aware that there was an impact about that choice for sure, but I think that choice fitted the narrative we wanted to tell and was appropriate in that sense.
"As the audience you feel that fear much more strongly through the eyes of a child. Some people will see that as being ‘manipulative’ which is fair enough. It draws you in, makes you care. That’s quite a hard thing to do in two minutes and as some commentators have pointed out all effective fiction is ultimately manipulative in that sense.
"I don’t think we glorified anything – quite the opposite. We portray the events as a tragedy, with perhaps an edge of black humour that is very much present in most of the genre. If someone found it a little unsettling then I think that was what was intended. We didn’t set out to offend anyone – just rattle them a bit."