"Includes Content That May Cause Offence", indeed. This morning the unveiling of the Dead Island: Riptide Zombie Bait Edition, available in the UK and Europe, caused quite a bit of offense, a wave of shock rippling through Twitter and game site comment sections to voice disgust and bewilderment at its bloody contents. In addition to the steelbook case, collector's artwork, and weapon pack DLC, those who purchased the edition would also receive a bust of a severed, well endowed woman's torso, a jarring juxtaposition of sexual titillation and violence.
For their part, Deep Silver has now issued an apology for the item, taking to Twitter to release a full statement:
We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.
We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver's entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.
I spoke with a member of the Deep Silver PR team in a private conversation this morning about the controversy, and as they rightly pointed out, it would be unfair to judge the entire game based on the marketing decision of an independent arm of the Dead Island team. All the same they've issued a very thorough apology that doesn't put blame on anyone other than themselves, and I have a deep respect for that. I have confidence they will honor their commitment, but also have to wonder if they really "get" why this is a problem…that they feel compelled to point out that their fans cut up zombies in the game smacks of deflection.
The question is now, though, will they pull it the edition from release?
Update: as Twitter user @Craigums points out, the above torso is not a zombie one, as Deep Silver professes. The edition is also called Zombie Bait. As in, the torso is meant to be zombie bait. The zombies don't eat their own in Dead Island, they only go for living flesh.