Dead Island Publisher Tones Down Logo for North America

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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Dead Island Publisher Tones Down Logo for North America

Zombie silhouettes are fine for store shelves, but it seems that nooses are a step too far.

Dead Island publisher, Deep Silver, says that it is tweaking the game's logo for its North America release so that it no longer features a hanging zombie. This change will only apply to the North American box art however, and doesn't affect the European release at all.

The original logo, which will still appear in the game itself, has a zombie swinging from a noose doing a pretty sterling impression of the "I" in Dead Island. Someone deemed this to be a little too extreme for the North American market however, so the gallows zombie has been given the boot and in its place is a regular, "living" zombie, lurching and shambling towards the player. You can see this updated, and not quite as evocative, logo above.

It's not clear exactly why Deep Silver and developer Techland decided to make this change. Other developers have run into problems with cover art before however, like Valve's troubles with the ESRB over the missing fingers on the cover for Left 4 Dead 2. It would make sense that it is either in response to, or in anticipation of, some kind of criticism about the logo.

Dead Island is scheduled for release on Xbox 360, PC, and PS3 sometime in the third quarter of this year.

Source: IGN [http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/115/1156850p1.html]


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Hungry Donner

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I can understand the move, lynching is still a powerful symbol across much of the US and it isn't necessarily clear that it's a zombie hanging from the tree - I mean why would you try to hang a zombie?
 

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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Hungry Donner said:
I can understand the move, lynching is still a powerful symbol across much of the US and it isn't necessarily clear that it's a zombie hanging from the tree - I mean why would you try to hang a zombie?
I understand it too, and for the same reason. For once, I don't mind. Oh, and you try to hang a zombie when the Genre Savvyness was given to everyone else.
 

ZombieGenesis

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I get why they would think it might be a problem...
But let's face it. If the game was released with all questionable material intact, the general public would go about their lives without being the slightest bit affected. Anyone who would have 'called it out' over that matter will call it out over something else anyway.
 

starwarsgeek

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Hungry Donner said:
I mean why would you try to hang a zombie?
Maybe the hung someone after they were bitten, but before actual zombification?

OT: As long as they don't censor the actual game, I don't mind. I could see them getting some angry letters because some young kids saw it on the shelf...
 

NathLines

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Hungry Donner said:
I can understand the move, lynching is still a powerful symbol across much of the US and it isn't necessarily clear that it's a zombie hanging from the tree - I mean why would you try to hang a zombie?
It could be a guy who knows he's infected and is going to turn, so he hangs himself. Afterwards he turns into a zombie.

EDIT: God damn it. Ninja'd.
 

Iron Mal

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Of course, because the first thing I think of when I play a zombie game is lynching iconography from the time of mass segregation and institutionalised racism (please excuse the sarcasm but this just seems ridiculous).

I'd understand if there were graphic scenes of people being lynched in the game (that could be pretty harsh depending on the context) but just having a hung zombie in the logo isn't really the sort of thing that needs to be toned down.
 

DTWolfwood

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Oct 20, 2009
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poo poo on our puritan sensibilities <.<

meh if the game is release on PC and is on steam, i'll never even get to see the box art. If it isn't on steam than i'll never play it. Same if its a console only game.
 

The Cheezy One

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Dec 13, 2008
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I don't mind really (and not just because I'm English). Unlike those Yahtzee pointed out a few weeks back, this changes very little. The only negative view I can take is that it slightly removes from the bleak view that the trailer set up (the lone man hanging from a tree I found to be quite powerful), but if you want bleak, watch the trailer in
 

Scabadus

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Seems like a fair move. You can be as violent as you want in the game itself, that's what ratings are for, but for box art you have to remember that everyone in the store will see that regardless of age.
 

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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Hungry Donner said:
I can understand the move, lynching is still a powerful symbol across much of the US and it isn't necessarily clear that it's a zombie hanging from the tree - I mean why would you try to hang a zombie?
Target practice. Cmon, I know the film sucked ass but I cant be the only one that saw Diary of the Dead.
 

qwertyz

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Why do we always have to tone down things that don't really have to be toned down? Maybe it's just because I live in California, and not the Deep South in the US, that I don't see anything wrong, but I found the former logo perfectly fine.
 

Void Droid

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Iron Mal said:
Of course, because the first thing I think of when I play a zombie game is lynching iconography from the time of mass segregation and institutionalised racism (please excuse the sarcasm but this just seems ridiculous).
I think more of suicide than I do racism (although I understand how one could make the connection). If I walked in to a shop and saw that on the cover and I had lost someone the same way then regardless of the games content, whether aware of it or not, I would be upset to have the memories brought up, so I can understand them changing it.

As someone already said, be as graphic as you want in the game but the box will be on display for all to see, parents of victims, children etc, so long as the game is untouched what should it matter.
 

Zenode

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Ohhh you silly Americans taking offense to something so silly.

Well to me it actually is a better design, in the original i thought it said "Dead Land" and confused me if they changed the title or not...

[small]If this was an Australian thing
OMG CENSORSHIP NANNY STATE etc etc

American thing
Oh yes that might be offensive

/rant for no reason[/small]
 

Stammer

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Meh, what does it really matter anyway? This is a great example of something that can be changed with no negative impact while also simply making the game a little bit less offensive to people.

After the attack on the World Trade Center towers, Westwood Studios changed the box art for Red Alert 2 because it showed New York City burning to the ground. I still own the original box, so it's cool to know that I own what is essentially a limited edition version of the box. But I'm also happy about it because I think changing the box art probably saved a lot of people from having negative emotions from looking at the boxes on store shelves. And really, it's not like it affected the game in any way.
 

Eri

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Feb 21, 2009
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I'm so fucking sick of the US getting the shittiest box art. Every fucking game it's the same story, we get the WORST art. Publisher's need to fucking think for once.
 

fenrizz

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I do find it a bit ironic that hey need to censor it to sell it in the USA.
 

alandavidson

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What I really want to know are their reasons. I didn't think of a lynch mob when I first saw the cover. There are certain things that you do want to be careful with, but I don't think that this (original cover art) pushed the envelope too far.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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It's kind of lame, but I understand the intent. Maybe instead of taking the noose away they could have made it so that the hanged zombie isn't a silhouette, that way it would be clear that it's a zombie and not a person.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Zenn3k said:
Are all the zombies black?
Being a zombie is an equal opportunity career. See Resident Evil 5.
Sorry. I couldn't resist. :)

Probably the best move, as I have seen several stories on CNN where people get offended whenever any type of hanging symbolism is used. There was a story about a Halloween decoration that a man was forced to take down because people felt it portrayed a black man being hung. From the look of it, the guy was a rotting corpse. Hard to tell what color his skin was...
 

KefkaCultist

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Danik93 said:
Really... Are Americas entertainment business run by 10 year olds?
Not quite the same, but still relevant I think.

Anyway, this is kinda dumb but it doesn't really bother me. It's not like its a drastic change to something completely stupid.
 

Syphous

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It personally wouldn't bother me in the slightest, but I'm also a straight white male. Nothing can bother me. Like someone else said, as long as the game itself isn't censored I don't care what they do to the logo.
 

Son of Detroit

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Eri said:
I'm so fucking sick of the US getting the shittiest box art. Every fucking game it's the same story, we get the WORST art. Publisher's need to fucking think for once.
Really? It's a silhouette of a grown man hanging from a palm tree that can magically support his weight. The cover was shitty to begin with.
 

Jabberwock xeno

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I understand their decison, but I STRONGLY disagree with their choice.

Based on the trailer, this game seemed like it would be a very emotional experience that did not shy away from taboo.

IU had hoped it would stay that way, perhaps as one of gaming's examples as a legimate media and/or art form.

Because if THAT trailer was not a work or art, then neither is 90% of the stuff in thathers, played on the radio, or in gallery's.
 
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I rather like the Ctrl-Alt-Del take on this.

[image/]http://l3.cdn.cad-comic.com/comics/sillies-20110321-3d8f8.gif[/IMG]

How dare he take the easy way out.
 

Caliostro

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Jan 23, 2008
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So America continues it's proud tradition of getting the absolutely shittier box art. Nothing new.

And as someone else pointed out:

"America: MAN, THOSE AUSSIES ARE WUSSIES BANNING EVERYTHING!

Wait, a hanging zombie!? Wow! I can see the problem in that! I mean, I wouldn't want a perfectly legitimate practice in the implied context (killing a zombie during a zombie apocalypse) to hurt the sensibilities of someone who ignorantly decides to connect it to lynching, despite the fact that historically, hanging has been used for centuries (since 1300 AD at least) as a capital punishment, and only for a relatively very brief period of history was it ever used for racist lynching! But fuuuuuuck that, ignorance is where it's at!"
 

Hungry Donner

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ZombieGenesis said:
I get why they would think it might be a problem...
But let's face it. If the game was released with all questionable material intact, the general public would go about their lives without being the slightest bit affected. Anyone who would have 'called it out' over that matter will call it out over something else anyway.
Considering that they're changing the box and not the in-game splash screen I'd guess they're hoping to prevent passerbys from noticing and taking offense. I could certainly see someone walking through a store and taking offense at the depiction of lynching who otherwise wouldn't have noticed the game in the first place.
 

Jumplion

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Guys, you do realize that nobody has really been "offended" by this (yet), right? I'd say Deep Silver/Techland are just being courteous. This isn't censorship, they're just barely toning the logo down.

Besides;

Hungry Donner said:
I can understand the move, lynching is still a powerful symbol across much of the US and it isn't necessarily clear that it's a zombie hanging from the tree - I mean why would you try to hang a zombie?
 

UNHchabo

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Caliostro said:
So America continues it's proud tradition of getting the absolutely shittier box art. Nothing new.
Actually, I didn't get a "lynching" vibe from the logo, and I think this is the better box art, because it more accurately depicts the content of the game.

Let's take a look at the differences:

US Box Art: The silhouette of a shambling zombie, under a palm tree. Okay, this is a zombie game that takes place on an island.

Original Box Art: There's a guy who hung himself from a palm tree. Why -- was he marooned on an island, and hung himself from despair? What type of game is this: Is this a post-nuclear game, where my only enemy is radioactive waste?
 

Caliostro

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UNHchabo said:
US Box Art: The silhouette of a shambling zombie, under a palm tree with the words "Dead Island". Okay. "Dead" anything generally implies zombies. And there's a zombie on the cover. How original. Generic zombie game. Moving on.


Original Box Art: There's a guy hanging from a palm tree with the words "dead island". "Dead" on anything generally implies zombies... But is that a hung zombie? Or is it someone else? Someone who killed themselves? An island overrun with zombies could drive people into despair... Wait, this is is something the devs considered? The emotional side of a zombie breakout? I'm officially interested. Let's take a look.
Fixed that for you.

That said, based on your original post I can see that maybe this wasn't as much a "censorship" issue as the standard "dumbing it down for the target demographic" the US versions seem to suffer.
 

UNHchabo

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Caliostro said:
Fixed that for you.

That said, based on your original post I can see that maybe this wasn't as much a "censorship" issue as the standard "dumbing it down for the target demographic" the US versions seem to suffer.
That's really not what I get from the original logo. On the original logo, I can't even really tell that it's a zombie game. I can tell that it's a dark game, but that's about it.

This isn't a case like Ico or Future Wars, where the box art is dramatically changed to make it dumbed down. This is a minor change that makes a massive clarification of what the game's about.

There's a difference between abstract box art, which intrigues the potential buyer, and misleading box art, which confuses them.
 

Caliostro

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UNHchabo said:
That's really not what I get from the original logo. On the original logo, I can't even really tell that it's a zombie game. I can tell that it's a dark game, but that's about it.

This isn't a case like Ico or Future Wars, where the box art is dramatically changed to make it dumbed down. This is a minor change that makes a massive clarification of what the game's about.

There's a difference between abstract box art, which intrigues the potential buyer, and misleading box art, which confuses them.
This does reinforce my point... That said, there's another reason to like the original box art: It's focusing on how dark the game is, the human emotional element. The zombies are just a mean to accomplish an end.

You're right though, it's not a GIGAAAAAAAAAANTIC difference. It is, however, a worse piece of box art than the original.
 

flaviok79

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The sad thing about censorship in any media is this "internal censorship" that takes place in the minds of the creators themselves.

In antecipation for any negative fallouts, people constantly constrained by censorship will eventually censor themselves. If that is the case here, than it is a sad sign that America is becoming a less free media friendly environment.

But, if the ESRB really did censor that, they should get some clue of the times we are living in. Perhaps admit younger, less conservative members, or have some sex. Both would help.
 

UNHchabo

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flaviok79 said:
But, if the ESRB really did censor that, they should get some clue of the times we are living in. Perhaps admit younger, less conservative members, or have some sex. Both would help.
There's no evidence the ESRB had involvement in this case; it's quite possible that the developers just chose to change the logo to avoid public outcry.

You may be against censorship, but publishers have to keep the sensibilities of the public in mind. A publisher can put out a product that includes full-frontal nudity on the cover, but if no stores are willing to sell the product, sales will be near-zero. To me, censorship of the package doesn't matter, as long as the content is unchanged.
 

Flauros

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The original icon is pretty stricking and pretty cool.

But we have such a particular history with that symbol...that a zombie hanging or even a criminal hanging is not the first thing we think of. Remember, theyre going to try to have stores put this all over the windows and signs...Not that it will cause riots, but im sure some managers will be like....Nah, this has been here long enough, creeping me out and making people give me odd looks. Think ill put up Kirbys Epic Yarn instead....

Remember, thats not actually in the game.

Maybe they should of put a cowboy hat on him or something
 

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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So funny. Cant have a hanged silouette on the box art....thats bad. But is ok to release games allowing you to shoot, stab and blugeon people to death in crystal clear detail. Yep thats fine. So arse backwards.
 

Frotality

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when the hell did we start toning things DOWN for america? arent we the country that feels the need to turn kirby into an angry fung fu master in our boxart? that turns all happy bright japanese boxart into a collage of the main characters all looking depressed? is video game localization just conspiring to ALWAYS give america the worst boxart?

yeah, i think thats it. i think when the concepts for boxart are looked at, its pretty much unspoken in marketing departments that the second best one is the one used for the american release.
 

cookieXkiller

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As long as here in new zealand we dont get it censored im happy ... looks intresting to say the least
ot; its good they changed it but its only as bad as you think it is. Good call on changing it though.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Zenode said:
Ohhh you silly Americans taking offense to something so silly.
Not really. It would be as bad as a Zombie silhouette being guillotined in France, nailbombed in England, kneecapped in Ireland, or having it's hands amputated in Arabia.

Certain things don't sit well with certain cultures because of their past. Having a "shadow" man hanging from a tree doesn't work well in America. Don't make me have to spell it out why. (KKK)
 

josemlopes

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starwarsgeek said:
Hungry Donner said:
I mean why would you try to hang a zombie?
Maybe the hung someone after they were bitten, but before actual zombification?

OT: As long as they don't censor the actual game, I don't mind. I could see them getting some angry letters because some young kids saw it on the shelf...
Or maybe someone just killed himself and since his meat was just hanging there zombies went for a bite.
 

Nouw

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That to be frank puts me off the game, it looked much more grim before the change.
[sub]In related news, the game of Hangman is being deemed to violent and mature for a game.[/sub]

Good thing I live in New Zealand!

The_root_of_all_evil said:
Zenode said:
Ohhh you silly Americans taking offense to something so silly.
Not really. It would be as bad as a Zombie silhouette being guillotined in France, nailbombed in England, kneecapped in Ireland, or having it's hands amputated in Arabia.

Certain things don't sit well with certain cultures because of their past. Having a "shadow" man hanging from a tree doesn't work well in America. Don't make me have to spell it out why. (KKK)
That's a rather good[sub]and deep[/sub]point as to why they may take offence.
 

Gasaraki

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Are you serious? Look at the covers for the Saw movies and tell me those aren't worse than the silhouette of a man hanging from a tree. I seriously doubt that any reasonable person would get offended by the logo.