It is a staple of zombie fiction that, in amongst the crush of bodies, the hands that grasp, the roots that clutch, a person may discover who they truly are. The landscape changes and a shopping mall becomes a battlefield, a coffee shop in a food court becomes a safe haven. There is a lovely moment in the Dawn of the Dead remake when a heroic character reveals that they were previously just a guy who sold TVs. Yes, zombies want to get at what's inside you, but sometimes, in the process, they also get at what's inside you. In the darkest hour, you find reserves you never knew you had.
We all know the drill. New game gets announced, studio bigwig witters on about the big vision, there's a bunch of stats for the trainspotters and then months later - bang! - a finished game. But what happens in the meantime is still vague, mysterious and messy. Rarely does anyone think of the men and women on the game development frontline who quietly toil away to produce the magic that eventually emerges on a diet of little more than Pepsi and pizza.
You may have noticed that my splendid and lovely colleagues Oli Welsh and Martin Robinson have recently become embroiled in what may very well be the most polite argument in the history of the internet, debating whether or not 2011 has been a vintage year for gaming.
If Dead Island's developer Techland is out to confound expectations, then it's doing a damn fine job. First it promised us a holiday in the tropics where sun-kissed days were spent in the company of the undead and then, after several year's worth of stony silence, it grabs our attention once more by throwing a child out of a window (backwards, of course, because a little temporal distortion helps take the sting out of such a nasty image).
It's not what you think.