Dead Island Riptide follows on from the 2011 zombie action role-playing game, with our group of survivors joined by a fifth member as they battle through a new a monsoon-stricken island.
It's a game that's neither a fully-fledged sequel, expansion or a spin-off, but described by producer Sebastian Reichert as the "next instalment" in the Dead Island story.
"We dediced to call it the next instalment, because the way we felt about it, it's not 'the two' because we'd expect to change more to justify the two," he told Digital Spy.
"But it's not an add-on because it's not an add-on... it continues the story of the four characters, and adding a new one, in that original Dead Island story."
Water, water everywhere
Whatever it is, it's best simply described as a direct continuation of the first game. For one, the story starts exactly where the original left off - with our four survivors reaching a Navy ship - that promptly becomes overrun by the undead, plunging players back into a nightmare on a new tropical island.
Sticking with the familiar setting of the Banoi archipelago allows the developer to work on new ideas within comfortable confines.
Perhaps the biggest difference is the addition of weather and flooding. Flooded areas change the way you traverse landscapes, and fog creates a blanket that hides advancing zombies and creates a new kind of tension. Floods, meanwhile, turn tightly crafted areas into wide open expanses that can be explored by boat, creating new group dynamics as you fight over who should be above water.
Weather changes occur randomly over the campaign, meaning an area's tone is said to feel dramatically different of multiple visits, seeing a lush, sunny paradise transform into a far darker and dangerous landscape.
Defend yourselves from the advancing hordes
The story also uses weather for story-driven obstacles. One section sees our survivors lower flood waters with a generator - the noise from which will attract zombie hordes - to gain access to ancient tunnels, paving the way for a new 'defence' set piece while the flood waters recede.
These are classic zombie scenarios of barricading fences and protecting a base for a set amount of time.
But instead of instilling a sense of vulnerability in the player, they hand them the keys to all kinds of fun tools - from proximity mines to throwable explosive barrels and mounted turrets - creating a semi-sandbox to let players run amok as the zombie hordes keep coming and the bodies keep piling up.
These scenarios will feature throughout the game, and take an action-focused direction that players wanted more of from the first game, explains Reichert.
"We definitely love the action appeal of [Dead Island]," he said. When we got the feedback from Dead Island players, it was tremendous how many user stories they had, and less how they rephrased the story of the game.
"It felt like whenever someone played the game and was really hooked by it, it was by the world and what you could do in the world, and not the girl who shot her father because he turned [into a zombie]."
He continued: "It was a nice moment to support the game, but actually people loved the fight in front of the garage, where they could jump on boxes and throw dynamite and get into a car and run over three zombies... that is the stuff they love, so we wanted to give them more stuff like that."
Reichert added that he felt at times players were limited by scarce resources and a mounting difficulty, and this new direction gives them room to breathe and lets them enjoy laying waste to enemies.
Use your old Dead Island character
Further suggesting that this is a continuation of the original is the ability to import your old character - with the same level and suite of skills - making use of the auto-difficulty technology that powered the first game's co-operative play to let players have as much challenge at the level cap as they would if they were starting afresh.
And there is an incentive to start anew, with the introduction of a new character to the squad, John Morgan. Inspired by the ultra popular 'First of the Dead Star' fan video, he's a martial artist that can kick and punch his way through zombie hordes. A silly and over-the-top addition perhaps, but one that goes perfectly with the action-packed direction this follow-up is going for.
Dead Island Riptide relationship's to the first one - as a sequel, spin-off, or continuation - isn't crystal clear, but in its direction it's simple; expect more of the same gore-filled action but with added landmine-fuelled thrills, and a return to beautiful pastures to battle the elements as well as the undead.
Dead Island Riptide will be available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC from April 23, 2013 in North America and April 26, 2013 in Europe.