Dead Island Wiki
Dead Island Wiki
For the quest of the same name, see Dr Kessler.

Dr. Kessler is a survivor featured in Dead Island: Riptide. He is a German scientist who researches Kuru from his biosphere and how it is affected by external forces, especially with the Zombie outbreak. Harlow Jordan recommends the Hero visits Dr. Kessler after Marcus Villa betrays the Hero at the Paradise Survival Camp.


He is first met at the very end of the main Quest Way of Science, when Harlow recommends the heroes ask Dr. Kessler about an alternative way to reach Henderson after Paradise is burnt down. He asks that the heroes retrieve some Reagents from his undead pupils so he may study them, giving the main quest Dr Kessler. After he gets them, and takes a sample of the heroes' blood in return for giving them A Map of the Tunnels, he remains at the biosphere to study how their immunity works.

He contacts the heroes via radio when they first enter the Japanese Tunnels, requesting that they bring him some research documents and other samples of the infected for him to further study, giving the side quest History Lesson. Once he gets them, he gives the continuous quest A New Machine where he wants Electronic Scrap to use around the lab.

He is heard from twice more during the main quest The Crossing, the first time after Wayne mutates into a Wrestler. After he is defeated, the heroes contact Kessler about it and he warns that the chemicals in the tunnels may have caused a mutation in Wayne's bite, and that exposure to the chemicals may alter the heroes' immunity, causing them to lose it. The heroes angrily shout at him for this before ending contact. The final time he is heard from is after the heroes kill Thaddeus and his group at the Pinai Ferry Station, when the heroes enter Rage Mode and kill them all. Kessler theorizes that the virus in them must have mutated as a result of coming into contact with the chemicals in the tunnels, and enhanced their latent rage ability. He warns them not to come in contact with more Mutagen to curb further mutation. Kessler remains in the biosphere for the rest of the game, conducting his research.

Links to the Consortium[]

It is implied the reason Kessler chose to live and set up a biosphere on the island of Palanai was due to his fascination with the kuru outbreaks that occur intermittently within the Banoi Archipelago. While Harlow claims that Kessler is a good and ethical man, the collectible files that can be found within the game make this highly debatable as they reveal he is working with Frank Serpo and his employers, the Consortium, the organization responsible for the outbreaks across the Banoi Archipelago, to further their research on combining chemicals, derived from the weapons left behind in bunkers when Japan occupied the island during World War II, with the Pathogen HK variant outbreak of the kuru disease to create a potent biological weapon to be sold to military organizations.

Additionally, Kessler's biosphere suffers from an outbreak as well, resulting in the deaths of his entire staff. Kessler seems rather unmoved by this and even blames the incident on the carelessness of his now deceased staff, only showing concern for the reagents that were left behind in the biosphere. The immune seem highly suspicious of this, making it debatable if the outbreak in his lab was indeed simply an accident or another twisted experiment to further test the potential of the virus mutations.

While it is never explicitly stated what Kessler's exact motives are, it is implied that he is primarily concerned about understanding more about the outbreak to satisfy his own curiosity as a scientist and researcher, having spent years researching the kuru disease and was fascinated by how it continuously adapts and mutates with each new outbreak, and is not concerned about any profit that could be secured in weaponizing the disease.

His previous research on how the kuru disease mutates from exposure to chemical weapons, contained within a paper he authored alongside Marcus Villa, before the two had a falling out, was what caught the attention of the Consortium and, thus, saw him as a viable resource for their operations on Palanai.

Dead Island film draft[]

Kessler was meant to appear in the 2017 draft of the Dead Island film, where he appears first in the intro of the film, travelling through the Mingende Jungle of Banoi Island along with two natives guides, Keiko and Munan, and 6 other scientists, including Marko and Lydia, two interns. They take some tests from rivers before finding a village with a woman laughing and covering her face, away from them. Kessler identifies it as the beginning stages of Kuru, before the woman suddenly bites Lydia. They are saved by Koritoia Ope and some natives, who kill the woman and want to kill Lydia on account of her bite, despite Kessler trying to persuade them that they are medicine men. Ope takes Lydia and moves to kill her but Keiko and Munan sacrifice themselves to let the scientists run. As they escape, Lydia turns and kills the scientists, but Kessler keeps running. When he's sure he's safe, he goes back to find them but finds them all missing, with no bodies present. The film would then have gone to the title screen.

He would then be heard from later in the film when he manages to contact the survivors in the hotel via a ham radio that Asher fixed up. After telling them how he got back to the lab, they ask him if he's met an immune person for his research, which he hasn't. Asher tells him that he's immune, and Kessler excitedly tells him to reach him as soon as possible, and gives directions to reach him. However, Asher gets kidnapped by Jonathan Locke and his group, causing the deaths of the hotel survivors outside of Cassie and Tynan. They give chase and reach Kessler's lab, apparently before Jonathan and his group, however Kessler doesn't respond immediately to them buzzing the entrance of the lab. When he does, he directs them to the biosphere entrance and Tynan is suspicious of how Kessler's acting, only for him to be proven correct when the two of them and Ope and his native group, who they persuaded to come with them when they were going to kill them by mentioning the name of Jonathan whom Ope wants to kill, are locked in and swarmed by Zombies.

However, the reason is that Jonathan did reach the lab before them and is forcing Kessler under gunpoint to drain Asher's blood and create a cure, whilst forcing the survivors into the greenhouse trap. Kessler is disgusted and protests several times but has no way of stopping Jonathan, so works on a cure, managing to eventually create a cure whilst explaining that the outbreak occurred due to pollution in the rivers causing Kuru to mutate, pollution caused by Jonathan and his developments on the island. After making the cure, Kessler wants to test it but Jonathan forces him to hand it to him. Jerrika suddenly opens the door to let Tynan, Cassie and Si in from the biosphere, all the natives having been killed, and in the ensuing invasion of zombies into the lab, Kessler is bitten and Jonathan escapes with the cure, ignoring Kessler's request to pass him the cure to save himself. When the survivors close up the lab and kill the zombies in it, Cassie asks Kessler if there's a way off the island, and before he turns, Kessler points out the door and tells them that there's a boat on the dock with a broken engine. Cassie promises that they'll return with the cure for Kessler. However, Cassie is bitten by a zombie and Tynan uses the cure on her, causing them to not return for Kessler, who remains a zombie in the lab.


Kessler is an older man with balding white hair and a clean shaven face. He wears a dirty white shirt, grey dress pants held by a black belt, and black dress shoes. He also has a silver watch on his left wrist.


  • He is also referred to as "Eleh" man.
  • According to the 2017 film draft, Kessler's first name is Matthias, however since the film was never made and would have likely been non-canon, this is likely an alternate Kessler to the one present in Riptide.
  • In Riptide, Dr. Kessler says that the Heroes aren't truly immune as their bodies are just suppressing the virus. This seems fine until records from Dead Island and the spinoff Escape Dead Island say that there wasn't any trace of the virus in the immune. It is up in the air if Dr. Kessler was right, wrong, or somewhat correct given the change in the virus's causes and affects in Dead Island 2.