Why Dead Rising 3 isn’t nearly as serious as the Xbox press conference made it out to be.
When Dead Rising 3 made its debut at the Xbox press conference yesterday, longtime fans of the series raised a collective eyebrow at what appeared to be a significant tonal shift for the franchise. And with good reason: this is a series well known for its absurd sense of humor. Ridiculous weapons, unflattering costumes–these tools for goofing around are just as critical to Dead Rising as the zombie outbreak you’re attempting to survive.
All of this made Capcom’s demo of Dead Rising 3 seem a little strange. Here was a plain-dressed mechanic fellow in rural California slaughtering a cavalcade of zombies with nary an inappropriate bathing suit in sight. Where were the ridiculous costumes? The wildly overpowered weapons? It all looked so straightforward. So serious.
Not so fast. In a follow-up demo, we got a chance to talk to the development team at Capcom Vancouver, and the folks working on the game are just as aware that humor is a cornerstone of this series as everyone watching that press conference yesterday.
According to executive producer Josh Bridge, they wanted to introduce the game on a serious note so that when they get around to showing the humorous elements of the game, fans will see that “the juxtaposition is stronger than ever.” After all, the humor in Dead Rising games has always been rooted in the fact that a very serious story is playing out while the player goes about doing very ridiculous things. It is, in other words, humor based in contrast.
“Don’t worry; we’ve got the banana hammock,” Bridge assured us with a sly smile.
Beyond ensuring that players still have the chance to goof around during a terrifying zombie apocalypse, some of the new features in Dead Rising 3 include a more traditional open-world setting (think fewer corridors and loading barriers separating discrete zones), as well as a damage model that allows you to precisely slice away at a zombie’s various body parts and see the results of your handiwork play out with gruesome accuracy. And while we didn’t get to see it in action, producer Mike Jones tells us that you can now combo “anything with anything.” Pre-set weapon recipes will still yield the most effective results, though Jones tells us that you are free to tinker around with any collection of items to see if they yield a devastating original weapon or just a useless experiment gone wrong.
However, the boldest change of all is probably that Capcom Vancouver has done away with the countdown clock on the default play setting, giving you the opportunity to goof around within the overall sandbox without the stress of a deadline looming over you. But in a nod to those Dead Rising purists who would prefer to have a countdown clock urging them forward, that’s available as an alternate play mode you can choose to enable if you’re up to the task.
Capcom has promised a longer demo here at E3 showing more of the sandbox elements in Dead Rising 3. We’ll be sure to report back with our zombie-slaying exploits once we’ve had a chance to check the game out.