So, it’s been just over 10 years since the original Dead Rising released on Xbox 360. We recently had the chance to catch up with Joe Nichols, Studio Director of Capcom Vancouver to chat about Dead Rising 4.
Ever since Dead Rising 4 was announced, it was immediately clear that the game would have a different tone.
The marketing heavily featured Christmas tones. Nickolls said that was important due to the fact that it was important that the game was set
at Black Friday as the game plays into consumerism and greed.
“Consumerism leads us down this path of greed and a want for more. We thought it makes perfect sense to go back to Williamette in a perfect mall, so how do we get so many people in a mall at once and Black Friday seemed to be the perfect way to do this.” Nickolls said.
The Dead Rising franchise has seen three different lead characters, but Dead Rising 4 features the original bad-ass Frank West. Nickolls stated that it was important for them to go back to Frank West as he believes that he wasn’t done justice in the original game.
“We really wanted to bring Frank back and position him for the Western market. People definitely change over time and we wanted to bring Frank into 2016 and finish telling his story as a lot of people wanted to know what happened to him after the original.” Nickolls said.
The town of Willamette is one of the most iconic video game locations in the Xbox history, and it’s back in Dead Rising 4. Whilst the original game was placed set primarily in the shopping centre, Dead Rising 4 has been expanded quite significantly to provide a much better variety in gameplay environments.
“The town has been rebuilt. The original mall has been taken down and rebuilt. There will be certain things that hardcore fans recognised from old Dead Rising games but for the first time, you’re able to play around the mall. There are different segments of the town so you’ve got a division where the high-class people live and another section where the lower-class poorer people live which is completely different, then you’ve got an industrial area which is completely different again.” Nickolls said.
One of the biggest surprises in the game was definitely the Exo Suit. Whilst exciting, this was definitely one of the more worrying factors of the game for long-time fans was the Exo Suit, which clearly transformed Frank into a brand new being that would give him a clear advantage over the hordes of zombies.
“Part of the beauty of the Exo Suit though, is partnering it with other gear including a classic Capcom Arcade machine, which is super cool. These have been sprinkled out through the story to keep it feeling new and fresh. Also, because there’s so many different kinds of enemies, you really have to plan your load out a lot more than ever before.” Nickolls said
The studio has faced backlash due to the incredibly popular time system being removed from the game. This always provided gamers with a sense of urgency and added to the survival horror element.
In the first game, you only had a certain amount of time to complete objectives before you were picked up from the town of Willamette and your game was over.
“When we explained the kind of game that we were making, the overwhelming sense of the game with user research that playing the game with the time limit, they tend to rush through certain areas and miss some really cool stuff in the games.” said Nickolls.
“We wanted people to explore and take their time in Dead Rising 4. The game is way bigger than ever before. You can go through houses and stores, so we removed it because of that.” continued Nickolls.
When I think of the original Dead Rising which took place in Willamette, I’m traumatised with the thought of having to lead survivors back who are an absolute pain in the neck to get back to the safe house. I was assured that this has been removed all together in Dead Rising 4.
“When video games get reviewed, people look at everything you’ve done in the past and if you don’t have something you’ve done in the past, it’s immediately seen as a negative.” said Nickolls.
“When you rescue a survivor in this game, it matters. They give you loot and rewards straight away. Nobody wants to escort people back to a base, that absolutely sucks. So, they’ll just go back to the safe house. They’ll then turn you into vendors and give you awesome stuff.” continued Nickolls.
Dead Rising 4 is out now on Xbox One and Windows 10.