Dead Rising is easily one of our favourite zombie fests, boasting fantastic amounts of undead-battering carnage, a full payload of hilarious weaponry and a tongue-in-cheek approach to the genre which recaptures some of those finest big-screen movie zombie hunting moments.
With the game getting a full release over in the US this week (although it shuffles into stores over here on 8 September) we managed to track down Yutaka Haruki, producer of the game and subject him to a CVG grilling. Here we learn why the dead have such enduring appeal, about the game's rather warped sense of humour, how it compares to Capcom's other hot property Res 5 and how Haruki-san would react if he were faced with an army of the undead...
Why do you think zombies have such an enduring appeal in videogames and movies?
Haruki-san: Many of us get a thrill or buzz from being scared, encountering the unexpected or being confronted by terrible creatures. Zombies can be particularly scary because they were human once. There is something terrifying about that, I think.
Dead Rising features tons of zombies on screen at once. In general, how many enemies can we expect to be up against at one time and why did you decide to take this route instead of the usual handful of opponents found in other horror-style games?
Haruki-san: Frank is almost constantly confronted by zombies as he explores the mall and we took this approach for a couple of reasons. Firstly we wanted to provide the gamer with a new type of experience - instead of taking on one or two zombies at a time, in Dead Rising, Frank has to face hundreds and therefore has to use new techniques. Secondly, this is Capcom's first title for the Xbox 360 and it is only with the power of this console that we have been able to realize this vision of hundreds of enemies on screen at one time.
Dead Rising takes place over a 72 hour game period - equalling roughly a couple of hours in real time. What inspired the decision to concentrate the game into several hours, rather than creating a more epic adventure?
Haruki-san: The couple of hours game time is just a rumour that's got out of hand. 72 hours will take at least 3.5 real life hours to get through, and that's only if you don't die. I would expect a realistic length of one play-through to be more like 10 hours. That said, there's still loads of replayability crammed in with different endings, 100s of NPCs to rescue and all the weapons. There's simply no way you could do even half of it on one play-through.
We've seen you can beat zombies to death with giant inflatable cactuses and place traffic cones on their heads. To what degree is comedy important in the game and what inspired the decision to move away from the more 'serious' type of survival horror game?
Haruki-san: It was always our intention to create a game that provided a completely different gameplay experience to Resident Evil. As you know RE5 is already in development and the series already has a very well established identity, so to have made a similar game would not have made sense. The team wanted to explore new areas,thereby challenging themselves and creating a new type of zombie action game. To this end, humour is hugely important in Dead Rising.
How important is the passage of time in the game? What are some of the major differences we can expect to see between exploration during the day and at night?
Haruki-san: Time is all-important as you will see. I don't want to spoil anything, but one of the main differences between night and day is the ferociousness of the zombies -- they are a lot more difficult to deal with by night.