Dead Rising 2 takes place in a new town, has a new hero, and developer. It still has plenty of zombies to mow down and Chuck has a the ability to tape weapons together. In this interview Shin Ohara, Producer, talked about the weapon system, what makes Dead Rising unique, and the power of duct tape.
Capcom already has a game with zombies, so what makes zombies in the Dead Rising series different than Resident Evil?
Shin Ohara, Producer: As far as Dead Rising goes, zombies are dumb, basically. In Resident Evil, zombies are an enemy that you fear because they’re strong and you have limited ammo. For Dead Rising, a single zombie doesn’t scare you, but when there are a whole bunch they could do a lot of damage.
The whole idea with zombies in Dead Rising is they are not something you have to fear, but something you play with. More of a play thing where you pick up a weapon, go to them, and you want to test out that new weapon. In Resident Evil if you pick up a weapon you want to save it, you don’t want to use it unless you really have to. Dead Rising is about having fun with zombies, trying out different weapons.
What weapons combinations do you like to use when playing with zombies?
I definitely like the paddlesaw, its a chainsaw with a paddle combine. It does a lot of damage, takes out a lot of zombies, clears the way out for you. One of my favorites is, it doesn’t really kill zombies, but it’s a beer hat. If you combine a hard hat with a couple bottles of beer, put it on your head with a tube attached, you can drink beer and replenish your health.
A typical health item in Dead Rising is a hamburger or hot dog. Eat it and its gone from your slot. The beer hat is in your inventory until it depletes. If you get damaged and lose maybe two squares you can drink beer and refill those two squares, but it will still be there. You can carry it as a health item that you can rely on for multiple uses, rather than using it once and having to go find it again.
This time Capcom is working with Blue Castle Studios. Can you tell us about your relationship with them?
They have been very cooperative and we have been working with them real closely. How publishers and developers usually work is that we give them the IP, we say here’s a budget and you guys make it. What we have been trying to do with them is we don’t Blue Castle to make their Dead Rising. We want them to make Capcom’s Dead Rising.
We have weekly vidcons that last anywhere from two to four hours. Talk about design. Talk about ideas, our ideas, their ideas. There is a back and forth communication that brings the idea to the point we can both agree on that’s good.
What ideas did Blue Castle bring that you thought were good and you should add to Dead Rising 2?
Combo weapons. They have come up with crazy ideas like the beer hat and paddlesaw. Our team in Japan wouldn’t be able to come up with those. We have to give a lot of credit to them for creating all of these weapons. Blue Castle has a guy who specializes in weapons. That’s all he thinks about everyday. He has fun everyday thinking about these weapons.
That’s one good thing about working with them. They have some crazy ideas, some I guess Western ideas, North American ideas, we wouldn’t normally think of.
Were there any weapons too crazy and you had to reject?
No, I think, I don’t really recall… I’m sure there were weapons that were rejected, but not because they were too crazy or too violent. I think most of the weapons they came up with that were really violent, crazy, and gory we liked them and they’re in the game right now.
Are there going to be any Capcom themed weapons?
Yeah, yeah. People can look forward to Capcom-ish, I guess items, just like Dead Rising had.
How did you come up with the idea of the taping weapon system, which is so integral to Dead Rising 2?
Frank West was a journalist and had a camera. With Chuck he is a former motocross champion and he’s good with his hands. In DR1 there was weapon customization and we wanted to take further. This time we wanted to combine to weapons and make it really crazy.
The way Japanese people use duct tape is to maybe tape a cardboard box and that’s about it. Americans use duct tape for lots of things so it makes sense for Chuck to use duct tape to combine two weapons rather quickly without using screws or wrenches. It was a fast way and it fit the Dead Rising world.
Speaking of Chuck, in a previous interview, Inafune-san said he wanted to make a more interesting protagonist for Dead Rising 2. What makes Chuck more interesting than a war veteran journalist?
The big difference about Frank and Chuck is Frank was all about himself. He wanted to get the scoop and that was all he was after. In terms of Chuck, he has an infected daughter, Katie, and he has to clear his name because he’s being framed. It’s not just about himself, but its for someone else. That’s the biggest difference between those two characters and makes Chuck’s story a little more interesting.
So, having a character with that someone else has to depend on compared to a character self-motivated nature makes them more interesting?
Yeah, exactly. For Katie, Chuck has to find Zombrex and give it to her every 24 hours. That’s his front mission that he has to do. In addition to that, he has to clear his name in 72 hours. It makes it a little bit more complex.
The timing mechanism is an interesting element. There are some people who love it, but some people who wish they had a free roaming world with zombies to kill. Do you think you can make a Dead Rising game without a clock?
I think if you didn’t have a clock in Dead Rising you wouldn’t make it what it is. It would be a free roaming game without a sense of urgency. The clock is what makes Dead Rising very unique. It gives the game replayability because first you have to know where to go to find a survivor a certain weapon. Find your route to finish the game. It gives you motivation to do what you need to do.
When designing levels and the world, how do you design around the clock?
The clock is 72 hours so we adjust the game so people can finish it in those 72 hours. Maybe not the first time, but the second, third time around. We change the amount of time you have to do each case.
How did the partnership with Playboy magazine come about?
We chose Playboy because it really fit the DR2 world. It takes place in a gambling town, not a children’s playground, but an adult playground. When we first saw the pictures in the game of the billboards and posters we were like, “Oh my god it really fits the DR world!” and we wanted to put it in there so people have something to look at instead of a generic poster.
So, how did the deal come about? Did you call Playboy up and say we have zombie game?
We contacted Playboy and said we have this game and we want to do something with you in terms of PR and marketing in general. Our idea was that we would put in some posters with your playmates and it would get a lot of people looking at them.
In another interview, one of the ideas was to make Dead Rising 2 in a theme park. Now it’s a casino, Las Vegas-like town, so what would you want to make for a future game?
I don’t want to say what I want because it would be a little bit of a commitment. As a dream idea, maybe a crowded airport or maybe a whole county, not just a city, a whole county and the whole country is infested in a zombie outbreak and it was a big open world. That would be more interesting.