Dead Rising 3 is a standalone story about an everyday guy trying to escape a zombie outbreak, but Capcom Vancouver also added in connections that go all the way back to Dead Rising 1. Executive Producer Josh Bridge talked to Siliconera about the game’s multiple endings, overtime mode, and hinted at crossover items.
Going back to the main story. From what I heard before, he’s trying to escape by repairing a plane. Can you elaborate more on that?
Josh Bridge, Executive Producer: It’s been three days post-outbreak in a city called Los Perdidos, Nick Ramos, this Everyday Joe is holed up in the city, and he’s just trying to survive and find supplies. He’s teamed up with other Everyday Joe folks and they are just trying to find their way out. They hear of reports of activation points. Every chapter is to motivate you how to escape. In Nightmare mode, there is the added pressure of a bomb going off and nuking you is incredibly urgent. Yeah, we’ve been hesitant of laying out all of the beats because it kind of unravels the motivation of getting through to the end.
We’re going to see a number of characters from previous games too. Can you tell us how the story connects to say Dead Rising 1?
With the story, we tried to look it at as if you didn’t know anything about Dead Rising can you actually understand Dead Rising 3? It was deliberate working with writers and our lead writer Annie, let’s make a story that’s pretty straightforward that you can understand. You’re a guy caught in an outbreak. You got to escape or die. There are people you can and cannot trust, but all of them can be gleaned by first time players who will get the context. We wanted to make sure there is a connective tissue to Dead Rising 2, we made Dead Rising 2 here. We didn’t answer a lot in retrospect from Dead Rising 1, so we wanted to make sure we connected back to Dead Rising 1 and even beforehand. There is a fanservice in there that as well that we’re at least trying to whole story no.
Dead Rising has always had multiple endings can you tell us how these work into Dead Rising 3?
There aren’t multiple branch points, it still follows the Dead Rising formula – a relatively linear story that opens up into multiple endings as you go through. Some of them are midway and some of them are latter ends. We did more multiple endings than ever before. If you want to screw everyone over, that’s an ending. [Laughs] It should be relatively obvious, what the good kind hearted Nick’s motivation is to solve. We made multiple endings to cater how you’re playing, ultimately. That leads into getting into an extended play as well so the game isn’t completely over.
I was right about to ask you about Overtime mode too.
I can’t tell you much just yet. We wanted to make sure Overtime mode goes further than before and actually be a meaty piece of the game this time. We loved the idea when we played the first Dead Rising and we wanted to pay a homage to that and go further.
We talked about Sloth and revealed him on Siliconera, but I hear another psychopath, Lust, and that fight is set in a porn store?
[Laughs] Well, it’s based on a real world city and there are all different types of stores. The psychos, we get into trouble a lot when we come up with the ideas for them. What we tried to do this time around is with the psychos to balance them so they aren’t completely ridiculous all of the time. We wanted to have a better gradient. The same thing for combo weapons and combo vehicles. They go from "I totally get it that’s brutal!" to "Oh my god! That’s insane!" We tried to build that around how you sandbox a world. As you dig and go off the main path, you will find more and more crazy stuff. That’s where we have some of those psychos laced in the game. [Psychos are] based on the seven deadly sins, some of them take us to dark corners where it gets offensive and even with the team it’s like "Oh my god we can’t do that." So, we pull back a bit then go further.
What went too far?
I think when we started going into how the characters are portrayed is where we had to find that balance. We tried to add a purpose for everything. When we started cutting things it was because it doesn’t connect to those characters. Like, why are we doing that? It becomes too lame of a joke that it now becomes offensive. That’s when we hone in on the characters and bring the team back to, OK even though we are making this crazy thing let’s make up who this guy’s background truly is and bring it back to the real world. The things that stand out as offensive don’t make any sense.
How did you design Dick (a co-op character who also appears in the story) as a character?
From us developing the game, we didn’t hold co-op as an incredibly high value, we call them pillars essentially, things that we place important during product development. When we came out of Dead Rising 2 co-op around the studio and from fan feedback it was cool but it could have gone further. We looked at it like, I think the meat of the game is story and I think if you and i play together I would love for us to play from the story and feel like we’re part of the story together. Opposed to as I’m the client and I’m not present in cinematics and I’m a duplicate clone farming experience points. It feels more engaging to be part of the story, be your own character who has his own emotes, and feeling like this is more of a cooperative game.
Going further into combo vehicles, one can drive and have a weapon and the other one can have a different weapon on the vehicle. He can hop into a turret seat. Going to Xbox One and having this big, open streaming world we don’t have to be tethered either. We can go to opposite ends of the world and do our side missions simultaneously and then meet up again if we want to hit a main story mission together. It feels more meaty was a co-op experience.
The biggest thing and this was complicated tech wise and everyone was like "can we actually do this?," was out of order story unlocking for the client. Let’s say you bought the game and were halfway through and I just picked it up and I wanted to join you. If I finish a story chapter with you, I get that as a save for my own game when I’m playing offline. So, I can choose to hop that chapter as I go through my story mode. You can play the game out of order or in order as a result.
Let’s say I jump into your game and you’re halfway through. Can I continue from the midpoint and skip the beginning.
When you go offline you have to play from the beginning of the game until you hit those chapters unlocked chapters to skip them.
But, it does mean that if you are near the end of the game, I hopped in, and we completed the end of the game you would see the end of the game. But, I would probably be so underleveled [laughs] that it’s really hard for me to survive to have done it. If you do it great you earned it, but missed out on combo weapons and the combo vehicles, so you’ve only seen a slice of the game. Although you’ve probably seen the story component, you haven’t seen the meat and potatoes of the game.
Also, experience whether earned offline in your game or online, nightmare or normal story mode it’s all going into the same character profile. The blueprints you discover, all of your perks are part of your profile and you can interchange those between modes.
How does the story work with Nick and Dick? What if I’m on the other end of the world and you trigger a story mission?
Dick will be embodied by you, the client, when you come out of a cinematic. But, the way we told the story in a way that doesn’t make it seem as if Dick disappeared because it accounts for him in the world if you’re not playing co-op.
How it works is the main mission, what we call chapters, require both players to start them. That way we can guarantee if you got trapped in boss battle another player isn’t stuck on the outside. We had to make sure there was a co-op start point so there is continuity.
The way I look at the game and its ability to just let you sandbox. In how you get yourself out, how you’re perking your leveling, customizing your weapons and vehicles. We have a lot of side missions and challenges. You will find these challenges everywhere. The simplest one is kill X amount of zombies with a particular weapon type in a certain amount of time. There is a bronze, silver or gold for those that give you incrementing PP ranks. Some of them are tuned really tough for co-op as well, but it is a great for earning experience points. There are multiple ways to earn experience points beyond moving the story along.
Even today, which is pretty rare I’d say for all of the years I’ve been making games, is the team still goes to the game and is having fun. They say "Oh man, I can go to this area!" There are so many areas you can go inside, climb on roofs, go in basements, and there are hundreds and hundreds of weapons to find, items to collect. It’s a game I hope it will attract players to come back and experiment and try something else.
Why do all of the Dead Rising characters have a "K" at the end of the name like Frank, Chuck, Nick, etc.?
[Laughs] We don’t know why, but we just do it. It was something from a development point of view when we looked at Frank West we had to have something that holds up to that brand of Everyday Joe. Then we had Chuck and then we had Nick.
When we started working on Dead Rising 2 we worked closely with Capcom Japan on discussing what things were important to Dead Rising. Essentially, we reverse engineered Dead Rising 1. We all had copies of the game, played it inside out over and over again, and built it from scratch ourselves with the engine and design. We looked at some things that are important to the brand and held on to some things as innocuous or something that seems so mundane, but we held on the the K.
What do you want to do with the Dead Rising series afterwards?
I think the thing that gets me excited looking at other launch titles is I see where games are going in general, not just in Dead Rising, is the concept of always on. Like that the world is alive, almost like a massive single player game. I’ve seen that with some of the Ubi titles that I was looking at during E3 and it’s really cool. I feel like it’s evolving the industry. Opposed to saying you paid money for this game and it’s done the idea that it’s always going is really exciting, more like you’re going into an experience instead of finishing it.
I think open world games are geared towards that, now that we have technology for it. It feels like other games are scratching the surface of that. A slick and seamless hop in and out, I’d like to look at that one day. But, right now my is completely focused on shipping Dead Rising 3. We’re very close to the finish line and were super excited to get this out on day one.
What do you have left to do the game?
We are in the final stretches of bug fixing. At PAX, we brought an updated build there our performance is pretty much there. We’ve gone even further than PAX and have a solid 30 FPS, which was huge for us. Our team worked really hard for and worked closely with Microsoft to achieve. We’ve never done anything like this before with so many zombies on screen and the world streaming. Just the final touches on bugs and we’re getting really close.
Dead Rising 3 has a couple of items for Dead Rising fans that are Day 1 bonuses. Will players be able to purchase the Frank West costume as DLC later on?
We are aiming for Day 1 exclusives. Have you seen the images for them? Putting Nick in a Chuck Greene wig [Laughs] and outfit with the paddlesaw. The goal is for them to be exclusives.
Can you tell us more about the Capcom collaborations and will there be any Microsoft items in Dead Rising 3? Maybe Nick can dress up in Spartan Armor while fighting zombies.
The thing we’re really excited about, I hope you appreciate what you get for as unlocks for beating the game. That’s the ultimate Capcom tribute, I would say, in there. We have more of those Easter Eggs buried in the game, but we want you guys to discover them.
We have two modes in the game Normal story mode and Nightmare mode, which has the same story, but dates back to classic Dead Rising rule set with limited save locations, no checkpoints, and time is a super, super pressure. It has its own unlock as well. I look at it like New Game+. I’ll tell you want to unlock both, it should be fun.
I hear there is some Microsoft stuff in Dead Rising 3… Can you tell us about this?
Not that we’re ready to talk about just at this point. We looked at that for sure, but we focused on the Capcom side of things. Right now, we’re not ready to reveal anything on that end yet.