Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster Brings Frank West Back
Image via Capcom

I’m Apprehensive About the Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster

When I saw the announcement for the new Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster, I was incredibly excited to see one of Capcom’s seemingly forgotten franchises get a burst of new life. Then I watched the teaser trailer and was surprised by the distinct differences compared to the original and its almost new, over the top, cheesy persona. It started making me question whether this new remaster could lose the qualities that made the original Dead Rising so memorable in the first place.

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In 2006, when Dead Rising first debuted, I found it incredibly hard to put down my Xbox 360 controller. It perfectly walked the tightrope of balancing ultra-violent action with slapstick comedy, and that made every action feel like a ridiculous odyssey. One moment, Frank West would be ruthlessly killing zombies, their blood splattering and gore-soaking the shopping mall floors. The next, you would be running around with a mega-man helmet, trying to find some orange juice to restore your health due to being on the brink of dying. It was great, stupid fun.

When the Dead Rising Triple Pack came out in 2016, which contained Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2, and Dead Rising 2 Off the Record, I bought it for the PlayStation 4 and again became engulfed in the series’ captivating gameplay. I was reminded of the extreme brutality of the boss battles and its sheer goofiness, like throwing a bowling ball in a zombie’s face. And yes, before you ask, I did spend an unholy amount of hours trying to earn the Zombie Genocider trophy. This gameplay template was fantastic and somehow garnered more of my appreciation every time I returned to it.

I was totally on board with the concept of a Dead Rising remaster, but when I watched the teaser trailer, I became instantly worried about this remaster. The brief snapshot was obviously there to excite audiences. An argument could obviously be made that it’s hard to gauge how the game will turn out when it finally releases. It is definitely valid. However, a few concerning signs made me wonder if Capcom had captured the original essence of Dead Rising.

Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster will be featured in Capcom Next - Summer 2024
Image courtesy of Capcom

The first thing worth noting is although it’s a shame that TJ Rotolo has not been brought back as the voice of Frank West. His name is synonymous with the role. It’s an obvious reason why the tone could feel off for some.

If you have not seen the teaser trailer yet, it’s brief and lasts only forty seconds. It showcases the iconic moment when the helicopter is flying above the town of Willamette, Colorado, heading towards the shopping mall. Frank gives the “remember the name” speech before jumping off the helicopter, hoping for the scoop of a lifetime.

In the first snapshot of Frank, at roughly twenty-five seconds into the teaser, we see visible design change for Frank from the original. He has different facial features and is rocking silver fox hair. In some ways, the design shares a lot of similarities to Frank’s beta design for the first Dead Rising. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this design is the worst of the ones for him, but I think the final look they set on for the original Dead Rising has always been the best one.

But what really left me apprehensive was the transition between Frank standing in the helicopter and jumping out. There is no polite way to say that the cutscene looked rough. Lighting effects on different textures and character models can make scenes look different, but I prefer the original at first glance, which is nearly twenty years old. Then the teaser rounds it all up with some upbeat, cheesy jazz music, which feels off from the vibe of the first Dead Rising.

With all these somewhat missteps in a span of under a minute, it makes me wonder what tone this remaster is trying to achieve? As much as I have praised the original Dead Rising, there were a few tiny problems with the game. Mainly some questionable voiced lines and inconsistent events that would happen in cutscenes. (How could we forget the infamous, “I’ve covered wars, you know.” But this somehow exacerbated the comedic elements and gave it the same charm you’d expect to see in a B-rated film. I wonder if the Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster could sidestep this charm and just make it plain, cheesy and uncomfortable.

With any luck, we will soon see some reassuring signs and updates for the upcoming Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster. I’d love for Capcom to put my hesitations to rest because I really want to relive the thrills of the original Dead Rising on modern platforms. That said, the ultimate proof in the pudding will be when the game releases.

Dead Rising Deluxe Remaster is in development for the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC, and it will launch on September 18, 2024.

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