Dead Rising (video game)
North American cover art
|Developer(s)||Capcom Production Studio 1|
|Genre(s)||Survival horror, beat 'em up|
Dead Rising (デッドライジング Deddo Raijingu) is an open world survival horror beat 'em up video game developed and published by Capcom, and is the first entry in the series of the same name. The game's story sees players controlling Frank West, a photojournalist who becomes trapped in a shopping mall within the town of Willamette, Colorado that is suffering from a zombie outbreak, and finds himself not only surviving by salvaging various items for weapons, but also rescuing survivors trapped in the complex and dealing with crazed psychopaths, while attempting to stay alive to uncover the truth behind the incident. While players must complete major missions to advance the main story, the sandbox element of the game means that optional tasks can be done, with several additional endings available if the player doesn't complete certain conditions towards the true ending of the story.
Originally released for the Xbox 360 video game console on August 8, 2006, the game became a commercial success, leading it to being introduced as part of the Xbox 360 "Platinum Hits" lineup, while also spawning three sequels - Dead Rising 2 in September 2010, Dead Rising 3 in November 2013, and Dead Rising 4 in December 2016. A remake of the game was made for the Wii, entitled Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, and released in February 2009, with a mobile phone version also created. As part of its tenth anniversary, the game was re-released on September 13, 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Players can operate the game in one of two modes. 72 Hour Mode is the main mode and the only one available to players to begin with, in which the main objective is to investigate the Willamette Parkview Mall within 3 days, before Frank can be rescued by helicopter, completing a series of "Case Files" - major missions that, when completed, advance the game's main story. If the player fails a Case File, the game does not end, allowing the player to merely explore the mall instead until the mode is up, though failure to comply to certain conditions (primarily associated with Case Files) will result in then earning a different ending. Completing all the Case Files by the time 72 Hour Mode is over, will unlock "Overtime Mode" which players automatically begin, where the main objective to complete Frank has one more day to complete an additional set of objectives within the mall. The second mode, ∞ (Infinity) Mode, is unlocked after completing Overtime Mode and allows players to roam around the mall in sandbox mode without any time limit, with Frank merely trying to survive as long as possible.
To survive in all modes, players need to find and seek out weapons scattered around the mall that they can use against the zombies. Over 250 items are available to use in combat; they can be found anywhere, such as in stores, and fall under two categories, melee and ranged, with all ranging from the powerful, to the near-useless. The weapons and other items are firearms, sports equipment, children's toys, furniture, construction tools, electronic devices, and various bladed objects. Frank can carry only a limited number of weapons - baseball bats, 2x4 planks, hammers, pistols, shotguns, and so forth, though he can carry multiple versions of the same type. Also, he can use them only a limited number of times before he must find new ones, as melee weapons eventually deteriorate and break, while guns must be discarded when out of ammunition. Some weapons can be changed by the environment - frying pans can be heated on a stove both to increase damage and grant access to a special move - while others are large objects that Frank cannot store in his inventory and which he will drop if he picks up or switches to another item. Many of the less useful weapons exist purely for humorous effect. For example, the toy Megabuster, from Capcom's Mega Man, shoots tennis balls; traffic cones are simply put over a zombie's head, causing it to stumble about blindly.
Items other than weapons are available. Frank can try out various outfits from the mall's clothing stores - such as a Special Forces uniform, wrestling boots, a hockey mask and Mega Man X's armor. He can carry around certain books that can confer bonuses, such as increasing the durability of weapons. He can consume food and drink scavenged while exploring to recover health, or blend them together to make different "juices", which have temporary effects on the player. In Infinity Mode, players need to eat food to stay alive, as Frank's health drops every 100 seconds. They cannot access the supermarket within the mall, and food items are limited, but they can acquire weapons and food items from all characters; survivors are hostile to them in this mode.
Dead Rising incorporates an element of RPGs in the form of an experience system, in which completing various actions will reward Frank with "Prestige Points" (PP). While in both modes, killing large number of zombies can earn PP, so too can taking photographs. Any photograph that Frank takes in the game is automatically scored based on five "genres" - horror (zombies and graphic gore), outtakes (humorous events or scenes), erotica (photos of female survivors or zombies, particularly those focusing on the breasts and crotch), drama (dramatic events, such as the survivors' reactions while in the security room), or brutality (deaths of zombies and other characters) - with the score converted into PP. In addition to these actions, both 72 Hour Mode and Overtime Mode award PP for completing Case Files, and completing the optional task of rescuing survivors within the mall, and defeating "psychopaths" - boss characters who have either been driven insane by the zombie attacks, or are using the outbreak as cover for their own purposes. Once enough PP is earned, Frank will level up, resulting in upgrades to either attack power, running speed, throw distance, health, or to the number of items Frank can carry in his inventory, while new moves can also be unlocked, which boost his effectiveness with hand-to-hand combat. Any experience, levels, and unlocked moves earned in a playthrough will automatically be carried over into a new game should the player choose to restart, which can make subsequent playthroughs much easier.
An in-game HUD is provided, which displays information on Frank's health, his prestige level and the amount of PP progress he has made towards the next one, his inventory of weapons and their condition/amount of ammo left, a counter for the number of zombies the player has killed during a playthrough, and objective counters for both major and optional tasks, which consists of a bar that counts down the amount of time a player has to reach where the objective is located within the mall and complete it, before it is considered to be failed. Players also have access to a map to help them make their way around the mall and pinpoint where they must go in the main game mode, can receive calls on a transceiver about anything suspicious that Frank can investigate (he cannot jump, attack, switch weapons, or pick up/use any item when taking a call), and can view Frank's watch to determine what time it is; in-game time progresses faster than real time, with a day in the game taking two hours of real time, while the time of day also affects the behaviour of the zombies - during the day, they are sluggish and weak, but become more active, tougher, and more numerous at night. Players may save by using green couches or the mall's various restrooms, though the original Xbox 360 version allows only one game-in-progress save to be made per memory device and player profile; the save system is disabled for Infinity Mode. When Frank is killed, the player may reload from the last save or restart from the beginning.
Frank West, a photojournalist, sneaks into the town of Willamette, Colorado, to investigate why it has been sealed off by the National Guard. Discovering it is suffering from a zombie outbreak Frank informs his helicopter's pilot, Ed Deluca, to bring him onto the rooftop helipad of the town's shopping mall, requesting he returns for him in exactly 72 hours. Upon landing, Frank meets a mysterious man named Carlito Keyes who hints to the outbreak being far more than it seems. After witnessing a group of survivors fail to hold back zombies from entering via the mall's front entrance, Frank takes safety in the mall's security room with three other members of the group - Brad Garrison, a DHS agent, his rookie partner Jessie McCarney, and mall janitor Otis Washington, who welds the room's door shut. Seeking to continue his investigations, Brad leaves via an air duct. Following after him, Frank finds Jessie sneaking up behind him before he re-enters the mall, who after injuring her ankle, asks him to find Brad after he was spotted being pinned down in a gunfight. Although he agrees to help, Frank confronts Brad over what is going on after his attacker turns out to be Carlito. The DHS agent agrees to explain on the condition that Frank helps him to track down a scientist called Dr. Russell Barnaby, a man Frank had photographed before the barricade on the front entrance failed. Agreeing, the pair track down Dr. Barnaby to a barricaded bookstore, whereupon he refuses to leave without a secure escape route from the mall.
The next morning, Carlito captures Dr. Barnaby, and upon being spotted on the security room's monitors suspending him over a group of zombies, forces Brad and Frank to rescue the doctor, the former being wounded in the effort. While seeking medicine for Brad in from the supermarket pharmacy, Frank rescues a young woman from the store's crazed manager Steven Chapmen, who Frank is forced to kill in self-defense; afterwards, the woman runs off after Frank recognises her from earlier and attempts to question her. After tracking her down via the security room's monitors, the woman identifies herself as Isabella Keyes, Carlito's sister. Agreeing to arrange a meeting with Carlito, so Frank can learn the truth behind the outbreak, Isabella turns up at the rendezvous with a wounded shoulder, after her brother shot her out of anger. Taking her back to the security room, Isabella identifies Dr. Barnaby as the head of an American research laboratory in her hometown of Santa Cabeza, in Central America. Succumbing to the infection that caused the outbreak, Dr. Barnaby reveals that he was attempting to find the means to mass-produce cattle, but accidentally mutated a local wasp species, causing them to impregnate any victims of their stinging with parasitic larvae, killing their host and causing them to be "zombiefied" when one of these matured in the brainstem. A mutated wasp queen soon escaped the laboratory, turning the whole population of the town into zombies, effectively forcing the U.S. government to cover up the incident by sending in Special Forces to exterminate the zombies and any witnesses of their livestock research. Outraged upon learning about the massacre, Carlito released the mutant wasps in Willamette out of revenge, luring Dr. Barnaby to the mall via blackmail in order to kill him with the very zombies he had helped to create. After divulging the truth, the doctor soon becomes a zombie, biting Jessie before Brad kills him.
Isabella soon reveals that Carlito plans to cause a nationwide zombie pandemic, by setting off several charges of explosives in the maintenance tunnels beneath the mall, the resulting detonation propelling immature queen larvae into the stratosphere and across the United States. Frank quickly recovers the bombs and brings them outside into the open, where they explode harmlessly, while Brad pursues Carlito, injuring him in a fight, but unable to stop him escaping while succumbing to further injuries and eventually transforming into a zombie. Visiting Carlito's hideout, Frank and Isabella attempt to shut down a jamming device being used within his laptop, only to find they need the password for it. Finding Carlito being dragged away by the mall's now deranged butcher Larry Chiang, whom Frank defeats. Too gravely injured, Carlito passes on a locket to Frank for his sister, leading him to promise to expose the Santa Cabeza massacre to the world. After learning of her brother's death, Isabella figures out the password to Carlito's laptop through her locket, and shuts down the jammer. Jessie soon calls for help, only to learn that Special Forces are being sent in to cleanse the town. Frank soon catches up with her, finding she had succumbed to the infection and killed two guards sent to capture her, promptly killing her as a result, while finding a note from Otis stating that he hijacked a military helicopter and flew to safety with the survivors that had managed to be saved. After hiding out in Carlito's hideout, Isabella opts to remain at the mall, forcing Frank to head for his rendezvous with his extraction. As Ed arrives on time, a stowaway zombie attacks him, causing him to crash into the mall's central park. Slumping to his knees in defeat, Frank finds himself unable to do anything, as a group of zombies slowly approach him from behind.
Isabella comes to his rescue, saving him at the last moment. Passing out, he soon comes to in Carlito's hideout, whereupon Isabella tells him that he had been infected and has 24 hours before he becomes a zombie. Believing she may be able to manufacture a cure, Frank finds himself scavenging for the items she needs from the mall, in order to assemble a symptomatic treatment that can temporarily halt the development of the parasites. Before he leaves, the pair access Carlito's laptop and discover documents indicating that he has placed 50 similarly treated, larvae-infected children with foster parents across the country. While developing the treatment, the hideout's generator fails, forcing Frank to go to the clock tower in the mall's park to retrieve another one. While there, he discovers an underground tunnel filled with zombies and reports about this to Isabella, as she synthesizes an anti-zombie pheromone from the treatment's leftover ingredients. The two quickly make their escape from the mall, but find the other end of the tunnel guarded by the military. Overpowering the guards and stealing their jeep, the pair soon find themselves pursued by a tank, which Frank manages to disable using the jeep's mounted machine gun. Brock Mason, the leader of the Special Forces, soon emerges from the tank, and reveals that he led the original cleanup operation in Santa Cabeza. Just before he can aim the cannon towards the pair, the tank's auto-targeting mechanics activate and direct it towards an incoming horde of zombies, distracting Brock and allowing Frank to close in and defeat him in hand-to-hand combat.
An epilogue reveals that Frank and Isabella managed to escape Willamette, with Frank reporting on the incident, forcing the U.S. government to admit partial responsibility for the livestock research program and the Santa Cabeza incident, but blaming the Willamette outbreak on terrorists, while leaving Carlito's infected orphan plan to remain neither confirmed nor debunked.
Although completing all Case Files and Overtime Mode leads to the game's canonical ending, in terms of the game's lore, the player may encounter different endings in Dead Rising, depending on certain actions that they perform, as listed below:
- Ending B: Be at the helipad when time expires, but don't complete all Case Files - Frank returns for his pickup by Ed, and convinces him to airlift the survivors he rescued out of the mall (Ed's dialogue will vary depending on how many survivors the player has rescued). An epilogue reveals that the cause of the outbreak remained unknown, and that other outbreaks shortly occurred within other cities in the United States.
- Ending C: Complete all Case Files, but do not talk to Isabella at 10am on the third day - Frank fails to appear on the rooftop helipad, much to Ed's disappointment. Ed, watching from another rooftop through binoculars, is killed by a zombie. An epilogue reveals that Willamette was quarantined because of an unspecified disease, though with no one able to contradict this with the true story.
- Ending D: Be captured by the Special Forces, and don't escape when time expires - Frank is taken away in a military helicopter by Special Forces. An epilogue reveals that the military's presence was later revealed in a cover-up story, which cited they were there to clean up a series of incidents in Willamette, though no disclosure is given to what these were.
- Ending E: Fail to complete all the Case Files and don't be on the helipad when time expires - Ed lands to await for Frank's arrival, but is about to leave when he fails to show up, only to spot Otis open the roof access door and step out alongside Jessie, and any survivors who Frank had rescued, leading Ed to transporting them to safety. An epilogue reveals the survivors credited Frank for saving them, but that his whereabouts remain unknown.
- Ending F: Fail to gather all of Carlito's bombs in time - A bomb's timer counts down to zero before a white-out follows, and a photo is shown of an explosion occurring within the mall. An epilogue reveals that Carlito's plan with the explosives was successful, effectively leading the United States to suffer under a widespread zombie pandemic a few days later.
- Fail to complete Overtime Mode before time expires - Frank eventually succumbs to his infection and transforms into a zombie. An epilogue states that his undead condition brought about a "humane" end to his hopeless situation.
Much of the game's inspiration came from the zombie films of the 1960s and 1970s, especially from those by George A. Romero, though despite the similarities to the film, Dawn of the Dead, Capcom asserted that the concept of "humans battling zombies in a shopping mall" is a "wholly unprotectible idea" under the present copyright laws. While the company wanted to have the game follow on from its other zombie-centered game series, its development team opted to design the game with a more comical view of zombies in the horror genre, particularly in the way that players interacted with the zombies in the game, allowing them to be able to do anything against them in terms of what weapons they could use against them, while they also based the mall upon the stereotypical design of American shopping malls. One particular area that was keenly worked on by the team was the number of zombies that could appear onscreen during the game in order to give the feel that it was a major outbreak; when Electronic Gaming Monthly reviewed the game, they reported that up to 800 zombies could appear on screen at once. As the development team consisted of members who had worked on Capcom's role-playing video game Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, it helped greatly in incorporating one of the game's elements borrowed from it, towards the developing the mechanics structure of Dead Rising - the ability to roll over anything earned in terms of experience, levels and abilities, towards making a new playthrough, was implemented so that players would have a sense of responsibility for their decisions and actions.
Dead Rising Original Soundtrack was released in Japan on March 30, 2007 in a 2,000-copy limited edition, bundled with a T-shirt. It was packaged with a T-shirt that showcased Frank, Isabella, and an outline of the mall. A non-limited edition of the same soundtrack was released on June 20, 2007.
Soon after Dead Rising was released in the United States, Capcom released nine downloadable "keys" to Xbox Live Marketplace that would unlock different lockers in the Security Room, providing the player with nine new outfit options, adding three more keys for players to download and use on May 31, 2007.
Dead Rising received "generally positive" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic, with most reviewers commending the "sandbox"-style of gameplay, the amount to explore within the mall, and the sheer number of ways to kill the thousands of zombies, with GameSpot stating it was "a great piece of entertainment", while two reviewers on Australian video game talk show Good Game gave the title a 6-7/10 score. However, general consensus amongst reviews was towards criticising the game's save system mechanic and the AI of the survivors; while IGN considered the game to be "one of the more unique and entertaining titles on the Xbox 360", its review notably indicated that improvements were needed with both the save system and NPCs, along with offering "a more forgiving story progression, and tighter controls". One point of contention in reviews was the operation of the game's transceiver, specifically on how persistent it is when ringing, how vulnerable Frank is while answering any calls on it, and how if the telephone call is somehow interrupted (such as being attacked), it would end abruptly and be repeated again when the player answers the transceiver a few seconds later and hears Frank being scolded by Otis for being rude; the use of the transceiver in the game led to numerous gamer-oriented webcomics and blogs parodying the use of it. Despite this, Capcom reported around 500,000 copies had been shipped out in the first month after its release, and one million copies worldwide by the end of 2006. It received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
One notable complaint that Dead Rising received, was from players who ran the game through either a standard-definition or small high-definition set, only to find themselves having difficulty reading the on-screen text, an issue caused due to Capcom deciding to develop the game exclusively for high-definition televisions, particularly as it had been touted as one of the first truly "next generation" titles available for the Xbox 360. In response to the complaints about the issue, a representative of the company posted the following on Xbox.com:
|“||Dear Everyone, I have heard your concerns and passed them to every source within Capcom possible. I feel your pain as I, myself, have a large SDTV and am having trouble reading the mission objectives, item names, etc. Unfortunately it does take time to resolve any issue and we would want to fix the issue appropriately as any changes to any game can create additional problems from the result of change; that's just how game programming works and that's why games go through extensive game testing programs and approvals.||”|
Along with being ranked #2 in gaming magazine Gamesmaster's Top 50 of 2006, Dead Rising won several awards:
- IGN awarded the title "Most Innovative Design for Xbox 360" in its Best of 2006.
- GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2006 awarded the game with the honors of "Best Action Adventure Game", "Best Sound Effects", and "Best Use of Xbox 360 Achievement Points".
- The 2006 Spike TV Video Game Awards awarded it with "Game of the Year".
- X-Play awarded it with "Best Original Game" of 2006.
Reaction in Germany
Because of the graphical nature of the violence portrayed in Dead Rising, the BPjM in Germany felt that game fulfilled at least one of their indexing criteria, documenting that the title glorified violence. As a direct result, the Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, the board responsible for rating entertainment software for Germany, refused to rate the game, and effectively put a halt to Microsoft publishing a German version, as the company does not allow unrated games to be released for the Xbox 360, though the game was made available for import to players of a legal age. However, after a decision by Hamburg's county court in June 2007, it was prohibited within the country from late August 2007, making sales of the title illegal in Germany; anyone caught selling the game would be sentenced to imprisonment or a monetary penalty according to §131 of the German criminal code, with all copies confiscated by the German police.
The MKR Group, who holds the copyright to both the 1978 Dawn of the Dead film and its 2004 remake, sent letters on February 6, 2008 to Capcom, Microsoft, and Best Buy, claiming that Dead Rising infringes on the copyrights and trademarks of these films. In a complaint filed February 12, 2008, to seek an injunction that would pre-emptively counter an anticipated complaint from MKR, Capcom asserted that "humans battling zombies in a shopping mall" is a "wholly unprotectable idea" under today's copyright laws; Capcom further pointed to the warning "label" on the box cover as a preemptive measure that was intended to separate the game from the films and avoid any customer confusion. The MKR Group subsequently filed a lawsuit in February 2008 after failing to reach an agreement with Capcom over the dispute.
The lawsuit was dismissed in October 2008, with United States Magistrate Judge Richard G. Seeborg stating that MKR failed to demonstrate the similarity of any protected element of Dawn of the Dead to that of Dead Rising, with many of the elements MKR claimed were similar being part of the "wholly unprotectable concept of humans battling zombies in a mall during a zombie outbreak".
A remake of Dead Rising was released for the Wii in February 2009, titled Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, and was developed by Capcom and published by THQ in Australia. Built upon the same engine used for the Wii version of Resident Evil 4, which had been positively received by reviewers, the remake incorporated additional features to that of the Xbox 360 original, including the use of an over-the-shoulder camera approach and utilising the motion control system of the Wii Remote, yet lacked some of the features of the original, including showing large number of zombies on screen and the photography system. The Wii version ultimately earned mixed reviews, though was praised for having an improved aiming system to that of the original.
In 2008, Capcom Interactive Canada released a hand-held spin-off of the game for mobile phone, announcing on 4 October 2010 that an iOS version of the game was also announced. In this version, players have access to a new game mechanic in which they can call upon their friends via Twitter and Facebook to help revive them, with their refusal causing them to appear as a zombie within their friend's game, while complex operations in the game are performed through context-based buttons. Similar to Infinity Mode in the console version, the game features a hunger meter, with Frank now required to eat food within the mall in order to survive. The hand-held spin-off was generally well received by reviewers, earning a B+ from 1UP.com, and a 7.3/10 from IGN, with praise given for staying true to the sandbox design and plot of the Xbox 360 version, despite being pared down for the smaller screen and platform.
On 18 July 2016, Capcom announced that work was underway for a remastered version of the original Dead Rising, alongside its sequel Dead Rising 2 and its spin-off title, aiming for these to be released for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, prior to the release of the fourth game in the series. These were released on 13 September that year, both separately and in a bundle pack, with the developers improving the game's graphics to high-definition and increasing the frame-rate.
Following the game's commercial success, plans were made to create a sequel, with it aimed to operate on multiple platforms. On 28 September 2010, Dead Rising 2 was released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows, and while it followed the basic setup of gameplay mechanics as the original, it featured a new character, a currency system, a weapon creation system that involved finding "Combo Cards" to know what to make, and online multiplayer modes, including zombie-killing minigames and two-player cooperative play, whilst also featuring improvements to address some of the negative feedback that Dead Rising received. Since its release, two downloadable episodes were released for the game - one a prologue set before the main story of Dead Rising 2, the other taking place after it and featuring Frank West, who is also controllable in it - and a re-imagined version was released in October 2011, with a new story and Frank West being the main protagonist.
The game eventually spawned two more sequels, developed by Capcom's Canadian branch, Capcom Vancouver - Dead Rising 3 was released on 22 November 2013 for Xbox One and on 5 September 2014 for Microsoft Windows, while Dead Rising 4 was released on 6 December 2016.
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