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Dead Rising

Dead Rising producer Keiji Inafune chats with us about the forthcoming zombie splatter-fest on Xbox 360

You'd think zombies would've learned by now, having been slaughtered for years at the hands of countless videogame heroes. But no, still they shuffle in a collective stupor towards our virtual shotguns, before we pump back our twin-barrelled beauties and blow their stupid heads off.

Perhaps the zombie race has finally wised-up to our shotgun-toting antics, but that won't help them much in Dead Rising, where most will meet their end via the closest umbrella or plasma TV we can get our hands on. Dead Rising is a super-gory affair laced with plenty of black humour where the methods of dispatch are only limited by your imagination.

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At E3 last week we managed to sit down with Dead Rising producer Keiji Inafune and chat about his Xbox 360 zombie-'em-up. Topics of discussion included his favourite method of killing zombies and the trials of developing an open-ended game in Japan.

So without further ado, it's over to Inafune-san...

What are the major changes you've made to Dead Rising in the last few months?

Inafune-san: Probably one of the biggest changes that you will notice from what you saw a year ago is that, initially, we were shooting for surviving ten days in the mall. That has been decreased to three days, and the reason why is because ten days seemed a little too long and it started to drag on, so we've shortened it to 72 hours. Also we've added... I don't want to say [a] time limit, but there is now the pressure of having to survive or get out of the mall in three days or it will be too late. That also adds a certain level of pressure or tension on the gamer.

Instead of like every other game when you die, it's game over and you just reload - if you die here you end up waking up a few minutes later. In this world, if you wake up a few minutes later you may miss the chance to meet somebody or to do an event that could've gotten you a good weapon or something. We've tried to make it so that, even if you miss that event, you still don't want to quit, you want to keep going forward rather than having to reset the game.

How complete is the game?

Inafune-san: About 95-percent done. We're finishing final balancing issues and trying to find all the bugs. It is quite an open-ended game, so trying to find all of the bugs is no easy task.

So... Dead Rising in many ways is one of the first Japanese open-ended games. What's it been like developing the game, and do you think the end result is the best of both worlds?

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Inafune-san: It's not easy because making open-ended games is not something the Japanese do necessarily well. We're better at making more linear-type games, so we really had to do our best to come up with this style of game. However, I feel that even doing our best is still not enough. We are still Japanese designers so we needed to add that Japanese sensibility - the Japanese pluses to making a game on top of this open-ended style, to make it a very unique experience. I feel that, while it was never easy, we've come up with a nice blend of Japanese taste in videogame design along with the open-ended style of gameplay that Westerners prefer.

Capcom has another big zombie series, Resident Evil. How is Dead Rising different?

Inafune-san: If I was going to explain it in simple terms, it would be that Resident Evil is more of a focus on horror and Dead Rising is more of a focus on comedy. Resident Evil is very intense. It's serious, it's dark, you're always worried if you're going to die. Dead Rising is more 'have fun, jump in there', whether you want to try and run away from the zombies or just beat them up with all the items that you see. There's a certain element where you can play with the zombies, mess with them. You don't have to be so afraid.

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