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Dead Rising 3 to feature procedurally generated zombies; handcrafted world

Capcom producer talks technical challenges and working with Microsoft

Dead Rising 3 will boast procedurally generated zombies, meaning that no two zombies will ever look the same.

At a recent Xbox One event in Sydney, Capcom producer Mike Jones told CVG that next-gen technology has allowed the studio to achieve much that the Xbox 360 wasn't capable of.

For example, while texture reuse in previous Dead Rising games was common, the open world in Dead Rising 3 is completely handcrafted.

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"You're looking at more custom work and less reuse," Jones said. "We're not using the same textures over and over again, nor are we using the same geometry over and again. Every building and every interior in Dead Rising 3 is hand made and hand crafted. You'll never see the same building twice."

Jones agreed that consumer demand for more detail in next-gen titles has made creating open world games a more expensive pursuit.

"Absolutely it costs more money and more time," he said. "But ultimately it yields a more unique experience and you'll run through the world and know where stuff is without looking at the map because everything has its own feel."

In order to achieve a more lifelike world, Capcom has also introduced procedurally generated zombies.

"You'll never see the same zombie twice," Jones said.

"It's all procedurally generated: hair styles, clothing, colours, textures. And the gore is too: missing jaws, missing eyes... it's all totally dynamic. That's a whole system that we built. We didn't just model the zombies, we had to model the pieces and the system puts them together."

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Capcom initially planned to release Dead Rising 3 for current-gen consoles, but soon discovered that much of what it hoped to achieve was impossible with the aging hardware. The team wanted to create a seamless open world without loading screens and hordes of zombies onscreen at the same time.

Jones described a consultative approach between Microsoft and Capcom.

"We dropped them [Microsoft] an early prototype showing what we wanted to do that wasn't going to happen on current-gen. So they started giving us some guidance on what to do, these are some memory limitation to work with etc. Ultimately we made a prototype for them and they said 'we need to put this on Xbox One'. And this was years ago.

"If you look at DR2, it actually looks barren compared to DR3," Jones continued.

"You can have rose coloured memories of DR2, but until you go back and look you don't realise that it's so flat, there's no lighting and there are barely any zombies on screen. So we'd try to push all these things, and when we ran into barriers Microsoft would help us with the development kit or even make adjustments to some of the hardware or software to help us achieve what we wanted to do. They'd provide feedback to us as well. The main meat of the development was a back and forth. It was a game we wanted to make which we'd never been able to do on 360."

Dead Rising 3 is among over 20 launch titles for the Xbox One. The system releases November 22.

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