Launch lineups can be an incredibly fickle thing. Every one usually has a game or two that stands out as a must-have in the eyes of early adopters, and the impending arrival of the Xbox One is no exception. With games like Forza 5, Killer Instinct, and Ryse: Son of Rome, there’s no shortage of blockbusters available right from the get-go. Despite all of those games, however, it’s Dead Rising 3 that may very well be the system-seller Microsoft is hoping for — at least that much was evident following our preview of the title during this year’s FanExpo in Toronto.
Josh Bridge, the executive producer behind Dead Rising 3, walked us through some components of the forthcoming third-person zombie survival game. Reconfirming that the game is an Xbox One exclusive, Bridge talked us through some of the options players will have in the game’s massive open-world environment.
Kicking off the demo on a zombie-infested city street, we’re introduced to the game’s main character Nick. As the the player runs about utilizing items found laying around, it soon becomes obvious that the hundreds of undead sauntering in the streets will pose a massive challenge for anyone attempting to travel by foot. Given Dead Rising 3‘s immense scale and wealth of free-roaming space, vehicles play a much more prominent role in the sequel.
The only downside to ploughing through countless animated corpses is that they’ll get caught in the wheel well of the vehicle; instantly slowing it down and making gamers susceptible to attacks from other zombies. Driving through buildings and store windows — adding a whole new definition to ‘window shopping’ — affords the main protagonist Nick more time away from the zombies hobbling around outside. There’s one major feature at players’ disposals this time around, however.
Nick, as a mechanic, is able to combine and modify vehicles to create unstoppable war machines capable of tearing through zombies like a warm knife through butter. I witnessed two examples during the demo: the militarization of an SUV into an armor-plated van with an incredibly powerful shotgun mounted on top, and the combination of a steam roller and a motorcycle. The latter just went to show that the series will retain its trademark zaniness, and the addition of flamethrowers on the side of the rig only broadened the flames of my intrigue.
As many fans of the franchise are well aware, the ability to create weapons has been a prominent one, and that’ll continue with the third iteration. No longer requiring a bench to craft these homemade armaments, Nick will be able to make use of the items he has where ever and whenever he needs them. Our short preview gave us a look at gun gloves that were reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands, a patriotic-themed crossbow that lodged dynamite into foes, a laser sword, rocket-powered boxing gloves, and a weapon that combined a car battery with the mask of Street Fighter‘s Blanka to empower Nick with electrically powered attacks.
The last bit of customization in Dead Rising 3 had to do with the food scattered about. We quickly learned that combining whiskey and ham not only restored health, but allowed the character to breathe fire. Countless zombies were scorched to death in a very limited amount of time, and Bridge promised there were even more wacky combinations that awaited fans in the final game.
Another new feature that was shown allowed the user to summon survivors that had been rescued to their aid. Individual AI-controlled characters can be instructed to gather supplies and weapons, defend certain positions, or go find back-up in the form of others living at the safe house. People need to bring out allies carefully, though, as the character’s defeat means perma-death. That said, this ability makes it much easier to explore locations and gather necessary supplies, and allows Nick to level up and customize his attributes to better help him in the day-to-day task of surviving.
At the end of the demo, Josh touched on the co-op aspects of Dead Rising 3, which will be limited to two-player simultaneous online play. The secondary character, Dick, can be controlled by a friend. The progress made within another player’s game with Dick will save to the Xbox One but keep existing files wholly intact, and Bridge confirmed that gamers will actually be able to keep experience gained from outside games.
Co-op in this world struck an incredibly interesting chord, as I’m sure it will for many gamers, but I was intrigued how multiplayer would affect the previously detailed SmartGlass features. As Josh Bridge explained, both players will receive the same notifications in co-op, allowing them to work together more fluently and be equally as immersed in the third Dead Rising as someone playing by themselves is.
There’s still so much of Dead Rising 3 that gamers haven’t seen, and one member of Capcom Vancouver stated how frustrated he was that they haven’t been able to pull the entire curtain off of the game yet. If that is indeed the case, then fans should be in for a treat when the game hits store shelves later this year. For now, the tantalizing prospect of a next-gen, open-world zombie game is more than enough to keep gamers excited.
Dead Rising 3 will be available as a launch day exclusive for the Xbox One this November.
Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.