Dead Rising has always been a series about two things: zombie genocide and strict time limits. But come this winter, the latter of those things is getting the axe.
That’s right, Dead Rising 4 will do away with the series’ divisive time limits and timed objectives. Jed talked about this in his preview earlier this year. No more pumping your daughter full of Zombrex, or completing tasks against the clock. As far as Capcom Vancouver is concerned, Frank West can ride around on a tricycle in short-shorts to his heart’s content.
Studio head Joe Nickolls told GameSpot that this is due, in part, to fan feedback. “We did a ton of user research on it, and the majority of the people said they didn’t really love the timer–they wanted to explore.”
He points to the large scale of the game as another contributing factor. “There’s so much hidden side content that when we did it with a timer, people were just getting pissed off because they couldn’t finish half of what they wanted to finish.”
However, the mode isn’t gone entirely. People playing with friends can revisit the classic Dead Rising experience in a co-op mode.
“We put a timer in the online mode because we wanted people to have that kind of experience with their friends,” said Nickolls. “It’s four-player co-op online with distinct, specific missions and stuff to do in that mode.”
While the co-op addition is a nice touch, I can’t help but feeling a bit let down by this. Some people really dislike the time limit of the Dead Rising franchise, and I get that. But to me, it’s a central mechanic to the franchise. There are plenty of games where you can kill zombies. But with permanently failable missions? A strict timer? Those are unique, defining hallmarks. Taking them away really takes away a huge part of the challenge.
I would say it’s like stripping Metal Gear of stealth and socio-political intrigue, but that’s a moot point now. I guess we’ll just wait and see if zombie slaughter is compelling enough in December, when Dead Rising 4 hits shelves.