Dead Rising 4 is ditching the deadline challenge to focus more on exploration

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Dead Rising 4 (1)

It’s not murder if they’re already dead, right? Which means that you definitely haven’t gone on a digital session of genocide in Capcom’s Dead Rising series over the years. Dead Rising set the bar for zombie games of the modern era, giving players a proper sandbox within which to organise all manner of mayhem and mirth to deal with the pesky shambling deceased.

It’s a game that is also ruthlessly unforgiving with its deadline concept, as you’d only have a few hours per play session to accomplish your goals and get the hell out of dodge before that 72-hour time limit was up. It’s a polarising feature, one that has its fans and detractors. This year, Dead Rising 4 is skipping that part of the game entirely, to open up the sandbox more to the concept of exploration.

“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,” Capcom Vancouver studio head Joe Nickolls said to Gamespot.

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. The world has been designed with multiple levels of exploration. It’s so dense this time. There are stores, there are apartments above the stores, there are hidden areas and rooms.

But there’s a balance to this omission of the deadline feature, as Nickolls explained that players would find fewer helpful items in odd places, forcing them to be clever about their chances at survival. “We want people to start thinking about, ‘Okay, if I was in a zombie apocalypse and I needed to get some food, I should probably go to the grocery store,” Nickolls said.

Or, ‘I need clothes, so I’m going to go to the laundromat.’ We tried to give it a bit more strategic stuff.

The big lesson to be learnt here regarding any lack of a deadline system in Dead Rising 4? It’s going to help the series evolve further, as Nickolls explained:

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If we keep making the same Dead Rising over and over, the people that just want the very same thing are going to get what they want. But people want to see growth, they want to see us adapting as we go. You’re going to piss someone off no matter what you do, right?

Dead Rising 4 is out in December, just in time to hope that the game includes a section of the mall where you get to eviscerate the zombie that’s responsible for piping Boney M’s Drummer Boy song on an endless loop through the various speakers dotted around.

Last Updated: August 18, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

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