NEWS - Friday, May 20, 2005

E3 2005: Dead Rising

E3 2005: Keiji Inafune Talks About Dead Rising The man behind Megaman, Shadow of Rome and the Onimusha series is back with a new, original title for the Xbox 360. Inspired by the cheesy zombie movies of the past, Dead Rising is a story about an unlucky photographer who finds himself in the middle of an ocean of undead. To survive, he must use his wits, his camera, and just about anything he can get his hands on. Including a lawnmower. We were able to sit down with Inafune-san and discuss what his plans are for Dead Rising. Q: Capcom already has Resident Evil, which features zombies. What makes this game different from it? A: Basically what you got is with Resident Evil is a sort of a gothic style zombie game, with a lot of different monsters and creatures. With this game, what we wanted to do is to make an original game out of those old zombie movies. When you think about those movies, those B-movies are all made with a low budget and they were made so you don’t have to do alot of CG or effects, and humans could play those zombies in that movie. So we wanted to imitate that style to go back to the roots of what zombie movies are supposed to be. For me, it’s not like I’m imitating Resident Evil at all, I am looking at it to a degree, but the basic idea of this game was to take the old classic zombie movie and turn it into a game. and I think we’ve done that pretty well. Q: What movies did you look at, because some of the scenes in the trailer looked like the new dawn of the dead movie. A: I can’t name a specific movie because in general every zombie movie has inspired us, but the new updated Dawn of the Dead version wasn’t used because the production of thisgame was started before the movie came out. We looked mostly at classic zombie movies, and there were some Italian zombie movies to create some ideas for this game. In one time in Japan there were splattermovies -- movies with lots of gore and violence to generate laughs. Those were really popular in Japan, so there was a strong influence in that too. Q: What’s your main design goal when the hardware is no longer a limitation. Are you going for the gameplay or thinking in a different manner this time? A: The one thing we’re shooting for -- and this goes back a little bit -- was when I made the original Onimusha, what I wanted to do was have a massive army vs. another massive army, we were able to realize that in the opening movie via CG, and other types of scenes. So once I realized that, a great challenge had been overcome, but then other companies started following that trend as well. with this game the one thing i wanted to focus on was one person vs. 1000 different enemies. What this does for you is it generates a sense of hopelessness, a visual hopelessness. You’ve played games where you face gigantic enemies and really strong enemies that you can’t damage them at all, and there’s a certain type of hopelessness you get from that, but it’s not quite as strong -- visually -- as seeing 1000 enemies in front of you. Now what you can get from that hopelessness as a game is that if you are able to get through those enemies, if you are able to survive, is that there’s a major sense of accomplishment, you can say "I beat the odds!" And you can’t get that from any other type of game. So that’s the concept I was aiming for. Q: The blood and gore is unusual for a Japanese game, so is this game directed towards Western audiences more like Onimsuha and Shadow of Rome was, and if so what have you learned for developing for a Western market? A: One thing I always wondered -- or doubted -- was that Japanese style of game was to not really focus on Western markets, but to only think about what’s right for Japanese people. What I wanted to do was understand what Western audiences like, and somehow utilize that in the design process. It’s not a shift of priorities, like to only focus on American or European gamers, because we’re Japanese designers. We can try and design like American designers all we want to, but in the end we’re not going to be able to do. We can only design lke what we are. We are Japanese and we live in Japan. Thats the only type of game we can create. So to only focus on America isn’t going to work. What we can do is try to understand what other audiences like, and try to add that to our original design that we are good at doing; the Japanese standard. I feel that Onimusha 3 and Shadow of Rome was a transition period. We learned what American and European gamers liked, and we put that on top of our original Japanese design shell, and hopefully what this game will represent is taking that understanding and applying it another original shell. Q: So Shadow of Rome and Onimusha was a transition period. What’s different about Dead Rising compared to those games? Is it a traditional beat-em-up or is it combo-based like Devil May Cry? A: One of the biggest differences isn’t about the gameplay, it’s more in the fact that when I did Shadow of Rome, we got a lot of opinions, about what had to be in the game and what didn’t have to be in the game. We got opinions from different developers and from hardware providers abroad and our subsidiaries abroad. Everyone tells you what should be in the game and what shouldn’t. Probably the biggest mistake that I made was that I took that all as gospel. I was saying "Okay fine, and I did that", but what I wasn’t doing was asking "How would this work with our basic shell of the game?" This time we’re doing that. We’re taking the ideas and after we understand them, we’re breaking it down and we’re saying, "Okay, this style of game isn’t going to work with our basic design" or "Let’s take half of it and put it into our original shell" Now I have a better sense of what there is to implement and what not to implement. There may be pieces of the puzzle that fit for our game better than others. Q: The character in Dead Rising seems very resourceful. Is there anything you can let us know about the open endedness of the game, and how the character will beat the odds? A: What we’re aiming for -- and this is a hot topic right now -- is total freedom. I want the player to have total responsibility and the chance to decide what they want to do. We’re not telling the player to do anything, except not die. So what I wanted to do is place the player in this setting and give them two hints. One is that you’re a photographer, and the second is that you want to survive. The rest is up to you, and within those confines, the player has to do whatever they need to do, and what you want to do in any situation. Q: How will being a reporter tie into the game? A: This relates to the freedom aspect of the game. Here you are, as a cameraman and this incident occurs. and you got to figure out what to do. But you don’t really have to. It’s up to your gamestyle and what you want to do. If you want to say "screw what’s going on, I don’t want to know what happened or what’s happening", that option is there to you. You can go for the action side of the game and fight the zombies, but if you want to focus on the cameraman side, and get an interesting scoop, that option is there too. You can get pictures, get the hot scoop which you earn money from, and get interesting stories from it. You can do all of that but you don’t really have to.

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