While Capcom’s Dead Rising might not quite have the same following as the publisher’s other zombie-themed IP, the game series nevertheless has managed to amass a dedicated following. Debuting in 2006, Dead Rising feels like a throwback to zombie stories of yesteryear, as players must use the tools at their disposal to survive seemingly endless hordes of the slow but dangerous living dead. The game was a big enough success to spawn three direct sequels and a few remakes, although the series has lost some of its luster in recent years.
With the original Dead Rising being included in Xbox’s Games With Gold lineup for January 2021, this marks the ideal opportunity to explore some lesser-known facts about Capcom’s series.
10 Resident Evil Inspired Dead Rising
Resident Evil 4 was a game-changer for not only Capcom’s franchise but the zombie subgenre in general. While the series had been shifting away from survival horror for quite a while, Resident Evil 4 was the first numbered game that truly prioritized action.
In response to the enemies in Resident Evil 4 moving much quicker to match the combat’s tempo, Keiji Inafune decided to put together a game that would honor the terrifying (and slow-paced) roots of zombies. This project would become known as Dead Rising.
9 Capcom Was Sued For Dead Rising
Dead Rising‘s premise of locking a group of humans in a single location that is surrounded by zombies is a nod to George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead series. The similarities are particularly striking when it comes to Dawn of the Dead, as that film’s main setting is also a shopping mall.
For those who own the rights to Dawn of the Dead, the similarities were a touch too obvious to ignore, leading to a suit being filed against Capcom. The case was ultimately ruled in Dead Rising‘s favor.
8 Reused Assets Of A Canceled Sequel
Prior to producing Dead Rising, Keiji Inafune served as the executive producer for 2005’s Shadow of Rome. An overlooked gem in Capcom’s library, the hack and slash title failed to attract a large enough Western audience, leading to a sequel being canceled.
Some remnants of this project can be found in Dead Rising, as assets originally intended for Shadow of Rome 2 found their way into the zombie game. Inafune said that Dead Rising started out as Shadow of Rome‘s sequel, albeit one that nixed the latter’s stealth elements in service of focusing only on the violent action.
7 Mega Man & Protoman’s Armors
Just in case someone was not aware that Capcom also made Mega Man, the Dead Rising franchise opted to include a few not-so-subtle nods to the iconic franchise. In all four games, it is possible to unlock outfits based on Capcom’s series, although some require a bit more work than others.
For example, Dead Rising splits its Mega Man outfit into three parts (plus the Real Mega Buster), each of which requires completing different things. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record does something similar with Protoman’s armor. Dead Rising 3‘s X-Buster requires getting Ending S in Nightmare Mode, while Mega Man X’s outfit is a reward for obtaining that same ending on the standard difficulty.
6 Dead Rising 2 Highlighted Its Comedy
For the most part, Dead Rising tends to walk the line between horror and comedy. Out of all four games, the second entry is the funniest. In an interview prior to the game’s release, producer Mike Schmitt said that Capcom hoped players would feel “excitement” while playing Dead Rising 2 and that they would also pick up on the humor.
Dead Rising 2 is more of a comedy than a horror game, with Chuck serving as a likable replacement for Frank West.
5 Dead Rising 3 Put Horror First
A launch title for the Xbox One, Dead Rising 3 marked a stark departure from the previous entries in the series. While the game ramps up the speed of the combat, Dead Rising 3 also takes itself more seriously than its predecessors.
Capcom Vancouver wanted the zombies to come across as genuine threats rather than “toys,” and Dead Rising 3 reflects this mentality. The goal was to show players that Dead Rising 3 is, first and foremost, a horror game.
4 Dead Rising 4 Was Initially Going To Be Very Different
Dead Rising 4 is mostly a continuation of its immediate predecessor, albeit featuring a lead who desperately wants to be funny. It tends to be polarizing among the fan base, especially those fond of the earliest entries in the series.
Dead Rising 4 did not start out as a safe and uninspired entry, as Capcom Vancouver originally sought to give the franchise the gritty reboot treatment. “Project Climber” was described as something akin to The Last of Us, but plans for this reboot fell through and Dead Rising 4 rose from its ashes.
3 The Timer
A key ingredient of the Dead Rising experience is the timer, a feature most people tend to either love or hate. Although tweaked from entry to entry, the first three games all include a time system in some form or another, adding a degree of pressure to missions.
Dead Rising 4‘s main campaign ditched the timer entirely, a change designed to allow players the freedom to explore at their leisure. While the shift to a larger sandbox did not always mesh well with the timer system, Dead Rising 4‘s complete removal of this feature made this entry feel out of place in the series.
2 Dead Rising Goes To The (Digital) Movies
Like Resident Evil, Dead Rising has also made the jump to the film industry. The series has spawned three productions: Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun, Dead Rising: Watchtower, and Dead Rising: Endgame. While Zombrex tells its own story based on the Dead Rising universe, Watchtower and Endgame are directly connected to the games and even feature appearances by Frank West and Chuck Greene.
Although far from masterpieces, Watchtower and Endgame are perfectly watchable, even if they very much feel like movies designed for a streaming service and not theatres.
1 Dead Rising 5
In 2018, Capcom Vancouver was shut down, leaving the fate of Dead Rising uncertain. Following the studio’s closure, rumors started circulating about a canceled Dead Rising 5, a concept that would have seen the return of Dead Rising 2‘s Chuck Greene as the protagonist. It would have been set between the second and third entries in the series.
Dead Rising 5 was reportedly taking a page or two from Dark Souls‘ book, a change that could have resulted in an interesting shift for the franchise. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether Dead Rising still has a future or not.