Capcom continues searching the dark corners of the world for the mythical treasure known as the “Call of Duty player.”
We want to “appeal to a wider audience.” We want the “Call of Duty gamers.” These are the words that make fans of a series quake themselves in fear and flock to message boards for emotional support. They signal a game publisher about to embark on a quest best described as Sisyphean. You’d think Capcom might have learned after the success (or lack thereof) of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, but judging from the news coming out of E3 they haven’t and the Dead Rising franchise is the latest virginal sacrifice to the God of military first person shooters.
We got hints of Dead Rising 3′s decidedly different tone during it’s stage reveal at Microsoft’s press conference. Immediate reaction was skeptical, given it’s darker, more gritty tone and comments made by the executive producer. Alas, our fears seem to have been confirmed during a behind-closed-doors presentation. According to an interview with GameSpot, Capcom says their goal is to go after the Call of Duty player. Gone is the ticking clock propelling you forward through the story with strict deadlines, instead replaced with zombie enemies that are more formidable while you traverse the desolate cityscape. The game also has an autosave system, getting rid of the need to run off and find a bathroom or safe house when you want to save your progress, which despite my grudging resistance to change is a welcome edition.
Capcom insists that at the core of Dead Rising 3 is the same game I’ve loved since it’s original release, but all I see when I look at it is a darker color palette and grittier violence. Gone seems to be the days of chainsaw wielding clowns, reporters who have covered wars and whacky, B-movie aesthetics.
I admit that I could be wrong. Maybe Capcom is right, and the silliness that was conspicuously absent from the games reveal is hidden just beneath the surface. To help allay concerns, they have stated they’ve included a “nightmare” game mode for series veterans, complete with time-sensitive missions and fail states. But we’ve heard this story before and it usually doesn’t end well, probably because the Call of Duty audience is too busy playing Call of Duty to care.