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ARTICLE

Keiji Inafune on zombies

Dead Rising 2 has just reached store shelves and we had the chance to sit down with Capcom's Keiji Inafune to discuss zombies in general and Dead Rising in particular...

  • Text: Jonas Elfving (Gamereactor Sweden)
Dead Rising 2
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Gamereactor: Dead Rising 2 has been finished. How do you feel and are you satisfied with the finished product?

Keiji Inafune: It feels great to be finished with it. I'm very happy, even if games can never be 100 per cent complete in my opinion. After having worked with Blue Castle Games and used their knowledge I think the game will be much appreciated by Western gamers.

Casinos are an excellent setting for a zombie game, not the least because gamblers are a bit like zombies to begin with. How did you research the subject when developing Dead Rising 2?

I personally went to Las Vegas several times to get it right. Many members of the Canadian development had never visited the really huge casinos, so we sent them to Reno to do research. It was very important to get all the details right, not just the slot machines and gambling. More adult themes such as alcohol and strippers were essential in making it believable. We didn't want to do anything half-hearted.

Dead Rising 2 is both violent and humorous. How do you want us to feel while we play it - amused or scared?

- We don't use humour to tone down the violence, like a lot of people may think. Laughter and fear are closely related. Our zombies aren't that scary to begin with, but through the use of dark comedy they get scarier, in a weird an unexpected way.

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What is the single biggest change in Dead Rising 2 compared to the predecessor?

- We didn't want to make any drastic changes compared to the first game. The first game had a new concept, and wasn't especially polished at release. This time we wanted to make a better version of the original, and in addition work hand in hand with a Western developer who got to learn the "Capcom method". We wanted everything to be bigger - bigger maps, more weapons and so on.

When it comes to zombies from other games and movies - any favourites?

- I enjoyed Left 4 Dead and its sequel. But their zombies run, and that goes against some of the things I feel a zombie should be... I'm a fan of George Romero's movies as I'm sure you know. The last one I saw was Survival of the Dead - not a great movie, but the way in which the zombies were portrayed was great.

And you've done your own movie, Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun. How was that idea born?

- I wanted to do something based on Dead Rising, and created a scenario out of that. It was a lot of fun, I started my career with Mega Man, more or less a game for kids, and now I make movies based on Dead Rising - so I'm always up for new challenges.

Dead Rising 2

Why are zombies and video games such a perfect fit in your opinion?

- Simply put they make shooters fun. The genre has pretty fixed game mechanics, and there isn't a lot of variation. The only thing that really changes is what you are shooting at - humans, aliens och monsters. Zombies is a somewhat different enemy, they are not part of either group. They are slow, they can't think for themselves, and there is a special satisfaction in shooting them. People are stressed, and shooting zombies is relaxing in some way. That's why we are experiencing a zombie boom in video games and movies these days.

If you've had a stressful day yourself, do you relax by shooting zombies?

- Difficult question, since I have worked on Dead Rising I associate it with work and I'm self critical, so it's hard for me to relax with that game. (laughter) But a game like Left 4 Dead does the trick, although it goes so quickly that I feel very stressed in the beginning. But generally shooters are a very good way to relax.

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How did you come up with the idea to combine weapons in Dead Rising 2?

- As you know the most exciting part of Dead Rising is discovering all the objects you can kill zombies with. There is a limit to the number you can find and therefore the concept of combining weapons was needed. Blue Castle came up with a lot of crazy, silly weapon combinations. If we would have had more time we would have been able to create infinite amounts of wacky weapons.

Dead Rising 2

What weapon have you laughed the most at?

- Tough question. There are objects that you won't understand at first how they are used against the zombies. The fireworks for instance are fun because at first you don't realise that they we will end up in a zombie's mouth.

There are no check points or automatic saves in Dead Rising 2. Did you ever consider including these functions?

- We could have included checkpoints, but we had a discussions about what the core of Dead Rising is with the team, on this matter in particular. The game is meant to be a simulation of the real world. You get 72 hours to get yourself out of an extreme situation, and you have to act in a certain way. I real life you have to go to the bathroom a few times each day. Even if you hide in a locker you sooner or later have to go to the bathroom. We didn't want to take the easy way out and abandon the concept of save stations. We don't think check points would make for a better game.

How does the future look, can we expect a Dead Rising 3 at some point?

- We must first see how Dead Rising 2 performs, before we start thinking of a third game. I'm thinking of other projects at the moment and of how to divide my time. But we do have DLC coming out, and we hope it will entertain!

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