DEAD RISING is one of my absolute favourite games of all time. I could (and probably will, at some point) write at length about why I love it, why I disagree with most fans’ assessments of the sequels (DR3 is clearly the second best in the series, at least if you play it the right way), or why DEAD RISING 4 is a hot piece of garbage that pisses all over the series’ legacy (YouTubers Tehsnakerer and GhenryPerez have covered that last point pretty well though, so by all means check out their videos – I largely echo their thoughts). But for now I thought I’d share some musings on the state of the DEAD RISING series, in the wake of Capcom Vancouver (lead developer of the DR series starting with DR2) imploding earlier this year.
So DEAD RISING had been Capcom Vancouver’s bread and butter for a number of years, up until DEAD RISING 4 in 2016 (re-released and ported to PS4 in 2017 under the groanworthy moniker FRANK’S BIG PACKAGE). For a brief period Capcom Vancouver were also responsible for a much-maligned mobile free-to-play reboot of SUPER PUZZLE FIGHTER II TURBO. While that might sound like a great idea, CV’s PUZZLE FIGHTER not only looked absolutely hideous, it apparently played poorly too, quickly devolving to pay-to-win with the actual puzzle-solving aspect apparently second to building a sick deck with rare loot drops or whatever. I wish I could give a first-hand report on the game, but it was shut down before I got around to even trying it out.
And maybe the writing was on the wall at that point already. In early 2018 Capcom Vancouver went through a restructuring, apparently shifting developing focus solely to DEAD RISING games, away from whatever unannounced projects they had been working on. Leaks seemed to indicate they had been working on some sort of reboot of GHOSTS & GOBLINS set in the modern day or something – not something I’m particularly sad about missing out on, if accurate, but the announcement of the shift would of course also indicate that some sort of new DEAD RISING is/was also in development. With Capcom Vancouver now essentially kaput, where does that leave this mysterious in-development DEAD RISING game, and the series at large?
I can see two scenarios. 1) The series is essentially dead, or the closest thing to dead you get with any well-known IP these days. But what tickles my imagination is 2) Capcom Japan scoops up whatever of value was left of whatever Capcom Vancouver was working on – or starts from scratch – and essentially reboots the series with a new game from their internal development studio in Japan. This is an exciting – and, I like to think, plausible – prospect, given the larger goings-on with Capcom in the last few years. Between RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD and MONSTER HUNTER WORLD, Capcom have been absolutely killing it with their internally developed AAA games, and both RESIDENT EVIL RE:2 and DEVIL MAY CRY 5 look to continue this trend. With RESIDENT EVIL and DEVIL MAY CRY both having fallen out of favour with fans after underwhelming outsourced releases by western development studios only to return to glory – it’s just too tempting to imagine DEAD RISING eventually going the same route.
Whether or not Capcom were to follow up on the story of the previous games (whatever continuity is left after DR4), I’d be happy to let the series lie dormant for a few years before getting a new, bold reimagined treatment by a different development team. I mean, one can dream at least, right? I can definitely say that if DEAD RISING 4 was any kind of indication of where future installments were headed, I’d rather the series die than see it defiled by an even worse DEAD RISING 5.