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Dead Rising 4 Interview with Dave McAnerin

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Dead Rising 4 Interview with Dave McAnerin

Gaming Instincts gets the chance to speak with Gameplay Producer Dave McAnerin from Capcom on Dead Rising 4 the next entry in the crazy zombie franchise.

Leonid Melikhov

Hello everybody, this is Leo from Gaming Instincts, the co-founder of the website and uh, journalism. We’re going to be talking to…

Dave McAnerin

Dave McAnerin, Gameplay Producer at Capcom Vancouver.

Leonid Melikhov

About Dead Rising 4

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

So, you guys made the announcement, uh yesterday.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

Even though it was leaked out… That’s the first question I want to ask you. How do you guys feel about those leaks and how do those things happen?

Dave McAnerin

Well, we`re not supposed to talk about the specific circumstances for this one.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

It’s always, it’s one of those double edged swords. We want people to be excited about the game…

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

… But we want to sort of present it to them in the right way.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

Is that a fair thing to say?

Leonid Melikhov

Yeah, I guess. Yeah.

Dave McAnerin

It was, it, at least the screenshots looked good and…

Leonid Melikhov

Oh, they did look good, yeah!

Dave McAnerin

We were reading online, of course. We all pretend we don’t read online, but we all do, right? We’re all checking the comments. We’re checking the forums.

Leonid Melikhov

NeoGaf?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, yeah. We’re all, all. It gets shared around the office. We’re all over it and at least the co, com, the comments are positive. We’re all, the people are actually excited. They’re interested about it.

Leonid Melikhov

That’s a big deal for you, right?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

So, um, why did you guys decide to bring Frank West back?

Dave McAnerin

Well, we really like Frank as a character. We, all played Dead Rising 1. We’re all fans of it and the, it started a franchise. It’s the ten year anniversary. We thought it was time, a chance to bring him back and tell… I mean, Frank’s a great character. The way he, his personality, the way he handles a zombie outbreak… That it, it’s never too serious. He’s got that nice balance`of: He’s serious about his job. He cares about journalism. He cares about telling a story, but he can have fun in the zombie apocalypse as well.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

It’s a great balance.

Leonid Melikhov

I see, and you guys are going back to the same locations?

Dave McAnerin

Yup. So, we’re going back. So, what happened in the story of Dead Rising 1 is the city got destroyed.

Leonid Melikhov

Mmhmm.

Dave McAnerin

Now, it’s 16 years later. The city’s been rebuilt. It’s actually, the mall itself has been rebuilt. It’s now the Willamette Memorial Megaplex. It’s all like, throughout the city you can see these memorials to the first outbreak. So, it’s, it’s revisiting the same city, but it’s been rebuilt. It’s different and we have the mall and some boroughs outside the mall, so the player can explore the whole city.

Leo: I see. So what are the biggest differences you guys think you have from Dead Rising 3 to 4?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, so a couple big, really big differences. I think, we, the first is we’ve added the exosuit, which we revealed in the trailer.

Leonid Melikhov

Mhm.

Dave McAnerin

So, there’s obviously, the exosuit gives you enhanced power to let you pick up, like you saw in the video. Ripping parking meters out of the ground, punching cars and send them flying through the horde.

Leonid Melikhov

Just ridiculous and insane things.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s just, it’s the evolution of Dead Rising. It’s taking that, amping it up, amping it up.

Leonid Melikhov

Right

Dave McAnerin

Increasing the killing power, of course.

Leonid Melikhov

And, uh, are you guy using the same engine, or is it upgraded? What are you guys using?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, we’ve been upgrading our engine for the last little while.

Leonid Melikhov

What’s the name of the engine?

Dave McAnerin

[Pauses]…[mumbles: “I dunno.”], yeah? It’s called Forge.

Leonid Melikhov

Forge?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

Okay, so it’s not like a…

Dave McAnerin

[Interrupts] It’s our own internal engine…

Leonid Melikhov

Oh, I see. Your internal engine.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

It’s not Unreal or anything like that.

Dave McAnerin

No.

Leonid Melikhov

Okay, cool. I see. Why did you decide to have your own? When? You guys said that’s since Dead Rising 3? Your own engine?

Dave McAnerin

Yes. It’s actually our own engine since Dead Rising 2.

Leonid Melikhov

Since Dead Rising 2? I see. Cool.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

And, uh, it take place at a time in Christmas?

Dave McAnerin

Yup. So, it’s at the holiday season, that. So, what happens is the outbreak happened during Black Friday, the holiday, in this game where this big sale that runs at the mall.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

It was actually, the grand opening of the mall, was for Black Friday. That’s when the zombie apoc, zombie outbreak started happening. So, it’s a few weeks after that phase. It’s the holiday now. Snow is on the ground, and that’s when Frank enters the town.

Leonid Melikhov

Your game is also coming to PC?

Dave McAnerin

Yep. So, you can play it first on Xbox [One] and Windows 10.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. Uh, Co-op both ways? Cross-network? I mean, cross play?

Dave McAnerin

That probably isn’t going to happen. We found that it wasn’t quite balanced the way we wanted it to [be].

Leonid Melikhov

I see. So, it’s not going to be?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

Maybe patched in later?

Dave McAnerin

Potentially.

Leonid Melikhov

Possible? I’m curious to see.

Dave McAnerin

Potentially.

Leonid Melikhov

What, uh, can you talk about the new mechanics without… Anything else besides the exosuit? Can you guys, um…?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, so we’ve added a couple of things. Uh, obviously the combo weapons are back. Bigger, badder than ever.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

Uh, one of the big things we think has improved the game a lot is we’ve divided the player’s inventory. So, if you played the previous Dead Risings, you had one big inventory.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

And it was always like, you had to decide how many slots you were going to dedicate to food, how many slots you were going to dedicate to weapons like guns, how many you were going to dedicate to melee weapons. So, what we’ve actually done is split the inventories up, so you have a separate food inventory, you have a separate melee inventory, ranged inventory and thrown inventory.

Leonid Melikhov

So, just more of a, like, easier way to kill and organize your things.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, yeah, yeah! So…

Leonid Melikhov

The quality of life!

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, it’s, well it’s a ton more stuff you get to carry around, which is always good because you want resources to combo with.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

The other thing is it give you the advantage of, on the controller’s itself, you have a button… like, X button specifically pulls out your melee weapon and attacks with it. So, you have a zombie close to you, you hit X, you can do that attack right away. Zombie that are far away, you hit right trigger, you actually pull out your gun and you start shooting at that target farther away. You fight a conk that’s a medium distance away from you, you hit left bumper, you throw a grenade on them, you blow them all up. So, it’s chance like, enhance your abilities to deal with different situations really quickly instead of spending more time managing your inventory.

Leonid Melikhov

Right, cool. Uh, how much bigger is the game as in terms of uh, the world itself compared to the last one?

Dave McAnerin

Uh, the worlds are actually fairly comparable sized, but we focused on adding more depth to it. More…

Leonid Melikhov

So, more content.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah. More, more content within the same space. So, more buildings you can enter, more places to like, more depth in the exploration. We have a lot of levels like, there’s lots of buildings you can go in that will be two stories tall. There are a few things to exploring the full interior and there’s, you know, sewers running underneath the city. So, we focused on more content per square foot rather than going after the giant map.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. Uh, now because it takes place in Christmas, obviously there’s a lot of snow. Will there be any area where maybe there is like more green, lush environments, or more like really sunny…?

Dave McAnerin

[Interupts] I, I…

Leonid Melikhov

Or is it going to be really sunny and snowing all with a bunch of zombies?

Dave McAnerin

So, so, usually outside the mall, it’s going to be snowing. I mean, we have a day and night, different times of the day. So, you know obviously, during the day, brighter, less snow. Uh, it’s actually, the mall has really theme segments in it. So, as you play the game, you’ll go through our like holiday town which is setup like a Santa’s village a little bit, so you get that snowy place.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

And then we have a place that is like Miami boardwalk, which is more sunny, palm trees. Like, like neon lights like walking around downtown Miami. So, there’s a lot of different themes inside the mall, so you’ll get that experience, but it’s all sort of fake as in a mall, right?

Leonid Melikhov

Right, of course. What is your? What was the most challenging thing developing this, Dead Rising 4 for you guys? Was it making the exosuit, balancing new things, or what was it?

Dave McAnerin

Well, one of the things we haven’t really shown off very much yet is we have a bunch of new enemy types as well. Having those be balanced and fun is actually, I think, the most challenging thing. The exosuit felt like it was the evolution of the product that, we want to make it, up, up the ante by giving you the ability to punch cars through the air and stuff like that. Like, it’s, but it’s stuff we knew how to do and we want to take it to the next level, which is, it’s, it’s the evolution. It was the, the big game changers were adding a lot of variety for enemy types. It’s not just about the horde anymore and becomes more challenging. More difficult. And then balancing that with, the player can be like, you know, unarmed or only have a baseball bat versus the player that’s got the exosuit and is ready to take on the whole world. It was finding that, that fine balance of, you know, what’s the right of level of challenge versus what’s the right level of letting the player slaughter everything. So…

Leonid Melikhov

So, also to me, there is a lot of new types of AI.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, yeah. There’s new enemy AI. So, there’s, we’ve expanded the number of humans we have. We have multiple factions now and have a lot more depth there. We’ve also expanded our zombie types. So, we actually have three types of zombies now.

Leonid Melikhov

And you guys have quests, or, you know, like survivors, or anything like that?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, so there will be lots of like, there’s lots of mission content and our side content. We actually have a dynamic system that’s, there’s little instances around the world that, as you’re playing, we call it Living World internally.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Dave McAnerin

If this, the world itself is still happening even when you are not there. So, you’ll have these instances of you walking around, you hear gunfire in the distance. It could be hostile survivors protecting themselves from zombies and you can decide. Are you going to fight the hostile survivors? Are you going to go try and help the zombies overrun them? Or, you can have the military presence is in the city, is fighting some friendly survivors. So, you can, if you run over there and you get involved, you can save the friendly survivors. You get rewards for that. Or, if you don’t get involved, you wait a little while and then you walk over, the military might have wiped out all the survivors and you come across just some bodies.

Leonid Melikhov

Nice. Interesting. Um, can you talk about the vehicles?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

Are you expanding on the vehicles?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah. So, it’s, what we tried to do is make the world a better driving experience. So, we went back and spent a lot of effort on what are our paths through the world. There’s, there’s a lot more fluid driving around and there’s a lot more interesting jumps to take and like little side routes that you can duck down. we have, I think, a stronger variety of vehicles. There are more different than they were in the past plus we brought back combo vehicles which are, again, amped up again.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. And um, [pauses], some hardware questions. 1080p, 60fps?

Dave McAnerin

30fps, 1080p.

Leonid Melikhov

So, 30fps, 1080[p]?

Dave McAnerin

Yes

Leonid Melikhov

Okay. Well, Dead Rising 3, what was it? I don’t remember. Was it the same?

Dave McAnerin

No. Dead Rising 3, I think, was 720[p] at 30fps.

Leonid Melikhov

Oh, really? Okay. So, there is big leap and the game looks visually better too.

Dave: Yes, there’s definitely a noticeable graphical upgrade.

Leonid Melikhov

How do you guys, how did that happen? You just had more experience with the hardware?

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, that’s what it was. It was maturing our engine. It was spending more time on the details and it is spending a lot more time on deciding exact art look that we wanted and making sure that was as good-looking as possible.

Leonid Melikhov

It looks quite nice, actually. I’m excited to play that and try it out.

Dave McAnerin

Thank you!

Leonid Melikhov

So, I’m sure you guys are well aware of the [Microsoft] Scorpio, the Xbox [One] slim?

Dave McAnerin

We’re all excited for it.

Leonid Melikhov

Yeah, I am. [Gasps] Mind blown. I was sitting there and it was quite a show. So, yeah. That’s why I kind of want to talk to you about how do you guys feel about, how to say? obviously, you’re going to be developing more games for the future Xbox stuff. How do you guys feel about when you put a game, that you buy one game that is being played on four different platforms. You got PC, the [Xbox] slim and the original Xbox One. Where do you do the cut off of like, this isn’t too much because then it’s not going to run on that system.

Dave McAnerin

[Chuckles]

Leonid Melikhov

I mean, if you look at the Sorpio it is quite a big change. It’s eight cores, six teraflops, 20 gigabytes a second.

Dave McAnerin

Oh, it’s a big jump for sure.

Leonid Melikhov

I would call it a next gen, but I think the way the industry is going, it’s kind of going away from that. It’s more like, okay well, it’s just an upgraded console, but it’s so much of an upgrade that it’s… Because we’re really going to new cycles. It’s just like you could still play on all systems. How are you guys feeling? Are you guys scared of that? How do you get to the challenge to do that? Make a game that runs on everything?

Dave: I don’t think anyone’s scared of that. I mean, it definitely is a challenge you have to put resources on, but we want to make sure we deliver the best product no matter what our players are playing on. We spend the time to make sure it’s optimized for that experience. We will do everything we can to make sure it looks good, it plays good.

Leonid Melikhov

Right, because a lot of people are scared of, okay. Well, they have all this power. Now, if a developer wants to use that power then there’s no way it’s going to be running on anything previously. So, that Scorpio, how good is it going to look, whatever that game is, on that as opposed to this? I’m assuming the lower entry consoles, obviously, a lot of stuff will be cut off. Not in terms of content, but in terms of visual fidelity. It’s not going to have 4K, it’s not going to be running at 60fps. So, I’m looking forward to seeing that and I’m sure you are too.

Dave McAnerin

Oh, I am too. I’m looking forward to seeing that next step and everyone’s been chasing 60fps 4K for years, right?

Leonid Melikhov

Yeah, but you know, 4K’s not even mainstream yet. I think this is one of the steps to do that.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah, yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

So, did you guys know about the Scorpio before?

Dave McAnerin

[Interjects] We can’t talk about that one.

Leonid Melikhov

Okay. That’s fine. I’m just, I’m allowed to ask.

Dave McAnerin

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

That’s fine, completely fine. That’s cool. So, When is Dead Rising coming out? Fall, right?

Dave McAnerin

It’s this holiday season 2016.

Leonid Melikhov

2016 for sure?

Dave McAnerin

Yup, holiday season 2016.

Leonid Melikhov

Awesome! Four player co-op?

Dave McAnerin

Yup.

Leo: Just like the old ones, right?

Dave McAnerin

Yep.

Leonid Melikhov

Good, good. Looking forward to it. Is there anything else you would like to day about it [Dead Rising 4]?

Dave McAnerin

I just really hope that everyone has watched the trailers, getting a chance to see people playing hands-on here at E3.

Leonid Melikhov

And you guys are planning on post content like you did with Dead Rising 3 for DLC?

Dave McAnerin

Definitely.

Leonid Melikhov

Is there a season pass? No?

Dave McAnerin

Oh, I don’t think I can talk about that one either.

Leonid Melikhov

Okay, that’s fine, but there will be post content for sure?

Dave McAnerin

Yes.

Leonid Melikhov

Okay. Looking forward to it. Thank you so much. I really appreciate.

Dave McAnerin

Yes, thank you for having me. I appreciate it too.

Leonid Melikhov

Awesome. Thank you!

 

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