The official Xbox launch of Dead Rising 4 across Europe was marked with an apocalypse-themed event in London this week. It included undead actors and a choir, festive lights and a chance to play the newest, highly-anticipated game in one of the most popular zombie franchises of all time.
Dead Rising 4, developed by Capcom and published in partnership with Microsoft, takes place 16 years after the original game and tells the story of photojournalist Frank West. West has returned to Willamette, in Colorado, to investigate a new zombie outbreak and soon realises that this latest incident is linked to a government conspiracy and a military operation.
“We wanted to tell the story of where Frank was and what he’s been doing, because it’s the 10th anniversary since the first Dead Rising came out,” said Joe Nickolls, Studio Director of Capcom Vancouver. “He is teaching journalism and is goaded out of retirement by one of his students. He thinks he’s going to play mini-golf and she takes him to the zombie apocalypse.”
Fans of the series took to social media and interacted with a cryptic Facebook Live stream of a zombie hand suspended above a button during the event. Xbox followers could move the hand downward to press the red button – and watched the mayhem unfold.
An undead choir emerged to entertain the crowd, while zombies roamed the area and nine panels of Christmas lights lit up in sequence to reveal a short story about surviving a “Walking Dead”-style apocalypse – the first time a videogame trailer had been created in this way.
Adrian Simons, Director of Global Windows and Devices at Microsoft, said: “Most Christmas lights are switched on by celebrities, but in this case the honour went to Xbox’s global fanbase. They brought to life a new form of game trailer, which we believe is a world’s first.”
“The hardest part is coming up with weapons we haven’t done before,” Nicholls added. “We work backwards; we look at what we want to happen to a zombie and then we back it up. So, for example, we thought: ‘OK, we want to blow that zombie up; so do we blow him up with dynamite or a rocket or a grenade? OK, how do we want to use that grenade? Do we want to throw it, launch it, attach it to something? Let’s attach it to a sledgehammer, because that’s a totally safe thing to happen…’
The creators have also removed the controversial timer for this latest instalment’s main campaign, giving players much more freedom to explore the vast maps.