The Dead Rising series has accumulated a loyal fan base for its wacky gameplay and comedic relief. In 2006, fans praised the first Dead Rising game for the Xbox 360. They complimented Dead Rising for its unique take on the survival horror genre, which was dominated by darker series such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
Dead Rising 2 capitalized on the growing popularity of co-op horror games, such as Resident Evil 5 and Left4Dead, by including a co-op campaign for 2-players. The co-op mode became a defining feature of the series and continued into Dead Rising 3.
Capcom recently announced on a live stream that Dead Rising 4 would not have a co-op campaign. Instead, Capcom has added a 4-player online co-op mode which is similar to games like Left 4 Dead. Players will start in a safe house, progress through missions, and then reach another safe house to survive.
Many of Capcom’s announcements on Dead Rising 4 have left fans displeased. Capcom’s decision to remove the game’s time-limit, which is an iconic mechanic in previous versions that gave players a strict time-limit to complete the main story, has left gamers questioning what audience they are trying to target. In addition, Frank West’s original voice actor, T.J.Rotolo, wasn’t asked to return to the role. He allegedly spoke out in response to a video someone made which demanded T.J.Rotolo be recast. Trant Lee-Aimes, an asset manager, responded to fans:
Frank has evolved as a character and we wanted to work with someone to provide a more grizzled, older take on Frank at this stage – just don’t ask him about his age. In ‘Dead Rising 4,’ Frank is much older – 16 years have passed since the events of the original game – and we decided to cast a new actor that reflected his age while still retaining the charm and humor that made him such a hit with fans.
Long-time fans of the series are finding it hard to get excited for Dead Rising 4. Capcom’s decisions to change Frank’s voice actor, remove the iconic time limit, and omit the co-op campaign have left players wondering if the series will take a bad turn.
A Decline in Co-Op Campaigns
Developers aren’t afraid to remove iconic and well-loved features from the newest game in a series. Capcom’s Lost Planet 2 had a well-received co-op campaign mode, but it was dropped when developing Lost Planet 3. Similarly, Treyarch built Black Ops 3’s single-player mode from the ground up to support 4-player co-op, but Infinity Ward didn’t include a co-op campaign with Infinite Warfare.
In contrast, many games from the previous generation have included co-op campaigns. For example, Gearbox designed the Borderlands series around 4-player co-op, and Capcom made co-op a defining feature of the Resident Evil series since Resident Evil 5.
Gamers have already been noticing the decline of couch co-op experiences. With Halo 5 omitting split-screen co-op, the days of inviting friends over to play the latest Halo campaign together might be over. Now with Dead Rising 4 and also Resident Evil 7’s lack of co-op campaigns — even in an online form — the ability to play through a game’s story mode with friends may be a forgotten feature.