Gavin Pugh - A Videogame Programming Blog

Dead Rising 2: Grey, Brown Sparsefest?

25 February, 2008 at 9:39pm | New Games


Recently there has been news of that great game ‘Dead Rising’ getting a sequel. It was a big success for Capcom, and I guess came as no surprise that it was coming.

However, the big thing that has generated a talking point is that it’s going to be done by a Western developer. Now, as I work for one of those myself; I shouldn’t be slinging mud. But I’m really a bit concerned that this game can go down some bad avenues.

Here’s what I fear:

  • Game starts development. Team are giddy, they come up with some great ideas. This is good, very good.
  • A lot of stuff sounds great, code are on the new mechanics, and the concept art is looking superb.
  • Player in the game, zombies in the game. Game chugs a bit, but that’s okay as we’re just starting out.
  • Milestone one, a first playable of sorts approaches, all hands on deck!
  • Game gets a bit of polish, environments look nicer, characters look great.
  • It’s dropping frames though, lets only have a dozen zombies spawned at once. Just for the milestone.(TM)
  • Man, those zombies look good. Engine coders and artists given lots of praise. Milestone passes fine.
  • Design folk are a bit bewildered, and finding it difficult to put in new mechanics with the sparse zombie layout.
  • Art plays with fancy new HDR rendering and of course, bloom. It looks great on the HDTV in the conference room!
  • People high up decide that as it’s an Xbox game, so it’s for hardcore gamers only. None of this primary colours shit, we want it gritty! Game becomes grey and brownfest.
  • Design are still wondering why there’s only eight zombies shown at a time.
  • Ship date is a few months away. Design accept that we’re not going to have as many zombies as the first one. No aggressive LODding either like the first one, the pop-in when you walked into shops was awful! We can use the memory we save on the zombie instances, for environment textures instead!
  • Screenshots are released, and gameplay video. Youngsters on the internet love how great it looks.
  • Everything continues along same vein.
  • Game ships. Gavin buys the game and is disappointed that yet again tech wins out over gameplay. 🙁


Now, this isn’t actually how it’s gone on any game I’ve worked on, despite the ranty sound of it! There’s always been strong people around to reign in this sort of thing to a sensible level. There’s no reason that the new developer may go down the route I detailed, it’s just that I think it’s real easy to lose sight of what Dead Rising was all about:

Lots and lots of zombies.

If you take that away, you’ve got a shell of a game. The tech of the game has to revolve around aggressive LOD-ing, that’s the focus. I just hope your code team consists of some seasoned PS1/2 era guys, and certainly not more than one or two fresh from University. Put the ShaderX7 book down, and back away slowly.

It’s okay that the zombie in the distance, twenty pixels tall, looks shit. It’s okay that the contents of any stores or buildings pop in a bit if you’re running fast. You don’t need to fix these things. What isn’t okay is dropping the sense of humour; and please for the love of God, don’t make it gangsta!

Guys… Make the game fun, that’s all. Just make it fun, and I’ll love you for it; and everyone will think that you rock. 🙂


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