The lights are on
Frank West may have let his camera do some of his dirty work in Dead Rising, but the sequel’s Chuck Greene is definitely more of a hands-on kind of guy. That’s not to say West was above getting his hands dirty—he could sling CD cases, break boards over heads, and auger the undead in half with the best of them. It’s just that West earned the bulk of his level-enhancing prestige points by snapping photos of the mayhem around him.
In contrast, Greene scores extra PPs by using hybrid weapons that he cobbles together using liberal amounts of ingenuity and the handyman’s secret weapon. “I think the duct tape plays well into it, because you can pretty much tape anything,” says Shinsaku Ohara, Dead Rising 2’s producer. “If it was a screwdriver or a hammer it would be a different thing. Maybe you couldn’t combine two items with a hammer and nails, but tape is so versatile.”
Players can combine certain objects at the tool benches, which are scattered throughout Fortune City. Combinations can be discovered through trial and error or by discovering combo cards and gaining inspiration from a variety of posters advertising an upcoming action movie. While discovering weapons through luck, happenstance, or message-board postings is a serviceable solution, players who manage to track down those combo cards and earn them “legitimately” gain enhanced attacks from those weapons.
Looking at the dizzying amount of weapons available—of which we’ve only seen a handful—had us wondering how exactly a team comes up with such a crazy roster of tools. “It kind of starts with our environment,” says the game’s executive producer and Blue Castle Games’ co-founder Rob Barrett. “We have to come up with our base weapons and our environment provides it. If you’re in a meat-packing plant, you’re going to have slabs of meat and cleavers and whatever. If you’re in a mall, that sort of lets you walk around a mall and go, ‘Oh, I’d like to beat somebody with that or put that over someone’s head.’ We added the casinos to it, so it was a whole other exploration of what does this environment provide us as a base. Then it was the absurdity. We go from that and think, ‘How do we turn a ficus plant into something deadly?’ That’s where Jason and his weapons team took over.”
“With the weapons, I think some of it was just playing DR1 and seeing what worked,” adds Jason Leigh, the game’s senior producer. “One thing we did when we broke the design down for DR1 is looked at how the weapons sort of fell into categories. Some were box type items, there were single-handed items and slicing and so on. And on top of that we sort of built on the research and going into the field to malls and casinos to see what types of objects are around, because you need that reality to populate the world and ground the player. And going forward with the combo weapons, we took a trip to Home Depot over here and walked the aisles and went, ‘What would be fun to kill zombies with over here? What if you took this thing and that thing and brought them together?’”
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