Microsoft is giving special treatment to three Xbox One games by designating them the “Day One” games, complete with special physical packaging. A small gesture, but perhaps more meaningful than the packaging is the marketing that is going into these games. These are Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, and Dead Rising 3. Those three are cornerstones to the new Microsoft platform: Forza has the highest resolution and cleanest look, Ryse is the gritty but beautiful action brawler with something to prove, and Dead Rising is the open-world zombie basher with identity problems.
Dead Rising is known for its goofy weapons and off-kilter settings so when the bleak brown and grays showed up in its first reveal it was cause for confusion. The characters were being played straight-faced and were wearing normal clothes. It didn’t take long at all for clarifications to come that indeed the game would have its own degree of silliness, but that it was going to be played opposite the machismo leanings of a quiet auto mechanic trying to make his way in the world.
I’m not sure if it’s been done purposefully, but Dead Rising has been given the short end of the stick when it comes to advertising. Only recently has there been anything more than introductory or teaser videos, almost all of which used the chosen motto “Welcome to the After Party.” Today there was a video celebrating Halloween with Nick, the protagonist of Dead Rising, dressed in a shark suit wielding a chainsaw weapon and slicing the zombie in half.
It’s not much, but it’s entertaining and fun.
Secondly, another video was released and was a bit of a behind-the-scenes look from Gamespot. The 20 minute video gave some insight on the design choices, and the director specifically mentioned the action movies of the 80s when creating the atmosphere of the game. The actors all played their lines straight but the lines themselves were so over-the-top and campy that it’s not going to live up to the slick storytelling that could be in the barrel of the likes of Ryse.
It’s no surprise, then, that the title has a bit of an identity issue. I expect to see a huge ramp up in the last month, but even up to this point the other two Day One games have seen a much bulkier load of videos. It’s time for the heavyweights to begin throwing haymakers and I’m not sure what Dead Rising 3 can bring to the table that hasn’t already been featured. Forza can reveal new cars and modes, Ryse will bring new cinematics and story, and I’m hoping Dead Rising can find its identity before it becomes an afterthought of the launch.
If you’re interested in the story so far, check out the first issue of the Dead Rising comic, published by Marvel: