Dead Rising 4 at Gamescom
The line is still there, larger than the last time I looked out through the black curtain to the Gamescom floor. I give a signal to one of the Xbox Ambassadors who are helping us man the Dead Rising 4 booth to signal to him to send in another ten fans as the previous ten finish up talking with the others. One of the departing fans flashes a thumbs up, “It’s fun. Can’t wait.”
Gamescom is the world’s largest video game show. It dwarfs E3 and unlike the LA based show is open to the general public. Over 345,000 fans from all over Europe converged on the city of Cologne Germany, joined by 6,000 journalists and game developers from all over the world. Ten of us from Capcom Vancouver who work on Dead Rising 4 made the trip this year. Fans at the Xbox booth got to play the game’s demo in five minute sessions while members of the press met privately and were given a more detailed look at the game.
Over the course of Gamescom approximately 4,000 fans will get a chance to take Frank West on a zombie killing spree, with the best zombie slayers of each receiving a special Dead Rising prize pack. And while it’s fun being there representing the game it’s also valuable for making games.
Designer Roy McCombe points at a player who looks like he’s having an issue figuring out one of the game’s controls, “We need to make that more obvious. There’s text there now, but it’s clearly confusing people.”
The players are playing a build that we took to E3 where the game was announced and San Diego Comic-Con. It’ll be the same one throughout the summer conventions, but back in Vancouver the rest of the development team are working on a much newer build. It is still useful for McCombe, who has been a designer on the series since Dead Rising 2, to see so many people playing the game.
Roy will take back what he sees to the dev team, and while it’s late in the process they’ll work to incorporate as much as possible adding this new feedback to the multiple internal and external playtests that we’ve been conducting for months.
I step back through the curtain to snap a picture of the line to Tweet it out. Unlike some of our neighbors, like EA SPORST FIFA, Dead Rising’s adult rating means that the game has to be shown behind a curtain and only those that are eighteen or older can be let in.
Looking out at the floor of Hall 8 from the front of our line is an impressive sight. Giant televisions showing Xbox ads are to my right, across from me is a booth with dozens of PCs where players are lined up to play Gwent the new card game from The Witcher series. We are flanked by ReCore and Titanfall 2, both games that I managed to play before and after the show opened, much to my fanboy delight.
Spotting a group of fans in line wearing Dead Rising 3 shirts I step back into the booth to get Roy. He’s been a designer on the series since Dead Rising 2 and meeting fans excites him. He’s soon deep into the story about the decision behind introducing Combo Weapons to the series before posing for a picture with the fans.
Being at a show like Gamescom is energizing. The passion of fans, their excitement as they get to play a game months before anyone else, is infectious. It’s exciting to see people playing our game after some of the team have been working on it in secret for years. For game developers who don’t often get to interact directly with fans, it’s rare that we get to meet the people who we’re actually making the games for.
While it might feel a bit weird to be asked to sign things, we are certainly not rock stars or athletes after all, we do love talking to people who are passionate and excited about the Dead Rising franchise and realizing that our work has meant something to them.
Cologne is a lovely city, built up around the Cologne Cathedral which is the most visited landmark in Germany and has been built on and off since 1248. The Rhine River cuts through the city and we crossed it twice a day as we went from our hotel to Gamescom. The locals are friendly putting up with our English, and the German Xbox Ambassadors who helped run the booth were excellent and quickly became Dead Rising 4 experts.
Later I wander the show floor, stopping at a booth to say hello to former co-workers from another Vancouver based studio. 345,000 people swarm around me all fans celebrating the games that they love eager to meet the people who create what they’re passionate about.
Gamescom is the world’s largest celebration of video games, and as a studio full of people who love video games we were honoured to be there sharing our game with our fellow fans.
August 23, 2016