Dead Rising 2: Case Zero has been a resounding success, breaking Xbox Live Arcade sales records - and all along it was just half of a two-part Capcom experiment.
While Case Zero was a prologue to the events of Dead Rising 2, Case West is an epilogue. It's another paid-for piece of episodic content featuring the return of much-missed photographer Frank West, the star of the original Dead Rising.
Because the two episodes are Xbox Live Arcade exclusive, though, PS3 owners are wondering what they've done to offend Capcom. We asked co-producer Shinsaku Ohara what was behind the decision, and whether PS3 gamers who buy Dead Rising 2 shouldn't feel short-changed. Developer Blue Castle Games' Rob Barrett was also there to give us a few more details on the episode's setting and structure.
Eurogamer: There's a feeling among PS3 owners that they're being denied the beginning and the end of the Dead Rising 2. What would you say to that?
Shinsaku Ohara: I think Inafune said today that we're sorry that it seems like you're getting a little bit less of the Dead Rising 2 universe, but you'll still be able to enjoy the full game. You'll just miss a little bit of extra. We haven't completely alienated PS3 gamers because Dead Rising 2 is a standalone boxed product.
Eurogamer: The game is complete without Case Zero and Case West, then?
Rob Barrett: The game was completely designed to be a self-contained and enjoyable experience, beginning to end, regardless of the prologue and the epilogue.
Eurogamer: Inafune has called Case Zero an 'experiment'. Do you consider it a successful one?
Shinsaku Ohara: It was a challenge for us. We didn't know if people would be upset by the concept of a paid demo – I don't like that term, though, because it's a game, not a demo – but for people who haven't played Dead Rising, this is an easy way for them to pick it up. Rather than giving them a mediocre portion of the main game for free, we gave them a prologue.
Eurogamer: What's the setup for Case West? When is it set? Is it an alternate version of the story?
Rob Barrett: It picks up right after the main game. Chuck still hasn't cleared his name. He's got this capacity to set up this partnership with Frank West – we'll leave the specifics of that until the game comes out – but just like the prologue, it's unique content.
We've certainly enjoyed this model of getting early content out to players, because it gives us the opportunity to experiment with new weapons and a new setting and to expand upon what we've already built. But it's standalone content.
Eurogamer: Case Zero could be considered an introduction to Dead Rising 2 – so how do you see Case West?
Rob Barrett: We expand upon what's there. It's unique storytelling and a unique setting, it is completely new. As with the prologue, it's a bit more challenging but far more interesting for us to create a standalone experience as opposed to trying to extract a demo from a game.
Then you're trying to figure out what not to include; here we can include everything. It's unique, and it's fun to develop from that point of view.
Eurogamer: Now that Frank West is back, is the photography gameplay also back?
Rob Barrett: It's back. It's part of Frank. So when Frank comes back, so does the photography.
Eurogamer: That'll please people. What was it that made Frank West so appealing in the first place?
Rob Barrett: He's a quirky guy. He's flawed. He's not your standard hero character. He comes with all of his bumps exposed. He's a different-looking guy – he didn't step off the cover of GQ – and I think people really identify with him, his personality as well.