Ever since I bought the original Dead Rising when the very first wave of XBOX 360 consoles hit the streets, I knew the incredibly cinematic game was perfect for a big-screen adaptation. Honestly, I’m surprised it took a studio this long to develop the content for film, especially with the popularity of zombie culture in recent years, but Legendary has finally decided to pull the trigger on this now three-game franchise. So, who will play photojournalist Frank West? Or Motocross superstar Chuck Greene? Or mechanic Nick Ramos? Well, the answer might be a little surprising…
Legendary has announced that their Dead Rising movie will be a “full-length digital feature” that will premiere on Sony’s service Crackle before hitting Blu-Ray, TV, and VOD services. Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers movies) will be the executive producer on the project, and while no director has been announced yet, Tim Carter and Tomas Harlan (Mortal Kombat: Legacy) have been tapped to write the film as well as produce.
Chief of Legendary Digital, Tom Lesinski, had this to say about the decision:
Dead Rising has a built-in fan base and rich characters and plotlines that are ideal for digital storytelling and on target for Legendary’s brand. Crackle and Content are adept at distributing cutting-edge digital content and we look forward to delivering a highly engaging and cool series for a global audience.
As for the plot, it looks like every protagonists will be given some screen time, be it working together or communicating from afar:
“When a mandatory government vaccine fails to stop the infection from spreading, the four leads must evade infection while also pursuing the root of the epidemic, with all signs pointing to a government conspiracy.”
While Dead Rising 3 looks absolutely stunning on the XBOX One, even the original Dead Rising featured cut-scenes that looked like they were straight out of an animated movie (much like the ones Final Fantasy attempted). While the news of this decision comes with a bittersweet taste, as I’d absolutely kill to see a big-budget, live action adaptation of the Dead Rising franchise, why deviate from a system that’s already won over audiences worldwide? To this day I can still remember entire cut-scenes from Frank West’s mall adventures, like when I had to battle an evil clown dual-wielding chainsaws. Ah, the good old days.
The Dead Rising franchise has every chance of being a multi-movie winner, rich with already developed characters and intersecting stories that span numerous locations. Sure, I’d love to see someone like Freddy Rodriguez play Nick Ramos, and I’d love see an actual actor running through Willamette Parkview Mall wearing a horse mask while slicing through zombies with a Katana (yeah, I had some fun with that game), but an animated route makes perfect sense here. Plus, if Legendary strikes gold, maybe a live-action adaptation will follow based on demand? Eh, a fanboy can dream.
So, what do you think about Legendary’s decision? Are they wasting untapped potential by going directly to an animated platform, or will this play directly into the strengths of Capcom’s popular zombie hack n’ slash franchise?