Dead Rising 4 is the way it is because Dead Rising “5, 6, 7” are on the horizon.
Dead Rising 4 doesn’t have the timer system that differentiated the zombie sandbox from others of the genre – a decision which has not been universally popular.
The good news is the mechanic isn’t entirely absent from Dead Rising 4, according to a GamesIndustry interview with Capcom Vancouver studio head Joe Nickolls.
“The timer… some people don’t care about the timer, some people hate the fact that it’s not in the game, some people hated the timer and love the fact we’ve got rid of it. So what do we do? Well, we put the timer in multiplayer, and then put it back in towards the end of the game, where we think it matters,” Nickolls said.
So the feature is still kind of present, and it sounds like the timer will also be available in Dead Rising 4 DLC, as part of the Frank Rising campaign.
As for why Capcom Vancouver (mostly) removed the timer in the first place, Dead Rising 4 executive producer Bryce Cochrane said it’s about strengthening the format to survive as a franchise.
“One of our goals is to really make a product that means we can make Dead Rising 5, 6, 7,” he said.
“That involves expanding and changing the franchise, and therefore sometimes we need to take risks. That means some people will be upset with what you did. The only way to truly tell if we made the right choices is to play the game.”
Elsewhere in the article Nickolls said player feedback is always noisiest when it’s negative, and reiterated Cochrane’s suggestion that fans should try Dead Rising 4 when it launches next week before making up their minds about it.
“Steve Jobs said it best when he said: ‘A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them,'” he said.
Amusingly, as GI.biz points out, that Steve Jobs quote is missing the first half about how useless focus tests are – and the timer-free Dead Rising 4 was designed with heavy input from focus groups. Read the full article linked above for more on that subject.