Feature Article

Dead Rising 3's Most Unpredictable Weapon

Sentry cat does not care about you.

by

With a horde of zombies nipping at my heels, I scrambled over a collapsed barricade and into the privacy of my safe house. Without a weapon to my name, I was powerless against the undead horde. Thankfully, a weapon locker was there to greet me. Inside was an eclectic assortment of Dead Rising 3's finest armaments, ranging from swords and pistols to machine gun gloves and a mechanized cat covered in saw blades.

Wait a second, what was that last one?

Moments later I was outside the safe house, feline contraption in tow. As the zombies closed around me, I activated the device and watched it spring to life with the sound and fury of an old tomcat escaping a bath. It pounced wildly across the screen--seemingly at random--shredding all zombies in its path. I could only track its movement by the high-pitched, mechanical growl it emitted before each strike. After a few rounds of carnage, it finally came to rest at my feet. And then it exploded. Such is the temperament of sentry cat--a weapon so busted, broken, and brilliant that developer Capcom Vancouver had no choice but to include it in Dead Rising 3's arsenal. However, sentry cat wasn't always this unstable.

In many ways, sentry cat is just like a real cat: it goes where it pleases, lashes out at those around it, and explodes after wearing itself out. OK, maybe that last part is different, but you get the point. Sentry cat is a spring-loaded bundle of zombie death that sometimes obliterates all infected in the immediate area; other times, it bounces off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. In either case, sentry cat will self-destruct after a certain number of pounces. This makes it sound frustrating to use, but a mechanical cat that mows down zombies is too absurd and amusing to hold a grudge against.

As lead gameplay designer Roy McCombe recalled, sentry cat didn’t always have a mind of its own. The rough draft for this weapon envisioned it as a deployable item that was completely player-controlled. It could then be upgraded to follow player-issued commands, and later become fully autonomous. This initial design capitalized on work Capcom Vancouver had put into designing Dead Rising 2’s deployable freedom bear, as well as the team’s desire to have remote-controlled vehicles in the game. However, when they saw sentry cat in motion for the first time, that all changed.

The original concept art for sentry cat by Kelly McLarnon.

"I remember the first time I was called over to review sentry cat," said McCombe. "Everyone on the team was like, 'Check this out, check this out!' They were so excited about the possibilities for this weapon, and it was just this little model that didn’t articulate in any way. When we plopped it into a group of zombies, it would go boing boing and spring into a zombie--and the zombie wouldn’t even die because it didn’t deal damage at the time. Then sentry cat would tip over on its side and stop working after a few jumps. Everybody thought this was hilarious, and were so jazzed we decided to leave it as is and moved on."

After the team moved on, sentry cat was placed on the back burner. Making a model cat bounce around in a room full of zombies was one thing, but turning that prototype into a fully functional weapon for the final game was another. It didn’t help that, unlike all the other weapons in the game, sentry cat was supposed to act independently of a player. It needed a sophisticated artificial intelligence that would prioritize enemies in close proximity to a player without getting in his way. This would cost a lot of time--and money--to create. Plus, all that work would benefit only one weapon. It simply wasn’t feasible to pursue, and sentry cat was subsequently put out to pasture.

But every cat--even a sentry cat--has nine lives, and this one burned them all to claw its way back into Dead Rising 3. It didn’t hurt that pretty much everyone who saw sentry cat in action was instantly enamored, from senior producer Josh Bridge to the team’s partners at Microsoft. It was simply too funny to let go. And so, sentry cat continued to grow behind the scenes. That sophisticated AI system never came to fruition, but other improvements were slipped in as the game progressed--such as an explosion that triggers when sentry cat shuts down. Ultimately, however, it was an earlier meeting with Dead Rising producer Keiji Inafune that cemented sentry cat’s spot in Dead Rising 3.

"Sentry cat is not my favorite weapon in the game," said senior producer Jason Leigh, "but the reason why it works, and the reason why we kept it, is because it is very Dead Rising. Not every weapon is meant to be a brutal killing machine. I remember one of the stories Inafune-san told us when we started working on Dead Rising 2. We were prototyping some weapons and were taking a very action-heavy approach to things. He pulled us aside and told us that when he was working on the first Dead Rising, the moment he knew the game had its own personality and was going to be unique was when someone added the bucket."

As art director Alan Jarvie noted, sentry cat’s unpredictability speaks to Nick hurriedly assembling something in the field. When you have hundreds of zombies pressing down on you, quality sometimes takes a hit.

"The first time Inafune-san saw someone pick up the bucket and place it over the zombie's head—rather than bash the zombie's brains out--he realized that was going to be Dead Rising," Leigh continued. "That confused zombie stumbling around was how the game was going to be different from other zombie games. After hearing that story, we've always tried to make sure the killing machine weapons were tempered with some goofball weapons as well, like the foam finger from Dead Rising 2. And now I feel like sentry cat is one of those weapons that rounds out the spectrum and keeps Dead Rising feeling unique."

In essence, sentry cat is so bad, it’s good. Its function as a zombie-killing machine has become secondary to being a funny contraption that makes players laugh. And when viewed from that perspective, it’s not really broken at all. "In the end," Leigh added, "I think when people fire up [Dead Rising 3], they'll just get the fact that you build this ridiculous thing and sometimes it works and successfully kills all the enemies around you, and other times it has a mind of its own. That in itself is just funny."

Discussion

97 comments
videogamer008
videogamer008

i mean no disrespect to anyone...... i know that the Dead Rising series were only available on the Xbox 360 and i know that Dead Rising 3 is exclusively in on the Xbox One... i know and understand that... i really did LOVE the first couple of games of Dead Rising and yes i will FULLY admit that i don't how many there were but they were SUPER AWESOME... but one question, if i may, in TONS of RESPECT for you all..  will Dead Rising 3 make an appearance on the Playstation 4 or on any current gen consoles like the Xbox 360... i have Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2, and Dead Rising: Off the Record and whoever made these games are SUPER BRILLIANT!!! i REALLY do LOVE finding different unique and cool ways to kill zombies.... i did NOT mean no harm, no disrespect, no rudenes, and no cruleness i just am a respectable guy asking a question and writing polite comments on here.

nickpeck36
nickpeck36

haha that was funny, can't wait to play this one :D

quidditch3
quidditch3

I can see where the keg goes but WTF does the screen go??????

JoJoStarFire
JoJoStarFire

This game screams WTF!! In wich I mean Way To F....ing Cool!

ra-seru
ra-seru

That is awesome! kkkkk

denhoffi
denhoffi

Am I the only one who thinks we should take a break from all those Zombie-games? Or at least reduce the number of them, it feels like every month there is a AAA Zombie game coming out or every shooter has a Zombie mode attached to it, don't get me wrong they are kind of fun but there are just too many right now. We have so many possibilities in gaming and it feels like there are just 3 kinds of AAA games right now, Zombie games, 2nd world war or futuristic shooters and fantasy RPGs with dragons (I know there are other games but those are flooding the market right now), why not an RPG set in Ancient Rome or Greece, there are a lot more settings that we didn't exploit yet.

Spid3r6
Spid3r6

LOL the last guy zombie threw himself out of the window....Like the fact it went into a crowded building in that last scene. 

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

Personally I'd prefer more of a survival type game like State of Decay, but this looks really fun.

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

My grandpa always told me, since 20 years ago: "if the game is good, they release for Playstation".

I hated this Dead Rising 3, looks terrible.

moesuir
moesuir

but what about PS4 games?.....oh wait, they don't have any games worth writing about :p

dmastor
dmastor

These Sony commercials are the worst. Just show us the game

kingcrimson24
kingcrimson24


looks awesome , can't wait to get my hands one it 

Fanible
Fanible

I know it's nitpicking, but this video demonstrated many times that this game features fake ragdoll (scripted) when zombies are sent flying.  It's most noticeable when the two zombies fly towards the protagonist at 1:30.

Saidrex
Saidrex

lol. next gen? Looks like Xbox 360 game and even worse than some of Xbox 360 games. And X1 can handle this crap only in 720p with 30 fps. Excuse me, but this cosnole is total disaster.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

This game looks so clunky and the Zombie AI looks horrible I don't know why some people are so excited, lack of good launch games maybe?

I'm gonna wait til next spring to go nexr gen now I don't see any game I need and my PC is beefy enough to handle all the new games on ultra at 1080p so what's the point.

Evanduil
Evanduil

This game looks terrible.

nate1222
nate1222

Valve needs something like this in the next Left 4 Dead game. Maybe mod it into L4D2.

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

Oh, I thought this was going to be an article about the game's unpredictable stuttering and framerate drops.

skunkpants
skunkpants

This should have been a secret until the game was released. Would have been a great surprise for everyone! Shame.

nocoolnamejim
nocoolnamejim moderator

Anyone else read this and have the thought: "Wait, did they just spin bad companion AI as a feature?" Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and that's a good thing?

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Lol, nice article man...glad that thing made it into the game, I'll make sure to look for it.

LexLas
LexLas

Okay, i never thought it get to this point, but ok, wt heck ?

ray1man2hot
ray1man2hot

psfans say its not 1080p why is xbox so weak my question is where r the ps4 games they r so good. i havent heard a peep about knack or killzone so whats going on ?

MiltoxBeyond
MiltoxBeyond

@videogamer008  Crikey.  Here we have a rare spectacle indeed.  This rare bird is known as the Commentatus Politeus or the Polite Commentator.  Note the lack of insults and/or bad grammar.  That is a a sure sign that this fellow is indeed a polite chap.  Nowadays they are rarer than a tazmanian tiger.  Lets see how pissed off it gets when we jam our thumb in its butthole. 


http://tinyurl.com/crocbutt

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

@denhoffi players are tired of Zombie games using Zombie Apocalypse only as a stepping stone, not a focal point. In example - Left 4 Dead could use any enemy to design it's action, Zombie Defense in CoD - too, Dead Rising is a comedy-action and not really a zombie game. Resident Evil? don't even get me started.


And then there are State of Decay and Day-Z, which focus the gameplay on zombie-apocalypse as it is - focusing on survival, psychological problems, trust issues, permanent consequences and sometimes take control of the situation out of your hands to emphasise the desperation. These games are proper way of utilizing the theme. All others - just a cash-in.

xxYetterxx
xxYetterxx

@XNEXUS666X Totally different games.  Undead Labs is working on their sequel for SoD and it is gonna be awesome.  Lets be patience and just enjoy the great games we have to play in the meantime

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

@Xenro4 Yeah because zombies are usually very intelligent...


So what's the awesome zombie game you're going to play on your PS4 at launch?

renock
renock

@Diegoctba I have not responded to a single fan boy comment but... 20 years ago?  When the Playstation came out 1994?  And I'm assuming your grandpa was an oracle on gaming?

eddieham13
eddieham13

@Fanible It's not "fake ragdoll' its just not ragdoll. There are better physics than Ragdoll for people now as well.

I don't know why they don't have any physics in the game, it's weird considering there are ps2 games with physics in them.

Spid3r6
Spid3r6

@Saidrex And yet Knack and Call of duty drop frames!!....And look at you in here all intrested in Deadrising 3!

red_city
red_city

@mkeezay22 The Dead Rising games always look terrible. I think that's part of the charm. The animations are always clunky and the A.I and voice work isn't worth shit, but there's something great about just grabbing a baseball bat and hitting it into a crowd and seeing how many heads you can get it to bounce off of.

It's like the Saints Row of zombie games. That being said, I'd never spend full price on one of them. I'll pick it up for $10 if it ever comes to Steam.

Juan1988
Juan1988

@XBone4DaWin you're comparing a mindless zombie game to a modern platformer... that's pointless, 2 completely different games. Now compare Killer Instinct to Mario please.

Juan1988
Juan1988

@ray1man2hot u haven't heard becasue u haven't looked. Killzone will run at 1080p and FPS would be between 30 and 60 FPS, campaign isn't 60 FPS but MP would be around 50-60 FPS. A lot of people complained about this too. Me? I don't care, I'm not used to 60 FPS so I pretty much care the most about the gameplay.

azyral_stark
azyral_stark

@ray1man2hot Well, Killzone: Shadow Fall is probably the ONLY next-gen launch title that looks next-gen. Actually, I'd add in there Battlefield 4. No matter what you think of BF4, the graphics of the BF franchise are always stunning, state-of-the-art and cutting-edge, and no one can deny that. And RYSE: Son of Rome.

Knack? Looks good, but not mind-blowingly amazing.  Assassin's Creed 4? Well, it does look amazing for an open-world, but there are a few things that looked outdated. CoD: Ghosts? CoD: Ghosts is officially the worst looking game, in terms of graphics and visuals, that game looked so ugly, even on next-gen; outdated and ugly, indeed. Dead Rising 3? Well, it also doesn't look that great, except for the character models which looked like CGI, and that's a good thing.

denhoffi
denhoffi

@Morphine_OD @denhoffi Yes, I know that there are a lot of different aspects in these games and some of them are great and they should keep making them, however my point was that it feels like every other game that comes out is a Zombie game but we have so many options that weren't even explored once and that just bothers me.

demondogx
demondogx

@XNEXUS666X @Xenro4 His comment was retarted but do we really need a zombie game at ps4 launch ? im kinda tired of all the zombie games State of Decay is probadly the last i will play till left 4 dead 3

TwinStripeUK
TwinStripeUK

@renock @Diegoctba Probably just a bare faced liar, actually... Still, at least he only hated THIS Dead Rising 3 - he absolutely loves the other Dead Rising 3!

Juan1988
Juan1988

@kingcrimson24 @mkeezay22 it's not about smart zombies, is about smart AI. You can have some good and terrifying zombies AI like in RE (up to 4), but these zombies look like meat puppets to shoot at and nothing more... and you know what? That's exactly what Capcom wanted, and a lot of people loves it, but a lot of people, me included, are not appealed to this kind of games  that represent little to no challenge, they are just for having fun and that's OK, to each his own.

Dead Rising 3 More Info

First Release on Nov 22, 2013
  • Xbox One
  • PC
Dead Rising 3 places players in the role of Nick Ramos who must find a way to escape a city full of zombies before an impending military strike wipes the city of Los Perdidos, California, and everyone in it, off the map.