Worrying news for fans of the Dead Rising series today, as Capcom have officially confirmed reports initially circulated on Kotaku that the Canadian studio formerly known as Blue Castle Games has shed almost a third of its staff.
Leaks suggest that projects affected include a mystery game that was supposedly early on in production which has been entirely scrapped, and plans for the next Dead Rising game have been notably scaled back.
Around fifty staff have been reportedly laid off, confirmed by Capcom as amounting to around 30% of the total staff. While work is still continuing on the anarchic zombie franchise, whatever ambitions they had for the next game have been pared back down. We sincerely hope that everyone who lost their jobs manages to land on their feet, whatever they end up doing next.
For those who have been keeping up with Dead Rising, this news probably isn't the greatest of shocks. Capcom Vancouver's first games in the series (back before Capcom snapped them up and renamed the studio) were excellent, especially Dead Rising 2, which I feel built on the already solid foundation of the Japanese-developed original. It feels like attempts to chase an increasingly mainstream audience ended up sacrificing a lot of what made the early games tick.
Dead Rising 4 in particular felt like a hard push in the direction of a bigger, louder, dumber franchise that wants to get away from its time-limited, high-pressure roots in favor of something more like Saints Row by way of Jackass, plus zombies. Not inherently a bad idea, but it's not what put Dead Rising or its developers on the radar in the first place, and the past two games have been met by lukewarm sales and critical reception. Here's hoping that they can find their footing with their next game.