Uh, Frank? Stop looking at the camera and turn around!
When Capcom first announced Dead Rising, the popular zombie-infested action game for the Xbox 360, I remember doing something of a double take. It wasn't the fact that Capcom was again returning to their comfort zone, zombies. But rather, I could have sworn I watched a movie with the very same plot. People trapped in a mall full of brain-eating zombies, that sounds exactly like Dawn of the Dead. Throw in some witty banter and strong metaphor for commercialism, and you have a direct rip-off of George Romero's 1978 classic.
Obviously I wasn't the only putting two and two together. The game developers were constantly hounded about the similarities, most suggesting that it is nothing but a coincidence. To keep things straight, Capcom noted in the game's fine print that Dead Rising has absolutely nothing to do with the movie. Of
George A. Romero, keeping good company!
course, that didn't satisfy the MKR Group, who hold the copyright for both Dawn of the Dead and the remake.
In a move most of us saw coming from the get-go, Team Romero sued Capcom over the game's premise. Capcom fought back and asserted that "humans battling zombies in a shopping mall" is a "wholly unprotectible [sic] idea" under today's copyright laws. Eventually the lawsuit was thrown out and Dead Rising could continue to rack up scares in your local GameStop's budget bin.
The most useful street sign ever!
I bring all this up because Capcom has another installment in this undead series hitting store shelves sometime next year. This time Dead Rising will take place in a casino, with flesh-craving zombies giving new meaning to "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas." This brand new location seems perfect for Dead Rising; it's a wide-open carnival-style amusement park full of crazy items to pick up and diverse casinos to fight through. Plus there's gambling. A game is always better when it has gambling.
With all of this excitement building for Dead Rising 2, the question is: Who is going to sue Capcom this time around? For the last few months I have been racking my brain over this question. Who would it be? I don't
I've been saying the same thing about Nena's 99 Luftballoons music video!
remember any zombie movies taking place in a casino, but surely there must have been one. Would Capcom's team get too close to copying a real-life hotel and get the cease and desist letter? What would it be?
This week the answer to that question came to me - Capcom is going to be sued by Michael Jackson. You heard me; it's not a film maker or casino that will go after the makers of Dead Rising 2, but rather the King of Pop!
In a bid to earn back some of the fortunes he lost battling not one, but two child molestation court cases, the gloved one announced that he is about to open a Thriller-themed casino right in the heart of the Vegas strip. He is also beleived to be working on a new album, several films and a museum to
Hey Capcom, you're missing a golden opportunity!
house iconic items from his career. But what's important is that Michael Jackson, who is no stranger to being on both sides of the courtroom, is about to open a casino filled with brain-eating zombies.
What is he going to do when he realizes that Capcom has a game about the exact same thing? Will he act like the MKR Group, or will he do something unexpected and embrace this very similar product? Personally, I hope that Wacko Jacko decides to surprise us all. How cool would it be to battle zombies in a Michael Jackson approved Thriller casino? Talk about meta. Not only would it be a perfect place to introduce the world to your brand new casino, but it would also go a long way to repairing his tarnished name. Throw in a couple of new songs and who knows, maybe 2010 is the second coming of the King of Pop.
Of course, none of this will ever happen. While Michael Jackson has been in plenty of games (Moonwalker, Space Channel 5), there's no way he would ever agree to be in an M-rated zombie game. But that's not going to stop me from picturing that young Jackson in the thriller video every time I chainsaw somebody in half in Dead Rising 2.