It's a "what if?" scenario. What if Frank West was the guy that went on the zombie-killing game show, Terror is Reality, right before a zombie outbreak exploded into Fortune City? Well, for starters, Frank's in a completely different situation thank Chuck was. He doesn't have a daughter that needs Zombrex to survive. Instead, he's a fading star, making a living by endorsing baldness remedies, who decides that an appearance on Fortune City's game show might help revitalize his career. After wrestling some zombies (guess Frank's just not into motocross), he discovers the host, T.K., giving keycards and explosives to Brandon, one of the psychos that appeared in DR2. After breaking out his camera and taking some shots, he's jumped by some security guards, and all hell breaks loose, as it did in the previous game.
The camera mechanic appears to function much like it did in the original Dead Rising. You'll snap pictures to earn PP, which levels up your character and give your additional health, inventory slots, and moves, just as before. The photos get tagged with different themes, again, as they did previously. In the first sequence with T.K., it's possible to get horror, erotica, drama, and outtake photos by simply running around the scaffolding and finding different things to shoot. But Frank West's growth isn't strictly built around photography. You'll also build combo weapons, and there will be new weapons to tape together, letting you form new zombie killing tools.
The game was originally conceived as a "Director's Cut" before the team up at Capcom's Vancouver studio realized that what people seem to keep asking about is Frank West. In addition to the new lead character, load times will be improved, hopefully reducing the annoying issue of leading survivors back to the safehouse and having to go through a lengthy load just to drop them off. The developers say that they're taking all of the DR2 feedback into consideration. Hopefully that will result in a better game. Another potential improvement is the inclusion of a checkpoint system that will automatically save your progress at critical points.
Though most of the areas we were shown were taken directly out of Dead Rising 2, there will be new areas as well, including one that "isn't a casino or a mall." Still, it's hard to shake the feeling that most of the game will involve running through those same areas, beating up zombies in a nearly identical way. I feel like Capcom just hasn't shown enough of the game yet to make this make sense for anyone other than the biggest Dead Rising 2 fans out there. It's probably no coincidence that this Fall release is also being pitched as a "fans version of the game." Considering unofficial price listings at retailers are already pegging this as a $49.99 release, I suspect they'll have to be pretty big fans of Dead Rising for this to sound like a deal.
Then again, perhaps Capcom has enough up its sleeves for this to stand on its own. We'll have to sit on our hands and wait for more information to see if there's more to Off The Record than it initially seems.