Nick Valdez, 23, chick flick lover. I'm an Editor over at the awesometastic Flixist (but I like vidyagamez too guies for realsies), graduated from college with a degree in awesome, and trying to have an overall fine time.
Favorite Game: Pokemon Gold.
Favorite Category: Gummy Bears.
Favorite Console: Game Boy Color.
Favorite Generation: That one time I owned video games.
Favorite Childhood Memory: When I bought my second Super Nintendo back from the pawn shop and was able to keep it forever.
Generic! Bland! Brown! Wait, what was that last one? Brown? Why yes, you're correct. It is brown, and in no way is that terrible. You see at the center of this hooplah is poor Nick Ramos, the Latino lead character of Dead Rising 3. It's rare that any game feature a Latino character that one, isn't a stereotype (or Luchadore) of some kind or two, is not a character who plays second fiddle to another.
So to the folks who are angry in Xbox One's general direction (and thus have shunned DR3 due to its exclusivity), and to those who are angry at the loss of Dead Rising's comedic tone (as far as we know, that push toward the Call of Duty crowd might mean the loss of humor), stop being so generally angry toward Dead Rising 3 and look at it for what it's doing. It's a game in an arguably popular franchise that publicly shouted, "Hey Latinos can be badass too!" and that's a great step forward.
Let me get the semi-obvious of the way first. I was won over from the beginning just because the lead is a Latino named Nick as I am a simple man to please. I know not all of you will be as forgiving as I am to most things presented in this argument, but hear me out. As noted in the intro, it's rare that a Latino character (and don't even get me started on the lack of a well characterized Latina) is even in a videogame (that isn't Saints Row) let alone play the main character. Take the arguably biggest recent example of this with Dominic Santiago in the Gears of War franchise. Although Dom had the more emotionally investing story and greater character development, he still was not billed as the main character with Marcus Fenix's search for his father (and other things) receiving more prominence. Then there's the last Latino to get a main role, Rico Rodriguez from Just Cause 2. It's great that a Latino got a central role, but is it great when that Latino is a homicidal manic devoid of personality (beyond the need for quirky violence)? A negative portrayal is definitely worse than no portrayal at all.
As an appeal to a broader (emphasis on "bro," I suppose) audience, Dead Rising has gone through a few changes. Sure the world is blander, sure it looks less kooky, but Nick wasn't washed out as part of that appeal. You can argue he's technically as bland as Latinos can get. But just because his last name is Ramos doesn't mean he has to spout Spanish at every opportunity or sport a cool stache (as we all come in different shapes, sizes, and dialects). Microsoft's E3 presser may not have gone off without a hitch, but the fact that a game starring a Latino was showcased in full force is a welcome change to this very close minded community. There's enough faith behind the character that Microsoft believed they had a game changer. Sure it's not perfect (why does Dead Rising 3 have the only promotional art in the series to not feature its lead charging forward through a horde of zombies?), but it's what I have to work with. At least it's a welcome change for Dead Rising, a series that started with a cartoonishly Latino villain.
And I think you're looking at the tone of the game in the wrong way. I still hold out hope that Dead Rising 3 will be as kooky as the others. It's just hiding behind the grit. The trailer is reminiscent of Robert Rodriguez films of the 90s. It features a lead Latino in a typically sterotypical profession (a mechanic, complete with "tough Spanish" on his back), it features an outworldly premise (zombie apocalypse) much like From Dusk Till Dawn, and the entire thing is tinged in a grungy brownish yellow. And although DR3 may not end up as intelligent as Rodriguez's use of subtlety in his Mexploitative films, we should wait a bit longer until passing judgment.
We've hit that point where it's perfectly acceptable for a Latino to lead a big franchise. Although part of me loves that the gaming community didn't acknowledge his race, it's a little disheartening when I'm the only one smiling at the announcement. Nick was just labeled as bland as the rest of the game. But he isn't there yet. It's just a damn shame that Dead Rising 3's big step toward a more diverse game space is going to be clouded by Microsoft's mistakes. Dead Rising 3 is a game few will play for various reasons. Some won't like its drastic change from the rest of the franchise, the wider audience Microsoft wants to appeal to will ignore it just as they ignored Dead Rising when it first hit the 360, and everyone else just won't get an Xbox One to play it on.
Unfortunately when it goes unplayed and doesn't sell like a jillion copies, it's going to send the wrong message. It's going to say the public doesn't want a game like this, which of course will lead to retooling. Meaning that it's going to be a long time before I get a chance to play as a Latino lead character again. That's not okay with me, and by golly I hope that's not okay with you. So please, just be a little more excited for Dead Rising 3.