Dead Rising 4 still offers a tongue-in-cheek take on the whole zombie apocalypse fanfare, but this time it’s a lot more mellowed out. The timer restrictions are gone, creating a less stringent focus on completing objectives, and the story is loosely interwoven between a variety of side-quests, sometimes making it difficult to keep track of what the main plot is. Well, if you’re kind of curious how the story unfolded and what led to the ending being the way that it is, here’s a guide for that.
The game starts with Frank West getting a call from his journalism student, Vick Yu. She promises to take him minigolfing but it turns out she brings him back to Willamette, Colorado to investigate a secret laboratory run by a military group known as Obscuris.
Inside the base they’re experimenting on zombies and continuing research based on what was accomplished by Dr. Barnaby from the previous Dead Rising games.
Vick and Frank sneak into the base, snap photos and end up getting spotted by the guards after Vick tries to “help” a zombie by shooting it in the head. During the escape Vick ends up leaving Frank behind and driving off after they both escape from the base.
Weeks later Frank is visited by Homeland Security agent Brad Park, who informs him that Vick has headed back to Willamette to discover what Obscuris is doing there and to get evidence to finally bring down the Pentagon. Brad also mistakenly shows Frank some gay porn on his phone.
The two head back to Willamette but the Commander of Obscuris, Fontana, has the chopper shot down, forcing Brad and Frank to battle through hordes of zombies while in the mall.
Frank eventually makes his way out of the mall and toward a small group of survivors led by a man named Tom. Tom informs Frank that Vick has already been through there weeks earlier and learned everything she could about the resistance fighters attacking Commander Fontana’s troops, and then fed the information to Fontana, allowing Fontana to set up an ambush on the rebels.
Frank is forced to help the rebels pinned down by Fontana. The group under duress is led by Hammond, a city engineer. However, after rescuing them Tom blames Hammond for getting ambushed by Fontana, and proceeds to remove her eye. Hammond leads a small group of the rebels on an insurrection against Tom, but they end up failing in the process.
Meanwhile Frank follows the trail of info given to him by Hammond that leads him to Dr. Blackburne, an accomplice to Dr. Barnaby. Blackburne directs Frank to their old lab where he discovers that one of Fontana’s men, Lt. Calder, was turned into a monster after Obscuris sent men to investigate Barnaby’s lab. One of the canisters for his secret project was knocked over and Calder ended up getting trapped in Barnaby’s special device while the green toxins invaded his body, fusing him with his exo-suit and turning him into an ubermach zombie.
Obscuris managed to catch Calder at one point, but unfortunately for them, they were unsuccessful in keeping him contained and he managed to escape from them during the convoy transport.
Frank learns that Barnaby had plans on evolving zombies since he felt it was the key to human immortality. However, Commander Fontana battles Frank and explains that the research wasn’t viable for immortality but it was good for cheap labor, and hence Obscuris’ task was to recover the data and use the super zombies for cheap manual labor, since they would never get tired or run out of energy and big corporations wouldn’t have to pay illegal immigrants slave wages anymore.
However, before Frank and Fontana can finish their battle, the monstrous Lt. Calder burst into the room and Fontana dies by priming a grenade and attempting to sacrifice herself to kill Calder. Much to her dismay, Calder doesn’t die from the grenade blast.
Frank then proceeds to go rescue Hammond and the rest of the insurgents from Tom and his looting psychopaths. Tom has turned completely psychotic and attempts to behead Hammond, but Frank stops Tom. Hammond kills Tom by pushing him off the building, and then she helps Frank access the sewer lair where Lt. Calder is building up his army of super zombies.
Frank invades the lair in hopes of getting the data receiver on Calder’s arm that contains all of Dr. Barnaby’s research and notes. Frank successfully manages to retrieve the data by using brick to knock it out of the hand of Calder and then grabbing the data and running out of the sewer. Frank loads the data into his camera but Vick arrives and steals the data from Frank, leading to a chase through the mall that ends with a showdown against Calder, who destroys Frank’s camera with the data receiver attached.
Vick helps Frank defeat Calder and managers to show that she loaded the data onto the SD card and retrieved it before Calder destroyed the camera.
Vick decides to go fifty-fifty with Frank, suggesting she would write the story but it would feature his pictures. Vick hopes to bring down the government using vigilante journalism as a social justice warrior, which was her intent all along.
Brad informs them that he has a rescue chopper inbound and that they can escape, prompting for Frank, Vick and Brad to battle their way through the mall and to the rooftop to get to the chopper. However, during the escape only Vick and Brad make it onto the helicopter, and Frank manages to grab onto the helicopter but several zombies grab his legs, pulling him down and forcing him to fall into a pile of zombies. Vick and Brad escape while a pile of zombies eat and tear into Frank.
Vick wraps up the epilogue of the game by explaining that she would complete the story and bring justice to those who were experimenting on people and the research being conducted by the government who was attempting to turn zombies into a cheap labor force.
Based on the ending, some people believe either Frank’s fate will be further detailed in DLC or Vick could end up being the likely protagonist of the next game. They showed Frank being eaten from several different angles after he fell into the horde of zombies, but die-hard fans of Dead Rising believe that Frank may have simply been bitten and that he may need to get his hands on some Zombrex to cure the infection. It’s intimated quite clearly from Vick in the final case voiceover that Frank West died from the zombie attack.