Update 3/31/09: Product manager Laura Scholl clarified her remarks:
In my 'During the Dead Rising 2' presentation at GDC this past Friday, while I was describing how Blue Castle is using mental mill technology in character development, I mistakenly referred to the game as multiplayer instead of multiplatform. I apologize for the confusion.
This doesn't necessarily mean that the game won't feature multiplayer, but we now know that this was a miscommunication and not a confirmation of anything at this point. (Source)
In real life, people generally prefer fewer zombies, but in Dead Rising 2, the more undead, the merrier. It's hard to imagine Capcom shoving more ghouls into a game than there are in Dead Rising. Remember their "Kill 53,594 zombies" achievement? Apparently the company is trying to raise the number of undead who appear onscreen at once in Dead Rising 2. Oh, and the game will apparently feature multiplayer. (Drool.)
At a GDC meeting last week, Laura Scholl, product manager of Dead Rising 2, said that the development team at Blue Castle games is preparing for players to encounter as many as 6,000 characters on screen at once. That's a lot of zombies! Reportedly, the 6,000 zombie number refers to multiplayer... which means the game will have multiplayer. Capcom hasn't officially said a thing about the game's online capability.
Update: Capcom's PR has officially told me "no comment," but promised to send an update when they are ready to reveal more info.
While not confirming that specific number, Izmeth Siddeek, Dead Rising 2's character art lead, said Dead Rising 2 aims to render "The greatest number of characters ever seen in a video game...Everything else needed to be subordinated to this requirement.” The game will track at least 800 separate clothing textures so zombies appear more unique and players are less likely to say, "I already killed that same dude like 8 times!" Judging by the official screenshot above, there's a ways to go; I count four dudes with construction helmets and black-and-white shirts!