Gamasutra recently mixed it up with Capcom’s Shin Ohara, co-producer ofDead Rising 2, and among the many topics covered was the Ultimate Zombie Limit. IE: The number of zombies possible to show onscreen in a video game, at once. A number I shall refer to as UZL.
In the past, a game's UZL was determined by the hardware of the game system. Weaker systems couldn't handle many more than 10 or 20 zombies onscreen, but as technology progressed and hardware became faster and more powerful, gaming pushed gamings UZL into the hundreds and then the thousands. According to Ohara, Dead Rising 2 has capped the UZL for all time, and the scale is no longer a useful measure of a game's zombie-osity.
A tech demo for Dead Rising 2 showed 7,000 zombies on screen (an important milestone), but the finished game won't boast that many crawling undead at once, mainly because it would be pointless. Here's how Ohara explains it:
"Last year at Captivate we did a demo. We had a strip -- It was probably like 10 meters wide and 200 meters long. We filled it with about 7,000 zombies. After about 3,000, you can't really tell the difference because it fills up the screen anyway. Over 3,000, it ruins the experience. It's not a game anymore. We can show about 7,000 zombies if we wanted to, our technology is not limiting us. If the game only shows about 500 zombies or 1,000 zombies, that's not the game's limit. We have just enough so that people have fun with the zombies and the gameplay is rewarding."
So much like the speed of Light, UZL is a constant that equals 3,000... unless you have a bigger TV, I suppose.
On an unrelated note: I'm almost criminally excited for Dead Rising 2.