In Dead Rising the player assumes the role of Frank West as he finds himself in the biggest scoop of his career after hearing of Willamette, Colorado, a town that has been blockaded by the National Guard. Frank hires a helicopter pilot to take him to Willamette. Upon entering the Willamette Parkview Mall, the player has exactly 72 hours to assist trapped survivors and unravel the mystery behind a zombie outbreak. He returns as a supporting character in Dead Rising 2's downloadable content, "Case West", and as the primary protagonist in the "What-If" reimagining of Dead Rising 2, "Off the Record".
Frank's default costume is a black jacket with a white button-up shirt, khaki pants, and brown loafers. However, he can visit shops in the mall and change Frank's clothing. Many of Dead Rising's costumes are references to other Capcom games such as Frank's unlockable Megaman X outfit, or skin-tight boxers from Ghosts 'n Goblins. His camera is unbranded but is clearly a Nikon D70.1, and changes appearance between gameplay and cut scenes.