Missions • Attributes • PP Trials • Characters • Psychopaths • Weapons • Vehicles • Clothing • Food • Locations • Endings
Story Mode is the main mode of Dead Rising 3. While in previous games this mode was referred to as 72 hour mode, Dead Rising 3's story is longer than 72 hours, and so it is simply called Story Mode.
In 2017 the government began using zombrex chips - a required chip that is placed inside infected people and administers Zombrex daily. This chip, however, also tracks them via GPS, which makes many refuse to have it administered.
During the events of Dead Rising 3, a nationwide pandemic of zombie outbreaks has caused human civilization to be nearly wiped out.  Contained zombies are accidentally released from containment starting an outbreak in Los Perdidos. Nick and other survivors must escape the city alive before the military performs a firebombing. At some point during the initial outbreak, Nick comes in contact with a trucker named Dick, his boss Rhonda, and Annie, an infected "illegal" - people who refuse to be chipped by the government.
The game begins 3 days after the initial outbreak. Nick is on the bridge outside the city heading towards a Quarantine Area to search for a way out of the city, but quickly leaves after finding the tunnel leading out of the city collapsed. After jumping to escape from zombies, Nick falls unconscious for a brief time, and wakes to find an airplane has crashed in front of him.
Nick soon makes his way through the airplane wreckage back to the Dilly Diner where his friends are taking refuge. While Annie and Rhonda argue about Annie being an illegal, Dick leans on a jukebox and turns it on, attracting the zombies to the diner. Annie leaves the group after Peter and his mother are killed, and Nick, Dick and Rhonda escape from the diner together and make their way to Rhonda's garage to plan their next course of action. Nick finds a walkie-talkie on a zombie who was a member of the ZDC and gets in contact with an unknown survivor named Jamie Flynt, who will frequently calls Nick about the events that happen in the city.
After seeing on television that the government is going to bomb the city in 6 days, and that they are allegedly evacuating survivors at quarantine stations, the group decides to drive there. When they arrive, they find the station abandoned and are ambushed by a biker gang. Nick kills their leader but has an emotional breakdown over the fact that he has now killed a human being. Rhonda reassures him that the bikers would have killed them and that it was "them or us".
After leaving the Quarantine Station, Nick, Rhonda and Dick are ambushed by Diego, Nick's best friend and a soldier in the military. Once Diego realizes it's Nick, he quickly stops firing and apologizes. He tells the group that there's an old plane at the warehouse by the docks in South Almuda that could be fixed up and used to escape the city before the bomb goes off. In the midst of their conversation, Nick is bitten by a zombie on the hand when he reaches down to pick up a set of dropped keys. Realizing that he could turn soon, he heads to the crematorium in Ingleton to search for emergency Zombrex.
When he arrives there he meets Gary Finkel, a mobster who works for an unknown crook. Gary needs to get into the crematorium to get a body for his boss, so he agrees to help Nick find Zombrex if Nick helps him get inside. When they find the body, Nick believes her to be Annie, however, he takes a closer look and realizes he is mistaken. Gary points out that all of the emergency Zombrex is gone, and Nick accepts his fate, believing he will soon turn. Nick asks Gary to shoot him before he turns, but the bullet misses. Gary notices that the wound on Nick's hand is miraculously healing itself, and Nick then realizes that he won't be needing Zombrex. After this, Nick helps Gary deliver the body to his boss at the Diamond Panty.
Gary meets Nick at the Diamond Panty after he's delivered the body. Gary's boss is furious after learning that the body that Gary retrieved was not the girl he was looking for. Gary then asks Nick if he knows where Annie is, and offers to find him fuel for the plane if he finds Annie and brings her back to the club. Nick returns to the warehouse to check in with Rhonda, Dick and Diego. The group agrees that turning in Annie for the fuel is the best course of action, and Rhonda shows Nick the symbol that the illegals use to mark their territory.
Nick, feeling guilty, locates Annie and some other illegals at a watch tower. When he asks if she'll come with him to Ingleton, she senses that he's hiding something, and Nick immediately apologizes for trying to deceive her. He then offers to help the group by destroying military equipment around the city after the group's leader, Red, tells Nick that the government isn't evacuating survivors but are killing them.
After Nick has destroyed all of the military equipment, he returns to the communication tower to report to Red and Annie. He nervously asks Annie if she and Red are in a relationship, only to be interrupted by Red himself, who tells them that there is a flash drive containing important military footage at the police station. Nick volunteers to retrieve the flash drive while Red and Annie go to find one of their fellow illegals. When Nick arrives at the police station, he must defeat soldiers and kill the crazed sergeant who is holding the flash drive. After killing Hilde, Nick takes the flash drive off of her body and brings it back to Red and Annie at The Burgess-Dawson hotel. Red gets in an argument with Annie about the group but then tells Nick that he will hold up his end of the bargain to find fuel.
Nick meets Annie back at the tower and is almost immediately ambushed by Gary. Annie is immediately furious at Nick, but Gary tells her that Nick had nothing to do with it and that he followed him here. He attempts to abduct Annie, but the military attack the tower and kidnap Gary and the illegals. Nick is rendered unconscious, but awakens when Red arrives. The two team up and go to a military encampment in Ingleton to rescue the captives. Nick is able to successfully sneak into the compound and hears a conversation between General Hemlock and Marian Mallon. The two talk about the outbreak and Marian reveals that she is searching for Diego. The President is being held captive at the compound and is infected with the zombie parasite.
After the conversation between Hemlock and Mallon finishes, Nick manages to free Annie and the rest of the captives. Red provides cover while Nick fights his way through the compound so that the illegals can make a getaway. Gary attempts to kidnap Annie again, but is stopped by Nick. Knowing that he owes Nick, Gary leaves to track down Annie again. Red shows Nick a wanted poster offering five million dollars to anyone who has information about Nick or Diego. Reassuring Red that he has no clue why the government would want him, Red tells him where to find the fuel for the plane and Nick goes to retrieve it.
Nick returns to Rhonda and Dick at the warehouse once has retrieved the fuel. Rhonda informs Nick that Diego has fled, and suggests that he goes to find him at the museum. Desperate to warn Diego, Nick goes after him, only to find that he has snapped under the pressure of the outbreak. Nick must fight Diego in order to bring him back to his senses. After defeating Diego, the two go into the zombie section of the museum, where images of Frank West, Chuck Greene, and their respected outbreaks are located. Nick learns about Carlito and Isabela Keyes, the two terrorists behind the first American outbreak in Willamette, Colorado. Then, Diego points out the first outbreak to occur after Willamette, an incident that began with a turning during a baseball game, was allegedly started by a man with a '4' tattooed on his neck, similar to Nick's 12 and Diego's 49.
Nick and Diego return to the plane. Rhonda is able to finally provide Nick with a detailed list of the missing plane parts and where to find them. Nick is able to collect the missing parts and return them to Rhonda. She finishes fixing the plane, but then confesses to Nick that she's not going with them because she wants to find her ex-husband and make amends with him before it's too late. After Nick and Rhonda's teary goodbyes, Nick, Dick and Diego leave to go find Annie and the illegals but are ambushed by the military.
Nick and Diego have been kidnapped, and they both awake to find themselves strapped to chairs in some sort of underground laboratory. Marian Mallon, who is trying to find out which one of them has the cure, commands that the scientists "activate" Diego first, to see if he's "the one". Diego is then zapped with an intense laser beam, and is killed as several of the zombie parasites swarm out of his body. Hundreds of parasitic bees also swarm around the laboratory following his death, and Nick is able to break free of his restraints in the confusion.
After traveling further into the laboratory, Nick meets Isabela Keyes, who tells him that the worms won't live inside him, and his fate will not be like Diego's. He attempts to escape with her so she can further explain, but he is attacked by Mallon. He tells Isabela to go to the warehouse where the plane is and that he'll meet her there.
After defeating Mallon he escapes, and goes to find Annie. Nick finds Gary at the karaoke bar in Sunset Hills, holding Annie hostage until his boss arrives. When Nick tells Gary to let him in, he refuses. Gary tells Nick that he is tired of living a mob life and misses his ex-wife, Rhonda. He tells Nick that he must do him a favor or get rid of him before he will move.Nick brings Rhonda to Gary, and in return, Gary allows him inside the bar to save Annie. After defeating all the zombies around her, Nick can help untie her and the two will have to survive until they can make their way back to the warehouse in South Almuda. Annie also tells Nick that her relationship with Red is over, since it was something that he seemed to be curious about. The two leave the karaoke bar and return to the airplane.
When they get there, Red leaves to search for other illegals. In the mean time, Isabela explains the history of Santa Cabeza and how Nick has the cure for the zombie virus in his blood. Out of all the orphans that her brother, Carlito Keyes, had infected, Nick is the only one who contains a cure instead of a virus. Red calls over to Nick, Annie and Isabela.
The three leave the warehouse to meet Red in a shipping yard. Red turns on the group and captures Annie and Isabela in a shipping container. He tells Nick that when he saw the reward for his capture on the wanted poster, he decided that he would capture Nick and gather the money for himself. Enraged, Nick vows to kill Red and the two fight.
After Red's death, Nick returns to Annie, Isabela and Dick. He hears Hemlock on a transceiver, and pretending to be a military agent, tells him they need more time to get the orphan. Hemlock agrees, extending the time before the bomb an extra 24 hours. Nick and Annie then kiss.
While holding each other, Nick and Annie notice a car pulling up to them. Gary's boss (who is now revealed to be Chuck Greene) steps out of the van. It is revealed that Annie's real identity is that of Katey Greene. The two apologize to one another and are reunited after two years. Chuck tells Annie he managed to find Rhonda and Gary to get the information about Annie's whereabouts. Isabela urges the group to escape on the plane, so Gary, Rhonda, Nick, Dick, Annie, Isabela and Chuck head back to the hangar.
Gary and Rhonda volunteer to stay to help rescue any remaining survivors and find another way out of the city, as there is not enough room on the plane for everybody. Nick, Chuck, Dick, Annie and Isabela board the plane. Nick is about to take off when he overhears on the radio that General Hemlock is planning to create a super weapon with the zombies, which will destroy the population but leave the infrastructure, making him extremely powerful. Nick and Chuck team up to stop Hemlock's plan.
Chuck and Nick manage to find Hemlock and Marian. After Hemlock kills Marian Mallon, he proceeds to go forth with the extraction of king zombies from the city. Nick and Chuck stop the machines from extracting them, and after Nick brings down Hemlock's helicopter, the two fight to the death. Before Nick kicks Hemlock into a spinning helicopter blade, he reveals that he has the cure within his blood. After Hemlock's death, the party escapes the city and eventually create and distribute a cure for the zombie infection.
After the credits, it is revealed that Isabela was the one behind the outbreak the whole time, convincing Mallon to begin the outbreak. Her goal was to start the outbreak so that number 12 would realize his immunity and come forward, successfully making herself the creator of the cure and clearing her family name from what Carlito did in Willamette. Back in the present, Isabela destroys the evidence of this and leaves the city with the others, making her elaborate plan a success.
- Main article: Endings (Dead Rising 3)
Depending on the player's choices throughout the game, there are also alternate non-canon endings. Ending S, the true ending, is accomplished when the story missions are completed on time and the player follows the morals of Nick Ramos. Alternate endings can occur when not following these guidelines.