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Capcom and the Fall of Resident Evil

Resident Evil 6 fit into the survival horror mold wouldn’t be a flop if Capcom still created a high quality game. Kawata told Gamasutra, “If you’re going to be selling a game based on its good gameplay, then you don’t have to worry about the market in which it will be sold.” Maybe this is the real problem. Maybe the Capcom team is simply incapable of creating a game in this style anymore. Taking a risk away from the safe and boring third-person shooter might show that Capcom doesn’t have the creative talent that it once did. Are we supposed to believe that nobody in the game industry could possibly re-imagine both the survival horror genre and the Resident Evil franchise?

Another damaging aspect to the series is that too many disappointing games released the past several years under the Resident Evil name. There were three games in 2012, Operation Raccoon City, Resident Evil 6 and Revelations, the only good one in that bunch. In 2011 there were other spin-offs too, like The Mercenaries: 3D for 3DS, which was also poorly scored. Kawata acknowledged to VideoGamer.com there were too many Resident Evil games on the market:

I think certainly looking at the last year or two, there probably were a few too many…I think we learned last year that putting on a lot of titles would not necessarily win over gamers. At the same time, I don’t think we should just stagger them out artificially because that’s the solution to the problem we have.

We should always start by asking how do we make the games better. And if the solution to making the games better is to have a more staggered release than we’ve had recently then that’s something we’ll do. But we’ll do it for that reason and not just for flipping what we’ve done already.

Even though Operation Raccoon City sold more than two million copies worldwide since its release, the game really hurt the franchise’s image. Developed by Western studio Slant Six Games and Capcom, Operation Raccoon City is a cheap cash in using the Resident Evil name. Capcom hasn’t found much success with earlier spin-offs either, including a light gun game that didn’t even include light gun accessory support. With all the spin-offs and how disappointing Resident Evil 6 turned out, the franchise now has that stigma of producing bad games among the general audience. The brand strength is severely diminished because of sub-par releases and the almost universally disliked Resident Evil 6.

Don’t Forget Your Roots

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The reinvention of the first game in 2002. (Image by Chaos Control/GameFAQs)

Perhaps the Resident Evil 6 development team thought that putting zombies in the game would be good enough to satisfy longtime fans who missed the experience of the older titles. Capcom tried the same nostalgia trip with the poorly received Operation Raccoon City, where virtually every character and enemy from the classic games were thrown together into one big disappointment. Resident Evil 6′s end result simply makes no sense because many of the head people on the team have been with the Resident Evil franchise for several key releases.

Executive producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi is a longtime Capcom developer, having worked on the first game in the series as well as being the producer for the 2002 Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 4. Besides being the director for the Wii game Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure (2007), Resident Evil 6 producer Eiichiro Sasaki also worked as the director on Resident Evil: Outbreak (2004) and Resident Evil: Outbreak File 2(2005). Other lead members on the design team worked on Resident Evil 5 and Capcom games like Lost Planet 2 (2010).

These games were drastically different from the core titles, both in quality and style. Still, these developers have been with Capcom for many years and have seen what makes a Resident Evil game successful in terms of quality and fan reactions.

With their experiences developing Resident Evil games, the Resident Evil 6 team should know better. Resident Evil 6 is a massive step backwards for the series. Resident Evil 5 ended a lot of the franchise’s drawn out storylines involving the Umbrella Corporation and Albert Wesker. Resident Evil 4 is much the same way, with an entirely different storyline that had little to do with previous games. Resident Evil 4 is set in its own universe and could even be considered a stand-alone title. Why not start fresh with Resident Evil 6? Why go back to outlandish gimmicks and an abysmally generic story involving a Neo-Umbrella group and government conspiracies?

Looking back, Resident Evil 6 wasn’t the only game that had goofy boss fights and questionable content too. Resident Evil 4 did as well, which Resident Evil fans often seem to forget. One of the game’s bosses changes into a bizarre creature, hopping around a barn after you rip apart his torso. There’s also the dumb story about Leon saving a defenseless blond girl who happens be the president’s daughter from a cult in some random area of Spain. This cult only captured Ashley so they could infect her with Las Plagas, the game’s new version of the virus, and then infect her father, giving the cult complete control of the U.S. and its population. It also had really bad dialogue, with one-liners and jokes from Leon. Besides all these aspects Resident Evil 4 is still genre-defining, a game that breathed much needed life into the franchise.

What’s incredible is the difference between Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil: Revelations. Revelations released in February 2012 on the Nintendo 3DS. After playing Resident Evil 6 it’s shocking to see how anyone involved with Resident Evil at Capcom made this game. Revelations takes place on an abandoned cruise ship and features Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and a set of new characters. New enemies called the Ooze infest the cruise ship as the team tries to solve the mystery behind the terrorist group responsible for the outbreak on the open waters. Revelations has almost everything you want from a game; a cohesive story, good mixture of gameplay elements, challenging boss fights and most importantly to Resident Evil, a nod to survival horror with legitimate scares.

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Resident Evil: Revelations proves with the right design and atmosphere the franchise’s core ideas still work. (Image by Nintendo)

Revelations is the exact opposite of Resident Evil 6, in terms of pacing, gameplay and quality. The story is easy to follow, something that hasn’t been true in a Resident Evil game for many years now. Revelations is now being ported to home consoles on the PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U and PC for a May 21 launch as a high-definition release with some new features and a focus towards online multiplayer on those systems’ network infrastructure.

Resident Evil: Revelations shows the Resident Evil concept can still draw in players today. Revelations has a much higher overall review rating than Resident Evil 6. The game doesn’t match the classic titles but it’s leaps and bounds better than Resident Evil 6. Sales numbers for Revelations weren’t what Capcom had wanted according to the game’s producer, but the 3DS release isn’t viewed as a failure like Resident Evil 6 is. 

Revelations’ producer talked to NowGamer in February about the game and the survival horror genre. He said:

Survival horror is a really popular genre but at any given time, there really aren’t that many games or many games on the shelves you can say are survival horror, certainly compared to other genres anyway. So I don’t think it’s in any danger of being overcrowded any time soon and also, as long as we keep working hard at it, we’re not going run out of ideas.

The vulnerability of previous games is completely gone from the main titles like Resident Evil 6. You’re no longer scared. You’re no longer challenged. You’re not thinking about what’s coming up in the next room. If Capcom honestly made a quality survival horror title and marketed it the right way, the game would sell well. People are dying for a great survival horror game on consoles again. The company can make good money since there are so few major survival horror games on the market. There are so little games in that style that this Resident Evil would be unique and fresh to many players, especially considering how expansive gaming has become in different demographics since those early releases. The Resident Evil remake on the Nintendo GameCube, a re-imagining of the original, demonstrates the potential of this type of game in the modern era. Here’s a sample of Jill Valentine’s section in the remake:

This updated version of Resident Evil released April 30, 2002 in North America. The game sold more than 1.35 million copies, which is excellent for that era, considering it was an exclusive game on a Nintendo console that didn’t have anywhere close to the marketshare that the PlayStation 2 did. At the end of March 2003 the GameCube only had close to 10 million systems sold worldwide. The remake is absolutely terrifying. It’s 70 percent different from the 1996 original, with new areas to explore and a reworking of the game’s puzzles. The Remake stayed close to the series’ roots while incorporating some of the newer gameplay elements the franchise had up to that point. For a game that released almost 11 years ago, its look and feel still rivals modern releases.

However as good as the Remake was, Kawata believes designing a game that brings back all the old elements with new twists for this generation might be too hard for Capcom:

I think it’s very difficult to literally go back to our roots on that and take gameplay mechanics and styles that we did fifteen years ago and redo them now. Revelations’ goal was to go back to the series’ roots in terms of the content and horror, while at the same time trying to modernize the gameplay, because we think that’s what gamers want.

He’s right. You can’t design a game just using 17-year-old mechanics and gameplay styles and expect that to be both financially and critically successful. What Capcom can do is reinvent the genre again, if it’s up to the challenge. The other difficulty lies in bringing together both of the franchise’s fanbases.

Struggle of Opposing Sides

Hiroyuki Kobayashi, executive producer on Resident Evil 6, gave a revealing view of the franchise’s problems with its fans during an October interview on the PlayStation Blog:

The way I always think of it is that if Resident Evil represents a child, then the fans and us as creators are the two parents. The resulting games are like the children that are born between both of us. And just like real parents, you’re not always going to agree on what is best for raising that child.

Now, we do always have our ear to the ground and listen to what the fans are saying and we try to take that into account when we’re making the game. But it’s our job to create a new gaming experience and to offer them something that’s fresh and challenging. We want to make sure that what we do pleases them but the initial reaction might not always be positive. We do listen to the fans but we can’t be beholden to them at every turn or I don’t think we’ll ever make progress in terms of the series’ development.

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Many current fans weren’t there for the first Resident Evil game. (Image by Xcarvenger/GameFAQs)

When you release a game that has the name Resident Evil on the box, there are certain expectations of what that game should be and play like. Resident Evil fans aren’t spoiled teenagers going into a hissy fit because their parents didn’t bend to their will. In this case the children do know what’s best more than the parents. According to Kobayashi, Resident Evil 6 can’t please everyone. Apparently judging by the game’s quality, Capcom can no longer please anyone. If you’re not making the Resident Evil games for the fans and gamers, then who are you making them for? Investors? Shareholders?

I don’t believe Resident Evil fans are asking for much here. It’s almost as if Capcom has a complete disdain for the old Resident Evil fans. What is progress according to Capcom? Resident Evil 6 is bad. The latest spin-off in Operation Raccoon City is also bad. The Mercenaries 3D isn’t worth it either. The fan base is so split that it’s almost impossible to bring these two sides together. Many players’ first experience with Resident Evil took place this console generation on the Xbox 360 or PS3. They either weren’t involved in gaming or even born yet when the old school games were popular. At this point it almost makes sense for Capcom to create a release system similar to the Call of Duty series. One release could be action-packed while the other is more focused around survival horror. Everyone wins. With Resident Evil 6, nobody wins.

Christian Svensson told Rock, Paper, Shotgun in February about the split fanbase:

Well, you have to understand, we have a couple different sets of Resident Evil fans. We have those who love Resident Evil 1, 2, 3, Code Veronica, and Zero, and then we have those who came along during the RE4 era and like things a little more action-oriented, and RE5 even more [action-oriented]. And then RE6 was even more action-focused than that.

This problem is really unique to the Resident Evil series since more than most it has gone through drastic changes, both to its gameplay and fanbase over the years. Svensson also told Rock, Paper, Shotgun that Resident Evil 6 had a big goal-be a game for everyone:

The hard part is taking all these things and figuring out how to make something for everyone. That was especially the aspiration of RE6. I don’t know that it worked out exactly the way we hoped, but moving forward, I think you’re going to see a bit more focus-as opposed to trying to be all things for all people.

That’s the big problem. Not everyone is going to like the game! In trying to get everyone on board the developers crafted a game that few seemed to enjoy. The plan backfired in a major way. Capcom backed themselves into a corner by switching up the franchise to the extremes it did. The true problem is that these games cost way too much to create an imitation of a Hollywood summer blockbuster. Pauline Jacquey, the managing director of the Ubisoft Reflections studio working on the upcoming Watch_Dogs, spoke to GamesIndustry International recently and said big games need teams of 600 people at different development sites to get a finished product. Releases today now have to appeal to as many people as possible to generate a sustainable profit revenue. How could five million sales of a game be considered a failure otherwise?

Before Resident Evil 6 the brand teetered on the edge of disaster, but now the Resident Evil name has lost most of its credibility and strength. Much like a celebrity flirting with insanity but finally going off the deep end, Resident Evil is a shadow of its former self. The first Resident Evil back in 1996 almost bankrupted Capcom. The studio had no idea the game would become the huge success it did. Throughout the years Capcom milked Resident Evil too many times, spoiling a good thing. Besides the rift between fans, there’s a sense of a tension between the Resident Evil developers and Capcom executives, who want a mega-blockbuster hit at any cost.

In the October feature with 1UP mentioned before, Eiichiro Sasaki discussed some of the lessons he learned working on Resident Evil 6:

I guess if I’ve learned anything, it’s about universality, if I could use that word… It’s difficult to think about games in terms of global appeal now. It can’t be just about the Japanese market or the North American market or the European market. It’s the whole world now. Trying to find that commonality that bridges all these cultures and creates an entertaining game, that’s where the challenge lies. I learned that on this project.

What bridges different cultures together in gaming? They want to be told a good story. They enjoy good gameplay. With a game like Resident Evil, they want to be scared again.

New Beginnings, Old Influences

After bombing with Resident Evil 6, Capcom are finally beginning to possibly explore its options for one of its most important franchises. In January Masachika Kawata discussed with Eurogamer the possible changes to the series after how Resident Evil 6 was received:

If we did [go with an open-world], we would want to preserve what Resident Evil is and what makes it appealing to fans, while also making it accessible to new players. It would almost entail having a slight reboot to get the series into a place where it would work with open-world gameplay. That’s just a personal opinion.

A reboot for Resident Evil is somewhat similar to the way Capcom rebooted Devil May Cry this January, with DmC: Devil May Cry, developed by Ninja Theory. Capcom took a risk with DmC, and depending on who you talk to the gamble paid off. A soft reboot is the best way to go for Resident Evil. Calm the story down. Simplify it, getting back to the basics of what made Resident Evil unique to other franchises. The series went from a small town outbreak to billions infested in China and around the world, with chaos happening seemingly every few minutes.

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Resident Evil 2 is still one of the best games in the series, but it went through a rocky development. (Image by SaikyoMog/GameFAQs)

Basically this hypothetical reboot is what Resident Evil 6 was rumored to be and should’ve been. The Resident Evil franchise is accustomed to reboots and turbulent development. Resident Evil 2′s development started over when the game was almost finished. Resident Evil 4 scrapped its progress several times as well, parts of which later became the first Devil May Cry (2001) game. Why? Mikami felt these games weren’t up to the standards set by the previous installments. Mikami cancelled and restarted two projects that were near completion. That’s the type of dedication it’s going to take to turn around Resident Evil. Capcom is dangling the future of the series solely on the fans reactions (purchases) to console versions of Resident Evil: Revelations. This is the only language these companies understand; money. A lot is riding on the success of Revelations on consoles, namely the future of the series. Kawata explained to Eurogamer:

Once we see Revelations released on consoles, we’ll be looking very carefully at how the title is received and what feedback we get. I think we’ll get a lot of input from the fanbase and the media on what it means for Resident Evil, and what it could mean for the future of the series. We’ll definitely be looking at that as a signpost for where we need to be going next. Moving forward I can see us focusing even more on the horror aspect and fear in the series, and see us making something scarier than we have already.

Tsukasa Takenaka, producer for Resident Evil: Revelations HD, spoke to Joystiq last month and said fan feedback drove Capcom to port Revelations to home consoles, many from fans who didn’t own a 3DS and wanted to play a throwback Resident Evil game on their home systems. Kawata said a return the game’s roots was the main reason for Revelations’ success. “Probably the most important feature or concept of the game that earned us that incredible reception was the concept of returning to the series’ roots,” he said.” He went on to say that the team, “really wanted to bring back the fear and the horror” to the series. Fans have demanded this change for years and it’s partly up to them to show Capcom the company needs to continue to move in this direction.

Some at Capcom are now even reconsidering the action influences in recent games. Kawata told VideoGamer.com in early January:

Looking at user feedback from the last couple of games, I’ve started to slightly revise my opinion on that matter. I still think that, for example, bringing Resident Evil: Revelations to consoles falls within what I was saying where, it’s a game that contains classic Resident Evil elements but it also has features that modern gamers expect in a game. Hopefully it can appeal to both camps.

He further said, “No matter what, we’re always going to have to focus on horror and fear as the main core pillar of the series. That’s something I think that is not going to change.” This coming from the same person who said just last year that focusing on survival horror wasn’t justifiable from a business standpoint.

It’s hard to trust Capcom when its people say these sorts of statements. They’ve said them before and it turned out to be highly misleading. Today it’s different though. Now the developers are in an incredibly tough position. It’s time for some drastic decisions and changes from Capcom. Capcom and those closest to the Resident Evil franchise don’t have a choice anymore. They can no longer mislead fans after how much they damaged the brand. They can’t continue on the same path that Resident Evil 5 and 6 went down. Without this rude wake-up call, the inevitable Resident Evil 7 would probably have turned out even goofier. Maybe Chris and Leon would battle a new global threat that’s turning the world’s volcano’s into three-headed flying monsters. It’s been eight years since Resident Evil 4 first released on the GameCube. That’s a long time for stagnation. By the time the next mainline Resident Evil releases, the franchise might be at its 20th anniversary. Twenty years.

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Does Capcom have what it takes to revive Resident Evil again? (Image by SaikyoMog/GameFAQs )

There are few games with the development size and budget of a major blockbuster title that failed as bad as Resident Evil 6. A staff of 600 people and they still somehow managed to release a game of Resident Evil 6′s quality. In a July 2012 interview with CVG, Mikami mentioned why he was hesitant to play Resident Evil 5. “Whether the game was good or bad, I knew that someone other than me had made it so it would be different to my style. I didn’t like the idea of that.” As I stated previously, maybe without the creative vision of Shinji Mikami Resident Evil will never reach the heights and quality it did under his supervision. With Mikami, Resident Evil 2 director Hideki Kamiya and others long gone from Capcom it’s going to be extremely challenging to turn around the franchise. That doesn’t mean the next Resident Evil team can’t try to restore the brand. Revelations shows that Capcom could possibly live up to the task. Even if Revelations under performs on consoles, Capcom can’t go back on its word yet again and move even further away from the franchise’s history. “For myself, I see it as something that would be very difficult to pull off,”Kawata said on returning completely to Resident Evil’s roots in the future. That sounds like a defeated mentality and not the mindset the developers will need to overhaul Resident Evil’s image again.

Now Capcom is forced to make a move. The company needs to stop focusing entirely on its financial forecasts and start looking back at Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and the Resident Evil remake on the GameCube. Look at some of the large-scale elements of Resident Evil: Outbreak. Take some of the gameplay aspects of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 6, especially being able to shoot your weapons while you move. Examine Tall Oaks, a city torn apart by the destruction of the viral outbreak in Resident Evil 6. Look at Revelations and how to combine some action elements with an updated take at survival horror. Keep the multiplayer additions of Resident Evil 6 and improve on them. Capcom doesn’t need to do an exact copy of a game from almost 20 years ago for the next Resident Evil. It would be boring if all fans got in the past 10 years were survival horror games based solely on the classic formula. By the time Resident Evil 4 came out, the gameplay style of the classic games became extremely stale and safe. In a September 2004 interview with GameSpy, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, then producer for Resident Evil 4, said:

The reason why we went through all these ideas is because the whole concept of RE4 was to reinvent the game. We wanted to give the gamers something new. In the past installments, we were stuck in the cookie-cutter RE mold. We had to break those shackles holding us down before we came up with something new.

The new shackles for Resident Evil are overbearing corporate influences and a profits-at-all-costs mentality. Now the cookie-cutter mold is the generic action gameplay of the last several games, specifically Resident Evil 6. It’s time for the next Resident Evil team to break these shackles and create a new vision for survival horror. Capcom has the perfect blueprint from its previous games. The developers just need their confidence back. Star over fresh, with a new take on the series from a survival horror aspect the franchise made popular. Forget about horror entertainment but keep some of its gameplay elements so the next Resident Evil doesn’t feel like we’re playing a 20-year-old game. History is important, but it’s time Capcom started making some new and exciting history with the Resident Evil series again. It’s been long enough for a return to survival horror. The time is now for innovation.

Capcom needs to see Resident Evil 6′s disappointing sales numbers and negative critical reception from players and the press as people rejecting the company’s vision for the franchise. In the current climate of the game industry it’s easier to throw away history and a loyal fanbase for easy profits than take a chance to reinvent a proven formula. That’s worse than any virus the Umbrella Corporation could cook up. Capcom learned a difficult lesson with Resident Evil 6. Now is the time to save the Resident Evil brand. If not now, then when?

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10 Responses to “Capcom and the Fall of Resident Evil”

  1. Curt John

    Awesome article, thanks very much for writing it. You show a lot of dedication to the cause in your work, and utmost respect for the series. I can read the love in the words, and I agree with every single one of them.
    It’s too bad that ultimately these types of articles end up just preaching to the choir, in a sense. It’s generally people that feel this way already that read them, and not along in agreement. The people making the decisions for the future of Resident Evil need to read these types of articles and really understand the context.
    Unfortunately, and it’s kind of crazy but true, RE6 is not actually ‘almost universally disliked’. A lot, and I do mean a LOT of gamers are not as critical when it comes to the type of entertainment as we are. Not as passionate about the quality of work they play, perhaps. My roommate is a massive gamer and he works in a games store, Microplay. He loves RE6, thinks it’s a brilliant game that’s very enjoyable. He’s simple in his likes. He also liked Colonial Marines, so his opinions aren’t particularly valid IMO, but they’re there and shared by many, many gamers. Reading the comments on IGN for example you can see countless users aggressively defending their enjoyment (and purchase) of the game. Perhaps it’s just because they forked out hard-cash for it and don’t like to think of themselves as making a poor decision with their purchase, but I think quite simply not everyone looks as objectively at the product. They don’t look at it and think “Well, this isn’t a Resident Evil game,” they just say “Yeah, this is fun!”
    Not me, by far. RE6 was one more massive disappointment in a slew of disappointments coming out of the whole industry over the last several years, the result of greedy cash-grabbing in place of loyal, passionate dedication to a medium. The respect for the franchise is no longer there, which is clear in the way Capcom pimps Resident Evil out to any paying customer and then slaps the franchise around when it doesn’t perform to expected standards instead of reflecting on their own actions. RE6 was a sloppy travesty of a game and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s hilarious to read about Capcom trying to blame the marketing without seeing fault in their own development process. And I mean, really, how is 5 million units sold a failure? Only if you have 600 developers working on it and muddying the waters. The ironic part is, if they only had 100 developers it probably still would have sold 5 million units and that would have been a massive profit, not to mention the game would have been more focused and streamlined.
    Here’s what I think needs to happen with the franchise moving forward:
    - Limit the cooks! Too many cooks in the kitchen only results in bumbling around dropping the dishes. Keep the development teams smaller, keep the product from becoming a gangled mess.
    - Start fresh. The series doesn’t necessarily need a reboot, although it has a nice jumping point with the (arguably best in the series) RE remake on the gamecube. They could use that as a reboot point and make a new Resident Evil 2, complete with modern game dynamics. Look at Tomb Raider – the new game is utterly brilliant and an absolute success in terms of vision, pushing the franchise forward and introducing amazing new gameplay mechanics while keeping the general feel and concept of the original games intact. Leaping and climbing and exploring still feels very Tomb Raider but the game pushes into the new generation with finess! Take note Capcom.
    - Stop breaking the forth wall and build on the immersion again. The chaptered sequences and HUDs etc these days are -awful-. Levels feel totally disconnected from each other and make me feel like I’m playing an arcadey beat-em-up rather than an immersive cinematic experience. The old Resident Evils threw you into the world and made you find your way through the story without breaking up into parts and putting markers and button-prompts and health bars all over the place. This kills the experience.
    - Slow the hell down! Don’t move it along at a breakneck place from one set-piece action sequence to the next. Build tension, build ATMOSPHERE, make my fighting intense and enjoyable and spread it out rather than throwing thousands of fodder enemies at me. You know how many times I’ve pointed and shot at something in games now? Literally MILLIONS of times, and it is getting very, very old. Quality over quantity, please!
    - Open up the world. RE6 was just a hallway slog, as are so many games today. You know what I want to see in a Resident Evil game? Give me a city, decimated by an outbreak. Let me explore the city, trying to survive. The whole city, not just select streets with barricades everywhere. Let me go into buildings, let there be dynamic weather, let me creep around enemies and take different paths and explore to find my way. I hate to mention them, but think of the end of the first Resident Evil movie, with Alice standing in the middle of the deserted city with a shotgun. Give me that city, let me freely play through it.
    - One more thing. I don’t want to be a super, invincible ultra-soldier! It’s BORING, and overdone, and kills immersion and reliability to the protagonist. I think the Outbreak series, while poorly executed (ahead of its time, perhaps) was really on to something with it’s multiplayer, level design and characters. I want to be just some regular joe thrown into the world of survival horror and left to figure out how to survive or die. I don’t want to suplex zombies, that’s stupid. I want to struggle with average skills to survive. That’s how you create horror, and it’s very simple. Again, take Tomb Raider for the next example – perhaps I can build to become this amazing super survivor towards the end of the game with a good skill system. In Tomb Raider she starts off an ordinary girl (albiet a very talented, fit, strong, smart and beautiful girl) with no super killing abilities and as you progress she can buy skills that make her a more deadly and efficent killer with awesome execution moves later on. You you have to earn them through hard work. Speaking of, what the hell was with the skills system in RE6? URRggghhh, terrible!!!
    - Item management. RE4 did it well, RE6 couldn’t have done it worse.
    - Oh, and finally, NO CO-OP.
    Thanks again for the article. Fingers crossed for the future of Resident Evil. I know I’m going to be very critical of the next game, although rumours are flying that they’re leaning in the right direction talking about focusing the game more. At least for the meantime we’ll have Revelations. Haven’t had a chance to play it yet and really looking forward to doing so. I hope it does well and Capcom takes note.
    Cheers!

    • Tim Bowman

      Hey Curt,

      Thanks for the great feedback! Glad you enjoyed this piece on Resident Evil. It’s always nice to hear from and talk to fans of the series.

      There is definitely an element in the gaming community and from consumers of defending bad games/products to no end. You see it all the time in comments for reviews or on gaming message boards. Of course there’s some people that do really enjoy a game like Resident Evil 6, but there’s also a lot of people that go way overboard in their defense of a game like that. I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself. I think the fact that games cost $60, people want to feel like they made a good “buy” and didn’t waste their money.

      You do make a good point though. Many gamers really do actually like a game like Resident Evil 6. There’s also that element too among the general audience who may not follow games closely or even know anything about Resident Evil, who pick it up and play it and think it’s a fun game. There’s a big problem in the game culture and industry of people not knowing their gaming history, especially the newer generation of gamers. It’s sometimes hard to explain to people the intricate problems of the Resident Evil franchise when the only games they’ve played or even know about are Resident Evil 5 and 6. I think I’m so critical of it all (but in a good way!) because I’ve been playing these Resident Evil games since around the time it all started, so I’ve been through all the changes Capcom has thrown at the fans and gamers. Resident Evil 6 was the last straw for me.

      You’re right. Capcom definitely does like to cash in on the Resident Evil brand at every opportunity. Just look at the recent spin-offs like Operation Raccoon City and how many times Resident Evil 4 was ported to almost every device that can play it (when it was originally supposed to be a GameCube exclusive)! There does seem to be a lot of blame going around with Resident Evil 6. Capcom can’t outright come out and say “yes our game sucks, don’t buy it or future installments” but they’ve been in denial for years on the decline of quality-from blaming fans to the genre the games are in to all other sorts of things.

      You made some good suggestions too, on all accounts. Capcom really needs to minimize the development on the next “real” (not spin-off) Resident Evil game. 600 people is way too much. They need a much smaller team working on Resident Evil. They also need to take some real risks this time. The franchise has played it safe ever since RE4. Like I said in this piece though, that’s just a bigger problem in the game industry though. None of these big companies are willing to take a risk when it’s so much easier to just pump out a generic and safe game in the style of RE6 or a Call of Duty. Like you suggested, I would love for an “open world” type experience with Resident Evil. I’ve been wanting something more of that since I played Resident Evil 2 all the way back in 1998. You can see the potential for a game with a big open environment destroyed by a zombie/virus outbreak from a game like that, and even the Tall Oaks section of Leon’s campaign in Resident Evil 6.

      Great suggestion on not being a super invincible character too! That’s another big problem with the current games. Why would you be scared of a zombie/whatever outbreak when you have the strength of 10 men and can just blow away anything that tries to attack you? That’s what makes the earlier games so good is that these were just regular people. Leon for example in RE2 was a rookie cop, his first day on the job.

      Who knows what the future holds for Resident Evil. I hope you’re right and the Capcom team does move in the right direction. They pretty much have to make some sort of big move with the next game. Let’s just hope they do something cool and not another Resident Evil 6-type disaster.

      If you get a chance, do play Revelations, either on the 3DS or on a home console. You’ll enjoy it! It’s a really good game.

      Again, thanks for the well thought out feedback!

  2. brent

    Seems like a well researched article. However I strongly feel that sales amounting close to 5 million units in the crrent economic climate can most certainly still be rated a success. The fact that 4,4 million units were shipped shows they expected to do this volume in business and for good publicity and to ensure consumer confidence a projected figure of 7 mill is put out….good business practice.

    As to the game itself, I personal found it to be of the better games
    in series. Serious effort was done by the developers and the story lines, emotion and dialogue is just simply the best to date in any RE iteration.

    I found the developers to be extemely bold in taking on such massive endeavours as a 4 campaign game….they went out of their way for the fans.. I found each campaign unique and highly entertaining. The qte ramped up the excitement and moved the game along at a fantastic pace. If you struggled you could simply actuve amateur mode and the qte would not need to be done. However I found that playing co-op and throwing in the qte really brought out some great fun and broke the tension.

    I also found the snow area with Jake and Sherry to be highly enjoyable and who will ever forget the snowmobile dash :)

    It is my fear the critics are going to keep a truly great game from the public and dampen the creative spirit clearly evident in this games development. I cannot wait to see what RE brings us next and I hope that the developments unique approach is not smothered.

    This game is literally 4 games in one package, with action, horror and fun throughout.

    • Tim Bowman

      Hey Brent,

      I think 5 million sales should be a huge success in today’s economic situation too. For almost any other game ever made it would be a success. Unfortunately Capcom doesn’t feel the same way. I think the company set its expectations too high at 7 million sales, and wasn’t prepared for the negative backlash Resident Evil 6 received for its poor gameplay and quality.

      The RE6 team doing 4 campaigns was a bold move, but it didn’t pay off. I don’t know if you have played the old RE games, but they used to do a similar thing in those games with different campaigns. For example, in Resident Evil 1 you could either play as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine for a full game (maybe 7-14 hours of gameplay), and it would give you different perspectives and cut-scenes on what was taking place throughout the game, depending on who you played as. In Resident Evil 2 there were also 2 different scenarios with Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, with the same type of deal as RE1. (It was even a 2 disc game on the PlayStation 1, a disc for each character).

      The problem with Resident Evil 6 is that the 4 campaigns were way too much, and each played like a different development team made it. There was no cohesiveness or flow to the combination. Like you said, it actually did feel like Resident Evil 6 was made up of 4 games in one package. You also kept running into the same type of cut-scenes or gameplay scenarios that you played in another character’s chapter, which was very annoying. The storyline wasn’t as compelling as it was in RE1-3 so it made seeing those scenarios over and over again pretty bad.

      You lost me on the snow area with Jake though! I couldn’t stand that section. I couldn’t believe that was actually included in the final game. It was a mess!

      Thanks for your feedback Brent. It’s good to hear the perspective of someone who is a big fan of Resident Evil 6. I appreciate your comments!

  3. Felipe

    “New enemies introduced like the Rasklapanje, with a name that looks like somebody came up with after falling asleep on their keyboard” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? THAT’S THE STUPIDES SHIT I’VE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE. It’s incredible how you “Resident Evil fans” can be. Have you noticed that Rasklapanje is a word from another language? As much as I agree with you in a few points, you said more shit than anything else in your text. It doesn’t even worth reading it all, I stopped there on your comment about the name of Rasklapanje. How ignorant is that? Is this just because RE is not survival horror anymore? I don’t like the direction Resident Evil took as well, like Chris and Jake campaign, I don’t like this Gears Of War scenarios. But just because of that we all have to say the whole franchise got fucked up? Did you even pay close attention to the story? I think you didn’t. Resident Evil doesn’t need survival horror to be Resident Evil. Do I miss survival horror in the games? FOR SURE. But does that make RE a bad game? NO. I can’t believe how far you guys can go with this shit. Resident Evil is one of the few games with a huge and deep content to offer. It’s not just a shooting game. Have you realized RE 5 was one of the few Resident Evil games that cleared everything left in blank on the story? As long as RE has good content as it stills have, it stills Resident Evil. Now, please, stop with this shit. If you play the game just because of the survival horror, you’re not a fan of the game, you’re just a fan of survival horror. Sorry. Why won’t you go play Dead Space or another horror game? It’ll worth you more than this!

    • Tim Bowman

      Hey Felipe,

      Thanks for your feedback. You’re right. That’s an extremely poor joke on my part regarding that enemy name. In retrospect that shouldn’t have been included in the story. After writing it I learned it wasn’t just a term created by Capcom during my research for this piece and failed to take the sentence out in my final edit.

      As I mentioned in this piece, the problem with Resident Evil goes farther back than just #6. The root of the problem goes back to after Resident Evil 4 and Shinji Mikami started working on other games and then finally left Capcom. After that, the quality of the games seriously dipped. I brought up the point that Capcom took his formula for #4 and tried the whole “bigger is better approach” in Resident Evil 5 and 6. Mikami really is a genius and someone that’s hard to replace. Without him and other core Capcom people leaving the company, it puts that pressure onto others with the Resident Evil team that don’t exactly have Mikami’s talents or creative ability.That’s why you get Chris Redfield fighting Wesker in a volcano and punching a megaton volcano boulder out of the way (when in the first game the characters struggled to even move a table or a bookshelf by themselves.) Or all the ridiculous sections in Resident Evil 6 that I highlighted in this piece that are just plain stupid and don’t belong in ANY game, much less a Resident Evil one. The spin-off games has mostly all sucked and have really hurt the brand’s credibility. You can only put out so many bad games before it harms the overhaul health of the brand. This downfall was 6-7 years plus in the making, and even further back then that when Capcom kept trying different games to have a “hit” spin-off game (starting back in 2000 with Resident Evil: Survivor).

      Look, I loved Resident Evil 4. I think it’s one of the best games ever made. Period. I like how RE5 ended a lot of the storylines dragged out from previous games. It was the right move to make. I didn’t like that Capcom turned Jill into Wesker’s pet though (and yes I know the storyline reasoning goes back to RE3: Nemesis. It still sucked). Unlike Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6 is a bad game. It’s boring, too long, feels like 4 different teams developed it, has no identity of its own and is simply Capcom’s attempt to get their own version of Call of Duty (sales wise and “mainstream” appeal wise) by any means necessary. You mentioned that Resident Evil doesn’t need survival horror to be a RE game. You’re right. It doesn’t necessarily. But it needs that distinct RE atmosphere, which hasn’t been in the franchise since RE4 in 2005 and was just recently seen again in the 3DS game Revelations.

      Yes, I’m a huge fan of survival horror. I’m not one of these people that are begging Capcom to make a game that looks like it came from 1998 or something. I’m not that big of a fan of Dead Space though. The first game was pretty good, but the second one didn’t do that much for me. Dead Space is more an action game that survival horror anyway. I would have absolutely no problem with the next Resident Evil game still had a lot of action elements and wasn’t just a pure survival horror game. I like good games. But Resident Evil has a long history. This isn’t a new IP. There are still certain expectations of what a Resident Evil game should be.

      I’m not going to go over all my reasons again for while Resident Evil is in the dumps now. I did that in this piece, which you didn’t finish reading (and again, after that line you mentioned I can understand why you didn’t).

      Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to write in with your opinions and especially for calling me out for that part of my article regarding the Rasklapanje.

  4. Will Anthony

    Is there any way people can fund a kickstarter for a REmake of Resident Evil 2? If Deadly Premonition can exist in the landscape of games today (and the GC remake of resident evil is superior to anything recent coming from the resident evil franchise), why can’t something like this happen? Just take the game engine from the REmake and Zero, maybe add some tweaks, and make everyone happy. I’d be willing to pitch in money to make it happen.

    • Tim Bowman

      Hey Will,

      I think Capcom has plenty of money to fund and create its remake of Resident Evil 2. Fans shouldn’t be funding games for big corporations like Capcom (even though they’d probably take your money in a heart beat for it). It’s been rumored for years now and I think it will eventually happen soon now that Capcom & the RE team is going back to the whole “Resident Evil needs to return to its roots” idea in recent media appearances. I would love to see a RE2 remake in the vein of the RE1 Remake on the GameCube. It would be really cool to explore Raccoon City again with gameplay tweaks and realistic graphics on say, the PS4 or next Xbox.

      Thanks for checking this article out.

  5. Screw Capcom

    Hey Capcom, I can make up terms too but they don’t hold weight because they’re not established..oh and people see right through you. “Horror Entertainment”? REALLY? Gee I didn’t know horror wasn’t entertaining until now. What kind of bullshit blanket shit is that? Made to entertainment as many people as possible..gee, isn’t that fucking everything from the video games industry to the movie industry? Dodge Resident Evil’s history some more. Just know that now, people are on to you. People see through your lies. Fans don’t forgive and we don’t forget.

  6. lonelysith66

    RE6, or as I affectionally call it, My Dinner Date with Jack Daniels. :/

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