This is an update to a story we originally posted on July 9, 2010. After checking out the recently revealed trailer for Resident Evil 6, we’re revisiting our initial desires and predicting the probability that our wishes will come true.
Original Story: Over the last fifteen years the Resident Evil series has changed from being about barely scraping by with a few pistol rounds during a zombie outbreak to taking out titanic leviathan monsters with satellite lasers. While this evolution has been met with lucrative sales, diehard fans like me are wondering how far this franchise can stray from the original formula before it becomes ludicrous. For example: If Chris Redfield starts arm-wrestling giant zombie Martians on an exploding space station, it will have jumped the shark.
Jun Takeuchi, producer of Resident Evil 5, previously stated that RE5 would likely be the last of its kind. With that in mind, I’ve concocted a list of things we’d like to see in Resident Evil 6. We want to see a game that incorporates the best elements of the new and old school RE games, while delivering something fresh. Come along as we muse about the future of a franchise that began with a little incident in an old mansion.
Resident Evil 4 introduced the semi-intelligent, speedy Ganados enemies to balance out players’ increased firepower and control. Resident Evil 5 took it further with Majinis, but that’s where we want it to stop. The undead are supposed to be slow, mindless, flesh-devourers that exist only to instill a feeling of omnipresent dread. Before you say that slow zombies aren’t fun in games any more, think about Dead Rising, Call of Duty: World at War, and Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles. The walking dead should do just that – walk. Resident Evil 6 has the ability to capitalize on next-gen tech to make the undead even more horrifying. Imagine facing the hordes of Dead Rising in a darker, more foreboding atmosphere.
Probability: 90% (It looks like the streets of Tall Oaks and China are stricken with a mixture of more primitive undead and bio-organic weapons)
I defended Resident Evil’s ridiculous story for more years than I care to admit. A series can only have so many virus strains, exploding laboratories, and scythe-clawed super mutants before things start to get stale however. It’s high time to ditch Raccoon City, the T-virus, and every psychopath hell-bent on bio-weaponizing the global population. Capcom needs to reduce the scope of the story to something akin to the first games. What made the first few games so terrifying and entertaining was that they were perilous struggles through a small town dense with abominations. Resident Evil 6 could be about a harrowing escape from a zombie-riddled urban area to the country and I’d be satisfied. Think Left 4 Dead. Capcom needs to stop with the contrived rocket launcher boss fights atop flaming rooftops.
Probability: 50% (It appears there will be echoes of past Resident Evils in RE 6. We predict the story will be composed equally of new and old story threads)
I’ve shared some wonderful memories with Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Leon S. Kennedy, and Wesker, but their characters have been warped so much over the years that they’re hardly recognizable. At the rate things are going now, we’re only a couple sequels away from Chris using his robot arms to fight Wesker’s ghost on the bottom of the ocean. While these characters don’t need to be eradicated from the fiction, reducing them to small cameos and focusing on new protagonists would refresh the series. That, or make a game with Barry Burton as the lead.
Probability: 100% (While both Chris Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy are the leads this time around, a new male and female join the cast)
New Gameplay With Classic Mechanics
Resident Evil 4 delivered some of the best gameplay in the series while maintaining a decent sense of tension. Now is the time to push it to the limits – with a boatload of slow zombies that test a gamer’s ability to squeeze off headshots under pressure. Also, each bullet should be worth its weight in gold, returning the series to its survival horror roots. Capcom could also give players the choice between an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective or the cinematic, fixed camera views from the early games. Playing in the classic view would trade weapon accuracy for increased awareness of the surroundings, while third-person would do the opposite. Allowing this type of swap on the fly would appease staunch traditionalists and shooter-minded gamers, while also allowing players to change their view depending on the situation.
Probability: 75% (RE 6 appears to be a fast-paced action-game, and while the slow plodding of survival horror seems unlikely, new gameplay mechanics like sliding into cover, shooting from the ground, and moving while shooting look to be in the game.)
Before Resident Evil became about killing monsters in a linear game world, progression was about solving puzzles and deciphering riddles. Though I don’t long for the days when I scoured expansive mansions searching for a dumb key for a dumb door, I do miss using my mind to solve creepy puzzles. Reading files, picking up obscure items, and trying to do so without getting murdered was a lot of fun and a great way to break up the game’s pacing. Recent games have been mile-a-minute sprints without time to stop and smell the roses. Would the Raccoon Police Department have been as memorable if it was only briefly visited? It’s time to bring back puzzles, but we can afford to skip anything involving chess pieces, pianos, clocks, or alchemy.
Probability: 15% (The pace of this game looks to be on par with RE 4 and 5, making the odds of classic, cryptic head-scratchers slim)
So we’ve asserted that we’d like the survival part back in the Resident Evil formula, but what about the horror? Remember dogs jumping through windows and Nemesis stalking your every move? Resident Evil used to be scary as hell! Playable only while the sun is shining and birds are chirping kind of scary. Closet zombies, unnaturally fast enemies, and surprise instant-kills should be pushed back to the forefront in order to reignite the fizzled fear. If Dead Space can deliver a horrifying, over-the-shoulder third-person game, why can’t the granddaddy of survival horror do it? Make us pee our pants, Capcom. We dare you.
Probability: 40% (While it doesn’t seem to have the same sense of dreadful isolation as the classic Resident Evils, what we’ve seen of RE 6 so far hints that it may share the same level of intense, overwhelming enemy encounters as Dead Space. The Raccoon City-esque Tall Oaks environment also looks like a promising locale for some surprises)