Fans voice frustration with Resident Evil's action focus, want more survival horror
- Posted April 4th, 2012 at 15:25 EDT by Mike Harradence
- 7 Comments
Change is commonplace in any medium, and the video games industry is no exception. In this business, game companies can’t afford to iterate on the same tried and tested formula indefinitely; evolution is key to any brand, unless you want your top tier franchise to risk commercial and critical stagnation. Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise is perhaps one of the most polarizing examples of brand evolution, after the venerable zombie-‘em-up transitioned from old school survival horror in the mid-90s to full-throttle actioner beginning with 2005’s Resident Evil 4.
The series has notched up over 30 million sales globally, but it’s always been at the forefront of innovation, whether from a technical or gameplay perspective. When the franchise first started, it was unlike anything that came before it. Despite fiddly controls, the game’s marriage of 2D backgrounds and intricate (for the time) character models afforded an unprecedented level of visual detail, which combined with its moody music and blood-thirsty foes made it one of the scariest games around. Sequels built on the original’s success, bringing more zombies, bigger production values and refined gameplay. However, by 2002’s Resident Evil Zero, it was evident a change was necessary to stimulate lagging sales and waning critical reception.
Enter Resident Evil 4, which took any preconceptions we may have had on the series, chewed on them like a ravenous corpse and spat them out. Gone were the static backdrops, replaced by sumptuous 3D environments ripe for exploration; zombies were booted out in favour of human-like foes that utilized weapons and coordinated attacks; and players could now target any body part they desired for pin-point accuracy thanks to the intuitive over-the-shoulder perspective, which influenced countless action games since. The result was one of the most critically-acclaimed video games of all time, and RE4 sold like hot cakes. RE5 refined the process, adding co-op and set pieces that wouldn’t look out of place in a Michael Bay production.
Despite this, the changes didn’t sit well with everyone. Some fans embraced the ‘new’ Resi, and the series won a heap of new followers, but others missed the old school horror trappings. Look on any Resident Evil fan forum and you’ll get a good idea of how split the fan base is. These days however, it seems more and more people are calling out for a return to form – something which Capcom attempted to do with Resident Evil Revelations on 3DS, to surprisingly good effect. Nonetheless, the firm’s recent comments that an action-oriented route would be required in order to generate enough sales – as survival horror doesn’t have a big enough market, apparently – has really set the cat amongst the pigeons, so to speak.
PSU’s own forums are up in arms about Capcom’s comments, with many crying out for a return to form for the venerable zombie blasting franchise.
“They're are plenty of action games out there. I want survival horror,” says SynYster505.
LadyDuoMaxwell also shares the same sentiment, believing the franchise should go back to its humble horror beginnings:
“Resident Evil needs to get back to its roots. I missed the isolated feeling while being trapped in middle of the zombie apocalypse. Besides, what is so scary fighting corny-looking monsters in a big city full of people?”
Ariakace also expressed disappointment over the recent entries, commenting: “Sounds typical. Capcom hasn’t made a good Resident Evil game since Nemesis. 4 and 5 were complete abominations to the series. Didn’t get operation raccoon city, won’t get 6.”
Elsewhere, PSU member Cloudie was more philosophical over the whole affair, noting sales will dictate where Capcom takes the franchise next.
“Sales of Resident Evil 6 will pave the way for the future of the series. If it sells 3-5 million worldwide in a month then Capcom will continue moving the franchise towards the Call of Duty/Gears of War direction. If not, then maybe they'll try to recapture the magic that made the series as popular as it is today,” he commented.
Cyn, meanwhile, made an interesting observation about the state of the survival horror market in general:
“If the survival horror consumer market has shrunk, it's because nobody makes survival horror games any more. And of those few that release, not many are very good.
Make a good game, people will buy it.”
TDbank24 remains on the fence, however, acknowledging the interest in seeing a classic Resident Evil, but embracing Capcom’s action-focused RE6.
“I don't know what the deal is with so many of these developers today. They got to where they are now because they took chances and delivered great games.
Capcom, we want a Resident Evil like the originals on the PS1. It will sell, trust me.
Resident Evil 6 looks like it's going to be good though if you ask me.”
What direction do you want to see the Resident Evil series take in the future? Let us know in the comments section below, or join the discussion here.
- 4:09pm EDT - April 4th, 2012
It's a damn shame that reading the reader's comments from the forum, they all speak as if Resident Evil: Revelations never existed. It's a shame because that game not only is a great, polished game (something ORC isn't), but more importantly, it went back to the methodical, corridor skulking and survival-horror gaming experience we knew and loved. Not entirely, though. There are action elements in it. But they're not enough to be branded as an action game like RE5 was.
So when these fans ignore a game such as Revelations that manages to take the series in the right direction again, that only makes the problem worse. Because if more fans supported games like that, we wouldn't be in this situation where we're getting more mindless action games instead of the methodical games of old.
But I guess people would still blame Capcom for releasing Revelations on the 3DS and not on the Vita or PS3. Thus missing the whole point that Capcom did make a survivial-horror game since RE3 or CVX. And that's something to celebrate and look into. And also supporting such efforts and ignoring crap games like ORC, no less.
- 5:12pm EDT - April 4th, 2012
Think Dead Space got the balance between Survival Horror and Action. This is where Capcom have dropped the ball. They seem to believe you can only be one or the other. RE4 and 5 had NO Horror elements in them. They wern't bad games, I enjoyed them for what they were but I do miss zombies, the whole Las Plagas/Uroboros thing did nothing for me.
Hopefully from what I have seen of RE6 in trailers and such Leon will have the Horror elements and Chris will have the Michael Bay experience. But trailers can be deceiving, was going to get Dragons Dogma for the RE6 demo until I heard PS3 get the demo 2 months after XBOX.
- 3:14am EDT - April 5th, 2012
Capcom go back to roots or FAIL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and you will big time if you dont operation RC is a big Fail RE6 will be too,im not geting operation RC or RE6, when you release survival horror RE give us a call...
heliorodrigues | HeLio22
- 8:22am EDT - April 5th, 2012
esident born as a survival horror not a action game, RE5 and RE4 are good action games but aren't real resident evil games! Resident Evil are my favourite games, my favourite series, but the last games disappoint me, because don't have any survival horror on it -.-.... capcom is destroying the game....
Drebin296 | Drebin296
- 3:20pm EDT - April 5th, 2012
I enjoy the modern games as much as the next guy, but I still believe the originals were far better. I had a big grin on my face when I read the title of this article after knowing what Capcom had said about the series.
Personally, I LOVE the old fomula: fixed cameras, pre-rendered backgrounds, eerie atmospheres, the lot. The controls were a bit funky, but workable. There was a decent amount of exploration, and the satisfaction (bundled with fear) that came with using a key to unlock a new room is second to none. A game that makes you tense and jumpy is a game well made.
I would prefer them to make the new Resident Evil titles in the classic way - just like 1 and 2. But, if they REALLY want to go towards more action-oriented games, they should at least look at Dead Space (the first; the second was great too, but less horror) to get tips on how to blend action and horror. Unfortunately, I don't own a 3DS, so I haven't been able to try Revelations, but I hear great things. Hopefully I'll get to play it some day.
- 2:14am EDT - April 9th, 2012
Resident evil needs to go back to old school scare the crap outta ya in the dark gaming redo one in hd and watch the numbers sail in sales.
look at resident evil code veronica on the ps3 it got a 8 rating from game informer and they where surprised about the nice graphics upgrade
however resident evil 4 a newer title got the worst reviews in HD version saying the camera was junk the graphics where better in the gamecube version and dont bother downloading this one.
Listen to your customers for god sakes
Barretto24 | Barretto24
- 2:14pm EST - March 6th, 2013
Either go back to the RE Roots Capcom or simply move on from Resident Evil. RE is at it's base Survival Horror. RE4 was an OK game not brilliant, RE5 was terrible and RE6 is a complete waste of time. Action doesn't work in RE it was never designed to be action. It's all about surviving against hordes of zombies, race against time, limited ammo, limited survival rations. It was never about going into an area, tooled up to the eyeballs in a team. It was always a solo mission game and thats the way it should stay. I'm sorry but RE6 sold less than RE2 did 13 years ago when the market was 100 times smaller than it is now. Its a Horror Survival genre of game. Might take Horror and scares out of RE however that is what sold the game to the people. Look at MGR terrible compared to MGS4 or MGS5.
Either go back to survival horror back to where it all started or move away from Resident Evil all together, It had a great run.
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