The question to ask is what RE6 contains to actually make it such a colossal title-in-the-works. There have been 5 Resident Evil releases before and quite a few spin-offs as well. What makes RE6 so special?
Well, producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi had a few things to say regarding that matter, when Eurogamer decided to pick his brains for answers to similar questions.
The E3 demo immediately gave everyone the impression that Capcom was aiming to go back to the classical RE sort of feel, the same feel that was present in the first three games. Yet, they’re still trying to maintain a few features of RE4 and RE5. Basically, Resident Evil 6 is an attempt to combine the two RE generations.
I’ll be blunt when I say that RE5 was absolutely disastrous in my view – it shamelessly over-resembled RE4 (which was absolutely brilliant and very original) in-terms of gameplay mechanics, enemies, and every other thing, and the things it did add were unoriginal, bland, and heavily constraining (Shiva, for example).
All in all, I had the unsettling feeling of being choked throughout the game, and it wasn’t the ‘horror’ aspect that originated it, it was just the terribly uncomfortable way everything was put together.
Because of this common experience that I share with many other Resident Evil fans, RE6 was something that I looked with through a skeptical view.
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, on the other hand, seems to be quite convincing in what he had to say. Resident Evil 6 is looking to be much more open-ended, less constrained and freer than RE5 and RE4.
“I think you’re right in saying that it’s a little freer for the player. There is more opportunity for you to fight in the way that you want, and there is a reason for that because it allows us to depict the horror element in this game in a more pleasing manner.”
Thank God for keeping-in-view the horror element, because it seemed that part had died away in RE5.
“We want to give the player the freedom to fight those enemies in the way they want. Just because you have freedom doesn’t mean that this game is very action-oriented as a result. We’ve tweaked the enemies as well, so they react to all that you can do. So now, the way that enemies attack you, you’ll feel that fear from being attacked more than you have in the past.”
Inducing fear should be an essential part of every horror game, and RE is no exception. The first three games had the urban horror touch that at least once in a lifetime everyone witnessed in a nightmare. The fourth game deviated greatly from that convention, but added freaks like the Regenerators to give us the scares.
Referring again to the E3 demo, RE6 seemed to be much faster paced, having an almost shooter-like styled gameplay. This obviously worried many fans and on-lookers, but Hirabayashi states that Resident Evil isn’t looking to go in that direction.
“…we want to make sure that we’re not making this a typical third-person or first-person shooter where you just have these human enemies that are shooting guns at you and you fire back and it is that typical exchange of gunfire.”
When he says ‘human enemies’ he’s actually referring to the J’avo, a sub-intelligent enemy-type that has the ability to use guns, but can mutate vastly when shot at.
“These J’avo do mutate. So depending on where you shoot them and where they take damage, that part of their body will mutate into different things. So that will change combat on the fly and the way you fight on the fly. So the J’avos are going to mutate into a larger size or gain an extendable arm that can grab you, or its legs might mutate into spider legs or it might be able to sprout wings and start flying.”
Going back to the ‘freedom of play’ aspect of Resident Evil 6, Hirebayashi added that controls that allowed you to dodge, roll around and perform similar acrobats were there to suit a player’s gaming style. I myself play rather fast, but like most RE players, I would always opt for the classical stand-and-deliver method.
“When you’re fighting you have that choice: Do you want to just stand up and shoot them or do you want to dodge, then shoot? Return fire? Something like that. There is no set place you have to use it. And the game is pretty long and there will be different points in the game where it will be more useful or efficacious to use these features than in other places. But I think it also comes down to play style. Maybe you’re a very good gamer, so you’re already used to a certain to ways of fighting. This is to give the player that freedom in determining how they want to fight and play the game. They don’t have to use it, but there are places where they should.”
The producer also had a few things to say about the improved AI – how enemies are better as compared to RE5, and how multiple aspects of a single type of zombie can have you both panicking and improvising.
“There are some that just crawl on the ground, so they’ll grab your leg, knock you down, and crawl all over you. That’s when you shoot them. That’s what you got to see in the presentation when Ustanak, using that claw arm, extends out to grab you. If you fall on your back, you’ll fall underneath his line of attack and you can shoot at him. We wanted to make sure that we weren’t forcing certain gameplay elements on the player, that they had the freedom to choose when they want to use it. And as they play through the game they’ll find that there are different situations where they’ll want to use these new controls in. There’s not an aspect where we’re trying to force you to use them, however.”
Personally, I’m glad Resident Evil decided to make a return to the urban regions with a more relatively global zombie infestation, as compared to the remote-village-breeding-nasty-parasites-that-turn-people-to-zombies thing.
What is concerning me otherwise is the general pace of the game and its difficulty.
The Resident Evil series is meant to be slower-paced than your average game (as is the case with all horror games), and the difficulty is supposed to be slightly higher, with sparse resources.
It seems like RE6 is ignoring all those classical aspects. It’s not sinful to bring in something different, but in a sequel one should maintain the most iconic and loved aspects of the franchise.
October 2, 2012 will tell us the whole story in the end – the game will be released on that date for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.