Daily Reaction: Is it Time to Reboot Resident Evil?

As reviews over the latest Resident Evil title come out, there has been a noticeable trend of negativity surrounding the game. With its more action oriented style, fans have once again started to split about what the Resident Evil franchise could have left after the series has seen so many changes. With that Daily Reaction’s Dan and Sebasstian discuss what the future could hold for Capcom’s once reigning champion of the horror genre.

Dan: Having grown up a huge fan of the first 3 Resident Evil games back on the PlayStation, it has been difficult to see the series go the direction it has. Having started out as a survival horror game with puzzle aspects, that built up tension as you were far from the superheroes we had become accustomed to in countless titles. You were finally placed in the shoes of a protagonist who was an everyday person, placed in a dire situation that wasn’t too far outside what we could imagine. Zombies were a threat in the same visage that people had grown accustomed, the feeling of being helpless even though this monster could only lumber toward you. This was something that people could relate too, while zombies aren’t real, they are a monster that has become culturally acceptable. Now, the series has taken it to the point where every enemy you face is just stranger than the one before it, and your character is the super soldier that most of us can’t relate too.

The more current releases in the Resident Evil series have taken a step toward the mass appeal of flashy cinematics, instead of the slow build up of terror that had made the earlier titles a success. This change has brought with it new enemies that cannot resemble anything anyone has ever associated with a zombie opponent, as such it makes me wonder if Resident Evil is even a zombie title at all anymore. With the infected throwing axes, and giant centipede like creatures coming out of people’s heads, the need for a hero larger than life is understandable. Yet, what it takes away from the heart of the series each time a new title comes out, becomes a beacon as to what has gone wrong with the series over the last few years.

Seb: Capcom royally screwed up an awesome franchise by – in their own words – “trying to be as inclusive as possible”. I’m sorry Cappy, but this is a HORROR game, and those aren’t meant to be super inclusive, and neither are puzzlers. They followed in the wake of the COD gravy train, and all they ended up doing was getting their feet sticky.

I think some of the problem lies in the fact that Resident Evil 4 was just too damn good. They couldn’t follow it with anything near as great, but at the same time there was greater pressure on the developers and publisher to sell well with sequels. So RE5 was a beefcake-fest that ruined the solitary fear of survival horror with a buddy-buddy co-op system, and RE6 tried to copy every successful action genre out there… forgetting about the survivally-horror part. Oh and don’t even get me started on Operation Raccoon City, who on earth thought Slant Six would be a good match?

The story has never exactly been the most straightforward – in true Japanese fashion – but it’s gotten to the point where it’s downright silly. I simply don’t care any more. The plots on the movies are retarded, the plots of the games are retarded. 20-or so games in and I’ve lost the plot, in every sense of the term.

Wipe the slate clean, say “we’re sorry for trying to widen the potential audience of the game, at the expense of the core gameplay”. Start again, and by god do not let a western studio handle the reboot. Go back to the basic elements of the original games – man vs zombies.

Now that’d be a game I’d happily buy.

Dan: Absolutely, we are completely due for a reboot of this series, and with zombies being more popular than ever it could be the perfect time to put them back in. This is not to say that zombies are not IN Resident Evil games anymore, but that the while there will be the looming corporation behind the scenes, zombies should always be a vital factor. As games like The Walking Dead and Dead Space have entered the market, the window for Capcom to get back into the genre is going to close faster than ever before. Dead Space has become the de facto standard for how modern horror games should be handled, and TWD is a prime example of how to have a zombie game that isn’t just zombies. Capcom has just seemingly lost it’s way as the gaming market has shifted to a much more mainstream audience, causing the series to fall apart in as they forced it to become something that lost every bit of soul it once had.

The same can be said about the movie spin-offs that while being successful, are little more than a cash grab, riding the name into the ground. Which normally would be an issue for any publisher, as the namesake an IP holds is almost more powerful than the success of any single product. Yet, in true fashion to show that quality has nothing to do with sales, as the movies have gotten worse with each sequel, it has also increased in day one box office sales. Which could actually be the factor that that is deciding the future of Resident Evil as a brand more than anything. Wouldn’t it make sense for Capcom to see the popularity of the movie franchise, and gear the games to follow in a similar fashion to scoop up these new fans?

For financial reasons, I can see why Capcom has made the changes they have. But as someone who once loved the series, all I can say is: it’s over Capcom… I’m breaking up with you – it’s you, not me.

Seb: Capcom could regain our love with a reboot, but they’re not going to because they’re dicks. That, and they’re scared. RE6 has shipped 4.5 million, a pretty decent enough number. They don’t want to risk a reboot that could bomb… or at least they won’t until the franchise is so dragged through the mud that no one’s ever gonna buy it.

Resident Evil peaked a long, long time ago. It’s time to add Resident Evil to the growing pile of franchises that were better last gen.

It’s time to look forward to the next big survival horror series. The Last of Us anyone?

With the recent boom of the zombie genre, is it time for the grandfather of zombie horror games to make a return? Have the changes made to the RE series over the last few years made the games better or worse? Do you miss the tank controls from the old school titles? or are the new more fluid and action oriented characters more fun? Make sure to let us know in the comments, and be sure to not get bit by Seb and Dan.