Resident Evil has grown bigger than the survival horror genre and needs to focus on the action orientated approach of Resident Evil 4 and 5 to remain commercially viable, long time series producer Masachika Kawata claims in an interview with Gamasutra.
“Looking at the marketing data [for survival horror games] … the market is small, compared to the number of units Call of Duty and all those action games sell,” he said. “A ‘survival horror’ Resident Evil doesn’t seem like it’d be able to sell those kind of numbers.”
Kawata most recently produced the 3DS based Resident Evil: Revelations, which combined both action and survival horror within a portable package. Though he isn’t working on Resident Evil 6, he suggests that the next game in the series has to harness the action orientated gameplay developed in Resident Evil 4 and 5.
“Especially for the North American market, I think the series needs to head in that [action-oriented] direction,” says Kawata. “[Resident Evil's primary games] need to be an extension of the changes made in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5.”
There is some solace for old school Resi fans, who don’t necessarily look to COD as their gaming mecca.
I can’t really speak for Resident Evil 6, but I don’t think that it necessarily has to go all the way in that [action-heavy] direction, the Call of Duty direction. It doesn’t have to be a straight up shooter. But my impression is that Resident Evil 4 and 5 aren’t shooters, per se.
The producer goes on to say that there may be more room to explore newer mechanics or indeed the older survival horror traits in smaller spin off titles.
We have our numbered series, and we can say we have a more adventure-oriented version, like a Revelations-style game. And we also have Operation: Raccoon City, which is a third-person shooter… I think, that by extending the market in this sense, we can still have the numbered titles keep their identity about what Resident Evil is supposed to be, but still expand and hit other markets as well.
This week sees the release of Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City, a third person shooter spin-off made by Socom developers Slant Six. The game re-imagines the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3 by putting players in control of a shadowy Umbrella security team tasked with controlling the zombie outbreak of Racoon City with extreme prejudice. For diehard fans of the series, Operation Racoon City is a further mark on the sad devolution of the slow burning approach of old school Resident Evil.
As a long time Resident Evil fan, it is quite disheartening to hear the influence of COD, which is only infecting the games industry like the T-virus. Of course, Resident Evil doesn’t make the money that Call of Duty makes. Few games do, or can even hope to make a dent in it’s
gargantuan sales numbers.
The problem with Resident Evil is that it has largely been overtaken by other horror games like Dead Space or Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Capcom need to regain the survival horror crown rather than following the shooter herd.