In the opening of the trailer for Resident Evil 6, we see veteran zombie hunter Leon S. Kennedy forced to do something quite surprising: Kill the now-zombified president.
Right away, we get the idea that Capcom is looking to really up the stakes this time around. Announced just a few hours ago, Resident Evil 6 will be hitting the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 20th of this year, with a PC version then coming later. In comparison to previous chapters of the series, RE6 seems hugely ambitious, and could end up easily being the biggest shake-up the series has yet seen.
“From the outset the team’s intention was to create an experience that delivers a gripping storyline, tense single-player and co-op action all set against a constant theme of horror,” Resident Evil 6 Executive Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi said about this new chapter of the Resident Evil franchise in today’s announcement. “We are calling this fusion dramatic horror and are confident it will resonate with both existing fans of the series as well as newcomers.”
The trailer gives us a look at what seems to be a number of familiar main characters—and through that, a potential variety of gameplay styles. For Leon (and his new female friend), it looks like we’re getting a more traditional RE-type atmosphere. For Chris, potentially more of a military-style action shooter on the streets of what looks to be Hong Kong. And finally, we have a yet-unnamed male who some are speculating to be Alex Wesker, the child of a DNA research project who was named after the project’s head, eternal RE villain Albert Wesker. Whoever this man is, he seems to be a bio-weapons dealer of sorts, and is accompanied by a blonde-haired female who may—or may not—be RE4 heroine Ashley Graham. (No confirmation that it is her, but it sure sounds like her voice.)
Will Resident Evil 6 present to its players three different concepts in gameplay, each presented through those characters? Or will gameplay stay consistent across the entire storyline, with each character simply giving players a change in scenery and opposition?
One things is evident: Capcom is placing a bigger reliance on action this time around. Resident Evil 6 may not play like we’re used to Resident Evil games playing, but that might not be a bad thing. As much I have enjoyed later RE titles, third-person action (and action shooter) games have evolved—and I’d be happy to see this series evolve as well.
We get hints of that throughout the trailer. Chris dives behind cover; Leon slides along the ground, and then turns to fire back behind him. It wasn’t lone ago when Resident Evil protagonists couldn’t move and shoot at the same time—that era looks to be long gone. Even without guns, the game also seems to offer far more depth in terms of melee and hand-to-hand combat options. Also—is that a tank being driven in one part? Will vehicles play a bigger role in the game?
“Resident Evil 6 represents a giant stride forward in the evolution of the series,” Capcom head of R&D and Global Marketing Katsuhiko Ichii said as part of this announcement. “The development team, led by Hiroyuki Kobayashi, is working tirelessly to deliver the most impressive Resident Evil title ever both in terms of scope and production values. We are all genuinely excited by the title and cannot wait to share it with the world.”
The question now is this: Is this where the Resident Evil series needs to go? Can it retain its original feel and charm while embracing Western-style third-person shooter mechanics and faster-paced action, or will the spirit of the series be lost in the process?
As much as I loved—and still love—the original Resident Evil, I’m not sure that type of game is what I want to go back to anymore. Sure, I’d love deeper, more involved gameplay, logically-integrated puzzles, and a return to the “survival” aspects of survival horror. At the same time, I’ll be honest—what I see in this trailer has me very excited for what we’re going to be getting.
Maybe it isn’t a return to the “classic” RE that some fans are wanting—but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.