Ever since the Las Plagas debuted in Resident Evil 4, it’s been pretty standard for “zombie” enemies to use weapons, tools, and other devices in the RE series, essentially making them intelligent mutants. Resident Evil 6 isn’t changing the trend of smarter zombies, but Capcom producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi says there’s a better justification for it this time around.
Siliconera held an interview session with Kobayashi, who says that even though RE6 has the classic zombie archetype from the first few games, their ability to use weapons is integrated from their human reflexes.
As Kobayashi puts it, the zombies’ ability to use weapons is a residual reflex that comes from their scattered memories. Since they were once able to use tools when they were alive, doing so when they’re undead is instinctual:
“Also for the weapons they use in the game, it’s not that we decided zombies should use weapons per se. It’s just that we wanted to get across the feeling that these used to be people and people either picked up weapons when they were fighting or they used certain objects when they were alive. They have this instinctual ability to pick up these things and use them. It’s not that they are purposely using weapons, it’s in the back of their mind because they used to use weapons before they became zombies.”
Whatever the reason, Kobayashi points out that these enemies still aren’t very much like the Las Plagas, who could use extremely complicated machinery and advanced combat tactics. It’s a thin line, but still a distinction nonetheless.
He also hinted that there’s still one more moajor gameplay mechanic involved with the zombies that Capcom hasn’t revealed quite yet. Based on footage and trailers we’ve seen so far, the largest change is the upheaval of melee combat, which now makes it easier to battle zombies in large groups via 180-degree movements and context sensitive attacks.