Before I get into what I actually want to talk about, I'd like to give a brief background on my history with the Resident Evil series. I've been playing Resident Evil since the very first game on the PlayStation, all the way back in 1996. I've been with the series so long that I can actually say I eagerly awaited and bought Resident Evil: Directors Cut just so I could get my hands on the Resident Evil 2 demo disk. Another important note to bring up is while I adore the classic Resident Evil games, I also love Resident Evil 4. I have no real preference of one gameplay style over the other, I appreciate and enjoy both for different reasons, and both are represented in my top 10 favorite games of all time with Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4. The only reason I'm bringing this all up is to pre-counter the argument that I’m biased in any way shape or form towards the classic games, or that I just like to "hate" on anything new. Quite the opposite, I tend to always welcome change. Resident Evil is a series I’ve held dearly for many, many years, and I’ve always frothed at the mouth with excitement each time a new installment is announced, it never even occurred to me that there was any other reaction I could have.
Until I saw gameplay footage of Resident Evil 6 that is.
As it stands right now, Resident Evil 6 is looking really, really rough, in just about every way possible, and I know I’m not the only one that thinks so. The game looks to be the very definition of “Jack of all trades master of none” with Capcom promising it’ll appeal to fans both as action game and as horror game. That game design mentality is where practically all the problems people are having with Resident Evil 6 stem from. It’s an attempt to appeal to long-time fans of the series that prefer the slower, more methodical games (RE1,RE2, CVX, etc..) way of searching for a Helmet key, to unlock a door, so you can grab an emblem, to open another door, to fight a boss. While at the same time appealing to the newer fans that jumped onboard the series with Resident Evil 4, and prefer the more action heavy gameplay that game brought about. Now while there are exceptions to the rule, Horror and Action are two genres that couldn’t be more different in tone and purpose, they rarely blend together without one genre just overpowering the other. The developers of Resident Evil 6 claim they can do both by simply creating multiple campaigns that will each have a different focus and feel to them. However when you compare Leon’s campaign, which is supposed to be the “horror” campaign with the other two campaigns, you start to wonder how many Capcom employees could actually keep a straight face when saying each campaign is much different from the other. To help illustrate my points, we’re going to look back on the history of the series and analyse not only what makes a good Resident Evil game, but what actually makes good horror in general.
A Look to Cinema: What Effective Horror Is
Now the following statement is probably going to upset some people, but it has to be said: The majority of what is classified as horror in film is shit, has always been shit, and will always be shit. Simply for the fact that the majority of horror movies entirely miss the point of the genre they claim to be a part of. There is unfortunately a huge distinction between something that is considered horror and something that is actually scary. Ask yourself some questions: When was the last time you heard of an adult that thinks an 80’s slasher series like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street were scary? Or how about someone that thinks the recently popular torture porn movies like Hostel and Saw were scary? I am willing to bet you’ll be sitting there pondering those questions for a while, because the focus of most horror like that is to either create a body count, or to simply be grotesque and evoke feelings of disgust in the viewer; revulsion is not the same emotion as fear. Couple that with the fact that a lot of this kind of horror is usually ripe with unlikeable and annoying characters. Jason Voorhees isn’t scary to most people because his victims tend to be idiotic, once you start routing for the villain then all of the fear and tension is out the window. This is more a problem with movies than it is games, but the point stands all the same: gore in and of itself is not scary, it can certainly be disturbing, but it’s NOT scary, and a lot of people seem to forget that. The creators of this type of horror forget the most important things in creating an actual scary story: fear is generally a product of something we do not see, understand, and in fictions case something we can relate to in the real world.
(Image from ‘The Exorcist’, 1973)
While the horror genre is overflowing with junk like I just mentioned, there are magnificent diamonds in the rough. Some examples of effective horror, as in horror that actually understands what the genre is supposed to be are: The Exorcist, Alien, Jaws, and The Blair Witch Project. Let’s take a look at what set them apart from the rest. (I know I know, those are movies not videogames, bear with me I’ll bring it home)
The Exorcist played upon fears of the afterlife, the spiritual world, and the possibility that we as humans may indeed be held accountable for our actions after we die. It asked the question: Do you believe in the devil?
Jaws was a reminder that while human beings are at the top of the food chain, we are still very vulnerable animals in most environments, and can be easily be reminded of that in the presence of a great predator. Jaws terrified an entire generation to the point that many people to this day will not go swimming in the ocean.
The Blair Witch Project brought the horror out of the movie and into reality. With an extremely low budget, a lot of imagination, and brilliant viral marketing, it made audiences around the world ask themselves: Is this real?
Alien toyed with the idea of rape and physical violation in the worst way possible by manifesting those evil qualities into a physical life form, unclouded by conscience or remorse. It even turned the act of childbirth into something not only horrific, but made birth trauma something even men could relate to. It reveled in the possibility that finding life outside of our own planet could be nightmarish.
(Image from ‘Alien’, 1979)
All of these films are considered landmarks in the genre, mostly due to the reception audiences had to each one, but what is their key to success? It’s quite simple, they played on real legitimate human fears that anyone can relate to: Be it faith, the ocean, rape, isolation, or simply being pursued. More importantly they all deal in one of the most important aspects of horror, and that is fear of the unknown. They don’t reveal everything about themselves, and there’s a sense of mystery and ambiguity to each one. Their monsters spend more time hidden from the camera than on it, because the creators of these films understood that the viewer will fill in the gaps with their minds with something far more terrifying than anything a special effects studio could create.
Now you’re probably wondering what in the hell does any of this have to do with Resident Evil? The answer is these films are the type of horror that inspired the creators of the original Resident Evil. That sense of mystery, that element of the unknown, it was written into the DNA of what made the first Resident Evil game a hit. It probably didn’t ask any real thought provoking questions of its audience, but the creator of the series, Shinji Mikami, like the creators of the films I just mentioned certainly understood what horror actually should be, which is applying real world fears to a piece of entertainment.
(Note: Yes, I’m well aware Resident Evil came out before Blair Witch, hence why I said ‘types’ of horror)
Examining the Past: How Resident Evil Has Handled Horror Throughout its History
Most gamers and media tend to categorize the Resident Evil series in one way: the classic survival horror games and the newer games that are more action centric. Often not considering what sets each individual game apart from the other, more specifically not considering how each game tackles fear. In the beginning, each main entry in the series approached horror in a way that was fairly distinct from the game that came before it, or at the very least evolved or improved a concept that was already there. To help illustrate this point I’m going to look at a few entries in the series and discuss how they presented their own special take on horror. (Note: I said few, not all)
Resident Evil: Fear of the Unknown
Resident Evil was released in March of 1996 and opened the eyes of gamers and critics alike. It was the first game to really make people take a step back and realize videogames could be more than just fun, they could also be terrifying. No it’s wasn’t the first horror game ever created, but it was the first horror game with mainstream success. It took everything that was good about Alone in the Dark and improved on it in every way. Resident Evil was the game that helped create the survival horror genre, and set the quality standard for all that followed it.
How exactly did Resident Evil approach horror though, what were its keys to success? Well, Resident Evil followed the philosophy of telling the player as little as possible about the journey they were about to embark on. The back of the box said next to nothing, and the manual only gave small bios on the characters, not much of the story was given away. The opening cutscene also gave players very little plot details, but what was there was more than enough to entice and drag gamers into the world of Resident Evil.
The game took place in July of 1998 in the fictional Arklay Mountains, a forested area outside of an American Midwestern town called Raccoon City. Gamers had the choice of playing as either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, two members of the Raccoon City Police department’s S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) unit. The S.T.A.R.S. unit was divided into two teams: Alpha and Bravo team, and they were tasked with investigating a series of bizarre murder cases in Raccoon City. The Bravo Team was sent in to investigate the suspected hideout of the party’s responsible for the murders, and disappeared in the process. Shortly after the Bravo Team’s disappearance, the Alpha team was then sent in to look for their missing team mates. Once the Alpha team set down in the Arklay Mountains however, they were ambushed by a pack of hellish creatures. The team’s vehicle specialist, Joseph Frost, was killed in the ambush, and the rest of them tried to flee back to their helicopter, only to find that their team mate and pilot Brad “Chickenheart” Vickers had abandoned them. Desperately trying to escape the pack of hell beasts chasing them, they found themselves running into a mansion in the middle of the forest. Out of the 6 members of Alpha team, only Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, and Albert Wesker made it to the mansion. (Note: It can also be Jill, Barry, and Wesker that make it to the mansion if you choose to play as Jill rather than Chris)
This was all gamers were given to go on, you were stuck in a mansion in the middle of nowhere, and dared not go back outside for fear of whatever just tore apart one of your comrades might do the same to you. Although you discovered quickly this mysterious mansion wasn’t much safer. As the place was littered with locked doors, very difficult puzzles, and was crawling with all sorts of undead monsters. Escape seemed near impossible, top it all off with one of your comrades going missing during the dash towards the seemingly safe mansion, and you had a game that oozed mystery and suspense. It was even reflected in how the game played and what the developers expected of the player. As this was the first time most gamers were introduced to the now infamous tank controls, and this was back in the days when there was not an ingame tutorial for everything. So not only was the situation for the characters within the game very grim, but gamers faced a similarly grim task of how to even play the game properly, they didn’t even tell us how to save! Sure you could look in the manual for help on how to use the controls and whatnot, but what kind of wimp does that!?! (Fun Fact: I spent days playing the game without ever knowing you could actually run! But I was a kid so give me a break)
That is what Resident Evil excelled in; creating a frightening and mysterious scenario that told you next to nothing in the beginning, other than why you were there. Gamers had no idea what they were dealing with, for all we knew the monsters were all a result of something supernatural. Much of the plot and backstory wasn’t even told to you directly in a cutscene, you had to wonder this mansion digging up old flies and journals to discover the truth. In order to find out what happened to your team mates, what the cause of the monsters were and what the mansion itself was…You had to press on, and go further and further into the world of survival horror. Resident Evil had some special qualities that made it a good piece of horror, and that was the fear of isolation and of the unknown. You know… something relatable!
Resident Evil 2: Fear in Loss
“I'm not letting anyone leave my town! Everyone's gonna die!”
Resident Evil 2 came out in January of 1998 to sky high expectations, gamers were clamoring for the king of survival horror to return. While in the storyline Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 were only a couple of months apart, gamers had to wait 2 years for a new game. In a production and budget sense, the game was a big step up from its predecessor. Environments were much more lavish and detailed; they did away with the silly live action FMV sequences in favor of gorgeous CG animation for the cutscenes, and the graphics and art direction were leaps and bounds better. So basically it was you’re a-typical videogame sequel, it was much improved in a technical sense and stayed true to the gameplay formula.
However much of what was scary about the original Resident Evil game could not be replicated well in a sequel if you had already played the first game. We already knew that it would have to do with the Umbrella Corporation and the T-virus (ZOMG SPOILERZ!), and we knew all the monsters would be the result of bioweapon creation and the mishandling of such. Regardless of that the developers tried to replicate that feeling of isolation and mystery the first game had. However the game also had its own distinct reoccurring themes and ideas that were barely touched on in the first game.
Resident Evil 2 took place in September of 1998, only two months after the events of Resident Evil. Players had the choice of playing as either Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie cop that just joined the Raccoon City Police department, or Claire Redfield, younger sister of Chris Redfield from the first game. This time around though, the two characters stories intertwined and directly affected the other, in fact in order to see the game’s true ending(s) you had to beat the game as both Leon and Claire. The game opened with both Leon and Claire entering Raccoon City, Leon was on route to start his first day of work with the RPD, while Claire came into town looking for her brother Chris who she had lost contact with. However after both shortly arrived in town, they discovered something was very, very wrong.
Like the first game, Resident Evil 2 followed the philosophy of telling the player very little, not to the degree of the first game though. As even if you did not play the first game, they recapped the events of Resident Evil before you started a new game in Resident Evil 2. In that regard, Resident Evil 2 was not as effective as the first game. Yes we didn’t initially know how Raccoon City fell into chaos, but like I already said we knew it had to do with Umbrella and the T-virus. To compensate for this however, Resident Evil 2 added a new element of horror, the fear of losing a loved one.
(Leon and Claire)
Early on in the game, both Leon and Claire encounter characters specific to their campaigns. In Leon’s, he meets a woman named Ada Wong, and in Claire’s, she finds a young girl named Sherry Birkin. In both cases there’s an attachment the characters form with each other, in Leon and Ada’s case it’s a romantic interest, and in Claire’s and Sherry’s case, it’s a sort of maternal bond. These attachments add an element that really wasn’t seen in the first game, because now it wasn’t just a matter of escaping the hellish scenario, it was a matter of escaping the hellish scenario with the people the characters cared about. Most of Leon’s and Claire’s actions in the game were driven to simply protect the one’s they came to care about, and it even impacted the gameplay, as both Ada and Sherry could die, yes that’s right, even the little girl could die. (Granted it was only in the gameplay and not the cannon story, IE: a zombie could kill Ada or Sherry)
If there was one theme that set Resident Evil 2 apart from the first game, it was the sense of overwhelming loss surrounding the game. Claire came to town looking for her brother, only to find that he wasn’t there, and is still missing. Sherry loses both her parents to the disaster, becoming an orphan, and Leon meets and loses the love of his life in a matter of hours. Not to mention the entire city of Raccoon had become a wasteland, as thousands of civilians either lost their lives or became one of the walking dead. Now, there’s quite an argument to be had as to whether the developers intentionally added the element of “the death of a loved one”, and there’s an even bigger argument as to whether or not the fear of losing a loved one is actually scary, or rather if it’s scary in the survival horror sense. There are very few things in this world that everyone can identify with, but losing a loved one is certainly one of them.
Resident Evil 2 remains the highest selling game in the franchise on a single platform, with a total of 4.96 million copies sold on the Playstation. With the franchise now a mega hit, Capcom decided to strike while the iron was still hot.
Resident Evil 3: Fear of Being Hunted.
“He’s after S.T.A.R.S. members, there’s no escape!”
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was released in September of 1999, only a year and a half after the release of Resident Evil 2. The game changed much of what players were used to about the formula, and improved on a specific concept introduced in Resident Evil 2 by a large margin. In Resident Evil 2 during a “B scenario” (basically a new game plus), a creature called Mr. X was introduced, and the concept behind this monster was he hunted the player throughout the rest of that playthrough.
(Mr. X as seen in Operation Raccoon City)
However Mr. X himself often felt like a bit of an afterthought, Mr. X was slow, couldn’t follow you once you went in another room in most instances, and was fairly easy to defeat more often than not when encountered. I have always had a hunch that Capcom and the development team were not that satisfied with how Mr. X turned out, and decided they would take this concept of a “stalker” and made it the focus of Resident Evil 3. As a result, gamers were introduced to one of the greatest videogame villains of all time, Nemesis.
In Resident Evil 3, gamers assumed control of Jill Valentine, one of the S.T.A.R.S. members from the first game. This time around there was no option of who to play as; Jill was the only playable character. The game was also not really a sequel to Resident Evil 2, as it took place before, during, and after the events of Resident Evil 2. Once again gamers were back in Raccoon City, only this game would chronicle Jill Valentine’s escape from the city. However the Umbrella Corporation used the tragedy of Raccoon City as a tool to eliminate the remaining S.T.A.R.S. members before they could escape, deploying one of their deadliest Bio Organic Weapons, The Nemesis. (NOTE: Umbrella wanted the remaining S.T.A.R.S. members dead because after the events of the first game S.T.A.R.S. were mounting an investigation against Umbrella)
Drawing clear inspiration from films like Halloween and The Terminator, Nemesis was a massive, unrelenting and uncompromising foe, who’s only intention was to see that all S.T.A.R.S. members were dead. Unlike Mr. X, you never got the feeling you were ever truly safe from Nemesis. Nemesis could run, chase you through multiple areas, pick you up and throw you, beat the ever loving piss out of you, face rape you with his tentacles, and shoot you with his rocket launcher. There was also a tad bit of inspiration from the movie JAWS, where in the movie the arrival of the shark was usually marked with the legendary Jaws theme, and in Resident Evil 3, this song usually reminded us that Nemesis was nearby.
(Nemesis about to have himself a Jill Sandwich)
Nemesis had a “force of nature” quality to him, as he was so intimidating that his arrival often felt like the end was nigh. Most people on their first playthroughs try desperately to avoid confrontations with Nemesis, as it takes an enormous amount of ammunition to even just disable him, and you have to remember this is a survival horror game, so burning through ammo to temporarily disable Nemesis might not pay off. If you did manage to down him, there was a great sense of relief and accomplishment; you were even rewarded with new weapons and other goodies. You had to enjoy that moment of solace while you could, because before long Nemesis would be back up and after you again.
The tension and dread felt throughout Resident Evil 3 had a very primal quality to it. The feeling gamers had of being stalked by this monster was probably very similar to what many of our ancestors felt when being hunted by a lion. At least that’s what I think Capcom were going for, and I believe they succeeded.
Resident Evil 4: Return to the Unknown
“He’s not a zombie…”
As the series progressed over the years, much of the gameplay formula established in Resident Evil was polished and improved upon to the point that it became very difficult to do anything new gameplay wise with the series. The last game in the series to feature the “classic” gameplay style was 2002’s Resident Evil Zero, and while it was generally well received by critics, it angered a lot of fans for a variety of reasons. It was clear that the developers were struggling to keep people interested with the existing formula, and as such they tried something completely different.
Resident Evil 4 was released in January of 2005 to much fan speculation and concern, me included. We hadn’t had a new entry in the main series in nearly 3 years, and everything about this game seemed like a betrayal of everything we had come to love. There were no zombies, entirely different gameplay, no viruses, and Umbrella was not defeated by us in a big grand and glorious finale that we had hoped; they simply went belly up in the stock market. Instead, series creator Shinji Mikami was back at the helm, and wanted to bring back the sense of mystery the permeated the first game. We were once again going to enter the world of survival horror, and for the first time in nearly 10 years, we had no idea what we were dealing with.
Resident Evil 4 was not only the return of the franchise; it also featured the return of one of Resident Evil’s most beloved protagonists Leon S. Kennedy. Who since the events of Resident Evil 2 had become an agent for the US government, and was charged with protecting the president’s family. Ashley Graham, the president’s daughter, had been kidnapped and was being held somewhere in Spain. Once Leon arrived in the area where it was suspected Ashley was being held all hell broke loose. The local villagers killed two policemen escorting Leon, and looked to do the same to him.
(Leon fending off villagers)
As you can tell, plot details were even sparser this time around then they ever had been. All we knew was Ashley was missing, Umbrella was not involved, and these villagers wanted separate Leon’s head from his body. The similarities between the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil 4 are not as minimal as a lot of fans would claim, as much like the Mansion incident, we had no real idea what was going on here initially. Only that we were placed in a hostile environment with no real means of escape. You can tell that Shinji Mikami is a big supporter of telling the player as little as possible to enhance the mystery and the actual horror experience. Once again, the unknown was a big proponent in the fear being presented.
If I were to choose one way to describe Resident Evil 4, it would be a frantic experience. The entire game felt like you were being swarmed in a never ending pursuit. Not like Nemesis, no, this was more like a school of piranha was after you. The Ganados(villagers) were always looking to surround you and even when you barricaded yourself in a building, they were searching for ways to get in. Be it they crash through windows, use ladders and tools to find other ways in, or just have the chainsaw Ganados burst their way in. The funny thing about the Ganados is while they replaced zombies as the mainstay enemy type of the game, were emphasized by Shinji Mikami and Capcom that they were NOT zombies, and are often hated on by fans for simply not being zombies. They actually often felt like a better homage to old zombie movies like Night of The Living Dead than the actual zombies in the earlier Resident Evil games ever did! The infamous “cabin fight” sequence illustrates this quite well.
(Leon as he appears in Resident Evil 4)
Resident Evil 4 was a mixed blessing for the franchise and the fans. On one hand it has become one of the most influential and highest rated videogames of all time, and brought back that important element of the unknown that had been missing for so long. On the other, many fans felt it was still a betrayal of the series they came to know and love. I myself am part of the rare camp of old school Resident Evil fans that really embraced and loved it. However there is no denying that the game did strip away a lot of the horror, and was a far more action oriented game than anything the series had seen prior. Unfortunately for the survival horror genre, franchise would only head further and further into the action direction.
The Dissolution of Horror
Resident Evil 5 came and went rather quickly, and didn’t leave a real lasting impression on anyone; be it Resident Evil fans, critics, or just gamers in general. There were many reasons for this, but I feel a large portion of the “ho-hum” reception was due to a lack of focus. Resident Evil 5 tried to be too much for one game, it tried to appeal to old school Resident Evil fans by returning to the previous storyline involving Wesker and Umbrella, it tried to appeal to the xbox live generation of gamers with its online co-op, it tried to appeal to the competitive multiplayer audience with its online multiplayer, all while at the same time trying to live up to expectations everyone had for it being the follow up to Resident Evil 4. There was one complaint that everyone seemed to have that was loud and clear, and that was the utter lack of anything even resembling horror.
For a time, it seemed as though Capcom not only listened to that complaint, but actually kept it in mind for future Resident Evil projects. The Lost in Nightmares DLC for Resident Evil 5 was a great homage to the original game, and Resident Evil: Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS was arguably the return of true survival horror gameplay to the franchise. For a time, things were looking quite up, and when the first trailer and information on Resident Evil 6 surfaced, I was very excited. However once I saw actual extended gameplay videos of Resident Evil 6, my hopes that it would have a greater emphasis on horror than Resident Evil 5 quickly diminished.
Resident Evil 6 looks to be making the exact same mistakes that Resident Evil 5 did, but to an even more ridiculous level. There is a much greater emphasis on action gameplay and online components than there was in even Resident Evil 5, and the lack of focus is more prevalent than ever. The game is trying to appeal to nearly every demographic. More importantly; the promised horror campaign looks to be incredibly shallow. Let’s take a closer look at Leon’s campaign, and see just how much actual horror is in this game.
(Keep in mind everything I’m about to talk about is speculation and comes from watching videos, as I don’t have any access to the recently released demo)
Leon’s section of the recent demo is undoubtedly a much slower pace at first glance than either Chris’s or Jake’s, as this is the proposed “horror campaign”. There’s a lot of excellent lighting work that does give it short of a Raccoon City Police station vibe from Resident Evil 2, and there’s even some great music that adds to the mood. However, that’s where the compliments for Leon’s demo end from me. Right away, despite this being the “horror campaign” you can see the game’s utter lack of faith in that commitment. First there’s an on screen prompt that tells you exactly where you need to go (which at least can be turned off), then there’s a navigation system you can use that illuminates the environment and tells you yet again exactly where to go. Both of these seem rather trivial given the game appears to be linear to the point that you can’t really get lost at all. It’s the same Call of Duty esq level design seen in Chris’s and Jake’s campaigns. How exactly does one get lost if they are being funnelled through a straw? There’s certainly nothing scary about it, that’s for sure.
Then there’s the portion when Leon comes in contact with a survivor that needs help finding his daughter. This was taking the linearity and hand holding to an absurd fucking level. As if the on screen indicators and the navigation system weren’t enough, now the survivor escorts Leon around the environment, that’s right, the NPC is escorting the player around. Capcom clearly thinks most escort missions aren’t bad enough. Now we are the ones being escorted.
Finally, the demo ends on a battle with zombies, and while it is great to see zombies make their return in a Resident Evil game after being away for so long, any sort of tension associated with this encounter seems to fade rather quickly, as I’ve read many impressions that said the combat system enables you to easily defeat them. You don’t even need to use your firearms, the melee system seems to be way overpowered and you can just mow through them. It is possible that this short demo was more of a tutorial section meant to get players accustomed to the game and get a grasp on the ‘horror gameplay’ in Leon’s campaign. I have my doubts however that this will even remain a “horror campaign” for long, just look at the E3 demo Capcom was showing. It was just like Chris’s and Jake’s Campaigns with the over the top Michael Bay inspired action.
As for the other demo’s, Chris’s just looks like a sloppy 3rd person version of Call of Duty, it really didn’t do anything for me when I watched it, other than highlight how awkward the camera is positioned in this game once you take aim. Jake’s campaign was uneventful as well, the new CQC system seems at least a bit inventive, but I have no idea how well it works in practice. It’s also obvious that the new “Ustanak” creature is meant to cater to old school fans nostalgia, as he’s very reminiscent of Nemesis in both appearance and how he chases the player around the environment.
I fully acknowledge that I have not yet been able to play Resident Evil 6 myself yet, but I can’t help but feel like it’s so distant from anything resembling Resident Evil that I have a hard time even recognizing it as a Resident Evil game. Things like the bone crushing linearity ruin any real potential this game had at a creepy atmosphere, not to mention the notion that Leon’s section is horror is completely disingenuous. Having monsters, gore, and a dark room here and there should not automatically classify your game as such. Although Capcom and many other publishers/developers seem to think so, and it’s a lot like what I mentioned earlier about most horror movies being shit for not understanding the genre they claim to be a part of, videogames are heading down that same path. This whole notion of blending horror and action is a total farce because “action” is all about ultimate empowerment, while “horror” is all about disempowerment. From what I can tell of Resident Evil 6, the horror is just being overpowered by the action.
On a final note, I feel it’s important to address people in the gaming community that are insisting that Resident Evil fans need to just accept the fact that it is no longer survival horror. While it’s true that Resident Evil has been heading down this path for a while now, and Capcom have made their intentions clear. The notion that we have to “get over it” is a load of shit. If you are reading this blog, chances are you are a person that is very passionate about videogames, and chances are you also have a specific videogame series that helped define you as a gamer. Now imagine if that series you loved was turned into something that completely goes against what you liked about that series in the first place. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if Valve finally showed off the next Half-Life and it was just another Call of duty clone? The internet would turn into a fucking sea of rage, and no one would be saying “get over it”. Just because you do not have the same affinity for a game or series as others does not make their concerns any less valid.
For me, if I were to say what series helped define me as a gamer, that series would be Resident Evil. I grew up with it and it was pivotal in what I’ve come to like in videogames. It was the series that created survival horror, and throughout much of its history addressed many different kinds of fears people have. It could be continuing that tradition, but when horror is not even the central focus I have my doubts. Now it is just becoming another 3rd person shooter, and most of what fans originally loved about Resident Evil is long gone. I will of course withhold my final judgement of Resident Evil 6 until after I play it, but even if it is a good game, it is still the departure nobody asked for.
If you’ve managed to make it to the end of this blog I thank you, and hope it was interesting for you. While you ponder all of what you just read, may I offer The Ultimate Bio Weapon Melody as your background soundtrack, it’s an arrangement of fully orchestrated music from Resident Evil 2. No real reason for this, I just love it is all :)