Capcom's financial results are in, and the big news is that, despite still managing to shift almost five million copies, Resident Evil 6 is officially a disappointment, unable to meet publisher expectations.
The critically not-very-acclaimed-might-as-well-have-been-a-spin-off entry in the series has shifted 4.8 million copies to date, with Capcom predicting it'll eventually hit 5 million. While those numbers are high, Capcom expected better of its biggest 2012 title, saying:
"The flagship title Resident Evil 6 (for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360), despite recording brisk sales when it debuted, subsequently lost its momentum, resulting in the failure to achieve planned sales and fulfill its role as a driver of sales expansion," admitted the publisher.
As far as Resident Evil 6 goes, I'd almost be tempted to gloat like a smarmy weasel and celebrate the failure of one of the most tacky attempts to homogenize a game I've ever had the displeasure of playing. It would be satisfying to declare, "Serves you right," and film myself dancing around a grave I've built for the game in my back yard, before launching into a passionate tirade about how those who desperately follow the market will never become market leaders.
But I don't actually feel much joy at this news. Or sadness. It's just ... a thing that happened.
I was sad playing most of Resident Evil 6. Like many of you reading, Resident Evil was a big part of my childhood, an icon in survival horror that popularized the genre and was, to the many of us who missed out on Alone in the Dark, a brand new way of playing a videogame. For years, Resident Evil was the leading example of horror gaming. Sure, it was cheesy, and it lacked the truly macabre leanings of Silent Hill, but it was the vanguard of the genre, and not without reason.
To see how low the series had sunk, going from a leader to this miserable, cloying, desperate little mimic, pathetically swimming in the wake of bigger and better games, was just depressing. I'm not happy it failed. I'm still sad it ever existed, and I'd rather us be able to talk about a good Resident Evil succeeding, as opposed to an awful Resident Evil doing badly.
Then there's the frequent reminder of how unwieldy and bloated the world of "AAA" game development has become, where you can sell 4.8 million copies and still fail your masters. It's not exactly positive news that a game could do that well by any normal standards but still be bad enough to cause alarm. Resident Evil 6 was already a product of fear, of the growing paranoia among publishers that they will never make their money back, and this latest setback could only drive Capcom further into the gibbering madness that seems to have taken hold.
Still, I do recognize that this was the most positive outcome we could have had. Better Resident Evil 6 do poorly and give Capcom a chance to regain its senses, than do well and justify the series continuing to be a neutered industry parrot.
And hey, Revelations did alright, so at least the RE game that wasn't worse than a plate of cold sperm came through. Hopefully that sends the correct message.
Capcom FY2012 3Q results [NeoGAF]