Resident Evil Outbreak hit at precisely the right time for fans. They just had no idea. The idea for an online multiplayer focused Resident Evil was made along with Monster Hunter as Capcom’s foray into online gaming. They wanted a successful title and as history tells Monster Hunter won that race. That being said Outbreak still did well commercially, and despite being rough around the edges the series holds promise. With Capcom’s latest effort to release some of the more beloved games and figure out what fans want, Outbreak is just begging for a comeback.
When Capcom remastered Resident Evil Remake in the form of Resident Evil HD it was met with a great big cheer from the gaming community. After the magic that was RE4, the series hit reset and amped up the action. With Remake it seemed Capcom finally understood what made the series great and brought back one of the most classic examples of that mentality.
With the remastered version of the gamecube exclusive Resident Evil 0, it seems the company noticed the sales and critical praise HD remaster received. Upon starting it up it’s pretty clear more time was taken to upgrade the visual fidelity of the game and even add in some extra content in the way of a new character. On top of that, it was also announced that a remake of Resident Evil 2 is in the works. This sounds like a dream come true if Capcom can nail it. Now that’s all good and wholesome, but if Capcom is going to play around with some of their older titles then let’s see a remake/re-release of
There are two Outbreak games with the sequel ostensibly being a content pack for the first game. Now capcom can take the less expensive route for this and just re-release those as Outbreak HD. Take all the scenarios from both games and combine them into one hub where players can progress through each scenario. Party chat can be added for when players inhabit the same room or area, and maybe a progression system can be added on top of the unlock system already present. They may have to touch up the visuals and the controls, but with all of the love for the classic Resident Evil games going around this could be a fun experience for the right price. A twenty dollar download of Outbreak, cleaned up and with improved online would do much better in today’s climate of gaming.
Capcom would have to brace themselves though. Outbreak does not carry the same cache as Remake did, and the sales may be closer to something like 0. That being said this second chance at an exceptional idea could help flush out what that game did right, Outbreak had a true sense of panic throughout. Each scenario included many ways to progress no matter what character you chose, and players who worked together could complement each other, adding to this band of survivors mentality that’s oh so popular in shows like Walking Dead and games like Left 4 Dead. Now if that doesn’t sound like a dream project hear me out on this.
What if Capcom went the whole city block and used the original outbreak games as a blueprint for an entirely new Outbreak experience? This doesn’t have to be a giant full price retail game. They could take the small team and a lower budget (server costs being the only real kicker) and make a sort of Outbreak remake. I look at something like Demon Souls and the popularity of the Souls games and see an excellent idea.
Keep the scenario structure of Outbreak, but turn it into a more single player experience with Online integrated. The player creates a survivor, chooses a class (the original character archetypes for Outbreak could serve this function), and is dropped into a smaller resident evil world. They have an objective and a destination. While the player is in the world, other characters inhabit them in the same way as the ghosts do in Demon/Dark Souls. Predicting possible ways for the player to die and even to go as far as leaving survivor diaries for the player to read. If the player chooses to, they can also have other players enter their scenario to help or hinder. In the same way that Outbreak’s multiplayer was either co-op or griefing, players could help others or mess with them. Except instead of just killing them the other player could rush ahead and cause problems later on. This dynamic online experience could give players a choice in how they want to experience the game. Revamped scenarios based on the ones in the Outbreak games could create many interesting ways for the community to come together and theorize the most optimal playthroughs.
This is ambitious and the chances Capcom would take such a big risk seem small. It’s much more likely they will bring back the originals, which is totally fine by me. Capcom has definitely thought about it though, as their public questions released back in 2012 show two separate options for Outbreak to return. With this being the 20th anniversary of the series, we as fans can only hope Capcom will deliver. The other possibility is that the new shooter Umbrella Corps is being made as the solution to online Resident Evil. If this is the case then the Outbreak series may actually be dead forever. They may have made some amends for the botched Mega Man anniversary, but let’s see the company really appreciate and show some love for what made them. Hopefully Resi 2 Remake lives up to the hype, and maybe we will see some big plans for the series in the near future.