Re:Verse controversy shows it’s time for a new Resident Evil Outbreak

Rumors of a new multiplayer game set in the Resident Evil universe have been flying in the past few months, and it was finally revealed during the recent showcase. Unfortunately, like Capcom’s other multiplayer RE attempts over the last decade, Resident Evil Re:Verse seems to have been developed without any consideration as to what fans of the franchise desire.

The announcement of Re:Verse was met with controversy. Many fans either expressed displeasure with the premise, and others ignored it entirely. Given the cold reception Re:Verse has had, it’s evident that if Capcom needs to make a new Resident Evil Outbreak if it wants a multiplayer RE game to succeed.

Why Re:Verse doesn’t work

While we’ve only seen a brief trailer of Re:Verse, the official website fills in some of the blanks on how the game plays. You get to choose from a selection of characters from the Resident Evil universe and take part in five-minute deathmatches in iconic locations. Weapons and items can be found around the map, and when a player dies, they turn into a bioweapon. At this point, players can discover Virus Capsules around the map to transform into progressively stronger creatures.

The premise of Re:Verse is decent enough, but the game doesn’t embrace what fans love about Resident Evil. What we’ve seen of it so far seems like a way to flip assets into a generic deathmatch. The halftone filter on the trailer attempted to obscure the fact that all the models and locations are ripped straight from Resident Evil 2, 3, and 7. It’s possible there might be some surprises in the final product, but all we’ve seen so far shows there’s very little that’s new about this game.

Re:Verse doesn’t embrace the survival horror aspect of the Resident Evil series in any way. Resident Evil: Village looks like it very much taps into the franchise’s roots, so it’s strange that it’s companion multiplayer game would be a relatively standard deathmatch. What’s even weirder is that despite Capcom’s flailing attempts to make a Resident Evil multiplayer game, it already devised a successful formula to do so almost 20 years ago.

A new Resident Evil Outbreak is precisely what Capcom wants

Let’s face it. Capcom is a business, and it wants to make money. Single-player titles, like Resident Evil: Village, continue to sell. Six of last year’s top ten best-selling games were single-player focused experiences. However, single-player games have far fewer opportunities for monetization. Resident Evil: Resistance, the asymmetrical multiplayer game released alongside Resident Evil 3 remake, was poised to include microtransactions, which is evident by its design. However, the title never became popular enough, and Capcom stopped releasing major updates for it in October 2020.

In contrast to Resistance, Resident Evil Outbreak was incredibly successful when you consider when it was released. In 2003, online gaming was still being conceptualized for consoles. Outbreak sold 1.45 million copies, which is incredible considering it’s a PS2 exclusive that required a network adapter to be purchased separately to play multiplayer. Both Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 0, which were released on the GameCube during the same timeframe, sold less copies.

Outbreak channeled Resident Evil‘s survival horror into a four-player co-op experience that replicated the tension of solo gameplay. Its scenarios were smaller, but the puzzles, item management, and lore were all comparable to the classic RE titles.

Resident Evil Outbreak Ad-Lib Chat

Instead of being a side experience, Outbreak‘s scenarios added to fans’ overall understanding of the series. Locations like the Raccoon Zoo and Raccoon University filled in the blanks left by main series entries. Design choices, like using an ad-lib system with pre-defined responses instead of voice chat, simulate the difficulties of communicating in real-life and add to the game’s challenge. This concept is expanded by the players having only four slots of inventory, which forces you to work together as a team to gather all the items you need to complete a scenario.

A modern Resident Evil Outbreak wouldn’t even need a major gameplay revamp. Sure, Capcom would likely opt to utilize the over-the-shoulder camera used in RE2 and RE3, but other than that, the basis of Outbreak‘s original design continues to be sound. Even if asset reuse was a must, I’d much rather play an Outbreak-style game that tries to keep Resident Evil’s tone in one of the locations from RE2, RE3, or RE7 than a generic deathmatch.

Resident Evil Outbreak Character Selection

Of course, monetization would be a concern for Capcom, but again, Outbreak trumps Resistance and Re:Verse here as well. Outbreak features a ton of unlockables. There are multiple costumes for each character, and you can even unlock NPCs as player characters. The studio could monetize all these in some form. Since it would be co-op instead of competitive, Capcom could even follow Apex Legends‘ steps and add new characters to purchase in updates.

Capcom desperately wants an RE title that utilizes the Games as a Service model, and a new Resident Evil Outbreak would fill that role splendidly. Instead of chasing formulas that have worked for other games, Capcom could have a unique title that further the Resident Evil lore and which could be updated with new cosmetics and scenarios for years. Many stories could be told in the many gaps in and between main Resident Evil games, and Capcom is losing out by wasting resources when the fanbase is making it clear that games like Resistance and Re:Verse isn’t what they want.