Aside from maybe Street Fighter, there is no Capcom franchise as well-known or revered than Resident Evil. Fans are vocal about the series, speaking not only through internet forums, but also with their wallets. The series is at an impasse—it saw plenty of success with a more survival horror offering, most recently seen in Resident Evil 4 with Leon Kennedy, and sold millions with action-horror in Chris Redfield’s latest outing in Resident Evil 5. What’s a historic, genre-defining series to do? The best of both worlds, and then some.
Resident Evil 6 will be the first main entry in the franchise to feature up to six different playable characters, in three intersecting storylines. Each of the storylines can be started at any given time, and you don’t need to progress any predetermined amount to access the other’s storylines. However, what you do in one story arc could have positive or negative implications on another. An example given to us by RE6 producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi is that Leon could pick up a rocket launcher during his campaign, which would make it unavailable for Chris. Hirabayashi also made it clear that even though you would revisit some of the same places in each campaign, the team isn’t just reusing the same areas, and each would be presented in unique ways.
Each branch of campaign is roughly 70-80% the size of Resident Evil 5 in scope, providing one massive game. These campaign branches can be played by yourself with a CPU AI or a human friend online. Each storyline features one lead male character and one supporting character. Chris Redfield, whose story is more action-focused, teams up with Piers Nivens. Leon Kennedy’s tale is predominantly survival horror, with newcomer Helena Harper providing backup. The third, previously unannounced character, Jake Mueller—who is actually the son of the late Albert Wesker—is more of a pursuit outing, alongside Sherry Birkin. And even though these do indeed lean toward one form of gameplay more than another, each will have a taste of the other’s styles, as well.
In the demo, the GI Joe-style, overly macho growling dialogue was borderline cheesy, but the intense, heart-pounding boss encounter more than made up for it. The boss, who looked like Tyrant crossed with Bane from Batman and the Shredder from Ninja Turtles (pretty epic, huh?), was more agile than what we’ve seen in the past, requiring unconventional tactics and full co-operation from four playable characters. This boss scene in particular was shown to give a taste of how the multiple storylines would intersect.
Not only was the boss more agile, but also the playable characters. No longer do you have to stop, plant your feet, aim, and shoot. I mean, they are supposed to be secret agents. Jake and Leon were both seen in this demo walking, diving and even laying prone while shooting. This was the one thing fans have been asking for, and Capcom has come through for sure. At its heart, everything in Resident Evil 6 is about giving the fans what they want.
Resident Evil 6 releases this October 2, 2012 on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.