I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; you can’t please everyone. Especially in such a passionate sphere as the gaming community, it’s a near impossible task God Himself wouldn’t attempt to try. There are too many distinct tastes, personalitites and playstyles that align and become as diverse a group as could be.
But despite this fact, there will always be people who will come along and try the impossible anyway. And unfortunately, I worry that Capcom is shaping up to take a crack at it with Resident Evil 6.
Not enough can be said about the importance of the Resident Evil franchise. It’s thanks to RE that we see the different conventions inherent in both survival horror and zombie action games today. It was the game that coined the atmospheric sounds, the jump scares, the zombie designs…hell, the games even went on to inspire a restaurant in Tokyo.
But it was with Resident Evil 5 that the series made a sharp turn away from the original elements that made it a survival horror game. Gone was the heart-pounding, terrifying feeling of being pursued by Nemesis or battling hordes of the undead with scarce ammo. Instead, the game had a heavy focus on action, becoming more of a sub-par shooter with the Resident Evil namesake stamped across the front.
It wasn’t met with great reception among the hardest of hardcore RE fans, either. Rather, they wrote it off as a bad departure from what they loved about the franchise to begin with.
But Capcom was adamant on their position with the new take on the series, citing that action games sold better than survival horror. And it’s a fair point to be made; after all, like most companies, Capcom does like making money. And although popular, survival horror doesn’t necessarily have the mass market appeal that action shooters do.
Now, I”m not saying I enjoyed RE 5, or that I even liked what they did with it. I simply understand what they were going for and why they did what they did with it.
And now with Resident Evil 6 almost upon us, I’m starting to worry about something else. After studying previews, interviews, and articles and seeing some of the gameplay in action and learning about what they’re trying to do with the game, I fear they’re being a little too ambitious.
Boasting three separate campaigns starring franchise mainstays such as Leon, Helena, and Chris, the game looks to have a deep campaign. And not only does it cover the exploits of three different characters, each of the campaigns has its own emphasis on gameplay that looks to build on the best parts of the Resident Evil games. Leon’s campaign will focus more on survival horror, while Chris’ is a action shooter, and the third campaign follows the son of Wesker as he tries to escape a Nemesis-type boss like the earlier RE games.
Now, on the surface, it seems pretty awesome to have such a wide variety of game campaigns. But I can’t help but feel like they’re trying too hard to prove that they’ve listened to fans and want to deliver the best version of Resident Evil possible. I can practically see the commercial: Oh, you want more survival horror? You’ll love Leon’s campaign! Hey, some people really liked this whole action game thing…better give that crowd another taste of zombie-slaughtering goodness. Do you love bosses you can’t seem to kill that are constantly pursuing you?You’ll love Jake’s campaign. It’s a game anyone can love!
If you want a game that appeals to multiple play styles, there are better ways to approach it than shoehorning all of your best elements into a seeming hodgepodge of a game. This isn’t the way to do it. It’s kind of an odd have-it-all approach that I worry might become somewhat convoluted and won’t end up pleasing anyone.
Ultimately, time will tell. And who knows? Maybe I’ll totally eat my words and never say “you can’t please everyone” again. But while I hope I’m proven totally wrong, I can’t help but feel like RE 6′s ambitious nature will come back to bite it on release day.