When Resident Evil 6 was announced back in January, I was thrilled to once again take the reins of some of my favorite characters. The first trailer alone shows Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, and a newcomer, Jake Muller, who as it turns out is the son of Albert Wesker. There wasn’t much info to be had, and I wanted more.
Cue E3 2012 and the fantastic slew of information that’s been released to the world. Capcom hosted a closed-door demo of the game that shed some light on not only their plans for the story, but their plans for multiplayer as well. What I saw was simply amazing, and I can’t help but be pleased with the direction Capcom is taking.
The closed-door demo starred Leon and his partner Helena as they made their way through chaotic streets, eventually running into Jake and his partner, Sherry Birkin (yes, the girl from Resident Evil 2). This is where one of Capcom’s biggest revelations came to light: the story of Resident Evil 6 will follow three main paths, each with their own take on the narrative. Leon and Helena’s story will hearken back to the Resident Evils of old, focusing more on suspense and terror than action. Jake and Sherry’s story sees them constantly being pursued by the Ustanak, a giant B.O.W. that’s reminiscent of nemesis. The final arc, Chris Redfield and his partner Piers, will feature a more action-based approach a la Resident Evil 5. Sometimes, these stories will intersect with one another, in this case Leon and Helena’s story is now mixed with Jake and Sherry’s.
Here’s where things get interesting: say for instance I am playing two-player co-op with Ron as Leon and Helena, and elsewhere Cassidee and Travis are playing as Jake and Sherry. At this point of the story, if we’re all playing around the same and we select to allow this option, then the game automatically switches to four-player co-op: Leon, Helena, Jake, and Sherry can all be controlled in this instance. The seamless integration of other players into one story is an incredible addition, as more human players means better chances of survival. The idea of instant four-player co-op is tremendous, certainly a daunting task for Capcom to fulfill.
The demo then moved into the battle of the four characters against the Ustanak. During the fight, Jake climbed some boxes in order to push some fuel tanks on the ground. Using Leon as bait, Jake waited until Ustanak was close to the fuel tanks, shot one and BOOM, the Ustanak fell. As the two teams tried to find a way out of the area, Ustanak awoke and went on a rampage, separating the group of four in the process. In another small twist, the two teams were separated in an unexpected way: Leon was now paired with Sherry while the two found a way back to the battle, while Jake was with Helena, both stuck tangling with the Ustanak. The idea of changing up the teams during any four-player co-op play is brilliant, especially when you consider that four-player co-op only happens on certain occasions. This is exactly the type of creative development choices I had been hoping for.
Resident Evil 6 left me very impressed after the presentation. I love the three intersecting storylines, each with their own narrative style. I was blown away by the seamless four-player co-op feature during times where the storylines do intersect. Most of all, I am very intrigued by where those storylines will be heading. For every answer I receive, I have two more questions to ask: is Ada Wong really a villain? Considering the Ustanak’s penchant for continuous pursuit, is it related to Nemesis in some way? Is there more to the pairing of Jake Muller (son of Albert Wesker) and Sherry Birkin (daughter of RE2 villian William Birkin) than meets the eye?
These questions won’t be answered until October 2nd, but if the game continues on the path I’ve seen so far, it’ll be one of the top games of 2012. October 2 can’t come soon enough.