Capcom Shunts ‘Oldies’ Into an Early Grave To Sell Resident Evil to Investors

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Avatar of Paul Graham
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on December 31, 2013
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Capcom have obviously aimed their new White Paper at investors, outlining their plans for the series and why they should throw money at the rapidly flagging franchise of ‘survival horror’ games. Unfortunately they seem to be sticking a middle finger up to long time Resi fans while doing so… Not exactly the first time Capcom have alienated their fan-base.

Apparently, because the series has been up and running (sometimes shambling) for eighteen years, the people who initially bought and supported the first titles are ‘outgrowing’ games. I almost spluttered my coffee over my monitor when I read this, being a man in his mid-thirties and controller juggling is still a main part of my everyday life. Just because I disliked Resident Evil 5 and hated Resident Evil 6 does not mean I’m getting too old for the series, it means that Capcom produced something that they thought people wanted and failed.

The paper describes the outlook for the series in numerous passages about bringing RE to the younger crowd and gaining their support, such as getting coverage in popular fashion magazines. Does this mean the next episode will include Jill, 6 stone in weight and sporting a Gucci stab-proof vest? Will Lickers be bursting through Dolce and Gabanna billboards instead of crashing through skylights? Will Leon adopt the facial features of Justin Bieber? I would hope they’d apply that last one to the zombies, as who wouldn’t want to play a game where you get to fire a shotgun into that face without getting arrested.

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As Resident Evil has dwindled into nothing more than a flashy action adventure game from what was a compelling series of very clever and sometimes scary games, does going in this direction appeal to anyone else?

I can picture Resi, aimed at teenagers of today in all it’s glory. Some of it more horrific than the content of the game itself. Lady Gaga and dubstep music playing in the background while you pick your way through boring city streets, plastered in advertisements for brainless brands and corporate monsters. Trying to tell the difference between a zombie and civilian, coveting their iPhone like the brainwashed living dead that they are. Having to text your partner orders instead of direct vocal communication, even though you’re standing right next to them and let’s not forget, text speak instead of proper subtitles.

Yes, we all loved the voice acting from the original Resident Evil with stunted lines, emotionless storytelling and the deadpan tones of Barry Burton, it was so bad it was funny. It would be worse, however, if that was all translated into abbreviation and the text style, monosyllabic and badly spelt language of today’s generation.

Chris Redfield: I cn c sumtin up ahed, Jill.

Jill: OMG, Kris! It a zomby!

Chris: I haz shtgun. Pewpew tym!

Never will I hold my head in my hands about the infamous Jill sandwich line again.

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Tsutomu Masuda, Senior Manager of Promotion Planning had a lot to say about the series and it’s success too:

What we focus on when running promotions for “Resident Evil” is delivering a message that respects its 17-year story, which is a rarity in the game industry, and its world in a format that does not disappoint the expectations of users. It is important for us to analyze what customers want from “Resident Evil” and embark on strategies to successfully convert that into expected value. We launched strategies to get fans excited from the announcement of “Resident Evil 6″ through to the release period, employing mechanisms to spread this excitement to casual users.

The problem with this statement is that the series has not been respected for quite a long time, neither has the feedback of the real fans. You know, us old bastards? Since Resident Evil 4, the story has in fact lost it’s way. The promotions for the game have been nothing less than opportunistic guff that may excite Capcom, but falls a little flat when it comes to stimulating the masses of survival horror fans. Most players were already a bit cautious of Resident Evil 6, rather than excited, after the huge changes in the past which took a great format and dumped it in the bargain bin so it could try and compete with Call of Duty, a totally different genre altogether.

After reading about how Capcom were determined to bring the franchise back to form earlier this year, they are obviously focusing some trendy new ideas at investors. It’s a shame that most Resident Evil fans probably won’t agree with what’s being said in the document though and if they think that basing the brand off the ‘success’ of the movies, the newer titles and the fact that the world is obsessed with branding and expensive crap, then they’ll just send the old favourite to a much needed early grave.

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Investors may fall for it, but does that mean the game will be shaped to their expectations and not ours? That’s not really a good selling point for consumers of a product.

What are your thoughts on this scheme? Is it fair of me to take a pop at a publisher for destroying something you might find dated? Do you relish the thought of prancing down a catwalk while fending off zombies? Let us know in the comments box below.

  • http://www.n3rdabl3.co.uk/members/josh-francis/ Josh Francis

    I must admit I’m a select fan of Resident Evil (mostly because I can’t stand spiders). I loved Resi 4, the animated films and the manga I’ve found. I am fascinated by the story it spins. I’d love to see an onoing anime or western animation series or perhaps more comics or manga based on the events of the game.

    Yay or nay our N3 die hard Resi Evil fan?

  • http://www.n3rdabl3.co.uk/members/bigmalky79/ Paul Graham

    I’m in two minds about it Josh. I think it’s the merchandising and fanning out of the IP that’s ruined it completely. Everything Capcom have done to the series over the past ten, maybe twelve years has been some thinly veiled cash grab with tenuous links to the original content.

    I think they need to start again, forget about the current pile of dog curlies it’s become and make a game that’s worthy of the original’s name. Then maybe when they stop trying to modernise the genre and make corporate deals, they can try to actually make Resident Evil the respected brand that it once was.

    All the current alternative entertainment for RE is not needed and most of it aspires to be canon when it’s actually just bad fan fiction that’s been allowed to circulate under Capcom’s name so they can make a few quid.

    Short opinion: Start again, forget Alice, forget las plagas and all the globetrotting and military guff.

  • http://www.n3rdabl3.co.uk/members/josh-francis/ Josh Francis

    Fair play. The boot did work for Mortal Kombat, though I am a bit biased since Resi 4 was my favourite Resi game. I liked some of alternative entertainment but it’s a very mixed bag. It’s needs more strategy as franchise and a consistent plan of action and not just about trying to make a quick buck here and there.