Coming in at number four (PS3) and five (Xbox 360) in Nielsen’s list of the Most Anticipated Games by Console for 2012, Resident Evil 6 has successfully been positioned by Capcom as one of the premier triple-A titles on the market this year. As we’ve previously reported, despite being one of the most recognizable brands in gaming history, the Resident Evil series is not an outright blockbuster seller. While franchise sales are strong and reliable, there’s definitely a lot of room for growth – compared to annualized blockbusters like Modern Warfare and Assassin’s Creed.
However, Capcom has pumped a tremendous amount of resources into Resident Evil 6 – promising gamers the biggest and most entertaining game in the series. Now we’re getting word of just how big the game is allegedly going to be – offering close to 30 hours of game content.
According to Resident Evil 6 director Eiichiro Sasaki (in an interview with Now Gamer), the upcoming Resident Evil title will nearly triple the length of its predecessor which, by comparison, was around a ten hour experience:
“The three characters each have their own story and you can choose whichever one you want and play that story, experience that character’s story [...] In terms of length, each character’s story is a little bit less than RE5 but when you combine them together you’re getting something that is much longer. While each character’s story stands alone, all of the characters wind up in the same area of the game, in China, so there is a certain level of overlap. They stand on their own but they do overlap in certain areas. You don’t have to play them all, of course.”
While the longer campaign length is certainly a welcome addition, the notion of three intertwined narratives – especially intertwined narratives coupled with the claim “you don’t have to play them all” – paints a strange picture of what exactly gamers can expect from the storyline. Sure, as we’ve seen from the most recent Resident Evil 6 campaign trailer, there appear to be a lot of competing motivations between primary characters – even “good guy” protagonists Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield.
However, while it might be fun to gain insight into other branches of the narrative – Capcom is going to have a challenging road ahead of them to make the three story lines unique and essential enough in order to keep the experience from feeling repetitive or stale (even if they, for the most part, take place in different locales). Hardcore fans will no doubt revel in the different story lines but will Call of Duty action gamers (a demographic that Capcom is working hard to attract), really have the patience to tackle multiple playthroughs – once they know the game’s overarching ending (especially when Sasaki himself already indicates that some players might not feel the need)?
In an interview with CVG, Sasaki seemed to assert that part of the reasoning behind the intertwined storylines (as well as allowing players to choose which character arc, or arcs, to tackle) was to allow for a greater variety of storytelling tones:
“Chris’ campaign is an action-based thing but we’re still trying to bring horror elements to each of them in their own way, and even an action story can have elements of horror that you can’t do in, say, Leon’s story – that greater intensity and pressure [...] We’re really trying to recreate the horrific atmosphere fans remember from the first Resident Evils and going for more gothic horror feel for Leon’s part of the story [...] Usually we left every big story moment to the big cut-scenes. This time we wanted to bring that home to the player and make that more immediate. We tried to add those elements to the game itself and bring the player closer to those dramatic elements.”
As a result, it sounds as though those Call of Duty players will likely be drawn to the action-heavy Chris Redfield experience first, where as more traditional Resident Evil fans could start with Leon Kennedy. Sasaki doesn’t address how the third plot line, which will presumably center around Albert Wesker, Jr., compares to these other two arcs; though, if Wesker, Jr. shares any of his father’s genetic abnormalities, it’s possible that the third story branch might offer an entirely different gameplay experience altogether.
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Resident Evil 6 will now release on October 2, 2012 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A PC version is due at a later date.