‘Resident Evil 6′ Sales Below Expectations: Should Future ‘RE’ Games Return to Form?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 3:36 pm,

Resident Evil 6 Comic Con Panel

At the time of the Resident Evil 6 release, Capcom was confidently touting over-the-top action in their latest flagship survival horror installment. However, after a mixed-to-negative response from critics (read our Resident Evil 6 review) and uninspired word-of-mouth from faithful gamers, the publisher began to significantly tweak the recently released title – undoing a number of clear-cut design decisions: adding a co-op character for the “solo” Ada campaign and expanding the auto-assist QTE option to all difficulties, among other updates.

While Capcom has positioned the changes as a commitment to “evolving” the game, most players know that, love it or hate it, Resident Evil 6 was shipped with a number of frustrating and outright broken mechanics that undercut potential enjoyment in a title that was promised to be the biggest and best franchise chapter yet.

While sales for the title were strong out the gate, Capcom is now claiming that the game underperformed in the subsequent months, leading the publisher to warn investors of decreased profits for the financial year.

Here’s the official word from Capcom:

“Sales of the major new title Resident Evil 6 were initially strong but subsequently weakened. As a result, sales for this title are certain to fall short of the plan.”

While the developer does not list a finite number, we do know that (prior to release) Capcom was expecting to ship over seven million Resident Evil 6 units prior to the end of the financial year on March 31, 2013. The number was later revised to five million units – a number that Capcom no longer believes is feasible.

Even though sales have failed to meet expectations, it’s important to put the numbers in context – specifically: it took over two full years for Resident Evil 5 to sell 5.8 million copies. It’s possible that, even if Resident Evil 6 numbers are well-below expectations, there’s still room for the game to out-sell its predecessor. That said, sales aren’t everything – since profit is the  main concern in a title’s longterm return on investment – and Capcom hasn’t (and won’t) release specific information regarding overhead for either game. As a result, without detailed numbers it’s impossible to know whether or not the new action-focused direction of Resident Evil 6 has helped or hurt the overall viability of the brand.

One thing is certain though, word-of-mouth (which helped push sales of Resident Evil 5 higher and higher for the last three years) is not in Capcom’s favor when it comes to Resident Evil 6. Unless the publisher can turn the negative buzz around, it’s definitely possible that game sales will continue to flounder. Overturning unenthusiastic word-of-mouth is certainly a major factor in the publisher’s “work in progress” game commitment – as they remove/alter frustrating elements of the title until gamers stop complaining about it (in the hope that players might, instead, recommend it).

But what does the underperformance of Resident Evil 6 mean for the future of the franchise? Specifically, will Capcom continue down the action-adventure path in an effort to expand the series’ appeal – given that many of their action-focused design decisions were not warmly received?

Resident Evil 6 Comic Con Preview - Chris Gameplay

Even if Capcom’s “evolving” game campaign ultimately leads to improved sales, it’s hard to imagine they’ll ship a title with so many unneeded modes (we’re looking at you “Agent Hunt“) and overly-complicated/interwoven story campaigns. While fans might have at first been excited for the “biggest” Resident Evil 6 game yet, it’s clear that Capcom over-extended themselves and, in this case, more content did not mean a better gameplay package.

However, it’s unlikely the publisher will allow Resident Evil 7 development leads to stray this far into the action genre either – at least if they can’t, at the same time, deliver a supremely satisfying action experience. Capcom has previously stated they want to attract Call of Duty gamers but neither Resident Evil 6 nor Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City presented the polish and spectacle of a Call of Duty game (whether you’re a fan of the shooter franchise or not). Over-the-top vehicle crashes, combat rolls, and intrusive QTE sequences aren’t the core pillars of a great action title – so unless the developers intend to significantly overhaul how they approach action, they risk further alienating core franchise followers, without satisfying the expectations of those coveted blockbuster shooter gamers.

Of course, as many fans have been arguing, there’s also the possibility that Capcom needs to simply admit that taking the survival horror out of Resident Evil actually hurts, not improves, the game’s appeal. Maybe the Resident Evil brand, saddled with nearly two decades worth of baggage, genuinely can’t evolve into a full-on action experience? In their effort to movie the franchise forward, the publisher keeps running into the same problem: at what point do you change the gameplay so much, that you lose sight of what made the series stand out in the first place? For many, Resident Evil 6 will stand as a example of the developer straying too far. Instead of releasing two attempted action titles this year, they could have gone the Metal Gear franchise route – i.e. rely on spin-offs (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) to extend the brand. After all, that’s what we all expected when Capcom first announced Operation Raccoon City. Moving forward, they could ratchet up the quality and polish in a Operation Raccoon City 2 and dial-back over-the-top elements in Resident Evil 7 (while restoring fan-favorite survival horror elements).

Resident Evil 6 Comic Con Preview - Leon Dodging

Still, there’s no way of knowing exactly how Capcom will approach development on future Resident Evil titles. It’s possible that the next numbered game will also become “the biggest” and, as a result, contain even more unneeded features, modes, and gameplay tweaks. However, our hope is that Capcom will take this time to seriously consider where they want to take Resident Evil in the future – instead of rushing in with a “me too” mishmash of ideas. We understand that the publisher wants to expand the brand, and we’re open to action-focused Resident Evil games, but hopefully they’ve learned a few lessons and will try for a more focused and refined adventure next round.

Bigger is not always better (and doesn’t necessarily lead to better sales).

-

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.

Resident Evil 6 will be out March 22, 2013 for PC players and is available now on PS3 and Xbox 360.

Source: CVG

TAGS: Capcom, Operation Raccoon City, PC, PS3, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 6, Xbox 360

43 Comments

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  1. I loveeee RE: Operation Raccoon City and RE 6. Best yet. I hope they come out with RE 7!! Plz!!

  2. why i think Resident Evil 6 suck..
    1. to many quick time event.
    2. no weapon upgrade and not showing weapon stat.
    3. why u cant shoot zombie play dead and just let them grab/bite your leg. b*******!!
    4. zombie can use weapon now!! zombie with sickle, axe, bat, machine gun and MAGNUM!! WTF!! ( try pro mode in leon campaign chapter 1 to see zombie with magnum ).
    5. nothing is mysterious… just moving forward.
    6. melee punch and kick more powerful than handgun..
    7. new B.O.W is suck!!.
    8. simmon boss.. seriously.. u waste ammo to kill him and he keep coming back with new transform.. 4 time!!
    9. your character live become so cheap.. do u want to play a game where your character always keep dying? checkpoint refill your health when u die.. this game for noob..
    10. no costume, no secret weapon, no rocket launcher for leon and nope… nothing good to unlock just ada campaign and infinite ammo only good.
    actually there more.. camera, control, zombie chose to beat u to death rather than bite u, arrow mark tell u everything u need to do and more.. resident evil 6 is suck for true fans.. RE6 the only good i see is graphic..

    • true man i hate re6 for these reasons i rather play re5 than this one. they made this game boring. i hope re7 will be better that this one

  3. i play all of RE game… here what i think from previous RE
    Resident Evil Zero = best co ops horror, tension, puzzle and scary atmosphere.
    Resident Evil 1 ( Remake ) = best survival horror, scary atmosphere, tension and puzzle.
    Resident Evil 2 = best shooter survival horror and tension.
    Resident Evil 3 = best shooter survival horror, puzzle, tension and Nemesis ( love it ).
    Resident Evil 4 = new RE with action element and its good because RE4 still have puzzle, tension, survival horror atmosphere and tension moment plus with awesome graphic.
    Resident Evil 5 = the story to short and become more action shooter game. how about puzzle? only 1-2 time.. how about tension? nope not at all.. ammo is everywhere, how about horror atmosphere? only a feel it a little.. RE5 still fun to play but not a RE franchise.
    Resident Evil 6 = its SUCK see my comment above.
    Resident Evil ORC = this game have real ZOMBIE/Cool B.O.W and fun to play in online mode. this RE not for solo/offline player.
    Resident Evil Revelation = i dunno.. lets wait for the release date.
    Resident Evil Outbreak file 1-2 = best online/ofline games. this RE have all we want.. tension, atmosphere, puzzle, survival/co ops horror.. dunno why capcom stopped making new RE Outbreak.
    Resident evil Darkside/Umbrella Choronicle = this RE more like remake from RE 2-3 with beautiful graphic but this game only shoot.. shoot.. shoot.. still this RE fun to play.
    Resident Evil Dead Aim = umm.. not a good game but not a bad game to.. its just feel bored when playing this games.
    Resident Evil 7 = a lots RE review and comment said they want Claire and Jill for RE7.. yep i want this 2 hottie in RE7 to.. but after playing RE 5-6.. i hope capcom not making same mistake likes RE 5-6.. just give back what we love and like.. survival horror… :)

    • you forgot resident evil code veronica! anyway i agreed re6 suck. sales 4.8 billion why im not surprise?

    • yup i played re3,4 i like their horror atmosphere and puzzles and much more

  4. RE6 is great game shooting is best in RE history hand to hand combat is better and could be even more, great characters Leon, Helena, Chris etc. I hate Javo or whateva, big shark, that fu””ing dino spiders and Kangoroo Why the hell make something like that? But still I like this better then Dead Space (where you shooting 4 or 5 type Enemies hand to hand sucks, from begining till the end all Textures are the same bad Motions and many more probs.) Ive played many games in coop RE is better. More zombies not B.O.W. thatsit (sorry4myEnglish)

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