Make no mistake, Capcom still considers Resident Evil to be one of the most lucrative franchises in its possession. While the studio is still staying rather quiet on the next mainline entry in the series, this morning saw Capcom announce a new multiplayer shooter entitled Umbrella Corps at the Tokyo Game Show.
The game will be set in the Resident Evil universe, and is a multiplayer shooter geared towards competitive play. From the first trailer, it seems that players will take on the role of an Umbrella Corps soldier — but they will be fighting both other operatives and the series' trademark undead enemies.
The quick cuts of this reveal trailer make it difficult to get too much of a read on the pacing of gameplay, but we do see several different mechanics demonstrated. Melee combat seems to be something of a focus, with a nasty-looking weapon called the Zombie Beil being given particular prominence.
The Beil also seems to tie into some kind of traversal system, not unlike the sort of mechanic we've seen in games like Dying Light and Brink. We're seeing more and more of this type of gameplay in multiplayer shooters, so it's not all too surprising to see Umbrella Corps follow the trend.
Similarly inevitable is the presence of a cover system, which is described as 'analog' in the trailer. There's a risk that the game might seem like a grab bag of elements from other popular titles based on what we've seen so far, but it's far too early to tell whether the mixture works at this point in time.
The Resident Evil franchise certainly could lend itself to an engaging entry in this genre, but it all depends on the execution — and I'm not talking about the Gears-inspired curb stomp we see in the trailer. In the past, the series' spin-offs have definitely ranged from very good to very bad.
The Outbreak games won over many fans with their multiplayer action, but conversely there were few that truly enjoyed Operation Raccoon City and its attempt to implement out-and-out shooter gameplay. Here's hoping that Umbrella Corps turns out closer to the former than the latter.
Also of note is the fact that the game seems to be a console exclusive for the PlayStation 4. Ever since a brief period of exclusivity for Nintendo consoles in the early 2000s, Resident Evil games have largely released for all major platforms, although it's unlikely this move will impact the next mainline game in the series.
Capcom is certainly entering a crowded market with the release of Umbrella Corps, but the popularity of the Resident Evil franchise might help it carve out an audience. If that is the case, expect to see more budget-priced spin-offs to major franchises from other developers.
Umbrella Corps is expected to release for PlayStation 4 and PC in early 2016.