Striking a balance between survival-horror and action can be a tough gig, as Capcom knows full well in their continuance of the Resident Evil franchise. Stepping further away from the single-angle, slow-pased horror titles that were once the Resident Evil norm, Resident Evil 4 became much more of a shooter and fans ate it up. Come time for Resident Evil 5, and some long-time fans criticised the game for dropping its horror roots in favor of the co-op shooter experience it was.

Regardless of the complaints, RE5 was not only critically praised for its gameplay and graphics, but it became the best-selling installment in the franchise. Other fans criticized the last two main series installments for their control schemes, not lending themselves well for faster paced combat and shooting. Capcom understands and that’s one of the reasons Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is being designed the way it is.

If you’re unfamiliar, while Capcom pushes out a few mobile Resident Evil releases, they’re also developing Operation Raccoon City for the core consoles. Unlike previous games in the series, this Resident Evil is an all-out shooter, featuring 4-player co-op and 8-player multiplayer. It’s designed for those looking for more action and traditional shooter controls.

Resident Evil producer producer Mike Jones explains:

“There’s a middle range there of people who played Resident Evil 4, played Resident Evil 5 and are like, well, I liked it but the controls were so clunky… And we always get dinged for that stuff in reviews. So we said right, let’s f***ing do it. Let’s just make a TPS game and hopefully people will like it.”

We suspect, this is to cater to the growing audience the series is beginning to appeal to thanks to RE5 and it allows Capcom to continue in the survival-horror genre with a more traditional Resident Evil 6, likely to be the next console game in the series post-Operation Raccoon City.

“We know there’s a bunch of Resident Evil fans who just want survival horror. They just want Revelations. Or they just want Resident Evil 2 remake or whatever it is. So, those guys may not be happy with it… The reason we are stepping outside of our comfort zone this time is because we wanted to create a TPS action experience that Westerners were going to enjoy and was going to be familiar with them… The Capcom Japan dev teams didn’t feel confident they could made a shooter that people felt they could pick up and play that were used to playing Gears of War or Uncharted. Slant Six, with their experience with SOCOM, as well as their online tech, were a good fit. They also made us a great prototype. They brought a lot to the table in terms of, what is a TPS, what’s going to be cool about this game, what’s going to be cool about the Special Forces guys?”

Assuming our RE6 theory comes to fruition, Capcom may be able to please everyone by offering what has essentially could be come 3 different types of games, catering to three different audiences (mobile, shooter and survival-horror), thus addressing concerns that the series is abandoning its roots. In another interview with Eurogamer, Tsukasa Takenaka, assistant producer on Resident Evil: Revelations, defended RE4 and RE5, saying they’re still horror games, just “different” types of horror. That’s semantics, friend. As a gamer looking for co-op play and action, RE5 was actually the most enjoyable game in the series, but I completely understand the complaints of fans looking for that classic RE experience.

And what better timing for Capcom to answer, with the live-action Resident Evil film franchise also seeing big success with its fourth movie introducing 3D last year and becoming its best selling installment – the franchise is growing on all fronts.

Jones also earlier revealed that the Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City beta will release early next year thanks to its pushed back March release date – check out the Operation Raccoon City gameplay trailer to see what to expect.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City releases March 20th, 2012 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Capcom has yet to announce a release date for the PC version.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: Eurogamer

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