During this particularly zombie-filled year, gamers are hard pressed not to see any news about Resident Evil since Capcom is throwing three, count 'em, three titles into the ring. Among the franchise releases to shamble this way, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is the one creating the most waves as it is the one that is diverging the most from the series' survival horror roots. Despite taking place during one of the most popular events in the series' history, fans are still trying to figure out if they're on board with the dramatic changes.
In an interview with CVG, Operation Raccoon City's Producer Masachika Kawata talks about how he thinks series purists might receive the game. For the most part, Kawata isn't worried about traditional Resident Evil fans since a numbered title is being release the same year and thinks it's important to "broaden the market by creating spin offs."
"Of course, it would be the best if this game could attract both existing and new RE fans. It would make us happiest if the existing RE fans play ORC to enjoy the new exciting contents, at the same time, if new game fans notice RE and become interested in the RE universe."
Taking place between the events of RE2 and RE3, players of Operation Raccoon City get the opportunity to play the bad guy through the role of an Umbrella Security Service soldier (U.S.S.), revealing a whole other set of events happening at the same time as the main series while also allowing them to relive and alter the events of the series. Kawata suggests stepping into the shoes of the Umbrella operatives allow players to understand them better, even sympathizing with the enemy. In a recently released 10 minute gameplay preview, gamers were treated to how the story and new shooter style gameplay would be utilized in the title -- either ensnaring traditional RE fans' interests or ensuring their continued opposition.
Slant Six Games, the Canadian development team, took the idea from Capcom and shaped it into what it is today. "Capcom took the initiative in scenario supervision and game system, and Slant Six put all the ideas together and made it into this new exciting game," Kawata says. By having another set of eyes, Capcom was able to head in a different direction for a series that they believed was becoming slightly stale.
"We think we managed to bring more excitement and thrill to the fans of Resident Evil and RE universe. When game designs for a series becomes stuck in the same old pattern, it becomes less entertaining and exciting. With ORC, we were able to come up with new ideas. It was a challenge, but was worth it."
This year, Capcom is managing to both please traditional Resident Evil fans with a numbered and handheld title, that keeps with the popular survival horror genre, and attract new ones by evolving the series through another spin off. If each game is well received (i.e. good) then Capcom is doing the series a major service and deserves some props from its fans or a round of high fives, at the very least.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will drop in stores March 20, 2012 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
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