For many years, the Resident Evil series has been synonymous with the survival horror genre. Placing players in horrible odds against nightmare creatures or aberrations with minimal supplies - and expecting them to escape. It really gets the adrenaline going. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will see the first official departure from survival horror (though some fans might argue the last two installments were more action-focused as well) into the realm of action for Resident Evil, and it wasn't easy.
Operation Raccoon City will be serving as Slant Six Games' attempt to lure in new players to the Resident Evil franchise, presenting a much more action-focused game than prior entries. The first ten minutes of gameplay portray a much more fast-paced and less oppressive feeling Resident Evil title. However, since this game is not locked-in as a traditional Resident Evil title, Slant Six Games had some room to play around. Why not give gamers the chance to play as elite Umbrella Security Service agents who are charged with wiping out all evidence of the Raccoon City outbreak - including U.S. Military special operators as well as Leon S. Kennedy.
Producer Masachiki Kawata has shared with CVG that creating such a game was a very difficult challenge to overcome - but that, despite the challenge, it's a fun gameplay experience:
"Making a Resident Evil that was not survival horror was the biggest challenge [...] In terms of the fans of traditional Resident Evil, I was not worried because we have the numbered titles as well. Also, we thought it was important to broaden our market by creating spin offs."
For the more discerning Resident Evil fan, Resident Evil 6 will be coming out later this year. The latest trailer presents the game as a marriage between the more action-focused portions of Resident Evil 5 and the more isolated and oppressive horrors from Resident Evil 4 - not a bad thing at all.
Creating a Resident Evil game and eschewing the survival horror elements and replacing it with a much more fast-paced action experience seems like it will be a very calculated risk by Capcom. On the one hand, if the game doesn't do well, RE6 will be coming out later to make up for it and on the other, if it does well, the franchise gets more fans. Sounds like a win-win, doesn't it?
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City releases on March 20, 2012 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
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