It's been far too long since we've heard anything about a new entry into the brilliant franchise that helped zombies really take a foothold in video gaming, so it's only natural that what we want to hear about is Resident Evil 6.
Unfortunately for the rabid Resident Evil fans out there, news on that game will have to wait, and instead we're going to share some information about the newly announced Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.
Last year a rumor suggested that Slant Six Games, the team that developed SOCOM: Confrontation as well as the PSP's SOCOM: Tactical Strike and SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3, was working on a multiplayer Resident Evil title for for Capcom. Today, this rumor may have just been confirmed with a whole slew of details about Opertaion Raccoon City, decidedly not the Resident Evil 6 fans are still waiting for.
A report from Stick Skills has revealed that in OXM's May issue, gamers are going to be treated to their first glimpse of the Slant Six developed title. With a little luck, this offering from Slant Six will be much better recieved than Confrontation was. The report includes a rather large list of details about Slant Six's first venture in the Resident Evil universe and we're going to get into those now.
The game is going to take place in 1998 during the outbreak in Raccoon City. For the first time, players are going to get a glimpse of the Raccoon City incident from the side of the perpetrators instead of the series' protagonists. Gamers will be taking on the role of a group of Umbrella's Security Services agents. The agents, named Vector, Beltway, Bertha and Spectre will each feature different responsibilities in the squad (4-player co-op?).
The game will feature three factions in constant conflict, with the USS agents dealing with US Spec Ops forces and Umbrella's dangerous BOWs (Bio-Organic Weapons). From the sounds of it, players will also be able to take control of the US Spec Ops forces, but nothing has been confirmed with regards to whether or not there will be any mode or option for controllings BOWs.
That isn't to say that the BOWs won't be an important part of gameplay. One scenario was described where Vector uses a cloaking ability so he can sneak in and stir up a group of sleeping zombies so that they'll attack Spec Ops foes.
The zombies meanwhile won't just be your standard Resident Evil fare. They will be able to located you not just by sight and sound, but apparantly also smell. How this mechanic is going to work hasn't been explained, but it sounds like it will be an interesting addition to the survival horror franchise if done right. Maybe players will have to mask themselves with zombie juices as a means of escaping more dangerous threats.
The gameplay is being described as "dirty" with this game being darker than the series has been up to this point. For a series that was originally about scaring the daylights out of people with surprises, it'll be interesting to see what this means. Perhaps this is a reference to the USS agents task of killing every survivor they can. While this wasn't expanded upon, its possible players will be faced with moral decisions like the one posed in the "No Russian" level of Modern Warfare 2.
Nothing has been said about whether or not the game will be canon, but depending on your choices in the game you will have the option to change the history of Resident Evil. You will be able to meet and interact with various characters from the series and even have to opportunity to kill them, altering franchise history. If you're playing the game as the Spec Ops team, you'll conversely have the option to protect them from danger.
Healing will still be handled in traditional Resident Evil fashion through a herb system. How this will work hasn't been revealed yet, but apparantly players wont have to hoard herbs anymore. This may imply that they'll just be basic healing items like med-kits are in other games. Additionally, players will be able to pick up zombies and use them as meatshields as a strategy to help keep them alive.
Operation Raccoon City will feature an experience system where killing zombies will earn the player experience. These experience points will be spent on new abilities and new weapons, and should help encourage players to leave nothing alive. A little more RPG and a little more reward for your actions is a welcome addition.
The city itself will offer some familiar locations that fans of the original games that took place in Raccoon City are sure to recognize. Similarly, players will definitely have run ins with Tyrants during their playthrough. We're keeping our fingers crossed for some run ins with a STARS-muttering Nemesis.
It will be interesting to see if the game is exclusively multiplayer co-op, or if there will be a player vs. player component to the game. There's a wealth of possibilities here for PVP style gameplay, with the most obvious likelihood being a SOCOM type third person battle experience. Slant Six's pedigree of Confrontation may not be what gamers want to hear, but perhaps the lessons learned from that production will be put to good use with Operation Raccoon city.
Another possible twist for multiplayer could be the inclusion of BOWs as either playable characters (please this!) or even just dangerous weapons you can unleash on the opposing team once you've satisfied some kind of pre-requisite, like a killstreak for example. I'm sure this will be something that gets fleshed out as more information on the game becomes available.
With this wealth of information about Operation Raccoon City you'd think there wouldn't be anything left for OXM to reveal, but this is not the case. Their May issue will still have even more to share with gamers about the game, and we'll be here to keep you posted on anything we here about the next installment in the Resident Evil franchise.
What do you think of the first news about Operation Racoon City? Is this a title you're interested in looking into, or does the attachment of Slant Six to the title have you worried that it will disappoint when it ships?
Operation Racoon City will be reaching gamers sometime this winter for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Whether or not this means pre or post-holiday season is still yet to be revealed.
Source: OXM (via Stick Skills)