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Resident Evil 6 Producer: "We Need To Have Mass-Market Appeal In Order To Survive"

Jonathan Lester
Capcom, Resident Evil 6, Survival Horror

Resident Evil 6 Producer: "We Need To Have Mass-Market Appeal In Order To Survive"

'You Can't Just Bombard Players With Horror Elements'

With Resident Evil 6 garnering an staggeringly mixed critical reception due to its abandonment of true horror for cooperative thrills, Capcom has spoken out to explain why they decided to focus on "mass market appeal." Apparently, it's the only way the brand can survive.

"With Resident Evil, we’re trying to be as inclusive as possible," director Hiroyuki Kobayashi told 1UP. "We’re trying to reach as many people as possible.”

“That makes it hard to maintain a horror feel to it when you’re trying to be inclusive. It is a challenge. I’m not afraid to admit that. We’re trying to see what kind of action we can include in the game and still maintain the horror sensibilities. Trying to blend those together is not an easy thing to do.”

Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi chipped in to explain that survival horror has a "niche appeal," and that they need to cater to the mass market in order to "survive" due to spiralling development costs.

“I believe you can do it,” he elaborated. “ You can make a horror game with mass appeal. But you’re looking at a sort of Venn diagram of people who really like horror and people who really like video games or Resident Evil. Where that comes together… I think you can create a really great form of horror entertainment, but if this were the quintessential horror entertainment, it might not have mass appeal. It’ll have very niche appeal, unfortunately.”

“We’re making games and we need to have mass-market appeal in order to survive. How far do we go into horror before we lose the support of the average player? How far are we going to lessen the horror elements at the risk of losing core fans, including Resident Evil fans?”

“The challenge is trying to push it as close to the edge either way, so that we can satisfy both groups of people. I think we can do it, I really do like horror. I’m fine with pushing it up to 11 in terms of horror. But maybe that’s not what we can do and still be saleable. For instance, if you have multiple scary stages, just one right after another, and you give that to a Resident Evil fan, they’ll be happy with it at first. But they’ll get inured to it after a while. It won’t be scary for them anymore. I think they would lose interest at that point.”

“It’s the same with casual players. They play this and it’s just too scary and they don’t want to keep going. It’s too much. It overwhelms them. In order to make and experience something that these two groups find enjoyable, you have to take a step back from that.”

“You can’t just bombard them with these horror elements, Kobayashi concluded. "You have to mix in some stages that are more entertaining and fun than pure horror.”

This interview was conducted before Resident Evil 6 released - and us critics are utterly divided on whether Resident Evil 6 indeed managed to "satisfy both groups of people." In our 7/10 review, I contend that the latest sequel definitely caters for fans of intense cooperative action, but will leave survival horror aficionados utterly underwhelmed.

As the consumer, the most important opinion is yours. Not mine, not Capcom's - yours. If you're playing through Resi 6, we'd love to know what you make of it.

Add a comment2 comments
Breadster  Oct. 3, 2012 at 11:05

Silent Hill > Resident Evil, that's all I'm saying.

Awebb  Oct. 3, 2012 at 20:43

If Capcom can spare me as a customer, then Capcom is free to create games that will not have me included in the target audience. I can find other games to play from other studios, maybe I even find another genre to prefer, as the number of survival horror games in my collection is big. I will, however, miss the Zen that could be found in older games, when all you heard was music and a synthetic clock-clock-clock of your characters footsteps. I might even find other things to do with my free time, it is not like playing video games was the apex of my existence.

I actually bought RE6, giving the series another chance. After one step in the wrong direction with RE4 and a game I will probably only remember for its co-op gameplay, I finally saw the return of zombies, around ten years after the last proper Resident Evil game with a canonical story. While the game is not very interesting, neither in terms of story nor gameplay, it is an enjoyable co-op shooter. The controls have improved, our main reason to die in RE5 were the screwed up movement and the broken cover system.

Yes, that is all. I am in the middle of Leon's campaign, so there is still a lot to explore, but there has not been anything interesting about the story so far. I don't want to go into details, ruining as little as there is in the first place, so all I say is, that they keep tearing their own plot holes to fill them up with the digested remains of what was once a fond youth memory of many gamers.

Due to the linearity of modern games (wider audience, yes…), I rarely remember locations and maps. I had this discussion with many gamers many times, they all decided that backtracking is bad, feeling a lack of satisfaction when being too long in the same area. I really love exploring areas, finding out more about static entities in the gaming world, when a simple statue I walked across so many times turns out to be a keystone, solving puzzles that require me to analyze the map, making me plan my routes carefully so I don't have to walk back and forth too many times, saving ammo for a second visit and so on. RE6 is like most modern games, it's a typical travel story, where the heroes have to go from where they are to where the party is, in order to save the day. There are also no notable riddles. I can no longer marvel at my goal for subsequent sequences, work hard to obtain a key by first solving ten other riddles. If there are any keys in RE6, then you either already have that key, because some NPC gave it to you, or there will soon enough be a monster that will drop the key.

Then there is this EXP system. Some monsters drop experience points and those points can also be found in boxes. You can use those points to buy skills, like better aim, higher drop rates, influencing the partner behavior and so on. Since the concept seems to be "co-op online game", a certain amount of RPG elements are appropriate and it helps coming back to the game for some grinding. On the other hand: It totally ruins any immersion into the role of a survivor of the zombie apocalypse. I don't feel like I'm in there anymore. I cannot feel sympathy for Leon. How could he fail? Did I not give him all the levelups he needs?

The character is no longer my avatar in the world of the game. They **** up too often in the video sequences, they have conversations about things I don't care (like the plot, ironically) and Leon's save-the-weak patriotism does not give me the feeling, that I really want to go into that dark room filled with monsters now.

The female part is even worse, I usually prefer female game characters (because, honestly, I am a heterosexual male, therefore I prefer to look at a well-formed female's rear hour after hour after hour, instead of some well formed dude's ass), they often add another layer of experience to my gaming session (as I cannot experience being female in real life) and they are often the lesser douchebags, because females with guns are stereotypically pictured way more civilized, than males with guns. Honestly, this female main character makes me sad. While being a good fighter, every video sequence makes her look the the weak princess in search for her prince, who will come to the rescue. Was Claire weak? Never. Was Jill weak? Well, at least not before RE5. Even Rebecca Chambers kicked ass, but seemed weak in RE1, fortunately not because she was a 17 year old girl in a special force unit, but because she was a rookie. RE4 introduced the concept of "Leon and the Princess" and since then, women in RE were mostly there to be decorative, like that irrelevant RE5 sidekick. At least Sherry Birkin grew up to be strong and independant, but then again the FMV and QTE relevant character is that new guy, so I don't keep my hopes up too far.

So, Capcom needs money. People who would have never bought the old Resident Evil, will now swarm to the stores and buy RE6. The trick is, that half of the old fans buy the new game as well, even if they don't feel the old thrill anymore, just because they already have anything about RE, out of loyality or just because most of us grew up from teenage gamers to nostalgic adults, who have a job now and do not need to weep over 59,99€ for a not-so-good game. It's perfect for the publisher, why should they even bother trying to satisfy their former core audience?

I honestly don't need any more Resident Evil, be it the old or the new style. I'd love to see the story come to a conclusion, one final blow to the horn, once again we ride, once again my brothers. I also do not feel the urge to play anymore remakes, I am perfectly fine with playing the old games, as long as my old hardware works or they run in any kind of emulator (official or not).

Resident Evil, Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Devil May Cry, Splinter Cell… one would not need more game series to write a lenghty and detailed paper about story-driven popular media and how they turn after the fan-based apex, when they start sinking into the existence of money print licences for the publisher.

I recently started to grow bored of the constant repetition. I want something new, something like Mass Effect was, when it came out in 2007. The Mass Effect makers did it right, by the way: The core game was a trilogy, telling a story and then comming to an end. Everything that will come from now on, will be spin-offs, based on the really big and interesting universe of the ME world. This is great, as great as Star Wars, where there is so much to explore beyond the single main plot of one hero saving the universe.

Something like that won't happen with Resident Evil. We already had Dead Aim, Outbreak, Survivor and Gaiden, it was one or a group of survivors, trying to, well, survive. Even the movie adaption abandoned the RE canon after the second movie entirely (or: after movie 2/5), because Resident Evil always told the tale of some nutjob researchers making tests with humans and release a virus that makes even more humans mutate and eat each other. This is, by the way, why I call Glados the Red Queen and vice versa.

I could go on and on about this, and I really hope this fits in the textbox, because I have much

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