'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.