Resident Evil 5 Takes Full Advantage of Intel Core i7 Processors
[In this sponsored feature, part of the Gamasutra Visual Computing microsite, Intel examines the debut of Resident Evil 5 for PC and how it's been adapted to work on the multithreaded Intel Core i7 processor.]
Resident Evil (also known as BIOHAZARD in Japan), widely hailed as one of the strongest franchises in gaming history, has undergone a complete refresh for its fifth PC incarnation. Fully optimized to handle the increased horsepower of the Intel Core i7 processor, the new Resident Evil 5 (A.K.A., BIOHAZARD 5) for the PC had the gaming world eagerly anticipating the planned September 15, 2009 release.
Long recognized as the father of the survival horror genre, Resident Evil 5 (RE5) is the latest in a long line of hits. The new version should satisfy even its most demanding fans, who expect brilliant storyline twists and increasingly realistic character behavior with each new edition. Throughout the development cycle, Intel and Capcom worked closely together to make sure the new game would perform on top-of-the-line dream machines.
At the same time, RE5 also works smoothly on popular laptops using Intel processors optimized for mobile hardware. The result is the best version of the game to date, according to the previews. Regarded as a dominant force in console gaming, Capcom has now established itself as a major force in the multi-threaded, multi-core PC world as well.
Capcom's RE franchise has sold over 40 million units since 1996. So far, Capcom has released 13 different RE game titles and licensed three major motion pictures that grossed USD 3 million in box offices worldwide. In this version, players battle an African menace named the Majini, with escalating firepower offering a few new wrinkles.
RE debuted as a console game on the Sony PlayStation 1 and was set in and around a creepy mansion in mythical Raccoon City. The main hero was policeman Chris Redfield, who had to navigate through rooms, unlock secrets, and try to stay alive. In between, the goal was to blow away creatures infected with the T-virus, which bad corporate citizen Umbrella Corp. illegally unleashed instead of a new pharmaceutical.
The first PC game's recommended specifications should bring back memories: the operating system had to be Microsoft Windows 95 or later, the preferred processor was an Intel Pentium processor 90, and the suggested video hardware was a 3D card with at least 4 MB of RAM. Contrast that with the recommended horsepower for the latest title: an Intel Core2 Quad processor series or similar, a 512 MB video card, and at least Microsoft DirectX 10.
Christian Svensson, Capcom USA's vice president of Strategic Planning and Business Development, said in a recent phone interview that he's very excited about the upcoming release. Thanks to a great relationship with Intel engineers, Capcom optimized RE5 for a full range of Intel processors. "We scale the performance up and down depending on the CPU in your system," Svensson reported.
"Regardless of what you've got, you're going to get a fantastic experience. If you look at what we've done with Street Fighter 4, with Devil May Cry 4, I think the common thread that most gamers have found is, ‘Wow, I'm shocked at how well it runs on my system.' And that's the statement that comes out whether they're running the best hardware in the world or something that's mid-range. I think our teams in Japan have done a fantastic job of optimizing our games both up and down the spectrum of hardware."
The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) could be one of the most influential gaming groups you've never heard of. They're a non-profit organization whose mission is to drive the growth of PC gaming. They provide an open forum where members collaborate and cooperate to move the industry forward, and they encourage the exchange of information to "grow the PC gaming ecosystem worldwide."
Besides piracy, which is a key concern, the PCGA seeks to solve common customer questions, such as "Will this game play on my PC?" The group is working to establish a minimum bar for hardware that will define a PC gaming machine. Also envisioned are a set of gaming benchmarks so that the PC can be measured correctly. The PCGA intends to publish software guidelines for developers to help enable and best use hardware at the minimum bar.
One key area PCGA is addressing is data collection. Little data exists on the revenues for the PC gaming market outside of retail boxed sales in North America and Europe. There isn't much reliable data on the installed base of active PC gamers, nor are there many details about the PCs playing games.
The PCGA seeks to develop primary research to help guide members and now publishes the Horizons Report annually, which reports confidential information to members on installs, growth, and more. In this way, the PCGA speaks as one voice on the PC gaming market size and growth and can provide guidelines to simplify hardware specifications and speed the introduction of new technologies.
For more information, check their Web site at: www.pcgamingalliance.org
Earlier in 2009, Capcom released a benchmarking tool that allows you to gauge how well your system can handle RE5. The 600 MB download reports your processor speed, determines which DirectX version you're running, and computes an average frame rate. For more information, visit http://software.intel.com/sites/billboard/game-gallery/resident-evil-5.php