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The Resident Evil series is a complicated beast, at this point in time -- multiple teams in multiple countries are working on incredibly different evolutions of the game for different audiences. With the 15th anniversary of the original title taking place this year, Capcom is particularly active with the series right now. But what guides its hand?
In this two-part interview, Brandon Sheffield speaks to producer Masachika Kawata and designer Kenji Matsuura about Operation Raccoon City, the multiplayer-focused Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC shooter under development by SOCOM developer Slant Six Games. Christian Nutt, on the other hand, speaks to Kawata and assitant producer Tsukasa Takenaka about Revelations, an original and more horror-focused title for the 3DS.
Why has Capcom split the game into these two markedly different directions? What governs the publisher's thinking behind the way these games are developed? And what specific decisions have the teams undertaken with each title -- and why?
This interview delves deep into these questions and paints not just a picture of why these two games have taken the form that they have, but also Capcom's plan for the series.
Over the last few years, Resident Evil has made a slow evolution into a shooter. Now Operation Raccoon City is actually a shooter. Can you talk a little bit about how and why it's come to that?
Masachika Kawata: The entire Resident Evil series -- it was never something that we planned to do. We never sat back and said, "Okay, we want to make these games more shooting-like, more action-focused." Resident Evil, especially the numbered Resident Evil games, have, for us, always been about being survival horror. If you can shoot a little bit more, and you do that, that's fine. But first and foremost, they've always been survival horror games.
With Operation Raccoon City, we started from a place where we said, "Okay, we want to make a shooter, not a survival horror game." At the same time, we want to keep some of the same emotions that you get when you play the game. So even though it feels like maybe it's been a slow progression, it really hasn't been a deliberate thing, where we're making the series more shooter-like. This time we definitely wanted to make a shooter.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
It feels like Resident Evil is branching off as a brand to encompass different types of games. Can you explain that strategy?
MK: At the core, basically, we want to make the best use of our brand. Resident Evil is an IP, and a franchise, that people have loved for a long time. It's still very, very popular and we're very, very happy about that, and we want to basically answer all the requests that we get about the series. People want to see a lot of different experiences within the Resident Evil universe, and so we've been fortunate enough to be able to answer those requests with a lot of different experiences, in different forms, in games.
Do you worry at all about diluting the brand by having different types of games coming out in rapid succession within the same brand?
MK: I'm not too concerned about that, for the simple reason that, like you said before, all these different Resident Evil games that are coming out are focused on very different things. I'm thinking that if we would have brought out all these Resident Evil titles, and they were all focused on survival horror, absolutely I think people would be really sick of Resident Evil.
But in my mind, we've got this online shooter game, we've got other things like Mercenaries that are even more action-focused, and some other games. And by going in a lot of different directions, I'm pretty confident that people are going to still be enjoying Resident Evil for a long time.