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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Oct 10, 2011

The Evolution Of Resident Evil Explained By Capcom

Resident Evil is a franchise that has seen many changes over the years. We’ve gone from stationary camera angles to over-the-shoulder cameras, from having to enter the game’s menu in order to reload to pressing a single button, and from dealing with the weapons we find to being able to upgrade them on the fly. We’ve even started receiving a currency system and are no longer alone in our fight with the addition of multiplayer. Capcom is a company that is no stranger to seeing the tides of change come and go, and the Resident Evil series continues to mutate as new titles arrive on the scene.

With the fifteenth anniversary of the series around the corner, Capcom is paying special attention to games, especially with the release of two different Resident Evil titles coming up. With this in mind, we wonder what makes the developer push the players’ expectations so much with each upcoming title? Some players want to know why there are so many changes being seen in the series, and they want answers as to why the franchise seems to mutate so much and stray away from its roots. In an interview with Gamasutra, Capcom explains their intentions with the series, and sheds some light on some of the reasoning behind the new direction that the games are taking.

Fans of the series will know that the games started off as pure survival horror titles, but they’ve slowly begun changing into something more resembling games of the shooter genre. When asked about this type of change with the upcoming Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Capcom’s Masachika Kawata had this to say:

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.

The interview went on to mention the possibility of Resident Evil branching off to become a sort of series that includes many different types of games. Some say this could be a strategy for Capcom to invite more players to the Resident Evil franchise, though Kawata explained the developer’s view on this idea. While the series seems to exert obvious signs of change, fans can be reassured that Capcom wants to stay true to the original storyline and produce titles that will keep players engaged for some time to come.

There’s no question that the Resident Evil series is a growing, and with this growth comes a certain level of expected change. With Operation Raccoon City and Revelations both coming up soon, there will certainly be a lot of new content for players to explore. With each new title in the series comes a brand new leg of the story, which has become a vast and entangled web. To see the entire interview, head on over to the Gamasutra post. From what I can tell, Capcom is more concerned with telling the story they’ve come to create over the years and provide great, playable games, rather than violating players’ expectations even a little. Resident Evil Revelations will release in February of next year with Operation Raccoon City set for early 2012 as well.

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