If you've been a die-hard fan of Resident Evil since its PS1 days, then you can't help but noticed that things have changed. The moody atmospherics of that creepy Raccoon City mansion have given way to far-flung action set pieces against swarms of T-virus-infected hordes and/or skyscraper-sized monsters.
In an interview with Gamasutra's Christian Nutt and Brandon Sheffield, producers Tsukasa Takenaka (Resident Evil Revelations), Masachika Kawata and designer Kenji Matsuura (Operation Raccoon City) talk about the core experience of Capcom's long-lived franchise and the why and how of its evolution:
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…
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.
The Capcom reps also admit to playing lots of Left 4 Dead before going into building Operation Raccoon City and Matsuura explains that, since the Umbrella-vs-US Special Ops action is focused on humans killing other humans, it's an entirely different type of game. Raccoon City's being developed by Slant Six, the studio behind the Confrontation, Fireteam Bravo 3 and Tactical Strike entires in Sony's SOCOM military shooter series. As for Revelations, Kawata says to expect more of a horror-based experience where you're trapped in an enclosed environment — this time it's a ship — for the 3DS title. Kawata also teases that there's more in the pipeline for Resident Evil's 15th anniversary year but doesn't offer any hints as to what that will exactly entail.
The whole piece is worth reading for Resident Evil fans (and haters, too, I guess) so head on over to Gamasutra and dig in.
Two Tendrils Of Resident Evil's Evolution [Gamasutra]