Survival Horror Just Isn’t Popular Enough, Says Resident Evil Producer

Survival Horror Just Isn’t Popular Enough, Says Resident Evil Producer

Anyone who follows video games knows that action games are big — very big. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 shattered sales records far and wide in its first 24 hours on store shelves and raked in a billion dollars in well under three weeks. The American video game market loves shooting things and we love doing it in a fast-paced way.

Masachika Kawata, producer of Resident Evil: Revelations, says that’s the biggest problem with creating survival horror games today. In an interview with Gamasutra, he explained that in the US, super-creepy slower-paced games just don’t sell broadly, instead remaining confined to more of a niche market. And games that are unlikely to be blockbuster successes aren’t necessarily going to be seen as worthy of investment.

Each Resident Evil game since Resident Evil 4 has been moving more toward action, Kawata said, and the series should continue to do so:

Especially for the North American market, I think the series needs to head in that [action-oriented] direction. [Resident Evil‘s primary games] need to be an extension of the changes made in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5.

RE4 started in that direction, and RE5 kept going in that direction. And I think that especially for the North American market, we need to keep going in that direction, and take that a step further. And that’s exactly one of the reasons that Revelations is the way it is.

Kawata continued by saying that upcoming franchise continuation Resident Evil 6, due this November, doesn’t have to go “all the way” in that shooting, action-heavy direction, adding, “My impression is that Resident Evil 4 and 5 aren’t shooters, per se,” but that they are more action-heavy than earlier entrants in the series.

However, all hope is not lost for fans of slower, scarier games. Katawa added that Capcom still has room to explore different variations on gameplay from the main numbered series in its named spin-off games, like Revelations and Operation: Raccoon City.

So we have our numbered series, and we can say we have a more adventure-oriented version, like a Revelations-style game. And we also have Operation: Raccoon City, which is a third-person shooter.

So I think that by extending the market in this sense, we can still have the numbered titles keep their identity about what Resident Evil is supposed to be, but still expand and hit other markets as well.

Despite what Capcom knows about the market, investments and sales figures, though, Katawa insists that ultimately, the priority on any designer is to make a good, compelling game from which the rest will follow. The marketing should be different, depending on region and audience, but a good game will speak for itself anywhere in the world:

If you’re going to be selling a game based on its good gameplay, then you don’t have to worry about the market in which it will be sold. If we’re going to make games that sell based on quality content, they should be able to appeal around the world. That might be obvious, but that’s why Grand Theft Auto IV, Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare also sell in Japan, because their gameplay is interesting.

‘Survival horror’ market too small for Resident Evil, says Capcom producer [Gamasutra]


  • I blame us, the players. Im sure most of us remember the big push in the mid 90’s to make games more cinematic and to portray the industry as an alternative to Hollywood movies. This is what we get. Every major movie has a set of requirements a producer must meet before release. Token hot females, bland male everyman so the key demographic can project themselves into the story etc. Sure its not every movie, but the ones considered blockbusters will tick every box. Its why almost all blockbuster movies feature a romance subplot.

  • i’d more likely pay for a resident evil 2 remake with a “resident evil 5” title slapped onto it than have it become COD.

  • “Survival Horror Just Isn’t Popular Enough, Says Resident Evil Producer” that’s because RE series is not survival horror anymore, it’s a near gears of war clone. inbasul

  • It sucks, it sucks. It really, really sucks. But honestly, is there anyone to blame but the consumer? The producers and developers are just satisfying a demand. A stupid, misguided demand but a demand nonetheless.

    • Well maybe if producers and developers paid LESS attention to scraping one extra sale unit, they would sell two more units through innovation. Consumers buy what is put in front of them, innovative or otherwise.

      • I would love to dearly agree with you..

        But to be perfectly honest “innovation” strikes a fine line between success and failure and the market these days seldom forgive failure especially when it comes to “AAA” stuff budgets. Ever wonder why all the “innovative” games have fallen on the casual/indie games?

        Most people expect the razzle dazzle of HD graphics heaven help you if your coding for the graphics missed that slight edge, etc. and your already getting scores of complaints. And we haven’t even *begun* with the game play… which can be make or break and most often is a break because of the “newness” of the game.

        Consumers always cry for “innovation” but most really just want a smarter repackaging of the familiar. Feel free to prove me wrong but checking out most of the “AAA” blockbusters out which always fall into the action/FPS category/mash-up is so far saying to me nothing much has changed.

  • Last time I checked Dead Space did just fine

    The Latest RE sucks in fact the majority of them aren’t my cup of tea at all.

  • I miss my decent survival horror. I haven’t had the chance to get down with Amnesia, unfortunately, but the last good survival horror I played was Siren Blood Curse. And while I really dug Dead Space for its atmosphere, I wouldn’t classify it as survival horror. Too much action, too obvious with its scares, and too much ammo.
    Bring on the Silent Hill HD collection!

  • Fuck game producers are stupid these days. Why are they trying to attract CoD fans? They’re losing the current fans by copying other games. They need to stick to what made their games popular in the first place.

    Dumb asses.

  • CoD is doing to shooters as WoW did to mmos.

    The suits see enormous amounts of cash going to a particular genre and all try to jump on board and imitate it. Rarely succeeding and alienating the core fanbase who were responsible for the success of the franchise in the first place.

  • This is the exact same as last year when Activision claimed that single-player gaming was dieing because gamers didn’t want backstories and gaming on their own. The reason why they said it was because they couldn’t produce good single-player games, and didn’t want to admit that. And this is the same situation, they can’t make good horror games any more (and I don’t mean jump-scares, i mean actual atmospheric horror people can really get into), so they are pulling the “it’s not us, it’s them” card so they can justify moving the series to a cheaper, simpler and easier to mass-fanufacture genre. As far as i’m concerned, it’s rather pathetic.

  • Here’s an idea – if Revelations sells better than RE6 they might go back to making survival horror games!

  • why is evryone complaning about resident evil games sure 5 was different but look at revelations on the 3ds it went back to its roots & i like operation racoon city

  • This isn’t the frigging 90s, it’s the 2010’s, you can’t just keep churning out another sequel with new features and expect them to always do well. The JRPG/ATB battle games are dead, and so is this.
    Let Resident Evil go already.

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