Capcom: 'Mass-market appeal' drove Resident Evil 6's new direction

Resident Evil 6 is, perhaps, one of the most action-heavy games in the franchise so far. Not only does the game have a cover system, it allows you to move and shoot at the same time--a point of contention for years. As it becomes more of a shooter and less of a horror game, how does Resident Evil maintain its identity? And what must be sacrificed in the name of appealing to the mainstream?

"Nowadays, to have a system where you're restricted to six or eight items and that's all you can have with you... I think the core fans might really like that, but it might not get Resident Evil into a lot of people's hands," executive producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi said. "We want to make it as accessible as possible. A system like that is just much too difficult for what people want from their games nowadays."

Kobayashi says that even the tone of horror is has shifted for the same reason. "There's all different types of horror. There's a lot of niche horror out there that really core fans want," he told 1UP. "You can do a B-movie or a C-movie type of horror, but that would only appeal to a limited audience. With Resident Evil, we're trying to be as inclusive as possible. We're trying to reach as many people as possible."

Game director Eiichiro Sasaki suggests that considering the audience is the most important thing. "To get further into this, I'd have to get into a discussion of Capcom itself, their policy as a company and the direction they want to take. But as a creator, I have to consider those questions. How am I going to create a game that has horror elements that appeal to a large number of people? What category of horror am I looking at? It's an interesting challenge, but it's still a challenge."

Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi put it a little more bluntly: "We're making games and we need to have mass-market appeal in order to survive," he said. "How far do we go into horror before we lose the support of the average player? How far are we going to lessen the horror elements at the risk of losing core fans, including Resident Evil fans? Where's the Venn diagram that shows the happy medium of those things? The challenge is trying to push it as close to the edge either way, so that we can satisfy both groups of people."

The game has received mixed reviews so far. In his review, Joystiq's Ludwig Kietzmann says Capcom's attempt to appease the masses may have backfired, calling the it a "sloppy, frequently frustrating attempt to do well by everyone."