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

The executive producer, director, and producer of Resident Evil 6 talk about the tricky balancing act between making the series more mainstream and retaining its identity for the fans.

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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."

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 2, 2012 10:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Capcom: 'Mass-market appeal' drove Resident Evil 6's new direction.

    The executive producer, director, and producer of Resident Evil 6 talk about the tricky balancing act between making the series more mainstream and retaining its identity for the fans.

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      October 2, 2012 10:04 AM

      it's almost as if it's a really bad idea to attempt to please literally every audience equally instead of sticking with your already entrenched and successful niche

      wow, whoa

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      October 2, 2012 10:05 AM

      So, is it the mass-market approach that caused it to get critically panned or the fact that they continue to cling to old gameplay mechanics that don't make much sense in the modern context?

      The most jarring thing I noticed about the demo was that even though the environment seemed quite well realized, the game made me feel like I was in a constructed rat maze. Having books like 2 feet high impeding my progress is simply unnatural. To me, I would have enjoyed it if the environment was far more interactive and easier to traverse as I would want to if I were the in-game character.

      I mean, dying to a zombie when I could have just dove over the table is so fucking stupid.

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      October 2, 2012 10:07 AM

      Did it really need to be more mainstream? RE 4 did well and that game was awesome.

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        October 2, 2012 11:12 AM

        I definitely agree. They've already strayed quite far from the original game, I can't honestly believe they're trying to stay true to the franchise.

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        October 2, 2012 11:38 AM

        yeah i really don't get it. RE4 sold more than RE1-3 right?

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      October 2, 2012 10:09 AM

      Why do the phrases, "Make it accessible" and "Reach as many people as possible" when used by publsihers and game developers so often go hand in hand with decisions I fucking hate?

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        October 2, 2012 10:16 AM

        LCD. Only vanilla tastes good to everyone.

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      October 2, 2012 10:44 AM

      Hah, so Chris Remo was right in his analysis in the February FIVEAH, 2009 Idle News Podblast. To paraphrase, he said that Capcom looked at God of War, Gears of War, and Prince of Persia, and said, "Ah, I see what Western gamers like: muscles, quick-time events, turrets, cover systems, and not dying!"

      Eurogamer quoted Kobayashi characterizing the differences between the developer of RE6 and the Resident Evil fans as bickering between parents.

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      October 2, 2012 11:12 AM

      So they made it lame and uninteresting.

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      October 2, 2012 11:18 AM

      I hope people boycott this game to send the message that sell-out generic pieces are not appreciated or wanted, by either the core audience or the mainstream one.

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        October 2, 2012 11:27 AM

        I'm not sure that works. Did C&C4 and subsequent player boycotts change the way EA does things?

        C&C4, in my mind, is the most disappointing sequel ever.

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      October 2, 2012 11:33 AM

      Capcom has forgotten everything Shinji Mikami taught them with Resident Evil 4. That game birthed the action survival-horror genre, emphasizing action while weaving in horror in all the right places. It was accessible to new players, yet still catered to the whims of the RE faithful.

      Each environment, with the exception of action-heavy areas on the island at the end, oozed eerie atmosphere. The zombies were faster and smarter, which necessitated different types of instincts and actions to survive. Players had to use their environments to survive--leaping through windows, barricading doorways, knocking down ladders, defending multiple positions--while at the same time fighting off the pervasive sense of dread in areas such as the village and the castle.

      Sure, there were more weapons, ammo, and health, but how you used them was still important. Use a ladder to climb out of a pit, knock it down, toss down a grenade, then run from the blindfold-wearing old ladies running at you with chainsaws. Use your sniper rifle to defend an AI partner while she operates cranks above you to open the way forward, while at the same time watching the door in front of you to hold off swarms of enemies armed with different types of weapons. Shoot enemies in the legs to bring them to their knees, then run forward and slash or use melee attacks to deal massive damage while at the same time rationing out ammo. Knock over canisters to freeze otherwise invincible enemies, fortify multiple positions in a cabin during a thunderstorm...

      RE4 successfully blended action, survival, and horror elements to create a game that appealed to everyone. It was accessible to new blood, yet still catered to the elements for which it was known and loved.

      Emphasis: was known and loved.

      Some people look at RE4 as the beginning of the end for the series. It really wasn't. It was the start of a new direction that 5 completely dropped in favor of turret battles, high-speed chases through swamps, and dude-bros punching boulders to move them. RE4 was action survival horror done right.

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        October 2, 2012 11:40 AM

        RE4 was really the only Resident Evil game I liked. I didn't like the first three (nor the others preceding RE4). The whole "Alone in the Dark" game dynamic felt really sloppy for those first games.

        RE5 was ok, but very hard to get into.

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          October 2, 2012 12:54 PM

          That's the main problem. RE4 had a sense of identity. It knew what it was and what it wanted to accomplish. RE5--and from the sounds of it, RE6; my copy won't arrive for another day or two--did not. Capcom is torn between horror and action, and they don't know how to balance the two as Mikami did in RE4.

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        October 2, 2012 11:42 AM

        Yeah I really don't understand that whole part of capcom's life..why would they get rid of Mikami, why would they throw out what made RE4 awesome. Was Gears of War really that much of a watershed moment for someone at Capcom?

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          October 2, 2012 12:04 PM

          Good point. It's like they got swept up in that hype.

          Gears of War didn't sell so well because it was a breakthrough in game design, it sold well because it was one of the few decent games on the 360 around launch.

          I really doubt this thing is going to sell a lot more than 4.

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        October 2, 2012 12:45 PM

        So in that context, what did you think of Shadows of the Damned? It's Mikami's most recent game, but was less serious, had Suda51 bizareness, was a little short, and had some grating 2D sections that made it seem like they ran out of time to do third-person combat, but I, as someone who never played a Resident Evil game, had fun with it. I only played through it 1.5 times, but I had fun, for the most part.

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          October 2, 2012 12:56 PM

          Hmm, I haven't played that yet. I know he's got another, "proper" horror game in development. Honestly I'd be more interested in that than something less serious. I can endure satire and other comedic elements in some genres, but not in survival horror. It depends on how the designers use those elements. The RE series is known for cheesy dialogue and humor, but it was how the game used those elements that made them effective. You spend the whole game tense, gripping your controller with sweaty palms, heart racing in anticipation of another close encounter.

          Then, when you get a chance to sit back and watch a cutscene, the HORRIBLE dialogue and voice acting helps you loosen up. It was intentionally made that way. It's your break from the survival horror.

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            October 2, 2012 3:25 PM

            Ah, ok. Yeah, Shadows of the Damned goes in a different direction.

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          October 3, 2012 12:34 AM

          Damned may have had a bit too much toilet humor for me but was still awesome and is mainly just let down by a lack of a NG+

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      October 2, 2012 8:07 PM

      In 10 years devs will be no better than present day Hollywood. We'll be playing remakes of Resident Evil and Angry Birds.

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        October 2, 2012 8:21 PM

        lol 10 years

        rate this industry is going, it's going to be 3-5.

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        October 2, 2012 9:05 PM

        We already have tons of remakes of old games.

        *cough* X-Com

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        October 2, 2012 9:41 PM

        What's wrong with remakes? I hope we get more, the GC remake of the original was amazing.
        I want to see them remake 2 that way.

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      October 3, 2012 12:32 AM

      Seriously, listening to these quotes its no wonder RE6 sucks the big one, damn. Guess RE has gone forever

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      October 3, 2012 2:17 AM

      is it me or the logo looks like someone giving a blowjob?

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      October 3, 2012 7:53 AM

      Cant agree with all these RE HEADS.
      I bought and played all the Resident Evil games and the remakes (I still have them) and they where tedious boring romps with convoluted back-ass stories.
      (I'm looking at you MGS)
      However, they had some good things about them, you got to shoot zombies - THAT'S IT!
      The controls where HORRENDOUS starting with RE1 but they where necessary.
      RE6 is exactly where the series should be. Capcom has adapted this title, or it would have died.
      I always felt like I was driving a truck when I played the older RE games, now I feel like I am moving a human being.

      This new control scheme WARRANTS different play mechanics, faster, more agile opponents and this solidifies that RE will be around for a long time to come.

      My buddies and I bought and played it and we loved it. and NONE of us love Call of Duty.
      For every fan lost RE will make new ones. Guaranteed. The line at Gamestop was around the mall where I live and I live in NYC. So its no small town. RE sold like hot cakes where I was at. I can only imagine it did the same other places as well.

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