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Resident Evil 6 tries - and fails - to please everyone
 Resident Evil 6  tries - and fails - to please everyone
October 2, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

October 2, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Design

"If Resident Evil represents a child, then the fans and us as creators are the two parents... And just like real parents, you’re not always going to agree on what is best for raising that child."
- Resident Evil 6 producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi reflects on the delicate tension between a designer's intuition and a player's instinctive feedback.

Unfortunately, trying to please both parties can be quite risky, as Kobayashi and his team proved with their latest game. Resident Evil 6 has received very low reviews for such a high-profile title, with a number critics calling the game out for feeling directionless and awkward.

Kobayashi says that the team at Capcom wanted to surprise fans with something new and exciting, but in the end it seems the team's effort to appeal to everyone ended up missing the mark altogether.

"We want to make sure that what we do pleases [the fans] but the initial reaction might not always be positive," he says. "We do listen to the fans but we can’t be beholden to them at every turn or I don’t think we’ll ever make progress in terms of the series' development."

But when your game is trying to add new elements and also appeal to long-time fans, it can be easy to lose track of what people really want. Based on the reception for Resident Evil 6, it seems Capcom may have fallen into that very trap.

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Alan Rimkeit
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Oh how the awesome have fallen. This makes me a sad sad sad panda. :( I was going to buy this game at full price but now I guess I will wait for the Greatest Hits list at 30 bucks.

William Johnson
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Its the Sonic Adventure syndrome.

While I kind of like the idea of games being all things to everyone, but realistically jacks-of-all-trades are just bad at everything. No need to appeal to every niche, just pick one.

At the same time, I'm pretty sure even if they did try and pick one niche to go after, they'd have still not have been able to pull it off. After Shinji Mikami left Capcom, RE has lost a lot of its magic.

Ian Uniacke
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It's worse. Capcom tried to open up the goose to get all the gold out and all they ended up with was a dead goose.

Trying to suggest in any way that 'what we do pleases [the fans]' is just an insult to the fans. Ok you screwed up Capcom, don't make it worse by pretending you were doing anything but chasing the Gears Of War crowd. I'm really offended by Hiroyuki's response.

Merc Hoffner
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It reminds me of this interview of the disastrous Sonic 2006

The interviewer wanted to know how they'd be returning the game to it's roots and overcome the gameplay hurdles the previous Sonic Adventure games had suffered through. The producer was much more interested in exploring more of the multi-character mechanic and alternative play styles they'd developed on the Adventure games (apparently oblivious to the public's loathing of this diversion) and seemed obsessed with the story. Wavelength disconnect I guess. In the end the game was an unmitigated disaster and a new low for Sega.

Which begs the question, if Sonic has so much trouble changing up mechanics, why is Mario relatively so capable at it? Talent? Flexibility of the original mechanic? Diversification amongst the original few games? Who knows?

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I wanted to correct your history a little William

After Shinji Mikami chopped of his own head, Resident Evil Games haven't been the same ever since. :P

Dean Boytor
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I agree, "Jack of Trades, Master of none" is not a great foundation for a game. Just like any D&D-like game if you spread your self thin, you wont be good at anything. Sure you could cast a spell, shoot an arrow, dual wield, make potions, befriend animals and hide in shadows, But you'll never really see any of the good end game skills.
Its one thing to be versatile but its best to stick to one main path. I think its best to go in one direction then several, you'll always have disgruntled fans but you will have more if you just lightly cater to everyone.
my 2¢

Benjamin Quintero
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I don't know. I wonder if this is just like RE5, where everyone hated it and then you listen to journalists today and they look back on it like, "it wasn't that bad."

Ian Uniacke
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What are you talking about? RE5 "STILL" sucks bad.

Simas Oliveira
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I loved RE5. Many of my friends and random people I know from forums played it countless times and loved it. I know many people who hated it too, some because of the aiming thing, some because it's not survival horror, some because they just hate whatever is popular, but I'd say the phrase "like RE5, where everyone hated it" is not very accurate.

Jeremy Reaban
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One thing that would make a game much better for everyone - get rid of the QTEs. Does anyone enjoy them? Yet that seems to be the hallmark of modern game design.

Phil Manning
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*Sigh* Post removed.
Seems one can't even disagree with the masses without getting torn apart.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Ian Uniacke
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also don't compare QTE with a cutscene. QTE by design forces all cutscenes to be driving around in a truck, or jumping off a cliff, doing dumb rubbish etc as opposed to a well designed cutscene which should move the story forward.

Muir Freeland
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@ Phil -- the last line in your post is the best piece of unintentional comedy I've read in ages.

Luis Guimaraes
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Sorry, but I need to drop that line again:

"Resident Evil 6: QTEs before it was cool."

Leonardo Ferreira
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You know why the QTEs are so plentiful in this weird subset of tripleAness? Hype.

It's comparatively easier to just put some button presses over a beautiful, well rendered cutcenes full of particle effects and whatnot than designing a grounded, mechanical challenge over the same situation. Also, for a short burst of intensity (for the uneducated player), is much more cost-sensitive, and you still have, oh my, an incredible helicopter chasing scene with explosions everywhere.

If you are going to have a industry living on massiveness and loudness, churning lying trailers in order to please the lowest-common denominator, this the best solution the thinking minds behind these mammoths can think of is the humble QTE.

Also: RE4 was filled to the brim with QTEs and everyone is still head over heels about that game.

Bob Johnson
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I think it takes awhile to digest changes. And see them for what they are.

Harlan Sumgui
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I have to agree with Simon. Too often companies take the fan base of a franchise as a given, and then chang ethe formula to attract new fans. "Hey, it';s resident evil, but it is also [insert whatever genre] too!"

David OConnor
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Quick Time Events = pain in my ass

Phil Manning
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Post removed. I honestly wanted to know though. Sorry for coming off as insulting.

Ian Uniacke
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@Phil: It's kind of insulting for you to insist that anyone who disagrees with you is a failure. I'd expect more civilised discourse on gamasutra.

Phil Manning
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Post removed. I'll just keep enjoying my QTEs.

Ian Uniacke
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@Phil: Well thanks for the clarification. I'll accept that your longer form comments seem more reasonable, just that the way you were expressing them originally sounded kind of insulting.

Also I don't completely hate QTEs. I think they're ok.

I don't want to get into an argument about the meaning of opinions or whatever, but to answer your question directly, I generally feel that the community on gamasutra is more polite than, say, kotaku or other such sites.

edit: the comment I'm responding to was removed but for the record I don't think you needed to Phil. it was good clarification

Merc Hoffner
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Still, not quite as big a fiasco as Banjo Kazooie. We waited 8 years for more platforming sweetness. I suspect now that beloved childhood franchise is quietly dead.

kevin Koos
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This article should be titled

Resident Evil 6 tries - and fails - to please ANYONE

Robert Boyd
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Played Leon's campaign for 4 hours last night (finished chapter 1 & 2). Solo on Elite difficulty. There are definitely some problems but on the whole, I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed what I played. WAY better than RE5.

Kellam Templeton-Smith
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The problem is that Chris' campaign is moreso of the RE5 gameplay. They honestly should have gone the Starcraft 2 route and released separate games. It's rather insulting how blatantly they tried to pander, rather than just developing a stronger core game.

John Flush
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If a game is trying to sell on brand name alone, they deserve to be blasted to bits when it isn't the same 'brand' (which people will view as genre). Or in other words, if 1, 2, 3 are survival horror the brand better stick to it. Otherwise they deserve to get ripped a new one.

That is today's AAA dilemma. No one will take a chance on making a new game with niche mechanics, so instead they take a known franchise, turn it into an action game that 'everyone' will like in some regard, slap a 3, 4, 5, or 6 on the box along with a brand name people expect and then they complain when gamers get it and tell them it sucked ass and was nothing like the originals. Baffling.

I know this isn't always the case of why a AAA game flounders, but it does seem to be one of the common threads.

Mass Effect - originally viewed RPG, now 3rd person shooter (this didn't really have a lot of time to solidify though - it could have been 3rd person shooter from the get go and people just mistook it as RPG). It also had the theme "choices matter", and in the end most people viewed it as "choices give me a new color".

Dragon Age - Stat Heavy RPG; now Action game

Resident Evil - Survival Horror; now Action game (I'm also seeing a trend here with action games)

Knights of the Old Republic - Bioware RPG; now an MMO with a monthly sub and online community.

Sonic - Platformer with angst - Once in a while a platformer, but with all sorts of 'friends' in it and Sonic doesn't have an attitude anymore. The interesting thing here is when it returned to its roots more, it seemed to get a better response

Ace Combat - Combat sim with arcade flair - now CoD in the air.

I'm sure others can add to this list easily.

What is a better way to handle this? A good example from the board gaming world are D&D board games. Everyone knows them, many won't touch one because of the mechanics - so when they come out with a new game with all different mechanics they didn't call it D&D 15 - Lords of the Waterdeep - They called it "Lords of the Waterdeep" then then put D&D on the box at the bottom. People buying it know it is different than a typical D&D game, and those that know D&D by heart still buy it due to brand recognition. When gamers get angry all it takes is the gamer's saying "didn't you read the back to know it wasn't a typical D&D game?" Gamers then defend the changes for the developer by mocking the people that are a few shy of a 6-pack.

Michael Acosta
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In all honesty, the game itself isn't really failing. If it did, I think Capcom would've gotten the idea of not releasing another game. But then again, there are the people that like the franchise's story and how far it has gotten. Sure, it's not what it used to be, but it was bound to happen. I remember that shortly after Code Veronica was released, there was a forum thread where people were already complaining about the use of Zombies, that they are being "Overrated".

This game doesn't really deserve the low ratings that reviewers give it, but it is their opinion. Yet, the game sells, and there are people that are pretty satisfied with the change, myself included. I love the classics, and I love the change that they added. And Leon's Campaign does seem less action and more Survival Horror elements, not completely but it's there.

Besides, the change makes the classic games Unique. And change means trying something new, which may sound bad, but in the end, it's a great idea. While I do think Survival Horror fits this franchise more, there are ways to make it better, and changing genre can help find that sweet spot for the game.

Maybe not in my lifetime but the game will eventually find the mechanics and genre that fits right for the game. Maybe bring it back to Survival Horror with new experienced changes. Think of it as "Re-Design to Perfection".

People just need to open up their eyes and tolerate change. Change is good, it means different results. Different Results means that you can mix different mechanics and form something new that can enhance the experience of the player. I welcome the change.

Justin Sawchuk
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Resident Evil started off a survival horror but then tried to go after the new game who grew up on halo and call of duty, they turned it into an action shooter (this has been happening since RE4). The only reason they changed it to an action horror was to chase after the new player base, not because they thought it would be a better game. Rather than being a trend setter they are being a follower, and what you are going to get is a weak generic everyday shooter.

I am defiantly going to wait until it goes on sale for $20 before picking it up.

Nicholas Bergquist
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I have a feeling that not many people here have actually tried playing Resident Evil 6 yet, or gone beyond trying the demo. I've been playing it; so far the experience has been a mix of "this feels like a watered-down Resident Evil" moments coupled with a heavy reliance on QTEs. If Capcom just wants to make CGI films, they should own up to this desire and go all for it; disguising it in a game with QTEs makes for both a bad game experience and a muddy CGI viewing.

That said, the game itself still has a good, solid core and its no more or less limited and on-rails than your typical single player campaign in CoD. But the problem of course is that fans of this franchise would like something more, and can remember when we actually had that.

Resident Evil 6 is a good game....but it's lost some of what made it distinct, and that's where the real problem is.