Change shouldn’t be scary, zombies are scary.
Next week we’ll all get to see what Slant Six Games can do with the Resident Evil series and it has some people worried that we won’t be getting a Resident Evil game when we all open our copies of Operation Raccoon City. I’m here to talk about why this is a good thing. Not that I think REORC won’t be a Resident Evil game, but it will be very different from the core series. Believe it or not, this strategy has shown great success in the past and you don’t have to look very far to see where, and how, branching out has been good for a series.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will put you in the boots of a squad of Umbrella Security Service troops who have been sent into Raccoon City to mop things up during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Not only will you be taking control of the ‘bad guys’, this isn’t a survival horror game and there won’t be a whole lot of conserving ammo or looking for different sizes of cranks.
There are six different classes to pick from: Assault, Recon, Demolition, Medic, Surveillance, and Field Specialist. Each class has its own skills and gadgets such as night vision with Surviellance, Medics can revive and Recon have a cloaking device that lets them move around without being seen.
The action will be faster and you’ll be relying on your squad member’s specific skills to get the job done. Yes, Operation Raccoon City will be very different from Resident Evil 5 and drastically different from Resident Evil 2. That said, this game will still feature many elements of the previous games such as the Nemesis and Tyrant bosses, Zombies (yeah, it’s been a while), and even appearances from series regulars like Leon Kennedy. The fact that this is more of an action game shouldn’t worry you.
Take, for example, the Mega Man Legends series. If you’re like me and grew up playing Mega Man games you’ll know that the Legends series was vastly different from the 2D, side scrolling classics from the series roots. Still these new 3D, Action RPG titles did so much justice to the series by taking concepts and characters like Roll and the Dr and looking at them from a different angle. Plus you could kick chickens.
In case all of that flew right over your head, I’ll go with a more recent example, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. After a number of successful PC real-time strategy games, not to mention years and years of tabletop gaming, based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe THQ and Relic branched into the third person shooter arena. Having enjoyed the Dawn of War series myself I wasn’t worried that the next Relic game would be a shooter. In fact, this series was begging for it. Space Marine turned out to be a lot of fun and likely drew in a whole lot of people who had never experienced the Warhammer 40,000 series.
These were just the first two examples I came up with while thinking back to successful branching games from a series I’ve played. These games also show that you can take a story and build a different type of game around it while still being able to develop games that are more familiar to the series in the future. Capcom have already announced Resident Evil 6, which looks to be going back to the more familiar tack the series was on with Resident Evil 4 and 5.
Though Slant Six Games may change the way you play Resident Evil, and may even change the history of the series, but Operation Raccoon City is just like a vacation. You’ll have fun doing something different for a while, but eventually you’ll come home again. Look for Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City, in stores, on March 20th.