“… about 70,000 hostiles…”: Announcing Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6 has been announced, and I have a lot of thoughts. Guess it’s time to remember I have a blog, then.

I have to admit that when the teaser posters showing a 20/11/12 release date leaked earlier tonight, I instantly doubted them. Capcom, going from first announcement of a core Resi title to release in less than a year? Surely not – remember that first Resi 5 trailer that came out in September 2006, two and a half sodding years before the game’s release?

But no, at 10pm GMT this went live confirming the date and showing a lot more than early gameplay footage or proof-of-concept FMV:

Now, in terms of scheduling Capcom have only shaved six months off the four year wait between Resis 4 and 5, but in terms of announcing and marketing 6 they’re taking a far tighter, more aggressive approach, sitting tight through the first two years of development then hitting us with a barrage of visuals and a date.

That November date is a statement in itself. Resis 4 and 5 launched between January and Spring, relatively lean times for game releases when a major franchise title can make a big splash. Resident Evil 6 will be thrown straight into the competitive pre-Xmas market, when major franchises battle it out in the most lucrative period of the year, albeit one where smaller name games can easily get lost.

It doesn’t look like Resident Evil 6 is in any danger of getting lost amongst the big names, or being two low-octane to make a splash compared to this year’s Call of Duties and so forth. The launch trailer lays out a globe-spanning blockbuster that abandons the tight geographic progression of the last two installments in favour of something much bigger, more varied and dynamic.

There’s a lot going on in there as well: old favourites Leon and Chris, both playable; an American town overrun by zombies (replicating the series most popular setting, the Raccoon City outbreak without having to timewarp back to 1998 again); head-splitting mutants from the last two games in a neon-lit Chinese city; a big Nemesis type baddy with very sharp hands pursuing a couple of other characters in a bleak urban landscape; oh, and the whole thing opens with a fantastic, dramatic set-piece where Leon has to shoot the zombified President of the United States through the face.

In short, it looks epic, mixing and matching elements from across the entire series in a way that looks both atmospheric and action-packed, and which looks likely to enthrall both loyal series fans of myself – of whom there are many – and a general audience.

It looks entirely capable of going toe-to-toe with the big beast franchises of the current videogame landscape, and to be honest it should be: Resident Evil is one of the biggest, most recognisable names in games, one with wider pop culture impact (as much as we may bitch about the quality of those movies), and it’s only right that the next major game in the series should be a blockbuster to match the Modern Warfares and Assassin’s Creeds that dominate the pre-Xmas charts.

It looks fantastic, and frankly I can’t wait.

Mark

For more of my ramblings on the Resident Evil series, have a look at the Storygamer archive.

January 20, 2012. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Nemesis’ll Fix It

Nemesis,

We’d like to go after anyone threatening to continue production of Torchwood. Do you know who we mean?

Yep, those are the ones.

Thanks, Nemesis!

July 31, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Avoiding the PAX pox

As stated in today’s Penny Arcade, games events can be a virulent source of disease. However, they’re also supposed to be friendly, social events, so recoiling from any contact with your fellow attendees, covering your face with a wet cloth whenever they threaten to breathe on you, might be considered rude.

How to stay healthy, while not being outright insulting? Simple, cosplay one of these three game characters:

1. Zombie in FEMA fictional analogue for FEMA environment suit, from Left 4 Dead 2

one size fits allThese popular nuisances from Valve’s second multiplayer zombie shooter have the advantage of combining all-over protection – what keeps germs out more effectively than a government issue envirosuit? – with being a very lazy costume to assemble. Simply slap on some grey face paint, pull on the suit, and you’re ready to go.

Of course, not every aspect of this outfit is ideal. It’s probably immensely expensive and difficult to buy this kind of suit, and if you do, expect to answer lots of questions from local law enforcement about exactly why you feel the need to protect yourself against chemical weapons in a suburban area.

Also, it looks a bit sweaty in there. Expect to boil in the bag if the aircon  fails again.

2. Hunk, from Resident Evil 2 and numerous spin-offs.

Hunky monkeyA fan favourite. If Boba Fett proved nothing else, it’s that nothing provides a greater identification figure for the hardcore fanbase than a masked man with no visible personality who seems to have nothing to say in any given social situation.

Odd that.

Anyway, Hunk is your everyday gas masked special forces dude, and as such is interchangeable with all manner of other games protagonists and baddies. Expect to be mistaken for a Helghast, someone from Modern Warfare, a SWAT guy… OK, it may be a bit generic. In fact, you wouldn’t be that different from…

3. Artyom, or pretty much anyone else in Metro 2033.

Hey, I know you! I'd recognise that cracked lens anywhere. A newy, and not too dissimilar from the Hunk mercenary type character above, but the various tunnel-dwellers from the far future of oh-shit-I’ll-probably-live-long-enough-to-see-this-shit-for-real have a couple of advantages as cosplay templates.

For a start, as it’s twenty years after the apocalypse, there’s no need to worry that your second hand army surplus duds are going to embarrass you. Whereas Hunk and his ilk always have military standard, spotless black gear, these guys make-do-and-mend, so you needn’t worry about how mismatched all the army surplus you bought for cheap looks. Wear and tear is authentic, in this case.

Also, and this is what puts this outfit above the rest, is that most of those other mercs wear their gas masks all the time, whereas a key game mechanism in Metro is the need to take your gas mask on and off depending where you are.

So, in this gear there’s no need to choke away beneath a mask for the entire con. Simply sling it around your belt, enjoy the show floor and, whenever you see someone particularly sniffly heading your way, make a big show of shouting about a gas attack in a Russian accent while putting the mask on. Job done, post-con-illness largely avoided.

Of course, none of these outfits will prevent the ill-effect of drinking your own bodyweight in overpriced alcohol in the hotel bar. But that’s another problem altogether.

Mark

March 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.