A Suggestion for Rebooting the Resident Evil Franchise
It seems as if we have been speaking a lot about the lost art of the survival horror genre. Oh man, it has been missing for a while. The last time that we have seen a mainstream videogame that even came close to survival horror was Dead Space. Now, I obviously don’t mean Dead Space 2 or the recent release of Dead Space 3. Just like a certain other franchises, Dead Space has started to focus on trying to make an action game experience instead of the true horror tropes that made it a household name. So, with the loss of the last hope of survival horror that almost apes the Resident Evil franchise, is it time for Capcom to bring Resident Evil back to the survival horror genre?
After the release of the most recent outing in the series, Resident Evil 6 has been suffering with poor sales. Is this because of the lack of horror that made it what it is, or is it simply that they are trying to reach an audience that is more infatuated with the simplicity of a Call of Duty? In either instance, Resident Evil has failed to innovate or capture their core audience’s imagination since the release of Resident Evil 4.
In a news story from Eurogamer a few weeks after the release of RE6, Capcom producer Masachika Kawata stated that rebooting the Resident Evil franchise is possible, but not until a lot of decisions are made. Imagine if there were a reboot. How might this play out? Just like it seems to have happened with most games from the 1990’s, perhaps it is time for a Resident Evil reboot.
Resident Evil constantly took place through the eyes of people that had previous combat training. Whether they were a cop or special agent of the S.T.A.R.S group or the BSAA, they were always ready to take on the undead or infected hordes with their weaponry. But what if Resident Evil now took place through the eyes of a scared teenage boy?
The following ideas are actually taken from a book that I have almost finished writing, but it would be nice to see them even put into Resident Evil. Hell, I owe Resident Evil for making me the zombie fan that I am today.
The story begins with a 15-year-old boy and his sister that is around the age of 12. Of course, they don’t know the origin of the zombie outbreak, but they have survived for 128 days so far. At first, the outbreak was looked at as a possible prank. After all, nobody expects George A. Romero’s zombie movies to come to life.
Our protagonist’s parents were killed within the first 2 weeks of the outbreak. Zombies simply made their way into the houses of the nearby citizens of, wait for it…Raccoon City. Since the grizzly death of the main character’s parents, he and his younger sister have been on their own. Rarely having guns of any sort, the siblings often resort to makeshift weaponry from everyday household objects. These objects could be shown off within the first minutes of the story when our hero’s sister is bitten while the duo is sleeping in what they thought was an abandoned and safe house. The serious tone can really kick in from here when the T-virus takes over her body after ten minutes. Within those last minutes together, they can share a touching, yet troubling conversation.
“This doesn’t sound like the Resident Evil I’ve known”, you say? Correct. This Resident Evil could deal with a capable, though something that should be avoided when possible, combat system. But how would one go about taking out their shambling foes? This reboot could use a stealth system. Zombies could easily react to sound, and this can be a problem if some of the environment had objects scattered throughout. After all, we wouldn’t want the game to be too easy, would we?
Zombies could be a huge issue, but some of the other issues come from the narrative. As the story moves along, the protagonist will meet up with a group of survivors. Within this group, decisions will have to be made about how food will be gathered, and who will be in charge of setting out on the chore.
Food won’t be the only worry for the group. It turns out that one person in the group is pregnant. This is where the most messed up, yet necessary choice of the game comes in. Due to the noise that a baby can make, it will be up to a group decision that will rely on the protagonist’s final vote to decide the fate of the child.
As to not spoil much more of the story, I will end there.
These are some choices that have been missing from Resident Evil. There has been no real threat. An action game is often times just an action game. Punching a boulder inside of a volcano isn’t something that can make a fan feel much of connection to a series that they loved so much. Neither does the main villain becoming a reject from the cast of The Matrix.
Instead, take back the survival horror genre that you were looked at as the
grandfather of. Action games just aren’t where the Resident Evil franchise
belongs. All of us Resident Evil fans are still here just waiting for you to
come back home.
If anybody is interested, I do someday hope to put this book out. Until then, any questions or comments are welcomed.