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What ‘Resident Evil: Revelations’ Poor Sales Means For Capcom’s Biggest Franchise

RERant

On February 7th, 2012, Resident Evil: Revelations arrived on the Nintendo 3DS. For the most part, fans saw it as a return to what was once great about the series.

Today, Capcom announced the game has sold a million copies across its four new platforms (360, PS3, Wii U and PC). For many games that would be an incredible accomplishment, but for a multi-platform installment in one of the oldest and most established video game franchises of all time? Not so much. Capcom probably looks at this and sees it as further proof that we’re outgrowing the series. Let’s talk about why this happened after the jump.

I’m of the opinion that this issue stems from (at least) three things.

The first is, at this point, the series has been watered down by too many releases, including a slew of ports, and HD re-releases. In the last five years we’ve seen Resident Evil 5 (followed by its “Gold Edition”), The Darkside Chronicles, The Mercenaries 3D, Revelations, Operation Raccoon City, and Resident Evil 6. On top of that, we’ve also seen a startling number of re-releases, including an HD console port of Revelations, Code Veronica, and Resident Evil 4.

That averages out to a little more than two games a year.

RE4 will be getting its sixth re-release when it arrives on PC (again) at the end of the month. It’s silky smooth frame-rate is nothing revelatory, but it looks good enough to earn itself another 10+ hours of my life. The problem is at this point, most of the gamers who are interested in RE4 have already played it across at least two platforms, and there’s been nary a word on an HD return to other beloved entries in the franchise, such as the first three games.

If you found yourself cringing as I listed off the latest Resident Evil games, you’ve unknowingly stumbled upon my next point.

With all these games, quality control at Capcom has taken a serious nosedive. The quality of the aforementioned games has been wildly inconsistent, with some receiving solid reviews (Resident Evil 5, Revelations), as the majority steadily lower the bar (The Mercenaries 3D, Operation Raccoon City, Resident Evil 6, Code Veronica HD).

In Capcom’s desperate attempt to take a page out of Activision’s playbook — likely titled “Ignoring Your Fans: How To Milk Your Annual Franchise And Replace Its Soul With Heaps Of Cash” — they’ve released a bevy of games every year, hoping to turn Resident Evil into something that more closely resembles Call of Duty. Unfortunately, you can’t do that without…

… Ruining what made the games good in the first place! Congrats, we made it to my third point.

The quality of the series has gradually deteriorated, and ignoring the fans (aka the only remaining people who remember what was great about the games in the first place) has led to a myriad games that won’t stand the test of time like the earlier games did. Look at the latest games, like Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6. They each have characters and enemies that are from Resident Evil, but they look and play like Resident Evil by Michael Bay.

The atmosphere, puzzles, horror, and unforgiving difficulty have been replaced by bombastic action, an excessive amount of guns, and women in tight clothing.

Jill Valentine wore a spandex body suit in Resident Evil 5. Never forget.

In a failed effort appeal to everyone, Capcom has lost the trust of their fans. I’ve already noticed a startling drop in interest in the series among you guys — Resident Evil 7 fell in fifth place with a measly 6% of the votes when we asked you what unannounced horror game you’re most looking forward to. That’s awful.

Capcom has an uphill battle when it comes to winning back its fans. They can start with scaling back the constant releases and focusing more on giving us less games that are better. Quality over quantity, as they say.

I’d like to throw it over to you. In the below poll I’d like you to let me know whether or not you think Capcom can recover from this, then if you’d like, you can share with us why you chose what you did in the comments.

Feel free to send Adam an email or follow him on Twitter:

Source: Capcom Unity
  • terrogore

    Firmly agreed. I’ve loved the franchise out the gate and grew up with it. When I bought RE 6 for ps3, I got the edition with 1-5 originals as a bonus.

    The only resident evil game that I have not beat countless times was RE 6…

    The truth is I never even beat it. That really says something. I sure did replay the hell out of Playstation one games with old graphics in 2013 as i’m ignoring a great graphical game with over the top story and too many explosions. They could keep giving me RE4 with different characters and environments/weapons/enemies and i’d be peachy!

    • Adam Dodd

      I didn’t spend much time with RE6 either. I’m not even sure whether or not I beat Ada’s campaign, it frustrated me so much, and this is coming from someone who spent a shameful 150-ish hours in RE5.

      • terrogore

        I beat chris first (which was a mistake and very action frustrating). Then I did leon which was better. then did have of wesker jr but then lost interest(even though it probably was pretty interesting.

        I found the gameplay mechanics to be sluggish as well as some enemies were kinda dumb in the way you had to beat them.

        Haha, dude Re5 was still good as it was going downhill. I though the D-pad weapon selection was actually really great for fast switching. I probably put in the same amount ish. It was really fun for co-op at least. but yeah I’d totally dive into RE5 again no problem, it was not the best but not too bad either.

        • terrogore

          Half of wesker jr. Thought the D-pad. I don’t think there is an edit.

    • SaltSlasher

      This setup, is called “join the freaking club”. I also dumped $80 on RE6 for the 1-5 editions, even though I already owned all of them on PS1 and PS2 (accordingly), but I played RE6 for about 1 hour and gave up, and ended up beating the old ones.

      RE4 was the greatest game in modern era. I beat that so hardcore, I had 4 save files for the different “end game” bonus. RE5 was amazing also.

      RE1-3 was just classic. I like the old school, slow and scary. Not fast action paced with no puzzles.

  • Slasher716

    I love the Resident Evil series, especially the first 4 games. Aren’t there like over 20 now? (Including the Arcade -Crisis like- Shooting ones and the ones for 3DS and stuff. There’s alot to the series, so much that Resident Evil has become like what Sega did to sonic The Hedgehog.

    I honestly wouldn’t be mad if Capcom gave up on Resident Evil. I think the true elements of what made the RE series so good will live on through The Evil Within. And I think Mikami knows that.

    It’s sad to see how RE has lost it’s goodness of the years but for us who have played the first 4, we know and we shall always remember the TRUE Resident Evil… BIO-HAZARD!

    • Slasher716

      I suppose I should give my answer for the poll question as well.

      “Can Capcom return Resident Evil to it’s former glory?”

      I can’t vote because I have too many mixed feeling on this lol

      In my heart I want to believe they can BUT if we look at the reality of the situation, I don’t think they’d ever be able to. Resident Evil already had a reboot and pre-quel, basicallg you name it and RE already has it done. I know this sounds crazy but they’d be better off selling the Resident Evil franchise or at least liscencing it to another studio. That’s the only way I can see it coming back fully and beyond.

      Then again, Capcom may get their eyes opened after they see how gamers react to The Evil Within. And maybe Capcom would release a Next gen Resident Evil game. Could be a hit. You never know, never say never!

    • Adam Dodd

      I think there are about three dozen entries on the series at this point, if you include the HD remakes. Including regular ports (of which RE4 has many) then it’s more.

      Capcom won’t give up on the franchise until it stops making them money, and seeing as Resident Evil is still one of the biggest video game franchises out there, we have a lot more games to look forward to. Whether or not they’re good games is another question entirely.

      Capcom has said they’ve “seen the light” (my words, not theirs) and will bring RE7 back to its roots in survival horror, but they also said the exact same thing about RE6, so I wouldn’t suggest taking their words with more than a grain of salt.

      • terrogore

        Yep, that’s exactly what they said for RE6 lol.

  • ThunderDragoon

    The optimist and the pessimist inside me were fighting back and forth, but I still love RE so much and have the faith that there’s still time to fix it. Maybe Capcom will pull something awesome out of the hat, but we’ll just have to wait and see what they’re going to do. They might even decide to just kill it. I don’t know.

  • Robert Anderson

    I think they’ve run the Umbrella corp story into the ground (and then a few inches more). Resident Evil doesn’t have to be about the aftermath of RE2 forever. The title “resident evil” can be about anything they should get some new faces and some new evil this will hep bring the scale down and make it tense again

  • kingfish

    It’s not scary anymore. Even Revelations, the monsters were more sci-fi than traditional horror. The over-the-shoulder camera takes away from the suspension.

    All Capcom has to do is go back to the original formula. Well maybe with first-person view this time as long as they keep the action slow and creepy. It’s not that hard Capcom you had a winning formula you just have to go back!

    • 905Justin

      first person? god no! go play resident evil survivor or dead aim and see how first person doesn’t work for RE

    • terrogore

      Agreed , they have a great formula. The old ones are still boss. they are over thinking it I think. The underground horror fans(like us) come out of the woodwork in time. It does not need to be CALL OF EVIL.

  • aphroditeboy

    I’ve always been more of a Silent Hill person, even in recent years despite the harsh criticism the latest installments have received – and in all honesty have never completed a Resident Evil game aside from the Gamecube remake and RE0. Even so, I know that this article is almost entirely accurate except for one point. Ever since RE3, it has almost been a series rule that the female characters must be less appropriately dressed to face a horde of flesh eating zombies than the male characters. The skin tight spandex suit still reveals less skin than the tube-top and miniskirt. In fact, RE3 is probably the best example of skimpy clothing in the series despite being one of the original classics. Jill, Ada, Claire, Shiva – it’s been a series pattern building for a long time now and there’s nothing degenerative about it because it started early on. Of course, these females are usually balanced with others such as Rebecca or Sherry who are generally more modestly (proportioned) and properly clothes to handle the zombie apocalypse (unless you consider the unlockable costumes) – but even when the female characters are dressed in more revealing attire, the natures of personalities are usually not determined by how sexuality provocative their ensembles may be (except for maybe Ada). When the female character’s sexuality does factor into her overall personality, she is usually portrayed an antagonist, such as Excella, or in the case of Ada, to have some anti-hero qualities, as her motivations sometimes oppose those of other main cast members. I think the real question here is, as the series has progressed, has Capcom substituted skimpy clothing and sex appeal for real character development and have certain members of their female cast been reduced to mere eye candy?

  • Pav

    Never been RE fan so i don’t care…

    • doomas10

      So why you came here to write this? LOL

  • Jocifer666

    I love the Resident Evil series- RE4 is my all time favorite game, and the REmake isn’t far behind. However, if The Evil Within proves to be a success, I think Shinji Mikami should just buy Resident Evil from Capcom. The series has really gone done hill without the father of survival horror’s touch to it, and it’s only right that the father should have the rights to his baby…Instead of watching it become bastardized.

  • doomas10

    The resident evil train has crashed and exploded in my opinion. The last 3 years all releases were flat out awful. Resident evil 5-the only saving grace was Wesker and the setting nothing else, Resident evil 6 was just one of the worst games of all time for me and I am not going to talk about Raccoon city. RE:R was ok but fell short of awesomeness. So what happens next? As a long time fan of the franchise who has played every single game and I consider myself having a phd in Resident Evil(!), I turned my back on this. We were promised this for the last couple of years and Capcom did not keep their promise. What happens now? Since they are going to make a new RE game it needs in my humble opinion a different setting, new characters and something far away from Umbrella Corporation and Raccoon city. Leon, Chris, etc have defeated monsters at the size of Empire State Building, killed thousands of zombies and other stuff in so many scenarios that now it has become boring. They need something new and in a very small scale again, with riddles and actual horror moments! Take outlast for example, add the psychological element mixed with zombies and puzzles-instant success. Do not have a massive cast, huge set pieces, an array of enemies and landscapes. The smaller the more believable.

    • terrogore

      Aye.

  • doomas10

    @AdamDodd Very interesting article!

    • terrogore

      Agreed, I don’t comment on much but this was a very legit thing that needed to be addressed. @AdamDodd

    • Adam Dodd

      Thanks! Hopefully Capcom can turn it around!

  • YaegerTheArcticWolf

    What Capcom needs to do is stop, take a long look at what they did all those years ago and remember what makes a Resident Evil game amazing, then they need to look at the crap they have put out over the past few years and if they can realize what they are doing wrong maybe, just maybe there is hope, but as it stands I really don’t think they are going to get it together. They are trying to compete with the nonsense of Call of Duty and what not, RE fans aren’t bland gamers like the CoD gamers, they are quite content with just running around shooting each other for days on end and screaming at each other, RE players want a story, something they can spend hours trying to do and succeeding and then bam there comes that fucking boss that just rapes them and all their hopes of an easy victory. Then they want to fight that fucker 2 to 3 times and finally find his weakness and rape him instead and stand triumphantly on the corpses of the dead with barely any health left, no herbs, and 2 bullets, only to round the next corner and get grabbed by a common zombie and see that beautiful screen that say’s “You Are Dead” only to try again. That’s what makes Resident Evil great. I finished all 3 main storylines of RE6 in less than 18 hours, it was way too easy to play and functioned like a run of the mill shooter, RE4 the first time I played it I easily put 30 hours into that game before I finished it the first time and I didn’t even get a chance to collect everything in that play through. RE4 was the last good one in my opinion. That’s the formula Capcom needs to go back for the behind the back RE series. Either that or go back to the old style camera angles, that would excite some people I think.

  • Jeff Wheaton

    They could do it if they go back and play the first set of games they created. I lost interest at 4. Played threw but it just didn’t feel right. 5 was a little worse and 6 was unplayable to me think I got 2 missions in. They need to go back and play the original trilogy, Code Veronica, and Zero and build that game not COD with zombies. I wouldn’t mind a return to the overhead type of view kind of like the HD remakes on Gamecube. If Capcom builds that and markets it as that it will sell till then high hopes for Evil Within \,,/

  • baronkriminel

    Well, without Shinji Mikami, I don’t really see the games returning back to its former glory, I mean he directed most of the RE games and he left Capcom after RE 4. I think we will see an original RE type game in The Evil Within, which is what he is directing now, but I think if Shinji Mikami doesn’t return to the RE series it will die.

  • Morthalius

    I recall reading somewhere that Capcom stated the RE fanbase (those of us that have been with it since the beginning) were in danger of outgrowing gaming. The issue is… they’ve not appeased new fans with their new approach, and they’ve pretty much ruined the games for us old fans too. I still think it’s fixable but they need to improve drastically. Some of the newer games would have done much better were it not for them being lazy in the creation of those game. It’s insane how bad their enemy and ally AI are. That alone would have at least given the recent glut of games a chance. I don’t expect them to go back to the survival horror roots of the series but I do expect horror, and I don’t mean horrifically stupid allies and enemies.

    • Adam Dodd

      Maybe you read that here? I linked to it at the beginning of the (above) article. You’re right, Capcom changed a lot about the series in order to appeal to a larger audience. That audience never came and now they’ve lost much of their original fanbase.

      I really think they should take a page out of Dead Space 3′s book and make the co-op optional. You can play it with a friend or you can go it alone without an annoying AI partner.

  • Dimitri Theodosakis

    I was once a Fan of Series but not anymore since Crap 4 Gameplay even more Crap 5-6 Gameplay, Series is dying Slow Slow death due to Capcom Japan.

  • Dimitri Theodosakis

    If Capcom Japan wants to bring Series back Remake Resident Evil 2&3 with Resident Evil 2002 Gameplay, Capcom should do Following

    Resident Evil 2&3
    Gameplay: Resident Evil Rebirth Only no Resident Evil 4-6
    New Modes: Ada Story Mode (RE 2), Mikhail Victor Story Mode (RE 3), Brad Vickers Story Mode (RE 3), Carlos Oliveira Story Mode (RE 3)
    * Ada’s happens during Time Ada First Meet Leon up to Leon Left Lab
    * Mikhail Victor’s happens during Time Mikhail First Meet Leon up to his end.
    * Brad Vickers’s Happens before Brad chat with Jill up to his end.
    * Carlos Oliveira’s Happen when he away from Jill.
    Difficulty Setting Setting for Both RE 2&RE3
    * Cheater (Unlockable only with Pre Order Code)
    * Easy
    * Normal
    * Hard (Unlockable only once Beaten Normal or Easy)
    * Nightmare (Unlockable only once Beaten Hard without Dying Once)
    Returning BOWs for Both RE 2&RE3
    * Crimson Head
    * All Resident Evil 2 BOWs
    * All Resident Evil 3 BOWs
    Filesize for Resident Evil 2 Remake
    * 25GB
    Filesize for Resident Evil 3 Remake
    * 25GB
    Systems
    * Playstation 4 (Blue Ray Disc and Playstation Store)
    * Xbox One (Blue Ray Disc and Playstation Store)
    * Windows and Mac (Steam Store And Origins Store)
    * Steam Os Based Console

  • Nurse Derpusheen

    I loved the games growing up, it was the one thing I looked foreword to after school. I would come home and run to my room to play the best game ever. just lately, all of the games are disappointing, I buy them anyway, just to see if they redeem themselves, the quality is awful and discerning. breaks my heart to see that the game that made my (and many others) childhoods great, fall so low.

    • doomas10

      Oh wel, I guess this is the sad reality of today. Most industries care about the profit only whereas and correct if I am wrong, during the early 90′s, developers of course looked up to make some money but through innovation and quality. Now, an average game – call of duty- makes a billion during its launch. Will they change the formula? Of course not! Until the cow has died, they will keep milking. Fortunately the REsi cow has been dead for years (despite RE5 being the most commercial game).

      • Nurse Derpusheen

        Oh, exactly, the games today isn’t as good as they were in the past. 90′s games kicked ass.

  • Kronos616

    “Yes, there’s still time.”
    And by that, I mean, there is still time for them to release a good Resident Evil game, until they lose the rest of their money in their banks. That there alone should give an indicator on how they should stop outsourcing game titles and resume developing in-house (Devil May Cry is an example).