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.