Resident Evil - Capcom interview
Henry Northmore talks to Capcom, the development team behind the latest instalment of the massive Resident Evil franchise
Videogames have delved into the world of horror for a good number of years. Haunting Ground, The Suffering, Jericho, Alone in the Dark and many more have fought for the crown, but Resident Evil is the daddy of them all. On its launch back in 1996 it was one of the titles that helped sell the PlayStation. Its adult themes, creepy set pieces and hordes of zombies proved gaming wasn’t kids stuff any more.
Now on it’s fifth official instalment (there have been a multitude of off shoots such as Code: Veronica, Dead Aim, Outbreak and Survivor released under the Resident Evil banner) the action moves to Africa. Chris Redfield returns from the original Resident Evil teaming up with a new partner Sheva Alomar as the Umbrella Corporation’s bio-terrorism infects a new continent.
Under the guidance of co-producers Jun Takeuchi and Masachicka Kawata, Capcom have ensured the story elements are as important as the action. They are justifiably proud of the immersive world they have created. ‘Well, apart from the stunning visuals, gameplay, huge dedicated following and consistency in quality,’ explains Leo Tan, Capcom’s UK PR Manager, when asked about Resident Evil’s enduring popularity. ‘I’d say it’s probably the level of care that goes into the character design and the amount of research that’s done for every aspect of the game. Each character is motion-captured from professional actors, each back story is thoroughly fleshed out and maintained throughout the series and each environment is based on a real-world location.’
Resident Evil has created its own gruesome mythology. Its popularity has spawned three big screen adaptations starring Milla Jovovich (with part four on the way in 2010), alongside a series of comics and novels. It’s certainly one of the most successful videogame franchises that has managed to spread its infection even to the non-gamer community. And while the films may have taken some flak from the critics through the years, the games have been reliably first-rate.
While it may not have invented the survival horror genre, Res Evil certainly cemented it as one of the most popular in gaming. Helping to introduce genuine terror into the world of the home console. ‘People really do like being afraid, whether it’s games, books or films. It’s definitely something primal in each of us,’ says Tan, ‘for something which shouldn’t be enjoyable, it has broad appeal.’
Stepping up to the next gen consoles for the first time with improved graphics and playability, not only is this a new setting with new adversaries, monsters, weapons and the usual creeping dread you’ve come to expect from the series, this latest helping of horror also has a few new tricks up its sleeve. ‘Resident Evil 5 introduces co-op play for the first time,’ adds Tan. ‘It’s a huge innovation for a series that has thrived on solitary fear.’
Resident Evil 5 (Capcom) is available on PS3 and Xbox 360 from 13 Mar