Resident Evil 6 Interview: Story, Gameplay, New Mutants & Controls
Resident Evil 6 is set to be one of the biggest games of the year, and after getting eyes-on with the next Resi Evil at a Capcom presentation we caught up with three major developers on the game.
We spoke to Eiichiro Sasaki (director), Hiroyuki Kobayashi (producer) and Yoshiaki Hirabayashi (producer) of Capcom about how Resident Evil 6 is coming along.
Eiichiro Sasaki: Your life gauge is there, you can see your weaponry, but we also have something called the physical combat gauge. That’s for your stamina. Every time you do one of your martial arts attacks it uses up some of your physical combat gauge. You have to manage that because if you use lots of attacks and go through your gauge you won’t have it when you need it.
With the three different characters, does this mean there’s a return of zapping system?
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi: Because we do have three characters and three stories, we had to implement them in the game in such a way that they wouldn’t affect it negatively. But what form that will take we can’t go into the specifics just yet, but if you use your imagination you may be able to imagine how these stories are connected you can picture what we’re trying to achieve.
We’ll be making more announcements about what exactly that entails as we get closer to the release date, but the stories are tied together. It’s not just story and cut-scenes for each character on their own. There is a connection.
This is Jake Muller, son of Albert Wesker. Probably bit of a mental, then.
How much should players be aware of the Resident Evil backstory?
Hirabayashi: I think fans of the series will get a lot from seeing Leon and Chris. They know those characters and it will mean a lot to them to be able to play as them again. But the way we’ve designed this game, we’ve created a backstory for the new characters that makes them a part of the Resident Evil world, they’re going to be new to everyone whether you’re a fan of the series or new to it.
We want as many people to play this game as possible, which means a lot of new people will play too. So, for example, in Leon’s story you saw that he shoots the president at the beginning. That friendship with the president, even fans of the series are new to that. So Leon’s relationship to the president is something both fans and new players will experience at the same time.
So even if you don’t have a previous relationship to Leon or Chris you’ll still be able to understand who they are. If you are a fan, it just adds that much more to your understanding of those characters, but you don’t need a knowledge of the previous games to enjoy the story in this game.
Hiroyuki Kobayashi: If we’re going to be doing all of these stories, I want them to be something anyone can jump in and enjoy without a previous knowledge of the series.
However, there’s still stuff in there for fans. If you know these characters and you’ve played the games there will be stuff for you to enjoy. Those people will be able to chuckle to themselves and say ‘Ah! I know what’s that’s about’. But even if you don’t know the minutiae of previous games you’ll still be able to enjoy the story.
Fans will appreciate playing as Leon again, while newcomers won’t feel overwhelmed.
We’ve seen the new J’avo mutants. How exactly do they mutate?
Hirabayashi: When you shoot them in a body part, that body part will regenerate as something mutated. We showed two mutations today. One of them is that the arm turns into a scythe and the other is a big arm that reaches out and grabs you, but there are many more than we showed you today. So you have a lot to be excited for.
The reasons we implemented the mutations is because we want to enhance the combat experience. Part of it is visual. When you’re fighting these J’avo you never know what they’re going to transform into and that can be both exciting and horrific for the player. But also it can be part of the action as well.
For example the J’avo can use weapons and guns. So it could be shooting at you but then you shoot its arm off and it becomes a scythe. So now the action has changed. Before it was shooting at you from a distance, now it’s running up and trying to get in close to cut you.
So the way you fight that J’avo changes. While you’re fighting a bunch of J’avo, the way you damage them will affect the way they mutate and, depending on how they mutate, that affects the way they attack you. So there’s always a sense of tension when you fight a J’avo.
Are these three characters separate storylines, or will they tie-in?
Sasaki: To start, the three characters each have their own story and you can choose whichever one you want and play that story, experience that character’s story.
In terms of length, each character’s story is a little bit less than RE5 but when you combine them together you’re getting something that is much longer.
While each character’s story stands alone, all of the characters wind up in the same area of the game, in China, so there is a certain level of overlap. They stand on their own but they do overlap in certain areas. You don’t have to play them all, of course.
There will be three distinctly different storylines.
Gameplay-wise, will these three characters and their storylines play differently?
Hirabayashi: There are a couple of ways we’re trying to differentiate the stories in the game. For example we’re trying to incorporate horror elements into all the stories. But as you know horror is a big genre and there are different types of horror.
So Leon’s story is more traditional gothic horror, Chris is in battle and as he fights his way and moves forward; the things that he encounters are horrific in their own way. Jake as mentioned is trying to escape from the country he was in, so he’s being chased and followed.
So there’s that certain tension and horror element to his story that is different to that of Chris or Leon. So we’re trying to present a different iteration of horror in each of the stories.
As far as gameplay goes, there are the core gameplay concepts but each character has their own unique gameplay features. So when you play as a different character you’ll be able to do different things that you couldn’t do with others.
Tank controls have been removed – how will you create that struggle between game and player?
Sasaki: I think first of all we didn’t want to make a straight up action-type control scheme for the game. We’re still trying to make a horror experience. This is horror as entertainment.
To that end I think it was necessary to open up the controls a little, make them smoother, so you could immerse yourself in this world more easily. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to lose control over the player in terms of how they experience this world we’ve created.
You can give them more freedom of control while still guiding their experience in certain ways. So like I showed in the presentation, there will be times when you’re on your back and shooting at enemies, and even though you think you have the advantage at that point because they’re lined up and easier to shoot, they can still jump on you and try to choke you and you’ll have to struggle to break free.
So even though we’ve opened up the controls, doing that allows us to do more things, tell the story in new and unique ways. So just because we have a different control scheme doesn’t mean we’ve taken away those horror elements of the game.
And I have to say that the previous games Resident Evil games, we didn’t set out to improve the controls because we thought they were bad. Each Resident Evil game at its time had the controls it needed at that time to make it the game it was, a good experience. We’re taking it to the next level, we’re opening up the controls more but we’re also trying to do more with that.
New mutants are included in Resi 6, which mutant randomly.
Could you expand on gameplay and how it differs between different characters?
Sasaki: If you look at the characters in this game you’ll see differences in the way you can use them. You got to see a little bit of Jake and if you look at what Jake does, he’s not always using a gun.
So because of that, the way you control him is going to be different throughout his levels. If you compare this trailer to the first trailer you’ll see there are many cases where Jake is not using a gun, so what that means for the player how you control him is very exciting but it’s not something we’re talking about in a lot of detail right now.