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Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – R.I.P.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – R.I.P.

Hey guys! Resident Evil 6 has been announced! Hell yeah! High fives! Wooo! Damn right! Fireworks! Cartwheels! Other excitement!

So. Looks good, eh? It’s split into the Leon part (spooky survival horror, old mansions), the Chris part (shooty bang bang), unknown man and unknown woman prancing about part (Nemesis-style gameplay?). It’s also full of gameplay, which is rare for an announcement trailer, where you’re usually treated to a quick clip of CGI followed by the logo slowing appearing out of darkness for 30 seconds.

But what of Slant Six, developers of the stranded Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City? Oh dear.

It’s not hard to feel a shred of sympathy for Slant Six. After pumping out SOCOM games, Capcom chose them to develop Operation Raccoon City. Huh? What? Why? Because they want the Call of Duty crowd. It’s not even conjecture anymore – Capcom has said so themselves.

As for why Slant Six was selected, no-one really knows. It’s probably a combination of them having shooter experience and being available. Regardless of the reason, the end result is exactly what happens when you ask a SOCOM studio to make a Resident Evil game – you get a Resident Evil game that plays like SOCOM. It’s little more than a branding exercise and Operation Raccoon City has about as much relevance to Resident Evil as Monster Munch has to monsters.

It’s not even as though the SOCOM template was particularly strong to begin with (guns feel light, characters feel light, game feels light) but regardless, no amount of green herbs and nostalgic sound effects can disguise that SOCOM template poking through the Resident Evil skin. It’s a strange fit and its only real hope of survival was that people would be so starved of a Resident Evil game that they gambled on Operation Raccoon City. Now it’s sandwiched between two ‘proper’ Resident Evil games – Resident Evil: Revelations and Resident Evil 6. Those after Resident Evil kicks have plenty of choice.

It’s not that Slant Six has done anything wrong. Operation Raccoon City looks like a decent game and about as good as we could have expected, given their previous form. It’s just a game that’s lost between military shooter and Resident Evil, drifting aimlessly without confidence in its own identity. It’s not sure what it is. We’re not sure what it is. No-one’s sure. And now, post-Resident Evil 6 announcement, no-one’s really going to care.

As for capturing the Call of Duty crowd, they’re too busy playing Call of Duty to care about anything else. EA tried with Battlefield 3, THQ tried with Homefront, both were powered by marketing warchests, both failed. Capcom isn’t going to throw its weight behind Operation Raccoon City in the same way – not with Devil May Cry, Street Fighter x Tekken and yes, Resident Evil 6 available in the same year – so again, it makes you question the point.

Still, it could be amazing. It could get fans flocking back to the series. But given the trailer for Resident Evil 6 has drummed up more interest than Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City has to date…




  • Steve Matthews

    My opinion is that Capcom has already indicated that Operation Raccoon City should be taken as a sort of alternate reality story, because players, playing as the villains (Umbrella employees who are actually, you know, LOYAL to Umbrella) will have the chance to alter several main story points, such as Delta Team’s mandate to eliminate Leon Kennedy. This makes me wonder why this game is being held up to “Main Storyline” games in the RE series. It’s obviously not intended to be one, as is evident from the intended play style and the Slant Six involvement.

    I also think that the assessment made in this article -that Capcom will not support ORC, post-release- is errant. Now, while I’ll freely admit that Capcom might not throw as much support behind ORC as say, RE6 or one of it’s other tried and true franchise sequels, that in no way means that support will be lacking for ORC. Capcom is, after all, attempting to branch out to new customers through this game. To leave gamers wanting in this endeavor would not be fiscally sound. And at the end of the day, let us all remember, all video game companies are in the business to make money. Truth.

    And for just a moment, let me touch on the note you made about other companies trying to invade CoD’s territory, as it were. Games like Homefront and Battlefield were not horrible games. They just don’t have the same name recognition as CoD. In fact, it could be surmised that CoD is the Resident Evil of Military Shooters. Resident Evil is easily the most recognizable name in the survival horror genre, and has evoked a love of putting zombies to rest for good to a point that, well, what do you see in CoD games?

    Zombies.

    You likely aren’t going to see Nazi’s in Resident Evil, though. (unless Umbrella turns out to be a front for the Reich revival.) Ryan King sounds to me like he wants ORC to do well, or at least be given the respect he feels it deserves, and hey, I’m on board with that. But instead of assuming that what you consider to be the worst case scenario is all but a formality, why not let Operation Raccoon City actually hit store shelves before throwing Capcom under the bus for lack of support?

  • Ryan King

    Hey Steve,

    You’ve made some interesting points and I’m glad you assume that I want ORC to do well – usually people tend to assume the worst intentions of our blogs!

    It was more the timing of the announcement that struck me more than anything else. ORC is on track for release in two months, and Capcom has announced Resident Evil 6 now. I know Capcom had its Resident Evil 15th anniversary party and the timing tied in with that but I think it would have made more sense to hold off the announcement -until- ORC was released than to tie it in with the RE 15th anniversary to enhance the occasion. RE6’s presence will take away some sales from ORC, simply because it will be seen as the ‘proper’ Resident Evil game and only die-hard Resident Evil fans will have room for both games in their collection.

    Capcom’s support of ORC will also depend on how well it sells. There wasn’t a lot of support for Lost Planet 2, Bionic Commando, Dark Void, etc once it became apparent that those games stiffed at retail.

    And you’re right about Homefront and Battlefield. My point there wasn’t that they were horrible games but, if anything, the opposite – they were good games competing in the same field as CoD and they still didn’t topple it (even if Battlefield 3 left a dent). So for other publishers to chase the idea that CoD fans will play anything that’s like CoD with their own brand slapped on, be it Resident Evil or whatever else, is folly. It just doesn’t happen.

    So this all comes back to my point about RE6 being announced before ORC is out. To me, it indicates a lack of faith in ORC from Capcom but I could be wrong and it could also sell well. We’ll have to wait and see!

  • Steve Matthews

    I agree with the point about holding off until post-launch for ORC to announce RE6, but I think Capcom was worried (paranoid, likely) that a full-scale leak would happen before then. Aside from the hints they themselves were dropping, it seems RE fans include no shortage of sleuths. As it was, I think the “surprise” element attached to the reveal trailer being released was more to do with the outstanding graphics and kick-*ss looking gameplay footage included than the actual announcement itself. Among the friends I have that are RE enthusiasts, it was always assumed to be a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if’ RE6 would become a reality. I myself was most surprised with the announcement of the release date, and it actually being in this calendar year than anything else about the reveal trailer.

    I can also picture that the sales for ORC will affect just how much support Capcom throws behind the game, post-launch. I would not be surprised, however to find that it receives more support than say, Lost Planet 2 got. Keep in mind, Resident Evil is a much stronger franchise than LP, and with Capcom’s desire to attract fans of the military shooter-type games, I think they might be willing to support their first RE endeavor into that genre a little more than they might do with say, Dark Void or Bionic Commando. And as easy as it would be to sell many fans of the RE franchise short, what with all of their endless moaning about how RE should “return to it’s roots,” let’s not do that quite yet, either. I, for one, have been wanting a military-type game in the RE universe forever. Surely (and Capcom seems to agree with me, here) there must be others.

    That being said, I fully understand your point about CoD fans not flocking to CoD-style games because they’re already playing the best of the genre. But fans like that are closed-minded. ther’s no reason not to play a game that’s not the best of it’s genre simply based on that fact. Where would Sonic be if people had stayed away from it simply because it smacked of Super Mario Bros.? I’ve likely played more console and pc shooters (FPS and TPS) than your average gamer. But I like games of nearly every type, from shooters to RPGs, to adventures, to puzzlers, to chess and poker. Capcom’s release of the reveal trailer has only heightened my urgency to get my hands on anything new and RE-related, so I won’t be bypassing ORC in favor of holding out for RE6. I’ll simply play ORC until RE6 launches, then play it until my brain melts from all the awesome.

    My point? I don’t think that people who intended to buy ORC will deviate from that. They’ll buy it anyway, whether it be because they’re a fan of RE, a fan of military shooters, or whatever reason they have. And I don’t think that people who had no intention of buying it anyway were affected by the RE6 reveal trailer. They likely aren’t going to buy it, either.

    In the end, though, I think we’re both likely at least a little right. We can prognosticate all we want to, but this seems to be the very definition of a ‘wait and see’ scenario.

    Thanks for the prompt reply to my post, and for not assuming that I was flaming you. A lot of people assume that with me. 🙂

  • Jamie

    To be fair its probably a game that I’ll pick up and play especially if I buy my brother a copy too because Lord knows he won’t buy it himself but I doubt I’ll get it release date. It looks interesting and just different enough so that’s its not another CoD clone and I imagine if you got some serious players then the teamwork element could work really well. I don’t think its one to be taken seriously within the storylines of the Resident Evil universe but hey sometimes an alternate version is fun to play about with and maybe this game will deliver that, I certainly hope it does at least.

    It could be fun!