Since January, GameCube owners have been the only American gamers able to enjoy Resident Evil 4. But while the best-selling, critically lionized title will arrive on US PlayStation 2s in the fall, it looked like Xbox owners would never be able to help Leon S. Kennedy slay the series' signature undead hordes.
However, today Capcom announced that Resident Evil 5 is coming to Microsoft's next-generation console, the Xbox 360, as well as Sony's PlayStation 3. The announcement came in the form of a press release on the English-language section of the Investor Relations part of Capcom's Japanese corporate Web site.
The news came as only a small surprise, as Capcom executives had declared their admiration for both Sony's and Microsoft's next-gen consoles when they were unveiled in mid-May. "Utilizing the PlayStation 3['s] and Xbox 360['s] unprecedented power, Resident Evil 5 promises to revolutionize the series by delivering an unbelievable level of detail, realism, and control," read the release.
The announcement of an Xbox 360 Resident Evil 5 does mark an increasing change of heart for Capcom. Traditionally, the company has given Microsoft's current-generation console, the Xbox, only tepid support in the form of rereleases of older titles such as Genma Onimusha. However, that changed during this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, with the unveiling of Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance and Final Fight: Streetwise, two top holiday titles that will ship on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 simultaneously.
Capcom's brief announcement did not mention a ship date for Resident Evil 5 for the Xbox 360, which is due in Q4 2005, or the PlayStation, which currently has a "spring 2006" launch window. American Capcom reps told GameSpot that they "do not have any further details at this time" on the announced versions or a potential version for Nintendo's Revolution, which was not mentioned in the release.
However, Nintendo fans shouldn't give up hope entirely. Resident Evil 4 spent nearly four years in development, meaning that Resident Evil 5 likely won't arrive before the Revolution's expected late 2006 launch. Given that the Revolution development kits went out in March, a version of the game could still be in development for the mystery-shrouded console.
While Capcom's release had little information on Resident Evil 5, the latest issue of Famitsu revealed many details about the game. It features an interview with the game's producer, Jun Takeuchi, best known as the producer of Genma Onimusha and Onimusha 3. He also worked on Resident Evil 1 and 2, handling character animation and directing the creation of gun models.
Images of Resident Evil 5 featured in the magazine shows that the series' setting has dramatically changed. Instead of the creepy dark atmosphere of previous installments, RE5 takes place in a hot and sandy desert city under a pounding sun. There are also scenes of unlit areas such as alleyways and buildings that sport the same shadowy atmosphere as previous installments.
The Famitsu images show an unshaven man in a short-sleeved shirt who appears to be the main character in Resident Evil 5. Armed with a handgun and knife belted to his shoulder, he is outnumbered and being chased by a mysterious group of enemies shown in silhouette.
Takeuchi commented that RE5's setting was inspired by the 2001 war movie Black Hawk Down, in which a crowd of angry Somalis swarm over an American helicopter after it crash-lands. Technically, the surviving soldiers have a lot of room to run inside the city, but they are quickly cornered by the massive crowd that comes after them. Takeuchi says that he hopes to achieve a similar kind of experience and "madness" in RE5.
When asked about the unshaven man, Takeuchi said that the core developers for RE5 include staff members that worked on RE1, hinting that it might possibly be Chris Redfield from the original Resident Evil. Takeuchi also revealed that RE5 will be an authentic sequel to the series' main storyline rather than a side story. He added that if the main character is indeed Chris, the developers might be preparing to create some kind of a conclusion to the series' long storyline.
In terms of the mysterious enemies, Takeuchi commented that they are displayed in shadows because they will feature new elements that can't be disclosed yet. However, he hinted that the talking enemies in Resident Evil 4 were something he hopes to expand on in RE5.
As expected, Resident Evil 5 will take advantage of the PS3's and Xbox 360's high-definition graphics. Takeuchi said that one of the main goals of RE5's development was to use said graphics to deliver a tangible "atmosphere" to the game, to the point where the player can almost feel the hot air of the desert.
When asked about how RE5 will actually play, Takeuchi said that he hopes to bring back RE4's gameplay in RE5. He commented that Resident Evil 4 caused a lot of excitement at Capcom, since director Shinji Mikami had successfully made major changes while still keeping the essence of the series intact.
When Takeuchi was asked about the game's release, he avoided giving a straight answer, only stating jokingly that it will come out "before the launch of PlayStation 4." Later, Takeuchi explained that projects for next-generation consoles will easily spend three to five years in development and that work on RE5 is expected to take a bit of time, since it's currently Capcom's main focus.
Capcom may exhibit a one- to two-minute high-definition trailer of Resident Evil 5 at the Tokyo Game Show, which is where the images of the game in Famitsu were taken from.
Resident Evil 5 Updated Impressions
Capcom teases us with another glimpse of its highly anticipated entry in the survival horror franchise.
By Ricardo Torres, GameSpot Posted Jun 3, 2008 5:00 am PT
Capcom's been teasing us with the promise of Resident Evil 5 for quite some time. The highly anticipated follow-up first appeared on our radar in 2005 when it was initially announced. Since then there have been a few appearances and teases for the game, but nothing too meaty outside of trailers and the odd interview. We got a nice surprise at Capcom's recent press event in the form of a new trailer as well as a short look at the game in motion on the Xbox 360, and it has us intrigued.
Producers Jun Takeuchi and Masachika Kawata gave a short presentation that led into a new trailer that they freely admitted would merely raise more questions about what's going on in the game. Takeuchi ran through most of the high-level information that's out for the game. He noted that RE5 is set in Africa and follows Chris Redfield on an adventure that will lead him to discover the origins of the progenitor virus seen in RE: Code Veronica. The trailer was a montage of images and clips that offered a tiny hint at the game's scope and some of the additional locales that you'll reach. We saw ruins, some countryside, riots in the now-familiar village, brutal imagery of locals clashing, and Chris running from a mob. Other parts of the montage included sewers, dogs, fighting on rooftops, a factory explosion, Chris using various weapons, dealing with chainsaw-wielding foes, and a mysterious new female character who welcomes him to Africa. At the end of the trailer, Takeuchi noted that the game is roughly 60% complete and should wind up being more than 20 hours or so.
Once the trailer was over, Takeuchi sprung the surprise and fired up a work-in-progress version of the game on the Xbox 360 for Kawata to play through. The demo opened with Chris Redfield in a house fending off zombies (or whatever the heck they're calling them in this game) as they came in through the front door. From the look of things, the game is sticking pretty close to the core of RE4's combat systems. We saw Chris shoot, stab, and get off a context-sensitive kick on the horde of foes coming at him. As time passed, enemies started pouring down from the ceiling, which added a whole new dynamic to the action. As if all of that wasn't challenging enough, a massive, war-hammer-wielding foe punched a hole through the wall, showing off the new destructible environments and allowing more enemies in.
With the house compromised, Chris was sent running outside through the ruined streets with a mob of foes behind him, including his hammer-wielding friend. The open space offered some new defensive opportunities because Chris was able to ignite some conveniently placed drums, which flamed up nicely and dealt with the smaller enemies. Chris also switched weapons to his shotgun, which tore through groups of foes at close range. Of course, none of this mattered to the massive, hammer-wielding brute who continued to shamble after the hapless adventurer. We then saw Chris take to the rooftops to try to avoid enemies, who simply headed on up after him. The persistent bunch weathered Chris' grenades and weapon fire to keep on coming at him. When none of that worked, Chris nabbed a machine gun and an incendiary grenade and went up to a higher level on the roof to put them to good use. During his maneuvering, he was caught by an enemy and had to shake it off by moving the analog stick and matching a button prompt.
The remainder of the demo showed Chris making use of whatever he could in his surroundings to avoid or defeat his enemies. Takeuchi noted that the town is considerably larger than the one seen in RE4. In addition, he stated that the large enemy with the hammer was basically a one-hit foe (Kawata was using an invincibility cheat for the demo) that players will know to respect fairly quickly. Outside of the demo, Takeuchi didn't offer too much more insight into the game, noting only that more would be revealed at E3.
The work-in-progress 360 version of the game sported impressive graphics and was richly detailed to convey its African town setting. RE5 will run using the most current version of the framework engine that Capcom has been using. Although elements of the visuals were unsettling, they certainly kept with the disturbing theme. Lighting and the like were looking very sharp as the settlement reflected its environment. The detail on Chris is really well done, as are all of his foes and their twisted minions. In terms of audio, the game is sounding great, with everyone's moans fitting quite well.
Based on what we saw, Resident Evil 5 should continue the rejuvenation of the series, which got an impressive jump start with RE4. If the controls remain as solid as the previous incarnation but add some cool stuff, we'll be sold. We're also hoping that there's one heck of a story to be told, one that will hopefully explain the unsettling imagery. Resident Evil 5 is slated to ship during Capcom's fiscal year, which means that it's due at the end of this year or at the start of 2009. Look for more on the game at this year's E3.
GC 2008: New Resident Evil 5 Co-Op Details
Details on co-op mode that may scare gamers with horror.
By Matt Leone, 08/21/2008
As part of a roundtable interview with producer Masachika Kawata at Capcom's Games Convention booth today, we were able to pick up a few new details on the cooperative mode in Resident Evil 5.
First up, he provided two examples on how players can work together -- one being that you can find new items by working with another player that you wouldn't be able to find on your own, and the other being that in a dark scene one player might have to carry a torch while the other provides cover. "We have integrated quite a different variety of situations where you can both play in co-op," says Kawata.
Kawata also assured us that the co-op mode won't be any less scary than the single-player game -- which we're a bit skeptical of considering voice chat will probably remove some of the fear from the experience -- saying, "I thought the game would be more of an action game until I played it." He then took things up a few notches, claiming that the game "might paralyze you with horror."
It's hyperbole, sure, and it's kind of charming at the same time. We're expecting to see a lot more of Resident Evil 5's co-op mode at Tokyo Game Show in October, so we'll have to settle for these nuggets for now.
Capcom's Christian Svensson Sees E3 as a First Party Battleground
Business Development & Strategic Planning VP chats with us about E3.
By Kyle Stallock, 08/06/2008
As the dust settled on this year's E3 the future of the show remained as much a mystery as ever. After heading there thinking it would be the final one, whispered talk of what it would take to make next year's show better could be heard while walking through the LA Convention Center. So when we returned to the office we started asking around to see what some of the attending publishers were thinking as they looked back on E3 2008. Christian Svensson, VP of Business Development & Strategic Planning at Capcom shared his thoughts with us on not only E3, but the general landscape for tradeshows including Comic-Con and the Tokyo Game Show (TGS). Svensson made no bones about E3 having become as he put it "more of a first party battleground than it is a third party event." For a publisher such as Capcom it serves as another opportunity to connect with the media, but he openly questioned whether any need remains for a single show like E3 to serve that purpose. And while he admits to having put a lot of thought into considering what a better E3 would be, he too has come up without an answer. He says, "The US is a very big country and no single show can capture any significant portion of the market (unlike TGS in Japan)." And then about the more developer-focused events adds, "I love the intimacy of DICE or the networking opportunities at GDC, but neither are really major media events (nor would I want them to be)." All of which leaves him still struggling with the question much as we imagine the management of the ESA must be doing.
Hit the link below for the full story to read the complete interview.
1UP: What purpose does E3 serve to Capcom, and is that purpose any different than say...GDC?
Christian Svensson: This year we looked at E3 as another media touch point, and I think it served that purpose. The question as an industry we need to ask ourselves is, do we need a centralized show for E3's previous purpose? I'm not sure. And if not, what do we want to get from E3 in the future?
GDC is different and serves a number of other purposes. We use GDC to bring all of our development partners together for show-n-tell/relationship building or to scout for new development relationships. I have meetings with a slew of partners including: first parties, e-distribution portals, in-game advertising partners, promotional partners, existing and prospective licensors and licensees, etc. In short, it's pretty much the most important business development event, something E3 never was due to it trying to previously fill too many roles. On the flip side, for third parties GDC very often isn't a place where most companies make significant product reveals (unless you have a keynote).
1UP: Now that most of the content from E3 has been submitted and/or made public, how do you feel the coverage was handled in comparison to the E3s of old?
CS: For Capcom, we're pleased with the coverage we've received though I think we fared better than some of our competitors. That said, E3 now has become more of a first party battleground than it is a third party event and in that regard I think it still has significant value. Most third parties hold our own events where we made most of our major announcements in a more focused environment.
1UP: Does Capcom specifically choose not to reveal content at conferences such as E3 and GDC for fear of becoming buried under other announcements? Was this the case for E3 2008?
CS: It's hard to get on the radar at any major show, so your event strategy has to be strategic in focus. We always have messaging objectives for every show, but they don't always revolve around new product announcements. For example, we wanted to get the word out far and wide on Resident Evil 5's co-op and selected E3 as the venue for that message. It wasn't a new game, but it was a significant announcement. If there are things we're afraid are going to get drowned out at a big show, we'll make those announcements at a Capcom-only event or perhaps not even at an event at all, using the Capcom-unity.com blog as the vehicle so there is no competition for mindshare.
1UP: Within reason, what is the ideal E3 to Capcom?
CS: I think about this a lot and I'm not sure I have the answer. I love the energy of Comic-con and interacting with the fans there, but it's not a show I can do business at. I love the intimacy of DICE or the networking opportunities at GDC, but neither are really major media events (nor would I want them to be). I love our focused media events and we're seeking ways to get our community increasingly involved at them, but again, it wouldn't quite be a big consumer blow out or a business development function.
I don't think any show can cost effectively capture all of those elements in one place without crushing one component or another (including the budget as an area of concern).
1UP: Some of those fantastic indie titles still don't have publishers. Has Capcom made an effort to visit with these developers at these events and possibly begin negotiating a deal?
CS: At events, no. Generally schedules don't allow for it. After events, yes.
1UP: Is PAX the new E3?
CS: Part of the problem with any consumer show is the localized nature of it. The US is a very big country and no single show can capture any significant portion of the market (unlike TGS in Japan). Our primary consumer presence annually has been and will continue to be at Comic-con (which has amazing overlap with our fans given our popular properties and characters). We are considering participation at PAX though as it continues to grow. I don't believe any single show will address the total audience we would like to.
In our latest look at Capcom's survival horror shooter, we run into a Kraken, a temple, and two tickets to the gun show.
Resident Evil 5 is all about scale: more enemies, larger areas, and bigger bosses. Luckily, the game balances things by giving you a partner, the lithe and lethal Sheva Alomar, and the muscle to punch a zombie so hard that it explodes. We had the chance to take our increased firepower and continue on from our previous previews to further explore this undead-filled adventure.
We started off with the full version of the boat level mentioned in our river-raiding preview. As mentioned there, we were hunting after the mysterious Irving, who had narrowly escaped us by boat, prompting Chris, Sheva, and Josh to give chase. Though we were trapped a couple of times by locking gates, the majini defending the switches had foolishly placed brightly colored explosive barrels and tanks within gunshot and thus were easily dispatched.
Once we got out into more open waters, we literally bumped into Irving and his luxury yacht, which seemed to have received a couple of aftermarket upgrades, including mounted chainguns and rocket launchers. A quick cutscene later, we were faced down with the largest monster seen thus far, a water-bound beast that can only be described as a kraken and that attacked us with tentacles and bites from its massive maw.
Though we were disappointed that this kraken was out of reach of Chris' biceps (which may or may not be named Doctor Python and Agent Cobra), we were more than thrilled to use the yacht's probably illegal modifications against it. After blasting through some tentacles and taking advantage of quick-time events to keep out of Davy Jones' locker, the kraken (now on its last legs) unwisely opened up to reveal a critical weak spot. Needless to say, it was all over after that.
Watch out for float-by shootings!
After the defeat of the kraken, we headed out to explore a cave that the mysterious character in the plague-doctor outfit had recently traveled to. Once inside, we discovered a massive underground temple and did the first thing that came to mind, which was to pillage all of its valuable treasures and straight punch, hook, and uppercut any zombie that got in our way. However, things weren't quite so simple, considering that the place was quite thoroughly booby-trapped. The moment we entered the main approach, we imprudently stepped on a pressure plate that triggered the collapse of the support pillars in the hall and initiated a lengthy quick-time event sequence complete with perilous leaps over unstable ground.
Resident Evil 5 Boss Battle 2
Chris launches rockets at giant tentacles.Once inside the temple proper, we began to encounter resistance of the unliving sort, which came after us in huge waves, and like most zombies were weak against bullets to the brain. To conserve ammo in these critical moments, we also offered them free tickets to Chris' gun show, but they didn't really enjoy that either. In between moments of battle, we engaged in a complicated puzzle that involved a series of pull-levers that required Sheva's help to engage, during which the appearance of the large room that we were trapped in radically changed.
Midway through the puzzle, we found a grenade launcher and a stock of flash ammunition conveniently lying around, which we would later put to use against one of the giant scorpion-bat minibosses previously encountered outside the mine earlier in the game (check out the preview on that area here). As anyone who played through Resident Evil 4 should know, the Las Plagas parasites do not enjoy flash-bang grenades (or rave clubs with strobe lights, for that matter), and this thing was no exception; a few shots from our sweet new weapon and some good old-fashioned buckshot later, we were clear to further chisel our physique on the undead in different areas.
Resident Evil 5 will be coming out on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 13. A demo is currently available on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live if you'd like to try out two areas from the game. Be sure to check back early next month for our full review.