Resident Evil 6 may be the next part in the franchise’s progression towards more action orientated horror, as shown by both trailers and gameplay, but it also marks a return to the zombies of the first few games. Apparently the undead are rather “popular”, and players of the past two zombie-free endeavours have made it clear that they “really wanted them” to shamble their way back into the series.
Speaking to Siliconera, executive producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi mentioned these requests and how the game should scratch that infected itch:
“We tried to respond to the requests and put them in this game. We tweaked them a bit so they aren’t the same zombies you would expect.”
“The zombies when you first see them, they shamble around slowly. But, if they spot you or they get closer they break out into a sudden dash and try to grab you. We tried to make this as instantaneous as possible. Some of them will leap out at you. For the most part, they are zombies, but they have a bursts of energy here and there that give them a little extra oomph.”
Whilst many of the zombies may be missing limbs, others will be armed. Giving them weapons is certainly new to the series, but their implementation may not be quite as ill-conceived as it initially appears:
“It’s not that we decided zombies should use weapons per se, it’s just that we wanted to get across the feeling that these used to be people and people either picked up weapons when they were fighting or they used certain objects when they were alive. They have this instinctual ability to pick up these things and use them.”
“It’s not that they are purposely using weapons, it’s in the back of their mind because they used to use weapons before they became zombies.”
This change in interaction isn’t one-sided, with Kobayashi teasing that other ways to deal with the zombies are a “key component” of the game that will be revealed at a later date.
It is difficult to reconcile the reception of Resident Evil 4 with this apparent want of zombies. Similarly, the fifth game had many failings, but refusing to return to the undead was not one of them. Regardless, perhaps zombies are just the sort of refreshment the franchise needs, and if implemented intelligently they could be a defining feature of Resident Evil 6 much like they were in the original games.
Available on the PS3 and Xbox 360 this October, we will soon find out if Capcom’s concession to their fans will be of any benefit.