We're big fans of Resident Evil 5, but we're also very aware of its issues. With RE5 producer Masachika Kawata stating that Resident Evil 6 "could take anywhere up to eight years" to make we thought we'd let Capcom know what we wanted, in the hope that we'd speed the process up a little. So, based on our experiences playing through all the games in the series, and numerous contenders to the survival horror crown, here are our top ideas for making Resident Evil 6 a masterpiece.
Move and shoot
While we don't want the next Resident Evil to ship with controls as nippy as those in Left 4 Dead, we'd at least like the option to move and shoot. By all means make the aiming horrendously hard when you're not rooted to the spot, but it's time for the series to feel modern. We're hoping for a more horror-focused title next time around, so the traditional controls should still be an option - perhaps even the better one - but in the interest of appealing to as many people as possible, Capcom needs to go one step further than the strafing implemented in Resi 5. If Capcom wants any more help in this area, we'd settle for the controls found in EA's Dead Space.
Survival horror again please
The old Resident evil games were dripping in atmosphere. Part of this was down to the lighting, which was almost always dim and foreboding. This changed somewhat in Capcom's latest entry in the series, but we'd rather things returned to their horror roots. We want less sunshine and fewer enemies, but more tension. Resident Evil 4 and 5 were great fun, but you fought so many enemies that the games were more or less third-person shooters and lost much of the survival horror that made the series popular in the first place. Part of what made the older games so scary was not knowing when a zombie would appear, with less most definitely being more in the fear stakes. We're tempted to suggest that the traditional zombies make a return, but we love the giant mutated nasties found in the recent games too.
Don't get us wrong, co-op play in Resident Evil 5 is great fun, but it loses much of its appeal when Sheva is AI controlled. The experience isn't nearly as frightening when you've got a friend talking to you through a headset, or sat next to you on the couch. We'd welcome an optional co-op mode, but primarily we want Resi 6 to be single-player focussed, with any help being fleeting. The survival horror re-focus would lend itself to a lone character, battling against the odds - something a second playable character would likely lessen the impact of. We also expect every character in a Resident Evil game to be expendable, and unless Capcom is feeling very brave we doubt a playable co-op partner would bite the dust.
Trading system re-think
It's hard to work out how the trading system in Resident Evil 4 turned into such a dull mechanic in Resident Evil 5. The travelling salesman is an iconic figure for anyone who loved the fourth officially titled game, so being presented with nothing more than a lifeless menu screen in 5 came as a huge disappointment. The salesman made little to no sense, appearing all over the game, but he added character and somehow managed to fit the game's rather over-the-top B-movie feel. While we're at it, what happened to combining treasure to make more expensive items? This used to mean that there was a reason to be cautious with money, holding onto jewels in order to later upgrade them and cash-in properly. In Resi 5 things could be sold almost as soon as you picked them up. Collectors should be rewarded.
We're not going to claim that the puzzles in the original few Resi games were actually tricky, but you at least felt like you were doing something that required more brain power than aiming a shotgun at a zombie's head. More recent games have almost rid the series of this element completely, so we want Capcom to bring them back. Hopefully Resi 6 will be a slower, more mysterious game, so a few mind-benders would certainly break up the nerve-racking gameplay to a tee. Going on current trends there'll probably be the option to have the solution handed to you on a plate, but we'd hope that doing so would seriously reduce your rank for that chapter.
More gruesome deaths please
We might well be a bit wrong in the head, but when the lead character dies in a Resident Evil game we want to see it play out in all its glory. In Resi 2 you saw the zombies eating you if you failed to take them out and in Resi 4 the chainsaw guy would cut your head clean off and leave your bloody corpse on the ground. For some reason the deaths in Resident Evil 5 were sanitised, with any extreme gore playing out off camera. This is Resident Evil, one of the bloodiest, nastiest gaming experiences around, so if we get eaten by a giant mutated man, we damn well want to see what it looks like.
More believable world
Even though there have been numerous Resident Evil games that haven't used the series' trademark pre-rendered backgrounds, the game worlds have always felt rather lifeless. Whether it's just a hanging object that refused to budge when you walked into it or a general lack of destruction on all but specifically placed items, even games like Resi 5 felt somewhat dated. Small things, like how you can shoot holes through doors and collapsing huts in Resi 5, certainly helped, but despite looking far more impressive the environments often felt just as non-interactive as those in the older games.
Shoot an infected down in a recent Resident Evil game and it'll likely fly backwards and awkwardly land on its arse. Try shooting one while its moving down some stairs and you'll witness some truly dated looking physics, paling in comparison to what we've seen in games like GTA IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Resident Evil 5 looked amazing, but physics weren't a strong point. This would obviously tie in somewhat to the more believable world, with objects interacting with you and the enemies. Imagine shooting an infected cleaning through a window, down a staircase and into a group of other infected, knocking them down like bowling pins.
Same game from different perspectives
If you have never played Resident Evil 2, you're missing out, but more importantly you won't have played through the dual scenarios. Resi 2 featured two playable characters, just as Resi 5 does, but the difference was that in 2 completing the game unlocked a new scenario from the point of view of the second character, whom you had been in communication with throughout the game. This greatly extended the replay value of the game and is something missing from the more recent iterations of the series. If Capcom wants to take it a stage further and introduce a branching storyline, that'd be great too.
Who wasn't freaked out by Nemesis in Resident Evil 3? This guy would follow you around, appear randomly and was a constant threat, resuming his pursuit even if you took him down. This sense of fear and danger has largely been missing of late, especially in the checkpoint driven Resi 5. Ideally Resident Evil 6 won't have any recovery moments, with some kind of menace able to attack at any point. We've seen how effective the AI Director was in Valve's Left 4 Dead, so use this principle for a single incredibly deadly foe and you'd never feel at ease. Can you imagine a giant ever-present boss rampaging through a science lab towards you, smashing up everything in his path (thanks to the improved physics) as you frantically try to combine herbs in order to pick up the rocket launcher that tempted you into the room in the first place? It would be epic.
What ideas have you got for Resident Evil 6? Let us know in the comments section below.