"The Calm Before the Storm"
The talented K.C. from crowdsourceinspiration (an awesome group of musicians that challenge bloggers to submit original song requests about any subject) got in touch with me a little while back asking me if I had a game or character I wanted to see immortalized in song. It wasn’t even a question that I wanted to hear something related to Resident Evil; the real feat was trying to find something in the series worth laying down notes for. When music came to mind, RE2's save room theme was the first melody tickling my brain, and this idea of solitude and safety permeated while K.C. responded to the fact that these rooms typically signified something god-awful waiting around the corner for you.
After a few interweb conversations — and given that my musical inclination is rated somewhere between “none” and “mocking laughter” — he went and made something wonderful out of my incoherent rambling about a simple game design choice that has gone the way of the virtual dinosaur thanks to checkpoints and autosaves. Thanks again, K.C.
Read his intro to the song below and check out his lyrics here.
This song answers a brilliant request from kevinapocalypse at the great gaming blog theredherb. He suggested that I write a song for the true hero of early Resident Evil games: The Save Room. These rare rooms had a typewriter for saving and an inventory box for swapping items. After dealing with the undead chaos, these rooms felt like “sanctuaries” to him. He also noted the beautiful music in these rooms, which I listened to much this week and like to think affected my writing (I had about a dozen creepier riffs that didn’t make the cut for this). So, I always push a request’s envelope, right? I agree with him that these places are sanctuaries—as the room with a save point is in many games. But there is another side to the coin. Programmers don’t give us a save point to congratulate us for our hard work; it’s usually a sign that something very bad is about to happen. Thus, save rooms are sanctuaries, but they are also just the calm before the storm. I dedicate this song to theredherb and also to these rad RE blogs I’ve been following for some time: hellyesesidentevilseries, residentevil-fanart, girls-kill-zombies-deader, resievilfan, and f***yeahresidentevil. Free downloads of this track are available here. Enjoy RE fans and fellow-gamers! — Kavalier Calm
Resident Evil 4 concept art.
The fourth game went through quite the transformation before settling on the magnificence we know it as today. Hardcore fans fresh off of REmake and Zero lamented the marked shift away from survival horror. But would you have really missed Hook Man and Leon’s B.O.W. companion pooch?
Pictured: how my AI teammates end up after every light skirmish.
The Man Behind Resident Evil is Returning to Survival Horror
Japan’s own game designing tycoon, Shinji Mikami, wants to revisit old stomping grounds before riding off into the sunset reportedly. Being president of his own game development studio is a taxing feat paired with the prospect of directorial duties, so after years of masterminding video games — including something I’ve never heard of called Biohazard — Mikami feels he’s reached his last game. And, fates be praised, it’s a survival horror title.
Tentatively referred to as Zwei, Mikami’s own Tango Gameworks is helping to usher the director’s final vision with Bethesda set to publish it. Zwei is very early in its development, so all I can leave you with is Shinji’s promise that — knowing this is his sendoff — he will channel a career’s worth of experience into this game.
Poor guy. Somebody should have told him the survival horror market is too small for all that effort.
Praise Birkin! RE: Operation Raccoon City is Getting Patched
The biggest issue that single-handedly knocked Slant Six’s spin-off down an entire letter grade was the horrendous bugs and glitches that accompany every play session, online or off (like zombies intermittently blinking in and out of existence — which they’re not often prone to do in real life, I’m told).
There’s a well of other problems plaguing this better-at-concept multiplayer mash, but enough shit has been stacked on ORC at this point — I’m sure we all have picked which side of the fence to stand on when it comes to loving or hating the red-headed step child of the franchise (my apologies to red-headed step children the world over).
Flawed game design obviously won’t be addressed but it has been confirmed on the Ask Capcom forum by the company’s friendly North American Senior Veep, Mr. Christian Svensson, that a patch is underway:
"There is a patch in the works to address some issues however I have no knowledge of whether or not these specific ones will be addressed. I’ve shared this thread…with many folks, including the producers in Japan and the QA team."
No hard details (like what’s being fixed or when), but the most staggering news here is that ORC has a Quality Assurance team. Faced.
Resident Evil 6 Mercenaries Maps Offered as Pre-Order Bonuses
Depending on your retailer of choice, your pre-order will earn you one of three maps for the new Mercenaries mode unlocked from the get-go with your copy of RE6. Your options are:
- The Catacombs (Gamestop)
- High Seas Fortress (Amazon)
- Rail Yard (Best Buy)
An addictive distraction unto itself, if Capcom continues to support the Mercenaries in a meaningful way, the mode will be able to call itself more than an afterthought and stake legitimacy next to the best Horde Modes you can think of. Suggestion: a leveling system ala Mass Effect 3 ought to convert more addicts (and make me feel better about plugging hours into a mode that used to give little back.) They’ve already got the game’s length right (supposedly a 30 hour campaign), just ice the cake for us with a better Mercs.
Resident Evil 6 (PC/PS3/Xbox 360 - October 2nd)
Here’s a cavalcade of images centering on the newly brewed C-Virus tearing apart our heroes’ world. Don the role of one of three protagonists, each with their own story and own partner, as their stories intersect and even unify.
An Outbreak of Resident Evil 6 Details Surface with a Trailer and an Earlier Release Date
The press embargo on any and all announcements made at last week’s Captivate expo in Rome has been lifted and now we can proudly say we have more of a goddamned idea as to what is going on in Resident Evil 6.
Burying the Ashley vs. Sherry hatchet, Sherry Birkin comes out on top, revealed as the mysterious girl that partners with the new merc character referred to as Jake Mueller…Oh, and the merc is actually the “colossal imbecile” Albert Wesker’s son! Your head isn’t spinning fast enough. Here, take this: Ada Wong returns and she’s the fucking bad guy of the whole show who evokes Chris’ bloodlust for revenge over fallen comrades (dude seriously hates losing partners).
Still not knocked off your feet, huh? Remember that November 20th release date? Begone. Resident Evil 6 is arriving earlier, being made available for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on October 2nd. Now you’re floored. (If not, you must have amazing balance or hate the “Wesker’s son” thing — I can’t tell from my side of the screen wherein which I’m fanboying fairly loudly).
I’ll glaze over some knowledge that is sure to fly around the internet today starting with the multiplayer: co-op returns to the campaign, online and split-screen, in an improved form over RE5, allowing players to drop in and out of matches with ease, now without the restrictions of checkpoints or resetting a mission. The famed Mercenaries mode also makes a return, unlocked from the start. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an advanced version of the mode that picks and pulls features from the 3DS’ own Mercenaries 3D and Revelations' Raid Mode. More multiplayer details are on the way.
And unfortunately for you Nintendo advocates, a Wii U version of the game is not currently in the works, but also not off the table. I’m confident Capcom wants to see some worthy sales figures before they spend energy on porting their huge blockbuster to a system that’s being reported around the industry as not quite as powerful as some claim.
That’s your RE6 lowdown for the moment. The more I hear, the more I’ll report. Until then…good God, I’m excited. The sixth installment is looking like the best mix of old and contemporary RE to grace consoles since, well, Revelations. Thanks to the October bump, we’ll get to test the game’s mettle sooner than we thought.
Raccoon City's Spec Ops DLC Trailer, More Content Detailed
Despite receiving the cold shoulder critically, Slant Six’s take on the Resident Evil universe, Operation Raccoon City, has been holding its own commercially and winning over a slew of fans. Of the many complaints I can muster at this game, the campaign’s speedy run time is a bigger gripe, especially given the fact that nowhere in the narrative are we introduced to the varied personalities that make up the opposing Spec Ops force — otherwise known as the good guys.
In what’s planned as seven downloadable chapters that you can either take on solo or co-op, the Spec Ops team takes center stage as you guide them through a B Scenario of events where you’ll spend time meeting and helping different series’ heroes in their quest to survive Raccoon City going to shit. The above trailer already depicts cameos from the likes of Jill Valentine and Sherry Birkin, two characters downplayed (or missing) from the U.S.S.’s humdrum story.
The first previously announced mission hits your PSN and XBLA marketplace on April 10th for free, the following six paid-for DLC missions will start to be released sometime after that. Additionally, four new versus maps will be made available for purchase, but truly, more co-op is what I want out of this game. Plus a more involving story. I couldn’t get behind my squad of leather bandaged mercenaries no matter how many one-liners fell out of their mouths. The Spec Ops team holds promise yet as we’ve only briefly met them in the versus modes. RE's a plump property to play with and there's still time for Slant Six to win over detractors with this DLC (and, you know, several dozen patches).
“It’s challenging. A lot of people put a lot of time and effort into the game and obviously we’d like to see the review scores be a little better than they are right now. In the end, I think our position on it is that we read every review and we try to pull out all the constructive feedback that we can so we can learn a little about what people liked and what they didn’t. Then we look to what our internal goals were and what Capcom asked us to do and I think we accomplished what they wanted to do - we took the Resident Evil franchise in a different direction.”
Mike Kerr, Slant Six producer, speaking with Eurogamer about Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City's considerably poor critical reception.
I’m working on my own impression, but as briefly as I can muster: ORC is a lopsided spinoff that meets every promising idea it has with broken, severely unpolished delivery. I wanted so badly to love a squad-based shooter within the RE universe, and there is genuine moments of fun to be had in portions of its multiplayer offering, yet the flaws deep seeded in this game are going to be too damning and too frustrating for most gamers to want to trench through.