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Scared Stiff: Why should we care about Resident Evil 5?

Jason Dobson

Okay, it's confession time. This article series, as much as we hope you've enjoyed it, was originally set out to only discuss those titles of the survival horror persuasion that have been cemented into the 2008 release calendar. However, there is an ordnance that says something to the effect that you can't talk about survival horror games without devoting some face time to Capcom's seminal Resident Evil franchise. Or at least there should be. And while a date for when we can expect to continue slaughtering zombies -- or some derivative thereof -- hasn't been announced, we fully expected Resident Evil 5 to ship sometime in 2009.

That said, we nonetheless felt the game would make an appropriate end cap on our week long look at the genre Capcom helped not only create, but perfect, so we ended our week by speaking with producer Jun Takeuchi, and asked him why we should care about Resident Evil 5.

Gallery: Resident Evil 5 (06-02-2008) | 12 Photos

We'll be the first to admit that as much as we lift Resident Evil 4 up on a pedestal for reinventing the survival horror genre, the game did it at the expense of being scary. The game sacrificed thrills for action, anxiety for fun. This trend looks to continue with what we have seen so far of the series' next release, a move that immediately made sense after hearing Takeuchi-san's response when asked of his favorite survival horror game, at least in recent memory.

"we are creating a game that is going to change the way gamers think about and play survival horror games."

"I personally think BioShock is excellent and well done for a new title," he offered, a response that admittedly took us aback but upon analysis makes perfect sense given the direction his own series has taken, favoring action over simply freaking us out. Added Takeuchi-san: "The cinematic quality and the world view are obviously great, but I especially love the way audio creates a sense of horror - that is truly beautiful."

This love of action looks to bleed over into the next Resident Evil title as well, as the producer told us that with Resident Evil 5, his team is "trying to create a game that keeps players constantly excited."

Takeuchi-san, whose credits include both Lost Planet and the third title in the Onimusha franchise, as well as the first two Resident Evil games for the original PlayStation, also admitted that the survival horror genre has become "incredibly popular." This, of course, forces his team to work even harder to make their game stand out.

"In order to differentiate ourselves from others in the market," he told us, "we are creating a game that is going to change the way gamers think about and play survival horror games."

"We're trying to create a game that keeps players constantly excited."

Impressive words, and certainly a tall order, especially given the number of truly interesting survival horror titles set to ship in the near future, many of which we've looked at this week. Of course, while some may look impressive, none have the clout, nor feature a name that carries as much weight as Resident Evil, something that will likely give Capcom's entry a leg up on any pretenders to the throne.

As for what specifically the producer feels will make Resident Evil 5 stand out from other releases, Takeuchi-san was noticeably tight lipped. "I think our new enemies are incredible and cannot be easily described without seeing them." We can only imagine that he's referring to something -- or things -- that we haven't seen yet, as much of what has been shown so far echoes what we put down in the last game, admittedly with an extra shiny coat of next-gen polish.

Even so, Resident Evil 5 remains near the top of a short list of titles that we simply cannot wait to get into our hands, whenever it's released. As a franchise, Resident Evil has become practically an institution, and that alone is reason enough why we should care. To paraphrase our favorite traveling merchant, "We'll buy it at a high price!"

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