How to Revive a Dying Series
Written by Kellie Nock on March 15, 2017
In the deep, dark recesses of the video game graveyard you’ll be stumbling through miles and miles of games that will make your heart twinge with childhood nostalgia. Sonic, Spyro and Starfox all lie in wait, desperately searching for the developer that will catapult them back into the hearts of players. But that day may never come. Silent Hill tried so hard and fought so much to return to its glory days of being the top dog psychological thriller, and they were so, so close.
But Konami inevitably shot itself in the foot, and Silent Hill was pushed back into its grave where it will remain until one brave enough may attempt to revive it.
Alas, the game graveyard is a dark, sad place, but in January 2017 something rose from its grave, back from the dead. Resident Evil VII was announced during Sony’s 2016 E3 conference with a short gameplay demo and an announcement trailer.
While the initial similarities to Silent Hills were questioned, ultimately the game was well-received upon release and the series can once more rise up, un-besmirched from previous slip-ups.
So how did they do it? Well first they had to acknowledge that Resident Evil was a beloved title. Starting in 1996, the series has spawned movies, comics and even novels. People participate in cosplay, draw fan-art and the fan-fiction pages go on and on.
Then Capcom had to swallow their pride and acknowledge that Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 were not the favorites of the family. In fact, one may venture to call them the un-favorites. They were too action-y and the scares just weren’t there. Resident Evil is about being creeped out, grossed out and just flat out spooked.
This is where the key to bringing it back came in.
Instead of making Resident Evil VII an action-horror game, they made it a horror game with a splash of action. Sure there are some lame jump-scares and in a few moments of the game your best option is to just chainsaw your way to safety, but there are also moments of genuine horror. If you played Resident Evil VII and didn’t get scared or creeped out at all I would applaud your bravery, as the game does an excellent job of creating atmosphere and dragging the player into it. The story isn’t perfect and one “choice” towards the end of the game is basically put in just so that they could brag about having “choices,” but the game’s characters, atmosphere and monsters create a similar sense of dread as the first game in the series. It helps that both games take place in a large house where the story revolves around the genesis of the evil that is haunting the main character (or characters in RE1’s case.)
In revitalizing a series that a lot of people cherish, Capcom was able to reinvigorate one of its greatest titles and create a new foundation for the future of Resident Evil, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they do next.