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Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles - Why We Shouldn't Write It Off Just Yet

Discussion in 'Nintendo News & Rumors' started by Corey, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. Corey

    Corey WiiChat Member

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    [xFLOAT=left]http://www.wiichat.com/article-images/resumbre.jpg[/xFLOAT]
    'Damn you, Capcom.'
    'Damn you to hell.'

    Those were my thoughts last week at the initial unveiling of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles. These thoughts spanned two reasons over two separate spaces of time.

    The first was when the game was shown not to be a full blown third-person action title that existed within the same genre as the main RE series to date. After hinting around the title for so long, it was generally expected that Umbrella Chronicles would end up using the perfectly good Resident Evil 4 engine and wow us all with a new adventure utilising Wii's control possibilities and expanded power.

    Instead, we were shown a pointer-driven game. On rails, no less.

    Yikes.

    Umbrella Chronicles, at heart, is a light-gun game – albeit, with slightly different mechanics (Wii's remote acts more like a mouse pointer rather than a light-gun, however the results are close enough). You could hear the strains of disappointment ripple around the gaming world. Swiftly followed by typically over-inflated forum outrage. This wasn’t Resident Evil. This was bloody Gun Survivor: Wii Edition.

    Damn you, Capcom.

    Of course, this was being terribly unfair. While the Gun Survivor titles were patchy through their mixture of development teams (most of which were NOT Capcom driven), Umbrella Chronicles is not only being handled by a respected in-house line-up, but also exists solidly within the mainstream RE universe, aiming to give us a peek into the supposed end of sinister corporation, Umbrella; both factors the offshoot Gun Survivor series mostly lacked. Not only that, but UC offers the opportunity to travel across numerous locations seen in the prior RE games, all fully modelled in 3D and likely to give fans a feeling of familiarity to bypass some disappointment held over from the genre switch. And as reports come in from people who have actually played Umbrella Chronicles, it turns out there's a large degree of promise in what at first appeared to be merely House of the Dead: Resident Evil Edition.

    So, there went any vitriol I was originally going to expend in this column, leading me to say, for the second time in the week:

    "Damn you, Capcom."

    It still feels a little like a missed opportunity given how ripe the RE4 engine was for a sequel. That much I maintain. But if Capcom follows through with its promise of around 20 hours of gameplay (games of this type are very arcade driven and usually have no more than about 5-7 hours tops), clever use of quick-time events, destructible scenery and -hopefully- a two-player mode, then Umbrella Chronicles could turn out to be something special, especially in a mostly underused genre outside the arcades. And any House of the Dead comparisons will quickly fade given the game will be exploring locales from other Resident Evil titles, which are far more diverse and expansive than just a spooky old mansion. The game even looks exceptionally pretty, to boot.

    Even so, if there's one thing that remains throughout all this, it's that Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles smells suspiciously like Capcom (along with many other third-parties) is still suffering the fallout of underestimating just how popular Wii was going to be. While UC won't be a quickly developed title, it's fair to say it would clearly take less time than creating a whole new third-person RE instalment, even using the RE4 engine. It's almost like the company didn’t quite subscribe to committing a large team into making a full blown sequel when the infinitely more expensive and protracted Resident Evil 5 is already making its way to Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 in 2008. Instead, what we have is a slightly two-tier audience test via UC and the recently unveiled Wii version of Resident Evil 4, the latter of which is a fairly large indication of Capcom being caught with its pants stranded around its ankles. Not only that, but the clear money spinner that is re-releasing RE4 with Wii controls would have potentially eaten into sales of UC (and vice versa) had the games been based off the same engine and created in an inevitably similar style. At least this way Capcom now gets to see what Wii's audience likes, and make easy money off relatively swift development cycles while testing the water for future games.

    Excited as I am to experience RE4 with motion controls, it will be very interesting to see how well implemented they are. As witnessed with Ubisoft's rather mixed efforts, it's not just a case of slapping motion sensitive abilities into an existing game and watching the title prosper; there has to be more thought than that for it to truly work. The Godfather: Blackhand Edition is a prime example of how to do it. FarCry Vengeance isn’t. If Capcom ruins what could ultimately be the definitive version of one of the best games ever created, then you can imagine the uproar. The Wii version of RE4, at budget price, has the potential to be so damn good that even people like me -a person who despises 'double dip' purchases with all his gin-soaked heart- can't fail to be tempted in re-buying.

    However, despite all my ire, I can't begrudge Capcom for taking this route with one of its most successful games. And the reality is we're going to see a lot more of this type of conversion during Wii's first couple years. Both a good, bad and predictable thing. Some will say "well, it goes to show how underpowered Wii is given it's using older titles to live off", but it's more a case of seeing the puppet strings of first wave game development more visibly. The opening band of software for any new machine is often flooded with older titles that have been remade to take advantage of newer technology, games that are essentially prettier versions of the same old thing. It's only natural in the lifespan and development cycle of a company and machine, especially as titles become more expensive to create. Wii's constant unearthing of older, established games thrown into a blender with Wii-mote controls is just a variation of that. Given the major lack of power difference between Wii and its prior generation and the large difference in control method, developers are going to rely on this tactic a little more obviously than before. As such, my personal expectations are adjusted to suit that; after all, you're reading the words of a guy who sold his GameCube copy of F-Zero GX because he fully expects Nintendo and Sega to remap it with Wii controls somewhere down the line.

    Of course, Twilight Princess was the first of this strategy to really experience the charms and worries of being remade for Wii from a relatively early stage prior to release, but it's expected other high profile titles will eventually follow, being subject to a Wii-mash-up. Possibly the Metroid Prime games. Even the fairly maligned Star Fox: Assault could be made more palatable with Wii remote additions. It's a very easy way to make the most of prior assets for maximum profits. And if it's relatively well done, it's worth a throw. Slamming heads off tombstones and walls using my own arm actions in The Godfather has made me mightily forgiving over companies taking advantage of this adjustment period.

    But don’t be fooled – that's exactly what it should be; an adjustment period. Anything beyond that is dangerously close to being somewhat lazy and gaining cheap benefit off your audience, something that gamers will eventually start to tire from given how expensive videogames are compared to other mediums that overuse this cynical double-dipping nonsense.

    In the meantime, though, it costs nothing to be slightly optimistic. Because even with the disappointment of not getting another 'true' Resident Evil game, it's apparent that should Wii's RE4 remake gather impressive sales then it's fair to expect another RE title down the line that makes use of Capcom's development assets and finally gives us what we thought Umbrella Chronicles was going to be in the first place; a third-person survival horror action title. Conversely, if UC does well, if not better than its stable-mate, then we're just as likely to get sequels to that. Both Wii titles could easily spawn follow-ups that survive independently of each other, given the development teams are separate. It's worth remembering that the Gun Survivor style games ran alongside the mainstream Resident Evil series easily enough on PS One and PS2.

    Although even with that all said and done, it's quite possible that we'll just end up with remakes of the older Resident Evil titles with full 3D environments and Wii-mote controls instead, just to save time. This is 'cash cow bleeder Capcom' after all.

    Sigh. Third time's a charm.

    Damn you, Capcom.

    Damn you to hell.
     
  2. hexen0079

    hexen0079 wiibater

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    Dude i think the game is going to be awsome. It goes all the way to CodeVerionca
     
  3. sagema

    sagema 3D Artist

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    I remember Capcom's last attempt at a RE shooter was a horrible flop. Many of you don't know what I'm talking about, because you never played this game. Trust me, it was awful. It looks like Capcom is making a second attempt to revive this fallen game. Will they succeed this time?

    My friends and I talked about how Capcom would make the Fall of Umbrella game. We talked for hours. So far it looks like Capcom crapped on our imaginations.
     
  4. ottoman

    ottoman Banned

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    not in my "list of games to get"

    Probably never will be, nice article though.
     
  5. StockTheWii

    StockTheWii WiiChat Member

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    im gonna get the re4 wiimake
     
  6. Clish

    Clish PM me if you add my wii

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    i actually can't wait to play it ! !
     
  7. Cadbury

    Cadbury WiiChat Member

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    For any RE fan, likie myself, UC looks like the perfect game. RE's story is probably the best, longest and most engrossing of all in the gaming world. What rivals it? Everytime a Mario or Zelda comes out, it's either "Get the Princess" or "Inevitably fulfil the prophesy and defeat Ganandorf", not saying these are bad storylines or whatever, but RE's story clearly is better. So when they are so many loose ends from all the games it's great to know that finallly they will be explained.

    And from a gameplay point of view - I like RE and I like FPS and I also like the Wii-mote - so surely these 3 things mixed together can't be a bad thing. And forgetting Dead Aim and Survivor and Outbreak and all the lark, when did Capcom ever disappoint with a RE game? From Zero to Code: Veronica, they all great games and I have every faith in Capcom that they will produce the goods with UC.
     
  8. ronin89

    ronin89 Wiiman

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    It used to be one of my most anticipated games, but now it's........blah
     
  9. Ancestor

    Ancestor WiiChat Member

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    I have never really liked these arcade style on rails shooter so much. They rarely have enough actual content in them. But on other hand my girlfriend likes them maybe because she can consentrate shooting stuff on not to worry about all the other boring stuff. So if there is coop mode as I think there will be might buy this to play coop with girlfriend either on lower price or used game auction.
     
  10. usagi

    usagi designer

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    boy imaging if a 2 player mode is available, the fun of two friends playing together... freakin awesome. :D
     
  11. Redfield

    Redfield S.T.A.R.S. member

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    what the hell! It will be awesome not crap!
     
  12. David328ci

    David328ci WiiChat Member

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    Definitely a rental. Not going to buy a rail shooter.
     
  13. bubs

    bubs WiiChat Member

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    rail shooter?

    Hey, what exactly is a 'rail shooter'??

    Where you shoot all the things that pop up on the screen and then auto scrolls to the next screen/scene of the game?
     
  14. GreenEnvy

    GreenEnvy WiiChat Member

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    Games on rails are games where you don't directly control your movement. Games like Sonic and the Secret rings. You may be able to control if you move forward or stop, and look around side to side, but you can't go exploring. There is a preset path you follow, like a train, so you are "on rails"

    So a rail shooter would be a game like this, where you are shooting enemies as they appear, but don't have control over where you go, you are along for the ride.
     
  15. Haz

    Haz Nintendo Encyclopedia

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    I bought one RE game and after playing for a couple of hours, i decided that I would never buy another one again. I just found them very slow moving and endless running around bumping into walls. It's like Lara Croft but without the boobs!
     
  16. Belmont

    Belmont WiiChat Member

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    i thought everyone knew for a long time it was going to be a rail shooter type of game... at least i have always thought that like ever since it was announced. I think that it will be alot of fun i loved Resident Evil: Survivor. I mean of course it was different from the originals but there was still fun to be had in that game but i tend to like stuff that other people think is crap cause they are not just like the games before them.
     
  17. Rolex

    Rolex Moody Loner

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    The train went round the track and she blew...your head off!!!

    Hey Corey,

    The gin must be working - a rant only 1000 words long, you must be slipping :devil: :D LOL I enjoyed the article and it only took 3 hours to read!!!! [the rate per word must be on a high!]

    Anywho...

    Well I've got to agree wholeheartedly - RE4 on the 'cube was one of the most visual / atmospherically playable games, I've certainly ever come across and it would certainly be a shame to let the series down, I personally can't see it - after all; SSX and Tiger Woods all got fairly good treatments, so it's not going to be a full stretch of the imagination to think that it will be upto normal expectations....can it...:idea: More GIN anyone???

    I've got to say that it doesn't really worry me with the title being an 'on-rails' shooter in the slightest - we ARE getting RE4 with the mapped controls (double-dip) and this will surely pacify the blood thirsty hoards (as long as it's bitchin of course! ) but to think that a rails shooter is a cop out [and let's face it some have already claimed that] simply can't be justified, in my eyes anyway - take one of the GC's weirdest titles - KILLER7 - fairly involving, bloodthirsty and a good way to pass a few hours, certainly.....an on-rails shooter no less!!! This genre of game is as old as the hills but it certainly worked for some fairly big titles back in the day..HOtD, Virtua Cop I & II etc etc

    As long as they stick to the Nintendo ethos of "Gameplay with fun" they we should be snug as a bug..(?)

    I personally believe that Capcom can't afford to drop out a stinker with this hot tomalle (scheese, any more hackneyed cliches!!! :prrr: )

    This genre for me encompasses a bit of mindless fun with a lot of blowing peoples heads off to boot - there is surely room for blasting zombies without the need to spend hours looking for them in the back of the cheese cellar!! Capcom are the masters at suspense, especially with the original RE and moreso with RE4.

    [Disclaimer] ** I'll probably read Corey's review before shelling out the green on it tho ** ;)

    So come on Cor..chin up
     
    #17 Rolex, Apr 24, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2007
  18. Satoshi Daidouji

    Satoshi Daidouji WiiChat Member

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    Hello friends, hey I see this trailer game,
    is very nice !!
     
  19. unluckylink13

    unluckylink13 Member XIII

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    I really hope that someday Capcom will port RE5 to Wii...

    Knowing Capcom, they will. ;)
     
    #19 unluckylink13, Apr 25, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  20. cbrotherson

    cbrotherson WiiChat Feature Writer

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    Howdy Rolex,

    Thanks as always for pitching in, hope you're good!

    I'm on a low word diet at the moment, high in fibre – my next couple features you'll notice this too. Lean, mean verbose machine, baby! ;) Although my friend tells me gin is the drink of a depressed man... which would be an inprovment for me, probably.

    Well if RE4 Wii Edition isn’t up to scratch, there will be rampaging and destruction on the streets. In fact, the local roads may well look like something out of a Resident Evil game, which would be appropriate.

    I admit, I've not actually played KILLER7, so Suda51's game has passed me by somewhat, but I'm more than willing to give it the benefit of the doubt given I'm a huge fan of most on-rail shooters anyway (even if I did hit myself in the face one time when playing HotD 5 when shaking the Uzi… sigh). It's more a case of a RE title not being what everyone thought/hoped it would be, I guess – I'm of the school of thought that perception is often just as important as reality, so that plays a large part at this moment in time. But still, I loved the video of Umbrella Chronicles, so I'm looking forward to it all the same.

    As long as I don’t hit myself in the face with the Wii remote.


    It better not. Or… *dramatic pause, gun cock sound, close-up, action hero voice* there will be hell to pay.

    True – I actually had a ton of fun playing the Shooting game in Wii Play, so if the mechanics are as intuitive as that alone, then I'll probably be entertained (not sure if that makes you change your mind on waiting for my review, though ;) ). With all the zombie action, multiple environments, QTE and so on, there's a ton of potential for more depth than it's probably showing.

    It's up – but for not too long, I've got gin to finish ;)
     

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