Operation Raccoon City is a bit of a departure for the Resident Evil series. Not only is it a definitive move away from the series' survival horror roots, but it also allows you to step into the size 12 boots of the sinister Umbrella Security Service, during one of the series' most iconic moments.
We recently caught up with Raccoon City's Producer Masachika Kawata to hear his thoughts on how traditional Resident Evil fans would receive the game, how it fits into the overall Resident Evil canon and what working with Canadian developers Slant Six has added to the equation.
Operation Raccoon City is quite a new direction for the series - were you concerned about how traditional RE fans might receive it?
In terms of the fans of traditional Resident Evil, I was not worried because we have the numbered titles as well. Also, we thought it was important to broaden our market by creating spin offs.
How did the original idea for ORC come about?
The original idea came from Capcom, however, this title has become what it is now because of the creative collaboration between Slant Six and Capcom. Capcom took the initiative in scenario supervision and game system, and Slant Six put all the ideas together and made it into this new exciting game.
Do you see ORC appealing to existing RE players or are you trying to attract new fans to the series? Or perhaps both?
Of course, it would be the best if this game could attract both existing and new RE fans. It would make us happiest if the existing RE fans play ORC to enjoy the new exciting contents, at the same time, if new game fans notice RE and become interested in the RE universe.
ORC is set between RE2 and RE3 - how does this game fit into the overall RE universe?
This title was set in the timeline between RE3 and RE2. However, this is a totally different story, which has not so much to do with the RE history. This is a world of "if"s. And because of this setting and the point of view, we were able to broaden our possibilities and realise all the new ideas.
What has the chance to play as the Umbrella Security Service added to the game - is it good to play the bad guys for a change?
In the game they are set as the evil guys but they are not too brutal. In fact, you may find yourself feeling sympathetic towards some of the characters, as they are only being loyal to Umbrella and fighting for them.
Can you tell us a bit more about each of the USS characters, their abilities and the roles they'll play? Who's your favourite character and why?
Lupo (assault) is the leader of the U.S.S team. She is a cool and collected leader. Four-Eyes is a field scientist and has the ability to control B.O.W. Vector is the recon specialist of the team and has stealth abilities. I like his style. Spectre is the surveillance specialist who can seek out enemies. Beltway is a demolitions expert who specialises in explosives. Bertha is the team's medic who can prevent them from becoming zombies so I would say she has an important role.
In terms of the design, they are all unique and I like them all, but when I play the game, I choose Bertha because of the comfortable control. The director's favourite is Four-Eyes.
What's been the biggest challenge in making this game?
Making Resident Evil that is not a survival horror was the most difficult challenge to me. I believe we managed to create a unique and exciting game.
How has your collaboration with Slant Six been going? What has working with a western developer in what is a very traditional Japanese series been like? What do Slant Six bring to the game?