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Resident Evil 6: Three campaigns and three ways to play

World's first look at the next Resident Evil

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Under Chris' orders, BSAA agents enter the city with military force in an attempt to quell the outbreak, and he'll be accompanied by co-op buddy Piers Nivens. Originally introduced as "Beards Nevence" in a Resident Evil manga, Piers has worked with Chris long enough to deserve a less-bonkers anglicised name, and to know the secret behind Redfield's new attitude.

Chris looks like the Chris Redfield we know, but exactly six months earlier something happened while he was fighting bio-terror in other parts of the world" says the game's Director, Eiichiro Sasaki. "It's something that'll affect the way he makes decisions and the way he thinks about fighting bio-terrorism. The Chris we meet in China is one we're not accustomed to. Piers has been supporting Chris since that time, six months ago, and he'll be there in the prologue."

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"Chris' campaign is an action-based thing," says Sasaki, "but we're still trying to bring horror elements to each of them in their own way, and even an action story can have elements of horror that you can't do in, say, Leon's story - that greater intensity and pressure."

Chris, Leon, and Jake all eventually meet in China, but not before Leon is forced to assassinate the president on the Tall Oaks university campus. A bio-terror attack mutates the student population and zombifies the President of the United States, leaving Leon with no choice but to take him down. Together, Leon and Secret Service agent Helena Harper make their escape from the university on Helena's promise that she knows a thing or two about the attack.

Leon is still the heart of Resident Evil; he's the na´ve innocent of the cast, easily placed in jeopardy by women - Ada, Ashley, and now Helena - and all-too keen to throw himself into harm's way to protect innocent people. While Redfield is murdering his way through Lanshiang in an attempt to stop the outbreak at any cost, Kennedy is trying to save as many lives as he can on the Tall Oaks campus. More than once in the first half hour of Leon's campaign, his generosity gets the better of him and jeopardises their escape.

"As a character Leon really stands out for me," says Executive Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi. "He has compassion in him that you don't always find. In our demo he's concerned with helping a man find his daughter. Things like that speak to who Leon is as a character and I like that about him, but he has another aspect to him that's maybe not so good - he often finds himself in bad situations because of the women in his life. That vulnerability is another aspect of Leon that I like."

Helena and Leon leave the President's body in his office and make their way through the campus to the main hall where a banquet has been prepared and hastily abandoned after the outbreak. It's almost fifteen minutes before Leon even fires a shot in his Resident Evil 6 campaign. Those fifteen minutes are a series of in-game moments and brief cut scenes that set the stage for an escape from the Tall Oaks campus. Leon leans against door frames as he passes through and opens doors with deliberate care - little animation details that each tell a story and seat the game's characters in the environment.

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Cutscenes aren't always hard cuts; instead, the camera takes on a life of its own and gameplay blends seamlessly into scripted events; other times, small scenes play out within the environment - as Leon brushes by a body, he asks aloud "I wonder how much time we have before these corpses are on their feet?"

"We're really trying to recreate the horrific atmosphere fans remember from the first Resident Evils and going for more gothic horror feel for Leon's part of the story," says Sasaki. "But usually we left every big story moment to the big cut-scenes. This time we wanted to bring that home to the player and make that more immediate. We tried to add those elements to the game itself and bring the player closer to those dramatic elements."

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