Listen to our experts talk you through 16 minutes of Resident Evil 6 footage.
Resident Evil 6 is three games in one. It's a gothic survival horror game starring Leon Kennedy and Helena Harper; it's an all-out action shooter with Chris Redfield and Piers Nevans in the driving seats; and it's a frantic chase, dodge and punch adventure with Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin filling in roles more commonly occupied by Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher. And each of these games sits within a different campaign, all of them independently selectable from the offset.
It sounds like a radical approach to a horror game, but in actuality Resident Evil 6 is merely returning to its roots. After all, the first Resi let you pick between Chris and Jill, with each character enjoying markedly different experiences thanks to Jill's lockpick skills and the chance encounters with unique Alpha and Bravo Team members.
Two years later Resident Evil 2 pushed this idea even further, with Claire and Leon having to explore completely different branches of Raccoon City. Come the end of the game, the ultimate conclusion was revealed only to those who persevered through both the A and B campaigns, one after another.
So it is with Resident Evil 6. Leon and partner Helena's story starts off in American town Tall Oaks, while newcomer Jake Muller and the returning Sherry Birkin (the little girl from Resi 2, now all grown up) begin their adventure in fictional Eastern Europe country Edonia. Eventually both partnerships will work their way eastwards where they'll cross paths with Chris Redfield and buddy Piers Nivans in the Chinese costal town of Lanshiang.
We're told each campaign is a tad shorter than the length of the entirety of Resident Evil 5, making 6 a huge adventure with the potential to outlast the mammoth Resident Evil 4 in the longevity stakes. News that Mercenaries mode returns, too, is Moonlight Sonata to our ears. Expect different maps to crop up as different retailer pre-order bonuses.
But it wasn't always this way. Back when early plans were being finalised in pre-production, the game was set to star just Leon (and, presumably, Helena). Director Eiichiro Sasaki approached Executive Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi with an eye to bring back Chris Redfield, but after his recent-and-disappointing Resident Evil 5 excursion the idea was initially rebuffed.
What changed Sasaki's mind was the concept over on the previous page, depicting former allies Leon and Chris not just at odds, but holding each other at gunpoint. And the source of their fallout? It looks like it's none other than series sexpot and Leon's long-standing are they/aren't they ladyfriend: Ada Wong.
Ada's role - and if it isn't Ada then it's somebody who looks and acts frighteningly similar, so for now we'll call her Ada - in Resident Evil 6 is very much that of a villain. With Wesker now dead and out of the picture, she's stepped forward to take a more direct road to Badsville.
It appears that she has the means and power to use the C-virus and its creations for her own motivations and isn't afraid to do so. Chris blames her for the direct slaughter of his men and understandably so: in the latest public trailer she's shown unleashing a toxic gas cloud that quickly turns his cohorts into something a cave troll would sneeze up.