So, we all love games here, right? I mean, I'd hope so, considering the nature of this site. Anyways, as much as we love them, I'm sure there might've been a few games or series that you would've been totally fine seeing them in a different way . . . right? I mean, we all have our own tastes, and maybe the execution to some game wasn't up to your personal standards. Well, today, I'd like to talk to you about this wonderful hypothetical scenario in which you get to pull the strings to your vision of a series' "perfect" game. After all, it's fun to imagine what could've been, and the mind has no limitations such as budgets, deadlines and resources. Of course, let's try to keep it real and in a way in which the game might actually work. Thus, I present to you the first installment of the potential column, Personal Tweaks.
Alright, so I'm sure you've heard of my passion for Resident Evil on here. I love the games, the series, the universe, the characters, the concept. I mean, sure, it's really a joke at times, and can be very flawed sometimes, but I still love it nonetheless. It is a major part of my gamer identity, and definitely one of my favorite franchises of all time . . . But there's somethings that are a bit hard to swallow sometimes. And it doesn't help that recent titles don't seem to show any signs of being set on what direction it should take. So, naturally, here's the part where I step in to see what I'd like.
So, how about we address the story, first? To be frank, I'm still not particularly happy with the direction Resident Evil 4 took, story wise. It's one of my favorite games of all times, and I play it pretty much at least once every year, but I still can't get fully behind the idea of the Plagas. I mean, I'm part of the old school Resident Evil group that prefers Hunters, Lickers, Tyrants and even the silly Ivy over Ganado and Majini. I think the major point being, what made it seem a lot more intimidating to me is, most of the classic BOWs saw intense and horrible experimentation. The gruesome testings and the uninviting atmosphere of a sterile laboratory seem to me to be at the core of the Resident Evil's identity. And well, if we were to manipulate the story a bit to diverge from Resident Evil 4's path and beyond, it would also help set up my game better. So, let's keep it simple: A group of special forces encounter the atrocities done by a pharmaceutical company, shit hits the fan, and now the world has to brace itself for the outbreak of bio-terror and war. I'm not particularly sure how much of the actual story I'd like to re-envision, but all I know is, Umbrella must still be operational and conducting operations, and the events of the original Resident Evil take place almost unchanged . . . And by that I mean, really, STARS could get a facelift. I mean, what paramilitary group tackles a mission like that dressed like this?
And that takes us to the Gameplay aspect about the game.
One of the most controversial aspects about Resident Evil is its gameplay style, with fans split between being satisfied, or hungering for more survival-horror. And, although I love Resident Evil's eerie nature, I have to confess that I never found the game to be scary. Many condemn the more "action" filled installments for their emphasis on combat instead of survival-horror, but when you think about it, the way in which the story was set meant that survival-horror wouldn't be able to be a prevalent theme long-term. After all, BOWs are weapons, and the use of those weapons would be more prevalent on a battlefield, than say, abandoned mansions with scarce supplies. Personally, I believe that this side of Resident Evil is best seen in the movie, Resident Evil: Damnation.
And, in Resident Evil: Revelations.
This is how I see the future of the series. With special Anti-BOW organizations like the BSAA conducting operations in various sectors, attempting to stop the spread of bioterror. And more importantly, it would be a great opportunity to expand upon what goes on in the actual game universe, as opposed to just being told that something is going on and you following orders, and have the rest of the organization in the shadows. Essentially, after the Mansion Incident, the STARS operatives involved retire from that group and partake in the creation of a new paramilitary organization devoted to combating BOWs and the ramifications of Umbrella's actions. The game would take place in the early days of that new organization, and gameplay would consist of conducting investigations, raids, and being deployed to zones of BOW presence. And I know that the following may seem too ambitious, or even delusional, but for the sake of having fun with this fantasy, let's assume it's entirely possible.
- - Intelligence acquisition and investigative gameplay.
Quite honestly, this might be a bit tricky to pull off in a way that's suitable for a video game. I.e. avoiding real-world features such as paper trails, red tape and the actual work involved in conducting investigations. For now, let's keep it simple: You receive various cases and tips, each with their own unique goals and specifications, and you choose one to work on at a time. Each one would be it's own scenario with certain story elements taking place which would lead to various endings based on your choices. Typical missions would include interviewing witnesses, combing "crime scenes", and conducting analysis on the evidence. These events would take place in a pseudo-open world map of certain size and depth where you would show up and do your work. Nothing too spectacular, since I feel as if it would interfere too much on the core gameplay. It would just serve as a buffer period where you could also have characters interact with each other, purchase/manage upgrades, skills and equipment and so on.
- - Clandestine raids and other operations.
Of course, once enough progress has been done in the case, one could then proceed to conduct raids and other missions and engage the BOW threat head on. To continue with the pseudo-open world system, each mission would take place in a defined location, sort of akin to Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops' mission system. The magnitude and level of detail would be much greater of course, and one would be able to freely choose their approach to the mission. Of course, since this a formal military organization, certain preparations and procedures may need to be done by the book. Strategic preparation is something I'd like to see more of in video games in general, and would be a major aspect of this game.
One would use the information and data procured on the investigative segment of the case to prepare for the operation. You would be able to choose and customize a combat rig and equipment. Something I was very fond of in Resident Evil 5 was their weapon/inventory system. You would be able to purchase, modify and specialize your weapons to fit your needs, and more importantly, make it feel as if your weapons and tools are yours. Being a military otaku myself, I would love for the game to allow you to choose between going in with just an assault rig, or a plate carrier or choosing from a selection calibers, and ammunition types. And more importantly, have each of those choices and materials impact your encounter. Say you opted to just go with a simple chest rig to hold magazine pouches, and could not include a holster for emergency flares or glowsticks. Those flares and glowsticks could very well be of use in certain areas and definitely change gameplay. Furthermore, the lack of added armor could be a potential risk when dealing with BOWs such as Hunters, or maybe the operation goes haywire and you end up spending more time than you would've wished on the field and didn't include night optics to your loadout. I want to have choices and stuff like this determine the success rate of the operation. After all, you're going up against horrors the world hasn't seen before, so anything could happen.
Now, you may be asking yourself when the survival-horror comes into the picture. Well, based on the mechanics I just listed, I'd like to say that it could happen at anytime. Think about it, how different is this from the original storyline of the first Resident Evil game? You get deployed and something goes wrong, then the survival-horror kicks in. You would be able to choose your method and point of entry in each mission, and thus run different risks and encounter different scenarios. You could potentially breach a room and unluckily encounter a horde of zombies or Lickers or something, just lying in waiting. And for added hazards, your squad would each be responsible for a specific role and have the equipment necessary for that task, meaning if they get killed, get separated, or simply fail to perform adequately, you are now working with a severe handicap. Nothing impossible You'd also go into action limited by just what you can carry on your combat rig, and if you fail to expend your assets responsibly, you would have to make do with whatever's available. You know all those promises that were made about Colonial Marines' AI? If the enemies were versatile, cunning and slightly overpowered, it could very well be a daunting task to clear a mall full of them, or render their facilities useless. Add proper lighting, sound, and a good variety of encounters, and this could very well be an adequate survival-horror game.
Unfortunately, the chances of this are obviously slim. But either way, the concept is interesting and fun, right? I mean, there's nothing wrong with fantasizing about your ideal game, except maybe the disappointment in knowing it won't happen, of course. And I'd love to elaborate on it more, but it seems this is quite a bit of content already. Instead, how about I use those gaps of details for more discussion with you guys. And thus, what do you think?