http://www.gameinformer.com/games/the_e ... ooter.aspx
I never had any faith whatsoever that this game would be Shinji Mikami's return to his survival horror roots, despite all of the news outlets constantly touting it as such, but I was trying to keep an open mind. The latest trailer which makes it look like this game is just Resident Evil 4 2: The Resident Evil 4-ening, seems to confirm my suspicions. Of course, that doesn't mean it won't still be fun to play, which it very well could be; Resident Evil 4 is a fucking amazing game, so amazing that Capcom seems to be physically unable to stop porting and re-releasing it. I'm just a touch sadder than usual about this one, because this looked like it could have been the one. Publishers, developers, and the rest of the bean counters don't have any faith in survival horror games , so nobody wants to make one, and it reminds me of a metaphor from Stephen King's wonderful Danse Macabre (he's talking about horror movies, but the genre's the same):The first gameplay demo shows the protagonist moving about the massively changed world that players get a glimpse of at the end of the E3 trailer. Streets shift and move as the character moves around an unsettling urban backdrop. Things take a turn for the bland as the character moves into a gated area where he encounters a group of zombies and dispatches them handily with a variety of weapons, from a shotgun to explosive crossbow bolts. Not that there's anything wrong with zombie slaying, but the previous gameplay footage and trailers give off a completely different vibe, one without much shooting, and with a heavier emphasis on fragility and scares
While the weapons seem competent, and the zombies need to be burned after they’ve been brought down to keep them from coming back, these slow stereotypical zombies being blasted to pieces with a vast, devastating arsenal isn’t the kind of thing that previous trailers and footage have conveyed. The demo ends with the character getting killed by a more interesting water monster, but the overall tone of the brief demo felt stale and overly familiar.
The second gameplay demo’s chance to redeem the first fell flat. The character maneuvers throughout a network of underground areas, continually killing “Boxhead” monsters. While creepy, the Boxhead encounters lost their luster quickly as the player’s vast array of weapons dispatched them easily, over and over. These demos placed a huge focus on powerful weapons and monster-slaying, a far cry from the experience of terror seen in the original reveal.
Makes more sense when you look at every survival horror game that has ever been made (probably a few hundred or so, by now), and you all know that there is some truly horrendous shit that you have to sift through to get to the classics, and even a lot of what we consider classics have glaring flaws of their own. But while I think the quote is still relevant, it does point out the strangely paradoxical differences between horror movies and horror games nowadays. The market is saturated with so many terrible horror movies because the producers think that it's an easy way to make money, while the market has a drought of horror games in general because the producers think it's an easy way to lose money. So, while watching horror movies is like panning for gold in a river, playing horror games is like panning for gold in a swamp. Or a desert. Or a volcano. While, admittedly, horror games have started to make a small, slow comeback in recent years, I think we, more than anyone, are waiting for the one."...I'd like to say something a little more serious about the peculiar relationship which obtains between terrible horror movies (of which there are a dozen for each good one, as this chapter testifies) and the genuine fan of the genre. The relationship is not entirely masochistic, as the foregoing may make it seem. A film like Alien or Jaws is, for either the true fan or simply the ordinary moviegoer who has a sometime interest in the macabre, like a wide, deep vein of gold that doesn't even have to be mined; it can simply be dug out of the hillside. But that isn't mining, remember; it's just digging. The true horror film aficionado is more like a prospector with his panning equipment or his wash-wheel, spending long periods going patiently through common dirt, looking for the bright blink of gold dust or possibly even a small nugget or two. Such a working miner is not looking for the big strike, which may come tomorrow or the day after or never; he has put those illusions behind him. He's only looking for a livin' wage, something to keep him going yet awhile longer."
The one, the mother lode, the survival horror game that strikes a chord with both fans of the genre and "mainstream" audiences and brings balance to the force (of the market), leading the executives and bean counters to dig just that littlest bit deeper and discover that next big gold vein that we want them to hit (that would be us, having been given the privilege of willingly, uncontrollably throwing all of our money at them for getting what we want). Please, please, please forgive me for the simile that I'm about to use, but because of this, I feel like for the past few years or so, we, the fans of the genre, have been like Obi Wan Kenobi at the end of Star Wars episode 3, shouting "You were supposed to be the chosen one!" with tears in our eyes, as we leave our prospective games and franchises to die in agony as husks of their former selves, having failed to live up to what they were destined to do.
I thought Dead Space was going to be the chosen one, at one point. They took the Resident Evil 4 formula and steered it further into the horror direction, and seemingly to everyone's surprise, it was a smash hit. But instead of watching it blossom into the next great mainstream horror franchise, or see other studios follow suit, we had the privilege of watching EA drive the series into the ground. I thought that Silent Hill: Downpour would be the chosen one, steering the series back on track and giving us the Silent Hill series back, proving that you can still have a successful horror franchise in this day and age, but no, in Konami's eyes, it isn't a fanbase anymore, they see us more as a bunch of dogs that they've trained to give them money every time they say "okay, so there were complaints about the last one, but this time, we're really, really bringing the series back to its roots, honest!". I thought Amnesia and Slender would be the chosen one(s), coming out of nowhere and becoming runaway successes based on word of mouth and youtube videos, but all we got were a handful of truly awful Slender ripoffs by indie developers trying to make a quick buck, and there haven't been more than a couple earnest attempts to carry Amnesia's torch. I thought Alien: Isolation would be the one, but...well, you know...and, coming off of all that, we have this. This could have been the one, attracting the audience that the later Resident Evil games got while steering them further in the direction of horror, filling in the role that Dead Space was supposed to fill, but sadly, it doesn't look like it's gonna be that way.
Maybe I'm just naive and clearly don't understand how the market or the industry works, but it's frustrating. Sigh. At least Matt's sticking to his guns! Unless this game becomes a huge, unexpected financial success, and he tells us that Neverending Nightmares 2 will have zombies, combat, and QTEs, and Neverending Nightmares 3 will be a cover-based shooter with microtransactions and multiplayer (great missed opportunities for an april fool's day dev diary, by the way).