There are times when I wonder if I was the only person with friends when Resident Evil 5 was released. While Resident Evil has always been a tense, solitary journey, I had a total blast knocking around zombies Majini and having to split ammo and healing items to survive each chapter, showing that multiplayer can work in a survival-horror game that isn't pure action.
Gears of War lead designer Cliff Blezinski is also a big fan of survival horror--not only was Gears of War heavily influenced by Resident Evil 4, but it was originally intended to be survival horror, and the first game had large hints of that. Blezinski recently talked about how his dream job--should he ever leave Epic Games--is to consult for Japanese companies, and how to make their games work in the global market.
First, on Resident Evil:
"When you look at action and horror the two are really, really hard to pull off, because in one scenario you're Rambo, and you're killing tons of things, and in the other one you're the scared little girl.
"And I think the proper way to do that -- if I were to work on an RE game, hypothetically -- would be to alternate between those moments. Maybe do an RE game where there's two kinds of characters -- you know, you've got a Leon-type guy, and then mix in a scared little girl, and so you alternate between the empowerment and the fear. We had a little bit of that, actually in Gears 1, right?"
There was: the Kryll level in Gears of War was terrifying. Continuing on RE:
"You know what else I would consider, from a production standpoint, is what if I was running Capcom? I would split Resident Evil -- and this may be a mistake but I'm just throwing an idea out there. I would do the Resident Evil, you know, Merc Ops, where you're these badass soldiers who clean out zombies and you're just like 'the guys.'
"And then do Resident Evil: Special Victims Unit. Where it's the stories of the ordinary people, where you see one zombie and that's scary and maybe you can fend that one off, but you get more than two or three and you do nothing but run, Walking Dead style. And see it from both sides.
"The Resident Evil 6 trailer was amazing, but I look at that and I'm like, 'That thrills me; that doesn't scare me.' Fear is all about what's unseen; that's the root of all horror, right?"
Next, CliffyB talked about Fatal Frame, as well as multiplayer in horror games:
"...don't ever just tack on multiplayer; it's a huge mistake. Make the multiplayer soar and make it relevant to the game, and make it key to the DNA of what the experience is.
"Why don't I have a multiplayer Fatal Frame yet? What if I had a Fatal Frame where anonymous people could join my game and be ghosts and try to scare the crap out of me, and then I rate how well they scared me? Basically a fancy hide and go seek.
"Why don't I have an augmented reality version of Fatal Frame for the Vita, in which ghosts hang around the world? I think Nintendo had something similar to that, right? Why don't they have ARGs where they then actually hide real ghosts in the real world, maybe where even real people died?"
But what single-player-only game would Blezinski most like to see in multiplayer? It turns out I'm not alone in wishing for multiplayer in Platinum Games' stellar shooter Vanquish:
"I’ve often said on record that if Gears is the kind of Wild, Wild West coal train chugging along, then Vanquish is the Japanese bullet train, with style and everything. There is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t have been zipping around, doing the mega slides, diving up in the air in an arena with other players."
I would pay good money for that. Good money, since Vanquish was basically Gears of War + Burnout, and it boggles the mind how so few people have played it.
Back on-topic, what do you think about Blezinski's suggestions for Resident Evil and Fatal Frame? Doing "more of the same" just hasn't been working for these games worldwide, so would these changes help make the games work for players around the globe? What changes do you think survival horror should make for future games?