George Romero (director of Dawn of the Dead and the father of zombie movies) says he'd be interested in making a game. This also coincides with the news that Jun Takeuchi (director of Resident Evil 5) won't be returning for the sixth instalment of the survival horror series. And this got us thinking: how friggin' awesome would it be if Romero and Capcom teamed up to make Resi 6? The answer? Loads. Like loads and loads.
Alright, so it'll probably never happen. And even if it did, the now 70 year-old director, who's never worked in games before, could only realistically work in an advisory role. But screw reality. In our heads the game is already being made. And below, you'll find out exactly why the Zen master of the zombie flick could give Resident Evil just the undead shot in the arm it needs.
We love zombies. We love Resi zombies. We miss Resi zombies. Make no mistake, the past two fully fledged games have taken the series away from its slow, shuffling undead roots. While fighting the Los Illuminados and Majini hordes seen in four and five make for more frenetic, exciting combat than the older games, they don’t have the symbolic power of the earlier iconic undead hordes.
Above: Los Illuminados can rock a serious hood, but they ain't no zombies
Fighting parasite-ridden baddies who can coordinate their efforts and overwhelm you with their numbers made for brilliant set pieces in Leon and Chris' adventures, no doubt. But hearing the groans and wails of rotting corpses that had all the mobility of your arthritic gran and then shooting them in their decomposing cadavers was hugely cathartic.
They also gave the player a welcome relief from all the giant snakes, Hunters, Lickers and zombie baboons that were bastard hard to kill. And who better to bring back the dead than Romero, aka the Grandfather of Zombies?
Above: Clearly, more games need zombies that can pump gas
Awesome, isn’t it? Now just imagine old Georgie Boy bringing that level of cinematic flair to Resident Evil 6. His brand of high octane action and skill for framing a shot would make the game’s cut scenes all kinds of win. Even if they were still bogged down with the same infamously shit dialogue (“The Master of Unlocking, Barry?” Bravo, sir.), the game’s story would still be more cinematic than Metal Gear and Uncharted combined.
Outside of Valve’s Left 4 Dead games, the zombie genre has remained almost exclusively Japanese since the first Resi launched in 1996. Hey, it’s no bad thing. After all, Eastern developers have given us all manner of amazing undead moments over the last decade or so.
Still, for every moment where you blow the jaws off a 40 foot zombie crocodile or fight a psychotic chainsaw-wielding clown among an arm of undead shoppers, there were inherently times where you’d be buggered over by ludicrous time restrictions or twee, convoluted key puzzles. Mechanics like these are distinctly Japanese in design, sometimes pulling you out of the action because of their glaring gaminess.
Above: Shooting giant zombie crocodiles pleases us
If there’s one thing we'd expect Romero’s influence over a development team would have, it would be to give Resident Evil a distinctly Western flavour. This would probably mean it would be less fantastical, with a return to the urban environments seen in Resi 2 and 3. We feel like douches for using the word, but a Romero Resi would arguably be ‘grittier’ than any zombie game we’d seen before. And provided it was backed up by buckets of blood (no lame Resi 5 cutaway decapitations, please) it would provide a fresh, welcome change of direction.
Above: A Romero Resi would be exactly this gritty... just not shit and with loads more zombies dressed as killer bunnies
More specifically, this bit…
The man pretty much invented the idea of battening down the hatches in a small confined space, while trying to fend off the undead’s most motivated citizens. Hell, it’s basically the entire premise for Night of the Living Dead, which subsequently spawned the above Resi 4 section, along with COD: World at War’s awesome Nazi Zombies mode. If there’s anyone who could give ideas to a development team to help them expand this concept for the sixth game, our Pesos are on George.