reHorror: Imagining Resident Evil 6

Back in late July we received one very telling image from a user on our forum that was taken at a behind-closed-doors Capcom press conference at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, presumably. Said image gave us a look at not only Resident Evil 6’s logo, but also an actual date. This date wasn’t for the game’s release, of course, but rather its official reveal. With September 15th being right around the corner, right in time for TGS 2011, it looks like Capcom is set to make quite an El Gigante-sized announcement for Resident Evil fans at the venue.

With that being said, I figured I should pitch in with my personal expectations for what Resident Evil 6 should be. Firstly, I want to point out something rather interesting about the series and its main, numbered entries. Resident Evil 1 introduced us to the now-classic, Chris and Jill, Resident Evil 2 brought us Leon and Cliare, Resident Evil 3 brought back Jill, Resident Evil 4 saw the return of Leon and Resident Evil 5 saw a pumped-up Chris come back. Notice the pattern? Sure, it may not be intentional on Capcom’s part, but it sure is interesting. So, having said that, let’s start off with what character from the series’ memorable cast should be the one to headline Resident Evil 6.

It’s been far too long and Resident Evil 6 presents the perfect opportunity for Capcom to put the spotlight back on the series’ other classic female lead, Claire Redfield. Yes, Chris needs to move over and pass the torch down to his sister (and seriously, I think Chris and Jill need to be given some rest post-Revelations). The last time we were graced with a Claire-led Resident Evil title was with the release of Code:Veronica X. Technically speaking, though, the last time we saw Claire in the series’ lore was with the release of the CGI film, Degeneration. So she hasn’t exactly been entirely absent from the series, she just hasn’t been given the attention she deserves. Resident Evil 6 should definitely be the game to change all that.

When it comes to Claire’s stories within the series’ lore, she’s always been on the search for her brother. That won’t be the case anymore if she’s to star in Resident Evil 6. Here she should be given an enitrely new motivation in her personal tale, perhaps aiming to pick up where her brother left off in his fight against bio-weapons. Despite being on the side of good, Claire isn’t exactly on any “official” side when it comes to the series’ recent protagonistic factions (the government which Leon serves or the BSAA) as far as we know. I mean, she declined Leon’s offer to join him on his endeavors to continue the fight against bio-terrorism and we don’t know of any ties she has with the BSAA, aside from the obvious one being that she’s related by blood to one of its founding members. So where does that put Claire in Resident Evil 6? Personally, I would love for her to remain under a strong, independent light– which is something I really love seeing done with female protagonists, regardless of genre.

But what horrors shall Claire confront in Resident Evil 6? We already know Revelations will have ties with the upcoming sixth main entry in the franchise, so that’s a solid foundation, going from what we know about said 3DS exclusive thus far.

There’s two significant things, that’s known thus far, about Revelations that could easily tie into 6’s potential plot.The first thing is Veltro and their new viral threat: the T-Abyss virus. We still don’t know the indentity of this new terrorist organization’s head honcho (it’s a topic of major discussion, though), but we know that he’s definitely backing his claim of him and his group being sent from the depths of the inferno. He does so by aiming to infect 1/5th of the world’s waters with the new water-based virus. Yes, T-Abyss, as opposed to the series’ past viruses, is water-based, which is greatly complemented by the luxury cruise ship serving as a major setting, with it being completely surrounded by water and whatnot. But how can Resident Evil 6 possibly once again feature the T-Abyss virus, or rather, some variation of it?

Let’s get a little scientific here: Our body is composed of many things, with water being one of the major components, unless you’re already dead…We inhale it and drink it, we’re always consuming it on a daily basis, normally. So, when going back to the T-Abyss virus and its water-based roots, it’s not hard to imagine how said virus can be expanded upon and taken to another level. By ‘another level’ I mean greatly increasing its threat level. How to go on about this? Well, imagine how much more deadly the T-Abyss virus can be if Veltro (if they survive post-Revelations), or maybe another company (I’ll be getting to this in a bit), comes back to spread the virus in a city where many, many people are situated in. Hell, let’s all be honest (especially if you’re living in the currently flood-prone areas) some of us are already in fear of H20 and the destructive effects it could have by flooding, both on property and human life. Oh yeah, and the T-Abyss virus should also have some redeeming side-effects on the deceased. You know, so we can have our classic zombies.

Now let’s go to the second main connection Resident Evil 6 could and should share with Revelations: the inclusion of the Organization. With it, of course, comes the potential for another classic character to make a return to the series and another one to finally be revealed.

While we don’t really know much about him, we do know that one of Revelations’ new faces, Raymond Vester is, in fact, a member of the Organization on some level and he’ll probably end up taking a T-Abyss sample by game’s end and sending it to his higher-up(s). Does the Organization ring any bells, though? It should, but you won’t be ridiculed if it doesn’t since this, um, organization hasn’t really been given a proper in-your-face treatment as opposed to Umbrella, Tricell and now, Veltro. Basically, the Organization served as a major, underground, rival to Umbrella, with their goal being to take possession of the giant pharmaceutical corporation’s viruses for their own, personal use. Most importantly, Albert Wesker and Ada Wong served as two of the main heads of the group. Well, Albert’s gone now, presumably leaving Ada as something close to the main brain of the operation.

While Ada is mostly associated with Leon, it would be quite nice and truly refreshing to see a female lead going up against a female antagonist, with Claire and Ada going, pedicured, toe-to-toe with each other. It’s also very possible that Ada does indeed hold a sample of every major virus the Organization sought to take from Umbrella. So we could also see a combination of all these viral threats in Resident Evil 6, with the T-Abyss aiding to help it spread easily via a city’s water supply perhaps. Just imagine the collateral damage that would cause. And, as aforementioned, with Ada having a prominent role in the game, Leon may not be that far behind. But I must stress that I really want Capcom to make Claire the main face of RE6. Especially since Leon has already had a role in two of the greatest games in the series, if not the greatest. It’s time to share some accolades with Claire, Leon. So if Capcom really wants to put Leon in the game, then a supporting role should suffice. Unless Resident Evil 6 will once again adopt its predecessor’s co-op style, but I’ll dive into that a bit later.

There’s one other potential villain we could see in this game, though. Thus far he’s been kept entirely in the shadows, with only a small, but revealing, reference to him in one of the files you find in Resident Evil 5’s ‘Lost in Nightmares’ DLC. Yes, I’m talking about Alex Wesker.

Talk about being abusive to a woman: Yeah, Wesker wasn’t exactly…nice to Chris’ little sister in their first meeting in Code: Veronica (as pictured above and then continued with Wesker throwing and kicking Claire around). But that’s Albert, let’s talk about Alex. Dead or alive (it’s speculated that he may have been killed by Spencer somehow), Alex Wesker could potentially be a very strong fill-in for Albert after he was apparently offed in Resident Evil 5. In said game’s ‘Lost in Nightmares’ DLC we learned a bit about Alex. Basically, he’s the 12th of 13 test subjects of Project W which, in Spencer’s own words, aims to create a “superior race of humans.” Albert was, of course, one of those 13 subjects and the one who actually got all the recognition, though Spencer does acknowledge Alex’s superior intelligence and loyalty. He didn’t stay loyal for long, though…

Alex was tasked by Spencer to create a virus that would grant the user immortality. In this case, it was for Spencer, seeing as how he was quite sick and fragile– ultimately being killed by Albert. This quest for immortality succeeded, and Alex did, in fact, find the answer to prolonged life, but after doing so he vanished, betraying Spencer. His whereabouts are unknown, but he may end up having ties with the Organization, a group that would obviously have a substantial amount of interest in the virus Alex was able to create. So, with the Organization playing a role in Revelations, we may end up learning some more about Alex and hell, he may end up getting a full-blown reveal in Resident Evil 6 as the main villain, possibly alongside Ada as one of the top officials of the Organization.

With all this talk about Resident Evil 6 you know damn well I can’t go on and publish this without giving my personal opinion on the whole “survival horror vs. survival action” debate which sprouted post-Resident Evil 5. Well, I’ve been a Resident Evil fan since I was a small kid, and back then, the series’ early entries scared me shitless. So, yeah, I want that feeling to come back with Resident Evil 6.

It’s been a while since we felt truly afraid while going through a Resident Evil title, what with the latest numbered entry, Resident Evil 5, going full-blown action-movie mode (it was still awesome, though). We ended up getting post-launch DLC support for said sequel with the most notable content, especially to hardcore fans longing for the series’ horror glory days, definitely being ‘Lost in Nightmares’. This DLC ‘episode’ brought back a sense of horror to the series, and it was also quite nostalgic what with you going through the Spencer Estate which happened to share many aesthetic similarities with the Trevor Mansion from the first game. That wasn’t all there was to it, though. While going through the estate’s tight corridors and prison area, players (taking on the role of either Chris or Jill) were faced with huge, axe-wielding monstrosities. Yeah, this was a much more “authentic” Resident Evil experience than the main game it was expanding upon.

Going back to co-op, which was a heavy focus in the main campaign and its DLC offerings, ‘Lost in Nightmares’ presented the perfect way to do a cooperative mode while still instilling a sense of fear in the player. You had several moments interspered throughout the, sadly brief, experience that split you and your partner apart, leaving you to find a way to reach them or get them out of harm’s way. This is what I would love to see done in Resident Evil 6 if Capcom decides to once again make co-op a strong focus. Solving puzzles and desperately trying to get your partner out of traps would be good ways of exercising the game’s potential co-op focus. This would mean that Claire would have to be teamed up with another character. Leon immediately comes to mind, but as I have been suggesting before, he’s already been heavily exposed when compared to Claire. So having him always by your side would kind of kill the point of having Claire take on the main role in the player’s eyes. So, perhaps a new character shall be introduced? Hell, I wouldn’t mind.

But I would rather have a solo experience with Resident Evil 6. And I have hope that it could be done brilliantly with what Capcom has learned post-Resident Evil 5. Bring back limited supplies of ammunition and health items. Bring back terrifying BOWs that will make you want to run at times instead of sticking around to shoot them down. Bring all of that back with Resident Evil 6, Capcom. No more Merchants mysteriously always appearing in every area you reach and no more being able to purchase weapons, ammo, health items and other supplies in between chapters. I want to see Resident Evil 4/5’s proven over-the-shoulder view greatly complemented by limited resources to make for one hell of a survival horror experience, just like Lost in Nightmares succeeded in providing, albeit its brevity.

But, as any Resident Evil veteran can tell you, the actual setting is also another thing Capcom has to get right in order to make Resident Evil 6 a true survival horror experience. This is where Capcom would have to look back at the series’ memorable locales to help shape where Claire will be pit in to “enter the world of survival horror” once more.

Think back to the original three games and each of their settings: the Trevor mansion, the RPD and its immediate surroundings and the streets and many locales of Raccoon City, respectively. With Resident Evil 6 I don’t want to see an abundance of expansive, open areas (especially not in broad daylight!) . Instead, I want to see the return of confining, dread-inducing complex-like areas, which we’re already seeing returning to the series with Revelations. I’m not saying that I want to see yet another mansion, but a huge complex with many confining corridors would be more than suitable. And, of course, litter it with BOWs that would stop at nothing to see Claire dead.

Or maybe we could get another city to run through, bringing back memories of Raccoon City. Yeah, this would sort of fall under the “expansive areas” I’d like to see avoided, but it could be done right, just like in Resident Evil 3’s case. You’ll be able to run through the city’s streets and confined alleyways as you get from locale to locale, giving players the best of both worlds when it comes to settings in the franchise. Going through open areas could bring about hordes of enemies to fight or run from, most likely the latter. Picture having to go through an entire horde of BOWs in order to get to perhaps an apartment building on another part of town. These moments in between the confined areas could prove to offer some intense sequences in which your heart will always be pounding as you’re trying to reach the next locale. Then you find out it isn’t so safe in the enclosed locale anyway…But that’s the beauty of what Resident Evil 6 could be if they decide to take a city-approach again and mix it with the classic games’ enclosed settings.

Now, I saved the best for last. Like most of you, I too am quite eager to learn more about a particular character’s fate and current standing. Yeah, you know who I’m alluding to.

Ah, Sherry, where have you gone to? From what we know, Sherry is currently under the watchful eye of the government and used to also be under surveillence by Wesker, until he died, of course. After the ending of Resident Evil 2, Leon and Claire were rescued by US officials and Sherry was taken into custody by the government. Sherry was then used to make Leon work for said government with Sherry being kept safe in return. Then Wesker comes in, having his carefully placed spies keeping a watchful eye on Sherry. The rest is unknown. Sherry is one of the plot threads in the series that has been, unfortunately kept dangling up until this point. It’s time to see her story arc picked up again in Resident Evil 6.

To add to that, Claire and Sherry shared a very significant bond in Resident Evil 2, so having Sherry make a return would be quite welcome and very, very satisfying to finally witness. Hell, if Capcom does opt to once again focus strongly on co-op, Sherry would be quite an interesting partner to have (think AMY). We could see many enhancements to the game’s overall horror experience with Sherry being at your side. Of course, she’s older now, so she could most likely defend herself to some capacity, but she’s not really as experienced as Claire is, so protecting her would still be a priority. Or she may end up being a villain, which is something we can’t completely rule out since, you know, she’s the daughter of one of the series’ most memorable baddies and creator of the G-Virus, William Birkin.

Having Sherry as the main antagonist (or one of them) in Resident Evil 6 would make for one very interesting dynamic: Claire is picking up where her brother left off in his fight against bio-weapons and Sherry is continuing what her father started when he created the G-Virus, honoring his memory. Daddy’s little girl is all grown up now and she may be out for blood, possibly even serving the Organization (hey, it could happen). One thing’s for sure, if this does in fact end up happening, we’re going to be in for one very emotional tale as we see Claire going up against someone she once cared deeply for, in an almost maternal way (because Annette wasn’t really much of a mom to Sherry anyway).

 So those are my personal expectations for Resident Evil 6. Sure, we may not see all of them be realized, but you must admit some of what I covered does seem quite likely, like Claire serving as the main character and aspects from Revelations playing a huge role. Some of these things may be wishful thinking, like finally seeing the return of Sherry. But regardless of what does end up being Resident Evil 6, I strongly believe that Capcom has learned a good deal from the overall reaction Resident Evil 5 was met with by the series’ loyal fanbase and they’re definitely not aiming to once again upset those who made the series reach this level of importance in the industry.

This week is quite an important one for Resident Evil fans, especially if Resident Evil 6 does, in fact, get announced as has been heavily rumored. By this same time next week we could all be watching Resident Evil 6’s reveal trailer for the 600th time, dissecting every single frame of it. I’m ready to enter the world of survival horror once more, are you?

*A very, El Gigante-sized special thanks to my good friend, Hamid, for the Claire fan art!*

               
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