Can Cliff Bleszinski "save" Resident Evil?
The recent news that broke out about former Epic Games designer and creator of the Gears of War franchise Cliff Bleszinski wanting to tackle Resident Evil has folks like myself wondering. Could he be serious? What would this mean for the franchise if Capcom decided to to work with him? Let's dig a little deeper on this and find out.
It's a surprise to no one that Capcom has focused on a more action-oriented experience in the Resident Evil series over the years. This has come under fire for multiple reasons. There are the "diehard fanboys" who aren't willing to let go of the survival horror roots that made the franchise popular from the beginning. A more logical criticism, however, is that Capcom hasn't made the transition the right way. Going from "tank controls" and battling back a few monsters at a time at most to all out war with machine guns isn't going to be smooth experience unless you're willing to overhaul the system entirely.
Cliff's experience with Gears of War could potentially make for a good base to work from. The Chris campaign in Resident Evil 6 already tried to do this but still held on to the usual tropes from the series. The result? You got a shoddy camera swinging wildly as you melee like a madman because there's no more ammo left for the machine gun not to mention dealing with a piss-poor cover system. Frustrations from the gameplay can easily turn anyone off from wanting to continue.
What Cliff can do to easily remedy this will include a few tropes of his own. Make the cover system simple with a similar "sticky" mechanic that turns it into a viable strategy. Be sure there's plenty of ammo available because this is an action game now, not survival horror. Also, if co-op has to be integrated then I can't think of anyone else more qualified to fix it. Even the way the AI in the past couple of Resident Evil games handles your partners when playing by yourself could learn a few lessons from Gears of War.
I've said it before and I'll say it again here. Resident Evil needs a major overhaul and Capcom would be smart to have someone of Bleszinski's caliber take control. He already has the credentials to make a successful action game both critically and financially. If this is truly where you want the franchise to go, he's the guy you need behind the wheel.