What is RE?

What makes a game RE?

  • The genre: (Survival) Horror

    Votes: 10 50.0%
  • A story that ties logically into the established (canon) lore

    Votes: 15 75.0%
  • Recurring characters

    Votes: 11 55.0%
  • The game must have at least one mansion-inspired location

    Votes: 2 10.0%
  • Certain mechanics (like fixed camera angles, gameplay, etc.)

    Votes: 7 35.0%
  • I don't care as long as it involves a viral outbreak and/or zombies

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • It says "Resident Evil" in the title

    Votes: 6 30.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 10.0%

  • Total voters
    20

Hel

Goddess of the Dead
Supporter Gold
2,263
3,037
22,618
#1
In the light of current game releases, I want to ask all of you: What exactly does a game absolutely need to have so you can consider it a true RE?

I won't start with my own opinion because I don't want anyone to be influenced by it. Note that you're allowed multiple picks if you can't decide, but please think about what's most important to you personally before just checking everything, otherwise the poll is useless. I left it anonymous because I'm not interested in judging people based on who says what (but feel free to explain your choice in a comment), I'm mostly curious to see which aspects are valued the most, and which you think are rather irrelevant. You can also make a ranking if you wish.
 

Turo602

The King of Kings
1,847
1,600
13,771
#2
Survival Horror - The first game was designed and created as a survival horror game. It's the most basic way to describe to anyone what the game is so by the time another one rolls around, we shouldn't be expecting a kart racer.

Logical Story - Every series establishes a distinct world with certain rules so the story should definitely reflect that.

Recurring Characters - The first 2 games established the entire cast that the series would revolve around so lack of familiar faces is only a digression.

Gameplay Mechanics - The only thing a genre tells us is what kind of game we should expect, but like the story and characters, it's the gameplay mechanics that truly define Resident Evil. It's what makes it stand apart from Silent Hill, Dead Space, and every other game in the same genre.

The Title - This one doesn't really say much about the game but if we want to get technical then sure, if it has Resident Evil in the title then it's a Resident Evil game. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good one, a canon one, or even faithful to its own roots but it's definitely Resident Evil. A series struggling to find its identity.
 

Hel

Goddess of the Dead
Supporter Gold
2,263
3,037
22,618
#3
The Title - This one doesn't really say much about the game but if we want to get technical then sure, if it has Resident Evil in the title then it's a Resident Evil game. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good one, a canon one, or even faithful to its own roots but it's definitely Resident Evil.
You're right of course, but that's not what I meant. Based on what you said, I suppose you understood my true meaning, but I still feel like I should explain it.

The real question here is: Do you judge a book by its cover or by its content? Let's imagine for a moment that RE3 was only called "Nemesis", without the "Resident Evil", but still developed by Capcom as a part of the universe established with RE1 and 2. Let's also imagine Rise of the Tomb Raider was made by Capcom and called "Resident Evil: Immortality" or something like that. (Yes, we all know that game has two DLC modes pitting Lara against zombies, but never mind that right now, focus on the main campaign.) Would you say the latter game is more deserving of being called a true RE because it has RE in its title, unlike the former? If not, then you shouldn't pick that option.

By the way, I just noticed I posted this poll in the wrong sub-forum. I keep mixing up General Discussion and RE: General Discussion, so could a mod please move the thread? Thank you.
 

Romero

Her royal court joker
Staff
Supporter Gold
6,420
2,809
37,183
#4
This is what I think. :)

The genre: (Survival) Horror
No, survival horror in itself does not make RE. But RE made survival horror, so if future games does not have at least elements of survival or horror in them, I won't personally consider them canon. Where is the series today? Survival action, or action horror?
I didn't vote for this option, but maybe I should have voted for it based on what I just said.


A story that ties logically into the established (canon) lore
Of course. The most important element. If you remove tomatoes from the soup, it is no longer tomato soup.


Recurring characters
I prefer recurring characters, but I believe a game can be trustworthy as RE with new characters too. But it may be hard to pull it off, it'll be much easier with known faces.


I don't care as long as it involves a viral outbreak and/or zombies
Some sort of outbreak, either by virus, parasites, fungi or whatever is needed. Unless someone comes up with a new clever idea that removes the need for this. I'll not say that something is a must, I'll see first and judge the result after. But I'm skeptical to a story without some sort of disease outbreak. What's the alternative? Magic? I do like magic, but I can't see it work with the existing RE universe. I don't think it could be possible.


It says "Resident Evil" in the title
Of course! This was the other thing I selected. How can you make a proper RE without RE in the title? If it looks like RE but does not have RE in the title, Capcom must be sued for theft of their own intellectual property!
 
Likes: Steve

Steve

Well-Known Member
Admin
Staff
Patron
758
774
26,621
#5
Oh man. This is a topic that's got me really scratching my head - in a good way! I know that I'm guilty of labelling certain games in the series as being only Resident Evil in name... but now that I'm thinking about it I'm not quite sure what magical checkboxes those games would have required checking in order to fit into my own distinction of RE games. Hmm...

I'd probably say it's the 'mood' more than anything; that cheesy B-movie horror funk that Resident Evil used to be known for. There was that low-budget tongue-in-cheek execution that -- for me -- made the survival horror much more palatable than the gross-out competition. I'm skipping ahead a few generations, but the reason I haven't really given Outlast a fair shake is because while it looks like a great survival horror game, the srs business gruesomeness just unnerves the shizzle out of me. And... while I did request a review copy of RE7 from Capcom, I'm really not in a hurry to play it. Some of the stuff I've seen in that is pretty harrowing.

RE5 is one of the best co-op games I've ever played, but it feels about as far removed from an RE game as you can get - it wafts of Hollywood blockbuster with minimal horror, but it's hella fun. Wesker's inclusion feels like the only thread keeping it canonical. RE6 on the other hand - full Hollywood, and everybody knows you never do a full Hollywood. (sorry)

So, yeah, the older Resi games probably grabbed me because of that goofy, almost Shawn of the Dead-style narrative. I dunno. I can't even remember anymore. I'm speedrunning Resident Evil HD Remaster on PC, though, and that game is neat.
 
Last edited:

bSTAR_182

Sexually Active Member
Supporter Gold
1,604
1,676
28,378
#6
It's a bit tricky when speaking about a videogame series versus a movie or book but, in general, any series will always revolve around a story that ties said series together logically and typically involves reoccurring characters.

The reoccurring characters is somewhat debatable because a series can thrive with having different characters involved in each game/show/movie/book (as seen with the Silent Hill series). The tricky thing for Capcom is that they have built their main game series using reoccurring characters. It's not that they can't go off and make a game that features all new characters (because they obviously have with RE7) but they should not forget about the past and what has been established this far along in the series. It's obvious that their past characters have unfinished business and perhaps the most frustrating thing about all new characters in RE7 is that we have to wait even longer to learn what comes next for the beloved past characters. With that all said, new characters also doesn't automatically make the game a spinoff so long as it progresses the story along.

Having monsters and an outbreak as well as survival horror elements is crucial for this particular game series. Capcom could easily run off a write a love story between X character and Y character from the series but then is that still RE? No. It's a story that takes place within the universe. Also, just because the game becomes more action-based (with horror elements) doesn't mean that it is not part of the series and not an RE game. The Alien film series is also a good example of how the tone/genre of a sequel isn't necessarily important in continuing on a story.

Title of the series is a slippery slope because anyone can make a zombie game and slap the name Resident Evil on the cover. It has everything to do with the content of the story and the reasoning behind the outbreak when compared to other zombie games/movies.

Game mechanics are only extra stuff that some fans want to concern themselves with and that to me is silly. It comes down to personal preference rather than the game not meeting the status quo. I hate first-person but that doesn't mean that RE7 isn't RE because they chose to go that route. One can look at the old fixed screen Mario games versus Mario 64 for another example of a game series changing its mechanics. I don't hear fans bitching about Mario 64 not being a true Mario game but then again I really don't keep up with that fanbase.
 
Last edited:

Turo602

The King of Kings
1,847
1,600
13,771
#7
Game mechanics are only extra stuff that some fans want to concern themselves with and that to me is silly. It comes down to personal preference rather than the game not meeting the status quo. I hate first-person but that doesn't mean that RE7 isn't RE because they chose to go that route. One can look at the old fixed screen Mario games versus Mario 64 for another example of a game series changing its mechanics. I don't hear fans bitching about Mario 64 not being a true Mario game but then again I really don't keep up with that fanbase.
I don't see what personal preference really has to do with the importance of consistent game mechanics. Sure, everyone has their preference but that doesn't mean consistency is suddenly not important, especially when it comes to how a game is played which is a pretty big part of any franchise's identity.

Super Mario World to Super Mario 64 isn't changing game mechanics. It's transitioning those mechanics into 3D while also taking advantage of the possibilities presented by 3D gaming. At the time, it wasn't considered a revamp because nobody knew what Mario would look like in 3D, it was an evolution for the series. It set the standard for 3D platforming just like the original did for 2D, and it also set the standard for 3D Mario games, which have all stayed relatively consistent on a mechanical level.

The same can be said for Resident Evil games. They've all played and felt very similar to one another despite RE4's over the shoulder perspective. RE6 was the first to stray but then it got back on track with Revelations 2 but now 7 is nothing like those because first person in of itself is more of a mechanic than it is just a simple change in perspective like RE4. It's why you'll never see a main installment of the Halo series in third-person or Gears of War in first person. It's a legit big change. But that's not to say Resident Evil 7 isn't a Resident Evil game, it very much is no matter what, but in the sense that the question is referring to, I'd say it's not.

I'll even say the same about RE4, 5, and so on based on how poorly they do at capturing what made the original so great but for also failing to expand on that in a meaningful and logical way for the series like RE2 did. Resident Evil 4 and up did a magnificent job of that for the series' gameplay but fell short in other major areas where RE7 may have not. 7 on the other hand fails at being a Resident Evil game (at least for me) because of its radically different gameplay among other things that the 4 era of games may have done better. Which only proves you can't have one without the other.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not trying to pick a fight or even say that you're wrong for how you choose to see Resident Evil. Just trying to say that game mechanics are an integral part of any series (which I think you'd see if you look hard enough at any other successful franchise) while using that as a jumping off point to further elaborate on my thoughts on the question at hand.
 

bSTAR_182

Sexually Active Member
Supporter Gold
1,604
1,676
28,378
#8
Don't get me wrong here, I'm not trying to pick a fight or even say that you're wrong for how you choose to see Resident Evil. Just trying to say that game mechanics are an integral part of any series (which I think you'd see if you look hard enough at any other successful franchise) while using that as a jumping off point to further elaborate on my thoughts on the question at hand.
Completely understand where you are coming from and can agree with you on quite a few of your points. In my first post I mentioned that it is tricky with trying to define what makes a videogame series as opposed to a TV show or film series. Looking at it in the most basic form though, it comes down to the story and characters that drives a series. That's the mindset that I chose to stick with for the rest of my post on the RE game series apparently. lol

Obviously game series offer other aspects for players to associate the game titles with, but I think RE's identity crisis makes it difficult for fans to agree on anything. I do think Capcom was closest with pleasing everyone with Revelations 2 however.

Capcom wants to keep fans happy by keeping up with the story but then they are also trying to focus on what sells in stores. A large part of their fan base wanted the series to go back to its horror roots because horror elements alone weren't cutting it for the fans- but horror games don't sell well.... until a certain game demo came along (*cough* P.T. *cough*) and proved that horror could sell. So here we have RE7 which plays very similarly to P.T. but has elements (healing mechanics, etc.) of Resident Evil riddled all throughout and a bit more combat and weapon options (who knows how the actual Silent Hill game would have turned out)...

That was a bit of a tangent but, ultimately, the perspective of the gameplay is a bonus for me- at least when it comes to this series in particular. I will admit that when I said fans are "silly" for concerning themselves with game mechanics I was being brash and even wrong to some extent. Especially when considering game series that have been more consistent- like Uncharted. It would be messed up if Naughty Dog decided to make Uncharted 4 (or even TLOU2) in first-person perspective. So yes, I do see the importance of game mechanics with a series. But if fans really are looking for a sequel that goes back to the roots where we have fixed camera angles, then we are going to find a series that will fade away just as quickly because those types of games don't sell anymore. With that I can respect Capcom's decision for changing the mechanics... first-person may have been a little much but here they are trying something new and, based on reviews, players are really loving it. Even I'm impressed and I was one of those complaining the most. We have a series that continues to redefine itself and I am curious to see future games that actually revolve around Chris and others- preferably in 3rd person again but they have set a standard with RE7 and are attracting new and old fans back into the series so it may be like this for a bit.
 
Last edited:

The Fabled Four

4x the awesome
275
187
4,778
#9
First I'd just like to say I thought you did an excellent job of covering your bases with these options. While I do find many of these to be important in making a resident evil game just that, I found it surprisingly easy to pick just one. To me, what's most important is having a story that ties into the established lore. The genre is not terribly important to me because the genre really depends on the perspective of the story. RE 5/6 are a great example of this. Not really horror games because the characters are prepared and knowledgeable, yet I still see them as fundamental inclusions in RE because they flesh out the lore of the universe. I don't think recurring characters are terribly important. RE2 is a great example of capturing the same essence as the game before while using an entirely new cast of characters, so while it's nice to see a familiar face, I don't view it as integral. I don't actually think the mechanics are that important to RE. For one, by now RE has taken on so many different styles of gameplay that really the only consistent mechanic is change. Not only that, but RE also takes on different art forms, including movies, books, and comics. Sure those aren't games, but they still very RE to me personally, and if I believed that the gameplay mechanics were truly that important, I think I'd have a harder time accepting other forms of media into the RE universe. I would argue that you don't need zombies specifically, but I think you'd need at least some occurrence of a viral outbreak at some point, whether you're experiencing it in real time, witnessing the aftermath, or even just referencing that is happening somewhere in the world. I don't think it's important to have resident evil in the title because if a game truly feels like RE based on whatever other factors you personally deem important, then it wouldn't need to justify itself by reminding you what it's supposed to be.
 

TJay

Well-Known Member
Supporter Gold
116
65
7,764
#10
Thank you for the thread Hel, I think this is a great discussion.

At this point, I think it can be difficult to define to what "Resident Evil" is. It's such a vast universe now and as this thread has shown, people will view it in different ways. Perhaps this is influenced by which game in the series they played or were exposed to first or perhaps it's because of the "horror" tag and their expectations of horror?

I ticked the "other" box and I would like to address that first (though I realise most of what I'm going to say could have come under the "viral outbreak" option). In general I consider myself a horror fan, in terms of games, films and other media. What I've come to realise over the years is that horror (like most things) is a spectrum. What induces fear in one person, may not in another. With that in mind, I do think that every entry in the Resident Evil game series, at least touches on the horror genre and I think it's worth looking at the series' original title "Biohazard".

I bring this up because a Biohazard can be defined as a risk to human health or the environment, coming from some kind of biological work or factor "especially with microorganisms" (from the online dictionary). That in it's self to me, is horror. But more than this, that to me is a huge factor in what ties the series together, the very real threat of a biohazard and it's consequences.

The series has manifested this in different ways over the years, which is why I think it's truly unique and keeps people coming back. If it were *just* a series of zombie games, perhaps it would have petered out years ago?

I also chose the "story" and "character" options. For me these are two massive reasons that I've stuck with the franchise. Other similar games have come and gone but none have gripped me in the same that RE has, not by a long shot. Even though many of the connections throughout the games are subtle, they're there, connecting everything with a deep, complex and (to me anyway) interesting continued narrative.

They have managed (for the most part) to keep the narrative going with a large roster of characters, furthering their personal stories (maybe one or 2 furthered a bit too far) while keeping each game relatively askew from the previous entry. The spin offs often showing the "biohazard" elsewhere or giving us a different perspective. I think that's quite clever and something I personally don't think any similar series has got right.

I'm under no illusion that the series is perfect, some entries are turkeys, some are clear cash-ins but I love the "Resident Evil" story & I think I would summarise that for me, it's the story telling that makes Resident Evil what it is with canonical nods.
 

Hel

Goddess of the Dead
Supporter Gold
2,263
3,037
22,618
#11
Thank you all very much for your participation! Many valid points have been brought up here, and it's interesting to see all the different opinions. I think it's time for me to share my own.

Let's get the big thing out of the way first: I did not vote for the genre. Why? Because while I loved the scary atmosphere of the Spencer mansion when I first entered it roughly twenty years ago, I've since played other installments that I enjoyed just as much and accepted as part of the RE world even though they weren't like the first game, for example RE5, which isn't nearly as scary and trauma-inducing as the live-action trailers tried to make us believe, or Operation Raccoon City, which is not canon, but explores an interesting what-if scenario while also letting us play an entire campaign as the bad guy for the first time. I quickly discovered that neither the mansion setting nor the obvious horror nor the tank controls defined the franchise for me, but the red thread connecting all these games: The story and the characters. If I had to choose between fun and story, I'd say the former is more important for a game to work in general, but when it comes to an entire franchise, a coherent story is necessary to let me know that what I'm playing is still part of the same universe as earlier games.

RE shouldn't become a kart racer, of course, but I'm fine with a more action-oriented approach as long as we get to see our beloved heroes fighting zombies and other monsters in a setting that continues and/or adds to the previously established story. Because if it's a completely different story, why even give it the same name? With that said, an outbreak of some sort is definitely necessary because that is basically what RE is all about story-wise (which is why it will never turn into a kart racer or a dating simulator), but an outbreak alone isn't enough, so I didn't pick that option.

Recurring characters are important as well, not only because they play a part in holding the story together, but they also make said story a lot more interesting. Remember one of the early Revelations trailers that showed Chris and Jill pointing their guns at each other? Granted, that scene didn't make it into the final game, but it did make everyone wonder when Hell froze over to turn those long-term friends and partners against each other. Or the RE6 trailers showing Ada do some very villainous things - Ada is a character whose morality has always been questionable, but a villain? We were all talking about those topics, which we wouldn't have (or at least not in the same way) if those characters had been strangers to us. Now if you compare that to the RE7 trailers, those didn't spark the same discussions, because there were no characters from earlier games whose actions and involvements could be debated. Many fans were more interested in looking for links to previous games than talking about the new characters and their motivations, and if you ask me, that says a lot. (Not about the game that RE7 turned out to be, but what fans really care about.)

I thought I was the only one valuing story and characters over everything else when it comes to what defines RE, but seeing that those two options are leading in the poll right now, I guess I'm not for once. That's an entirely new feeling for me. :razz: