A few days ago, Cliffy B. made a comment on Twitter that made some waves in the gaming community. Tweeting at Capcom, he suggested that they allow him to help them “fix” Resident Evil. The comment caused a cascade of speculation – not much of it particularly positive – throughout the gaming world. However strange the suggestion may seem, given that the man has spent the better part of a decade making the dudliest of the bro-iest gaming franchise out there - Gears of War – when you think about it, this may not be such a bad idea.
For starters, with Gears of War, the man has damn near perfected a formula that a Resident Evil game helped popularize: over-the-shoulder third-person shooters. Whatever you may think about the melodramatic plot and the meat-head marine formula, it is hard to deny that the game doesn’t have slick mechanics. Though Resident Evil 6 finally made some strides in the right direction by allowing you to, wait for it, MOVE WHILE YOU’RE SHOOTING, the actual controls were pretty slippery. Cliffy could help make the game work at a mechanical level, no doubt.
Another thing that Mr. B is pretty good at is creating is a sense of atmosphere. Though the second and third entries from the GoW series got far more action packed, it is hard to deny there weren’t a fair amount of tense moments in the first game. Who remembers the “Lethal Dusk” level, where you had to defend your friend from a swam of lethal bats with a spotlight? What about “Downpour,” where you navigate your way through a derelict imulsion refinery, Locust hiding in all sorts of places waiting to pop out? And who can forget about the first encounter with a Locust Berserker? If the man can create a creepy atmosphere when you’re playing as a 250 pound, armed marine capable of curb stomping a creature’s brains into oblivion like it’s nothing, imagine what he could do with Resident Evil‘s characters and some zombies?
The mere fact that the man can do horror on some level should be enough, but others are not convinced, given his tendency to lean towards the more action packed. When one thinks about Cliff’s recent decision to leave Epic, though, this could be interpreted as a change of heart. If he loved working on strictly action-packed third-person shooters, he would probably still be working on them. This is just my humble opinion, but I believe that he is over that whole particular genre, or at least getting over it.
Given the chance, Cliff could take his tremendous amount of talent as a developer and put it to good use on not only making Resident Evil scary again, but modernizing it as well. We all saw what happened when the confused bunch over at Capcom tried to do that with Resident Evil 6. It was a mish-mash of “me too” ideas that aped many modern gaming tropes in the worst way. I truly think that Cliff can show Capcom how to avoid these pitfalls and make a cohesive project that not only scares, but exudes confidence in what the series is all about without trying to copy everyone else.