Resident Evil Outbreak E3 2003 Preshow Report

The game formerly known as Resident Evil Online is on display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and we've got the details.

It's hard to imagine an online Resident Evil game. This extremely popular survival horror series has always emphasized its cinematic, suspenseful pacing and camera angles and claustrophobic settings, making for a style of gameplay that's not really suited for more than one player at a time. But Resident Evil Outbreak will offer online play all right, and more. This PlayStation 2 game will allow up to four players to join up together and take on legions of the undead.

In the game, you will assume the roles of regular citizens in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wrong place is Raccoon City, the setting of the original Resident Evil, and its inhabitants will presumably first have to arm themselves against their foes. It seems the Umbrella pharmaceutical corporation has started making zombies and setting them loose in the quaint little city, so the citizens will not just be fighting for survival, but to take out Umbrella once and for all. There will apparently be eight different player archetypes in the game: a doctor, a security guard, a reporter, a railway worker, and more. You will need to use these characters' different abilities to help each other out, especially since, if a player dies, he or she will become one of the living dead. How rude is that?

Capcom claims Resident Evil Outbreak will retain the series' signature cinematic trappings, despite being an online multiplayer game. It will still be playable offline, probably even as a single-player-only game, but clearly the online mode will be the big attraction. The settings of the game will include locations such as a hospital, an experiment lab, a forest, a tunnel, even a restroom, because a zombie's gotta go.

Read between the lines, and you could probably draw comparisons between Resident Evil Outbreak and Sega's Phantasy Star Online. These are games that encourage teamwork and emphasize action but that also have some RPG elements to keep you engaged over the long run. We're very curious to see a lot more of Resident Evil Outbreak, so expect to know more about the game just as soon as we do.

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