TGS 2008: Resident Evil 5 Stage Demo Impressions

Capcom unveils split-screen offline play during its RE5 TGS stage demo, and we've got the full rundown.

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TOKYO--Perhaps Capcom's most anticipated next-generation game at the Tokyo Game Show was Resident Evil 5. On the TGS show floor, the company held an RE5 stage presentation to give the game some extra promotion, with its release date of March 12 in Japan and a day later in North America just a few months away.

Resident Evil's stage presentation started off with a showing of its official trailer (read our most recent hands-on preview of the game here). "With the game finally making its way to the next-generation consoles, the graphics have tremendously improved as you can see from its trailer. So we took the bold decision to develop all of the game's action scenes in Hollywood," said producer Takeuchi Jun, who revealed that film director Jim Sonzero, best known for his 2006 film Pulse, is directing the scenes.

Takeuchi then showed some behind-the-scene footage of motion actors playing the role of Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they took moved around in front of a green backdrop. The footage also showed that Capcom is taking extra steps with its sound effects. The developer actually rented real armory, as well as hired professionals, to shoot them near the border between the US and Mexico for recordings that will be used in the game. A few of the weapons seen in the footage included a CZ75 pistol, Desert Eagle 50 AE semiautomatic, and a Barrett M82.

After the footage, Takeuchi also revealed that the motion actors aren't the only ones with their movements being captured. The voice actors also had motions sensors attached to their faces, so that their facial expressions and movements could be recorded with their voices.

Capcom is adding a lot of detail to bring realism to Resident Evil 5, and camera work is no exception. According to Takeuchi, his staff teamed up with Hollywood experts to develop a new graphic system for the game so it can run with a shaky-camera effect, in the same way that an amateur handycam would naturally shake.

Takeuchi then went off to show off some real-time gameplay, but he first reminded the audience that Resident Evil 5 features online co-op play for the first time in the numbered series. Then, he played the game in single-player mode as Chris and showed that Chris is not alone when playing solo, either.

As Chris moved around a dark cave, Sheva was seen walking with him, having a conversation as they walked on planks to advance forward. Whenever Chris lurked around, Sheva naturally followed him without stepping far behind. As they advanced forward and enemies appeared, Sheva attacked them on her own, as well as with Chris. Takeuchi explained that his staff has been working hard on the computer AI, and it has been able to make Sheva assist the player as though she's a live player.

After a while of playing, Takeuchi stopped the demo and unveiled that Resident Evil 5 can also be played by two players offline. Returning back to the game, we saw that Resident Evil 5 can actually play with a split-screen, with one player playing on the top screen and the other player playing on the bottom screen. As the two players advanced forward, they were separated by rubble that suddenly came falling. While Chris was left to fight against enemies on the ground, Sheva was split from him on a levitated area. Here, Takeuchi showed that the two players can help each other out, even if they're in a distance. As Chris moved around to find a way to meet up with Sheva, she assisted him by using a sniper rifle and hitting enemies in his way. Some enemies had shields that protected them from frontal shots made by Chris, but Sheva could get clear shots at them from their backs or sides. The demo ended as the two characters met up, and Takeuchi showed that they could trade items when they're close together. What's more, when such an item as a heal spray gets used, it recovers both of the characters when they're in proximity.

"Resident Evil 5's development is in its final phase right now. All of our staff is working hard in making the last fine-tunings. Please look forward and wait just a little bit more," said director Yasuhiro Anpo, who was up on stage together with producer Takeuchi. Obviously, we'll have much more on the game in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

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