Where Does Umbrella Corps Fit in the Resident Evil Timeline?

Zombie Jelly.

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Revealed at this year's Tokyo Game Show, Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps is the next game in the sprawling, Resident Evil series. But while details were sparse immediately following the game's announcement, we talked with the Umbrella Corps producers, Masachika Kawata and James Vance at the convention to learn more about the competitive online shooter.

GameSpot: Umbrella Corps is quite a different take on the Resident Evil series; what drove the decision to make this more of a straight-up shooter. Especially since that's a much more popular genre in the than here in Japan?

Masachika Kawata: As you said, because it's more popular in the West.

Is there anything you're doing to try to keep the Japanese audience engaged, or is the focus entirely on the West with this game?

MK: Well, we think we've made a quite a unique proposition here. The close-quarters battle system that we've got with these quite cramped and claustrophobic environments combined with the unique elements like the Zombie Jammer that you don't find in many other titles will be enticing elements that will get Japanese users on board. [Editor's Note: The Zombie Jammer is a backpack-like unit that all players start with. It keeps zombies from attacking you, as long as you don't attack them.]

Of course, it has the Resident Evil hallmark zombies, but what other elements does it borrow from the lore and history of Resident Evil?

MK: The game is not a hypothetical, "what-if" side scenario. Umbrella Corps is set in the present day of Resident Evil, which means it's after the events of Resident Evil 6. It's almost in an ironic way that we're using the title Umbrella Corps. If you know your Resident Evil lore, Umbrella no longer exists at this time in the universe; it's been destroyed. There's definitely a kind of a background of the Resident Evil universe that forms the basis of the game's premise.

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Is there anymore about that story you can talk about now?

James Vance: Umbrella Corps is, basically, an ironic title. The premise is that Umbrella Corporation, they were the lead corporation in the world of Resident Evil; they had the most advanced technology and most advanced bio weapons and things like that.

After their fall, there are a multitude of other organizations that are trying to get their hands on that research, or that information, to become the next Umbrella. The mercenaries are hired by these corporations--often times not in a forward-facing manner, it's all behind the scenes--to go into these areas where some kind of biological terror incident may have occurred to try to extract something with value. In that regard, these areas will tie into the Resident Evil universe quite strongly, and there's many things that you'll see there, that we can't reveal at this time, that have strong Resident Evil hooks.

One thing that I'd add about the zombies is that they pose a kind of unpredictable element to the game. If you shoot them, they recognize you as a threat. You can do that on purpose if you want to get one as a shield. But more often that will happen without it being your intent because they're in the midst of a firefight. Rather than a standard, straight-up military action game where it's just you versus the other players, there's this unpredictable element of the zombies in there which I think because it's the Resident Evil universe, it's a very a very unique proposal that we can add into the mix.

"The game is not a hypothetical, 'what-if' side scenario."

Is there a story campaign, or is Umbrella Corps completely multiplayer focused?

JV: There's no forward-facing story.

How will leveling work in the game? And is there a difference in what you earn from doing well versus just playing for a long time?

MK: We're taking the approach that, rather than having the character you play as level up as a concrete number or strength or whatever else, you're the one who gains the experience and knowledge by playing the game; you're the one who gets better. There's a points-based system in the game where as you do things, you earn points that can be used to get customizable options for your character and so forth. But we're not locking it into a system where you're getting a more powerful character just by playing for a longer time. You're the one who has to become more powerful yourself as a player.

In terms of balancing, we've also made it so the weapons have their own strengths and weaknesses, but there's no ultimate weapon that if you get it you'll be able to win. It's really up to the player to be able to strategize and use the tools at their disposal as best they can in order to get victory or defeat.

JV: We have three weapon layouts here at the show, and a lot of thought has gone into how they differentiate from one another, rather than just having ten machine guns with minor cosmetic differences. The things that will differentiate players are the weapons they choose to use and which special items they choose to use, not just a level number.

Are you putting together more of a loadout-based game, or is each character more customizable for whatever kind of fighting you want to do?

MK: It's fundamentally loadout based. You'll always have your pistol and the Zombie Brainer, your melee weapon. Then beyond that, it's a set of loadouts.

JV: You can choose what main and sub-weapons you'll have, but there's always the four main-weapon set: sub, main, brainer, and grenade. Of course, you have the shield as well.

You mentioned earlier that it's kind of a claustrophobic feel that you're going for. Was that really just this specific map or is that feeling supposed to represent the game overall?

MK: It's a key concept of the game, this kind of closed quarters enclosed environments with the tension of never knowing from what direction your enemy will come--including up and down as well, it's quite a 360 degree feeling because there are lots of routes that go up and down the levels. You can even use your Zombie Brainer to climb up the walls, and you have to be aware who's coming behind you. While we will have bigger maps than the one you saw today, we also have smaller maps. None of the bigger ones will go into giant arenas or anything like that. It will still stick to the concept of the close-quarters, claustrophobic battlefield.

"If people are looking forward to games that are more back on the main track that we've released so far, we've got stuff in the pipeline in that direction too."

Also, because the stage design isn't incredibly massive, it also means that the number of players who will fit in isn't going to be some huge field of people. That makes matchmaking and getting into the game quickly that much easier.

And will there be character customization options as well?

MK: Yeah. You'll be able to change the gear your character wears and change their appearance and add customizable elements to make it your own. And we'll be adding in additional weapons and so forth. There'll be a lot of customization coming.

Have you started thinking about microtransactions and how that might fit into the game?

MK: We're not looking to focus on microtransactions with this title. There will be additional free DLC--for example, a few additional maps and so forth--that will help revitalize the player base as time goes on. But it's not something where we're going to try and make the main source of revenue be constantly expanding extra content over a long period of time or anything like that.

For the same reason, the price of the game isn't going to be a full-price title--we want to be able to get people to have it be a no-brainer, so to speak. An easy to pick up and purchase title that they can go out and enjoy straight away without having to worry too much about it.

And what platforms is the game coming out on?

MK: The PlayStation 4 and PC.

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What drove that decision to only do PlayStation 4 and PC and not something like Xbox One or even Wii U?

MK: We were just focused on PS4 development, so we didn't really have any other console platforms come in to our plans.

Is there going to be cross play between the PC and PS4 versions?

MK: No.

In your role as a developer, have you still had time to play a lot of different kinds of shooters recently, especially the popular ones in the West?

MK: I've played the big titles out there in the market. In particular those multiplayer titles where there's quite a lot of people on the field of battle playing against each other. I think it's made me realize that I like the fact that our concept is somewhat minimalist in the sense that we're keeping it to a quite small number of players at a time and focusing on this kind of high tempo feel. Because you're not waiting for 20 people to match-make in a lobby, you're able to just get online with five people and get into the game. Victory or defeat is decided quickly, and then you're never waiting too long to jump back into the game.

JV: There is a lot of staff involved with this who worked on previous Resident Evil games as well as Lost Planet. So the team comes from a shooter pedigree. And a lot of them are also really into what are called "survival games" here in Japan, where you shoot pellets at each other while wearing full gear and you go out in the field. Kind of like paint ball without the paint. They're very into that, and you could see a lot of the influences from that here. For example, the analog cover--peaking out in just the right amount from behind cover and things like that. A lot thought went into transitioning those ideas into a game in a way that feels very slick and tight.

The game feels like it was balanced primarily for playing on controllers. Are there any kind of concessions you had to make for either the PC or console versions?

JV: Right now, we're developing with the controller as the main input method on both platforms.

MK: There are some fine tuning aspects between playing on a PC versus playing on your television with a console, but speaking broadly about the gameplay experience, we're aiming to make it the same experience across both platforms.

JV: Yeah. The experience and the content is the same.

What's the most important thing that Umbrella Corps needs to get right, or that it has to do better than other games?

MK: Definitely being able to aim well and shoot the other players is pretty key. But I think it's really important that you cater to a variety of gameplay styles--different players out there have different skill levels. Speaking for myself, I'm not the world's most skilled shooting game player. So while some people might get out there and they're moving around the stage really quickly and tactically and taking everyone out with military precision, I personally, and probably a lot of other gamers, might be the type who would want to wait and see who comes my way and take them out and try and be safe that way. Or maybe I'll wait above a corridor, and when someone runs past, I'll just jump down and take them out. I think getting that right is important, and that's one thing we really focused on with Umbrella Corps.

In addition, we're trying to go the extra mile with our systems. The characters have special equipment like this zombie shield on one arm when you're using your pistol. In a lot of shooting games, the pistol is your "plan B." It's the gun you use when you run out of ammo and you're stuck with the crappy pistol option. But we really wanted to make that a tactical option--you free up one hand when using a pistol, and you can defend yourself against headshots with this shield. It also serves as a means to lure zombies to come in and bite the zombie guard part, and then you can use the zombie as a shield. We've tried to add a lot of unique features and equipment that has multiple uses rather than having just the sort of standard equipment that you might find in any game that isn't set in the Resident Evil universe.

We've had so many different kinds of Resident Evil games over the years. Thinking about the franchise as a whole, what does being a "Resident Evil game" mean to Capcom now?

Resident Evil still means survival horror to most people, but it's also a brand that has evolved over time. It's been around for 20 years, and over that time it's seen a variety of spin-off and side titles. We think it's important to have a variety of experiences within that single brand.

I think some people might have been surprised that we came out with a third-person shooter like this. But creating experiences that branch out from the core, mainline franchise has always been part of the Resident Evil series. Of course, if people are looking forward to games that are more back on the main track that we've released so far, we've got stuff in the pipeline in that direction too. We've got a nice selection of experiences that can suit most players.

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MoreThot

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Sliding Corp.

This game could have made a decent co-op if they did it right. In my opinion and as someone who played the first couple of resident evil games on sega saturn, you have to capture fear and anxiety. You have to make the character vulnerable but at the same time allow tools for the job, but don't make those tools over powering (sub-machine guns etc. with 200 rounds). Sure you can have automatics in RE games but make the ammo realistic, like 3-4 clips with one of those 3-4 being used in the gun bringing it to 2-3 extra reload clips. From then on you're with your pistol. Facing maybe 200-400 zombies in a co-op match. May be excessive but the point is you have to be conscious of your ammo because if you run out it will put you in a bit of a pickle and don't have your characters be able to run like you're Usain Bolt. Take into account the weight of the gear you have etc. Because lets face it the zombies in old school resident evil didn't move that fast but you could still find yourself in trouble if you weren't careful.

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24cumple

WHAT THE **** IS THIS!!!!! Im sorry for the swearing but a thing like this is just so stupid. Resident evil used to be a very good game and i used to like many of its games from the beginning unyil the end but this is just screw. It is the most stupid game of resident evil I've ever seen. Well done capcom!! I knew that your RE games weren't as good as they used to be but this is what fucked you up completly

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skootbootz

Man that game play looks bad. I mean look at the animation for the guy when they crawl it's just sad.

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franzito

Most important news since the invention of edible underwear

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Anita_Bath

Have they got a f*cking monkey running the show down at Capcom? For crying out loud!

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beuneus12

Why even slap the Resident Evil name on this besides cutting costs on marketing?

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chechak7

what is this crap....oO

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Freboy

Q: "Why did you take this direction with the game?"

A: "Because it's more popular."

Q: "Will there be a story?"

A: "No"

In other words, they have just tacked the RE name on another generic shooter game to harvest some money from their fans. This time, they have really stripped away everything but the biggest money-making game aspects - shooting and graphics.

All in all, a good interview. It told us what we needed to know.

Capcom, you may go over there and join Konami.

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TheJackalAnubis

@Freboy: These developers have lost their minds if their only answers are filled with absolute horse maneur.

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santinegrete

I have little faith, but I hope it doesn't fail. Resident Evil can't take more heat, I don't want another Konami and Silent Hill scenario.

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J-007

This should simply be another single player campaign main game and maybe the multiplayer as a side mission effect to make it more interesting after events in the campaign here. If its more online multiplayer then this I would consider a mistake and not proper Resident Evil material...yes there can be new ideas but this is not what I'd do

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MigGui

so it's a cheap multiplayer-only shooter that has zombies to emulate being resident evil?

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RSM-HQ

It doesn't look impressive, but complainers need to realise Capcom have been making small Resi/Bio spin-off games since the second game almost two decades ago.

This isn't a new trend, and considering it's a download only game as cheap as the ReMasters; just cool-off.

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gantarat

@RSM-HQ:

well,i'm not surprise why people hate it

they expect capcom reveal RE 7 or RE 2 Make on Sony press conference not action multiplayer spin off

i mean

producer : bla bla bla show main series logo bla bla bla show biohazard 20th logo bla bla bal

producer : here Biohazard : Umbrella Corps

everyone : FU! Crapcom!

Avatar image for RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@gantarat: I'm sure people thought the same thing when OutBreak was first announced. And yet that was my first Resident Evil game. Which, then lead me to play them all (minus RE Gaiden)

Yes, the main series and the upcoming REmake 2 are more appealing. But spin-offs like this have much smaller budgets and help bring in new gamers. In the sameway it once did for me.

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princetom

@gantarat: well they did already announce RE 2 make, so what's the problem? let them make stupid shit like this as long as they remake the originals well. Personally, I hope they announce RE 3 make, nemesis is an amazing villain, Imagine that "thing" in a dark alley with REmake graphics

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redeemer6666

@princetom:It'll come just you wait, That trilogy is the best thing about RE and everybody knows it, The moment Raccoon city was destroyed and Umbrella folded I knew these games were going to turn real shitty.

I really hope we get the self defense items from the remake though, Imagine Nemesis picks you up, He looks at you all menacingly as he utters his now trademark phrase "S.T.A.R.S"..... then BAM survival knife to the eye! XD

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RSM-HQ

@redeemer6666: I quite enjoyed Resident Evil 4 but most of what you state is true. The first three games had a really atmospheric world the later games didn't replicate very well. Let's hope REmake 2 has the same feel as the original. In which you feel helpless against zombies and seemlessly immortal super mutants.

No kung fu please Capcom xD

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redeemer6666

@RSM-HQ: Ah yes Resident Evil 4, Its a good game because I feel they actually TRIED with that one XD

Its just the turning point everyone focuses on I guess, At least it had actual horror.

Yeah tbh I seriously don't get RE 5-6, Its like they wanted to make some weird zombie metal gear hybrid games or something???

Why on earth would you dive about like Max Payne while fighting Zombies? I get having a dodge button of some kind but it just looked stupid, Who the hell dives onto their back while surrounded by flesh eaters? An idiot that's who XD

I really would NOT be punching them in the face with my bare hands either, That shit be slimy lol and would deffo increase the likelihood of a itchy tasty type communicable infection.

ReSIdeNT EvIL CHaNgeD

CapCOm DidNT LIkE FAcE sO AtE iT!

iTchY TaSty............

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macaque12

Congrats to Gamespot for articles like this. It's nice to "hear" from the people behind the games. Great job!

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redeemer6666

@macaque12: Yeah true, Even if it is "bad" news its still nice for it to be documented properly and to hear from the devs.

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mrfriki

It fits in publisher pockets most probably.

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factory_666

Sounds pretty cool to me. Of course it would have been much better if it had tank controls and required me to mix different colored herbs and wait for Door sequences every 30 seconds... oh wait, no it wouldn't. That's what the REMake 2 should be about. This is a shooter spin-off in a RE universe and I'm fine with it.

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EcksTheory

@factory_666: Well, now we have that sorted out we can all go home. Nothing more to see here. Hes fine with it and his is the only opinion that matters.

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redeemer6666

@EcksTheory: XD

Avatar image for deactivated-5c79c3cfce222

Branch out too far and you're making pachinko machines.

Well, for what it's worth, this definitely will be better than Alone in the Dark: Illumination. Looks at least ok, and weirdly more like Dead Space than Resident Evil in the trailer.

But it's just such a boring direction to take...anything. I don't remember exactly what Resident Evil Outbreak was or how it functioned, but that seems like a more interesting direction for Resident Evil multiplayer, if that has to be a thing. Perhaps that would require a budget Capcom's not willing to approve for a side project like this. But then I wonder if people into this kind of game aren't already catered to. Will this manage to attract a player base able to sustain it?

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Majin72

@McStrongfast: They've had pachinko machines for RE for a long time... Just saying. >_>

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joe_b1_kenobi

This looks worse than operation racoon city.

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lostn

I hope this game isn't what they've worked on in place of RE7. Please tell me RE7 is in development.

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gantarat

@lostn: This is Spin-Off Side Project.

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TashunkoSapa

This pile is already steaming.

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ughz

WRONG it's not much more popular here in the west.

Resident Evil exists as a franchise because the survival horror games were popular in the west. This sounds increasingly like sh*t. A modern day shooter set after RE6 where corps like say TriCell or WilPharma hire mercenaries to obtain Umbrella technology. With MGS style third person camera until you aim which goes into first person iron sights.

So, why are there zombies? And zombie jammer? Really? Why?

ORC didn't have a zombie jammer. The zombies were a tactical and interesting element in the gameplay, and the only thing that worked in the game.

Just terrible.

No but seriously. I didn't honestly believe a day would come in the RE franchise where a game was coming out that would make me praise and acknowledge the 31% of Operation Raccoon City that actually worked.

I think this game could honestly be okay, but the zombie jammer needs to go immediately. Like I said, using zombies against the player in ORC was the right way to do it. Not this magic zed-wave interference backpack.

Avatar image for redeemer6666
redeemer6666

@ughz: How exactly does one even build a "zombie jammer"?

If it was some kinda pheromone spray or something maybe i could understand.....but a technological device? Capcom GTFO with that Zombie stealth camo shit!

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dazlaanz

I have to say this looks pretty shithouse

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Thanatos2k

Resident Evil is like Metal Gear Solid at this point - the story is an incomprehensible jumbled mess that doesn't even matter anymore.

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gantarat

@Thanatos2k:

็Here RE Story nowadays.

Villain make Virus and kidnap character, Hero/ine find him/her and save the day.

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Majin72

@gantarat: Wait... I thought that was always the story?

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hishamramzan

well so far 2 things i don't like about this game,

1. when you're prone you move like if you're riding a skateboard or something.

2. The zombies are so pathetic in this, you can just walk pass them like if they are brain dead or something.

Avatar image for ughz
ughz

@hishamramzan: That's likely just an issue that will be ironed out when it goes gold - it's a very common lag issue in shooters.

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gantarat

@hishamramzan: did you read article ?

the zombie jammer,You can however shoot a zombie or damage another player's zombie jammer to wake them up.

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normanislost

"Where Does Umbrella Corps Fit in the Resident Evil Timeline?"

In the bin next to that god awful racoon city game?

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redeemer6666

@normanislost: Haha this is nearly exactly what I wrote, Apart from the bin bit being Capcom's collective asses!

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BradBurns

If anyone here prefers physical media and is considering getting this game, it looks like there's gonna be an English language Asian edition for the import-friendly PS4 ;)

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redeemer6666

@BradBurns: Yep did the same with REmake :D

Those Japanese are owed a cookie for printing english cases too.

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Legend002

A game catered to Xbox fans but yet not on Xbox. I don't get it.

Avatar image for ughz
ughz

@Legend002: Has to be one.

PS3 had more shooters than 360. PS4 has more shooters than XB1. Just leave, if you're going to regurgitate the pathetic straw man argument that "Xbox is for shooters". because its factually incorrect and I will certainly spend the time posting the evidence.

Deal with it, you're wrong.

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Byshop

"Where Does Umbrella Corps Fit in the Resident Evil Timeline?"

Answer: After the games went seriously downhill...

Moderator
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redeemer6666

@Byshop: After the good ones lmao

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Byshop

@redeemer6666 said:

@Byshop: After the good ones lmao

:)

Obviously that's a bit of satire but I also kind of mean it. I haven't -really- liked an RE since 4. RE5 took the action element introduced by RE4 and dropped the horror tone for a pure action and mostly multiplayer oriented game. RE6 had elements of both but the overall system depending on who's campaign you were playing but it felt loose. High on spectacle but low on overall polish and a very poorly balanced multiplayer mode. ORC was just awful. A Resident Evil MP shooter with terrible shooting mechanics and badly scripted campaign elements.

The Revelations games were closer to the good parts of the original formula but I'm still waiting for the next great RE game and this one certainly doesn't look like it's going to be it, especially since the focus appears to be on multiplayer.

Moderator
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redeemer6666

@Byshop: I'm 100% with you tbh, Since they completely dropped the horror angle these games have suffered quite badly.

RE4 although very different was a superb game, It kept just enough horror alive to keep you on edge, One particular moment that sticks with me was that lab filled with body bags. The creatures inside awaken and proper make you jump :D

Funny thing is I think the current action orientated gameplay would really suit a new Dino Crisis game, It never had its own gameplay anyway lol

Lets hope REmake 2 is exactly what it should be, None of that over shoulder action BS, At least for Resi 2 and 3 :D

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