Resident Evil producer Masachika Kawata had some ear-perking things to say in a new interview with IGN concerning where the series is at right now and where it's headed. He does use the word "reboot," something that many believe the series sorely needs after the failure of Resident Evil 6 to be... you know... good, it's not entirely clear if that's the path being taken for whatever comes next.
"I think a lot of what people want now is to have Chris and Jill in a game, or they want it to look like Resident Evil used to look like. That’s what makes the game work for them. We should be able to start from scratch and reboot it. It would still be Resident Evil. We wouldn’t lose the essential nature of what makes it a good game just by changing the characters," he said. Not exactly a commitment to change. There's hope though!
Kawata admits that changes of some kind may be necessary. "Looking at last year - something like, for example, Operation Racoon City – it was quite an experimental attempt in bringing the Resident Evil series to new genres. And in light of that game, certainly I would say that I review my thoughts on that [the importance of action]. But I think it’s undeniable to say the series returning to its roots is important, and those roots are horror."
He goes on to say that players just want a game that is fun to play, and that "the name on the box or the credits of a developer" aren't nearly as important. He then adds, "We would need to decide what we need to do to make a game in the series – something appealing to the player – and if the answer is to use a certain developer from the West then that will be the answer. We never start with the questions: ‘Shall we have a Western developer do this? How will that turn out?’ This has to be the solution to a problem, rather than the problem in and of itself."
There's nothing definitive here, but it's good to know that Capcom's Resident Evil team is at least actively thinking about where things have gone wrong. Resident Evil 6 turning out to be a disaster probably clued them in, sure, but presumably the desire moving forward is to do as Kawata said and embrace the roots of the franchise.
Survival horror might not sell as well as out-and-out action, but it's still more profitable than alienating your entire fanbase with a game that in no way, shape, or form speaks to what attracted those fans in the first place.