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DID YOU READ

E3 2012: Capcom promises “Resident Evil 6” will “satisfy fans of the series”

Resident Evil 6

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By Michael Rougeau

LOS ANGELES, California — The “Resident Evil” series’ slow shift from tense survival horror to balls-out action shooter has been both predictable and, for some, difficult to watch. But even the most ardent of fans have mostly resigned themselves to the reality that the series will (thankfully, for some) never revert to its awkwardly-controlled, fixed-perspective roots. No matter what Capcom may tell them, with a wink and a quip, behind closed doors at E3.

“There’s a fear that comes across,” said game producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi. “You can have thrilling fear in action that makes, you know — it’s something you have to be there to experience yourself.” Having just played through a brief section of the game’s story, during which four characters team up to battle a hulking, frothing beast known as the Ustanak, Hirabayashi opened the floor up to questions. He spoke to a small crowd of about a dozen reporters through a translator.

“We thought this was a really good example to show you where that action comes into play,” he continued. “But please don’t think that this is representative of every single scene in the game — there’s going to be a giant explosion with an enemy falling out of the sky on top of you.”

The demo he showed off was designed specifically to illustrate a brand new concept in “Resident Evil 6” known as Cross Over. It goes like this: the game’s story is made up of three more-or-less parallel plot lines, one for Chris Redfield and series newcomer Piers Nivens, one for Leon Kennedy and another newcomer, Helena Harper, and one for Jake Wesker (son of series villain Albert) and Sherry Birkin, who first appeared as a child in “Resident Evil 2.” The three duos embark on separate journeys that will occasionally intersect, and that’s when the opportunity for a Cross Over emerges.

Upon reaching one of these intersections, the game will ask players whether they’d like to open up their experience to other live players. It’ll then pause and search for online players who’ve reached the same point in the story, temporarily merging the two games until that section is complete. During that time, the four players can work together or split up (sometimes even swapping partners briefly) to fight bosses, solve puzzles and so forth.

Players can choose to decline the Cross Over opportunity or play offline, in which case the other three characters will be controlled by the game’s AI. They can even request that the game only match them up with friends during Cross Over play, though that would require players on their friend lists to reach the same intersection as them around the same time and at the same difficulty, which seems rather unlikely unless it’s planned in advance. Rather, then, the idea is for players to be matched up with random allies, cultivating a sense of uncertainty that could add to the game’s tension.

“We feel the exciting part of this feature is to not know who you’re going to be matched up with,” Hirabayashi said. “It’s kind of a surprise.” Players who want to game with their friends, he added, can play more straightforward co-op by taking control of two characters in the same plot line.

In Hirabayashi’s demo, Leon and Helena are recovering from a plane crash in the middle of a Chinese city when they encounter Jake and Sherry, who are being hunted by the Ustanak. The group quickly realize that Leon’s target is Sherry’s boss, though they’re saved from coming to blows more by the arrival of the beasty than by their own ability to peacefully resolve said conflict of interests. The player switches between weapons quickly via a snazzy new real-time inventory UI, but all the bullets in the world can’t seem to harm the Ustanak, who absorbs them like the meaty sponge he is.

Ten feet tall, with interchangeable arm attachments (sporting a mini-gun or claw to suit the situation) and a cage strapped to his back, the Ustanak snares players who get too close and momentarily incapacitates them. “He’s like an ex-girlfriend,” Leon says, the heartthrob that he is. “Guy doesn’t know when to quit.” The four heroes take turns climbing ladders to gain high ground and shove explosive barrels down onto his head, continuing to shoot at him even when they’re knocked on their backs. Their new ability to run and shoot simultaneously (hard to believe, isn’t it?) comes in quite handy, as do fancy dodging and up-close combat mechanics.

There was little of the series’ past glories evident here, and the gameplay itself won’t make any best-of-E3 lists. But it’s definitely nice to see Capcom going the extra mile to devise something that’s never been done before, especially something that could generate such unique opportunities for interactive storytelling. “There could be points with, not just literal gameplay cross overs, but you might see — Leon could be on an airplane with a television screen in the background, and you see Chris on the TV,” Hirabayashi explained. Putting a pin in Leon’s storyline and starting up Chris’s will eventually bring players to the same point, but from an alternate point of view. “You’ll be free to explore the story from all sides in any order you like,” Hirabayashi added.

Besides, if he can be taken at his word, there will be horror aplenty elsewhere in “Resident Evil 6.” Capcom just didn’t want to show it off now. “The best way to show you Cross Over is four people kicking ass against a big enemy,” he reasoned. “We want to keep the horror for you to experience. I mean, if we were to show ‘Resident Evil 1’ here, we wouldn’t put a screen up and show you two dogs coming in the window. Because then you’d go and play the game and, like, ‘Oh yeah, that part.’ That wouldn’t be horror for you anymore. So we really want to keep that stuff for you. You know, the best time for you to experience horror is when you’ve got the game in your hands and you’re playing it and the lights are off and you’ve got the popcorn or whatever.”

IFC had the opportunity to briefly try out the Chris/Piers and Leon/Helena missions, and they did indeed feel like completely opposite ends of a very wide spectrum. Chris’s was a fast-paced shooting gallery similar to “Resident Evil 5,” in which he co-starred, and Leon’s was — well, Leon’s was slow. Painfully slow. It too was unimpressive, to say the least, but there’s still hope that Capcom’s simply withholding the good bits until the game’s actually out for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on October 2.

“Leon’s got this real gothic horror aspect to his storyline, if you think of some really good classic ‘Resident Evil’ horror,” Hirabayashi promised, adding that each of the three plot lines will have its own type of scares. “So please rest assured there’s a good balance of elements in the game, and that should satisfy fans of the series.”

Are you happy with the ways “Resident Evil” has evolved? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…