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There are some franchises that work hard to retain the elements that made them great in the first place while other franchises are always trying to reinvent themselves. Resident Evil is one of the latter and although the venerable survival horror series has gone in some interesting directions in the last few games, Capcom is trying to go back to the series' roots with Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.
Operation Raccoon City takes place in between and during the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 and is being co-developed by Capcom and Slant Six Games. Slant Six Games is known for making several games in Sony’s SOCOM series, and their experience from that looks to definitely be carrying over into the gameplay of Operation Raccoon City.
In Operation Raccoon City you’ll take control of an Umbrella Security Service team that is sent into Raccoon City with one goal in mind: Kill Leon Kennedy! While veterans might initially find this premise unimpressive due to the fact that in Resident Evil 2 canon Leon Kennedy survives, Capcom has revealed that players will actually be able to change the course of Resident Evil history by killing Leon.
In Resident Evil 5 you took control of Chris and Sheva and this gave Resident Evil fans a taste of co-op, but Capcom and Slant Six Games are taking the cooperative aspects of Resident Evil to a whole new level with up to four players playing cooperatively as the members of the Umbrella Security Service team. Doubling the number of players isn’t the only gameplay change that Six Slant Games is making as players will be able to move while shooting (a drastic change from previous Resident Evil games) and it will feature a cover system.
Each member of the USS team has their own skills and abilities. Vector is the team's reconnaissance expert, Spectre is your surveillance guy, Bertha is your medic and Beltway is your heavy weapons and demolitions guy. Much like in Valve’s zombie shooter Left 4 Dead, the four members of the team will have to work together if they want to survive the zombie-infested Raccoon City.
While the game is deviating massively from previous Resident Evil standards, jumping out of the survival horror genre into the third-person shooter genre, Capcom is working hard to make sure it has that authentic Resident Evil feel. While the streets of Raccoon City may be flooded with zombies, that’s not all you’ll be fighting, as various Umbrella bioweapons are also loose on the streets and you’ll find yourself up against famous Resident Evil enemies such as Hunters and other special zombies.
While Capcom may be returning to the series' roots with a familiar setting for Operation Raccoon City, Slant Six Games is going to shake up the Resident Evil formula and it will be very interesting to see how it turns out.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is set for release on PC, XBox, and Playstation in Q4 2011.