Below is a recent interview with the very friendly Ben LeRougtel of Capcom, who enthusiatically answered some questions on Resident Evil 5 courtesy of XCN.
XCN: What makes a classic Resident Evil game?
BL: It's fear and tension. If you look at some of the enemies you encounter in Resident Evil games they're always grotesque and you're not sure what they're made up of - sometimes they're part human, sometimes they're complete abominations of nature. But Resident Evil 5 has moved away from that survival horror tag that was there in the beginning.
It has more of an action feel to it but still the tension is there and it's intensified with the addition of co-op. It's a very different experience - normally your Resident Evil mindset is "me, me, me!" and it's just about your survival. Now you've got to worry about someone else as well, and if the other person is only out for themselves it makes the game very hard to play.
The sections we've shown off so far haven't really touched on the co-op element of the game. You'll need to work together in order to survive.
XCN: But it's the same story whether you play alone with AI or with a live partner?
BL: Yeah, absolutely.
XCN: And can you give instructions to the AI character?
BL: Very basic - come here, pick up items and so on. If you, playing as Chris, uncover an item you have one button to pick it up or another to instruct your partner. Actions are context sensitive, so the options will flash up on screen - do you want to do it, or your partner?
You can always press a button to find out where your partner is too - you can see them on a mini-map or there's an arrow pointing to where they are. A lot of the time you'll want to be in close proximity to them, but sometimes one of you will have to go off to perform certain tasks.
XCN: You mentioned tension - are there still instances where you can't quite see what's around the corner?
BL: Definitely. It's a lot more open area, and they've taken the game out of the darkness and into the light. But there are times where you'll enter a dark building and it's a case of 'what's that in the corner?', and you see some movement and you've got to decide whether to investigate it. And there's some classic corridor-type gameplay too - enclosed areas where you're totally in the dark.
XCN: So this is the first time a Resident Evil game has appeared on 360. Has any allowance been made for this?
BL: You probably will have played a Gears, a Halo or whatever and you'll be used to a different controls than the classic Resi method. So, in order to allow people to get into the game that much easier there are new control systems - there will be four in the final game. Hopefully people will find something that they're accustomed to.
Also the inventory system is accessed in real-time [rather than through the pause screen as before] - a 3x3 grid maps to the D-Pad for quick selections. You can also bring up Sheva's (Chris Redfield' female sidekick) inventory to use and swap items. It's all action, action, action - there's no hiding behind the inventory screen!
XCN: In Resident Evil 4 everyone was being controlled by this evil dude - who is the Ultimate Bad Guy this time around?
BL: (laughs) Aaah, I can't tell you that...
XCN: What about any returning Hero characters?
BL: You'll have to wait and see. Wesker is back, though. He and Chris have a history, expect to see him involved in the game.
XCN: Who or what are the big monster characters we can look forward to fighting?
BL: There are plenty of those classic Resident Evil enemies that you'd expect to see in a Resi game, but we haven't unveiled any of those just yet.
XCN: And can you tell us when the next showing is going to be? Before Christmas?
BL: There's probably not much more to see, and in terms of the big enemies they're going to keep those under wraps. But they're planning some unveils.
On that note, and with the promise of much more in prospect, it was time for a soothing cup of camomile tea and a long sit down in a very quiet room with The Carpenters. And then we were hammering down the door begging for more! More PlayStation 3 News...