July 12, 2007 - While most of the news revealed in Tuesday evening's Microsoft E3 press conference seemed somewhat expected to fans and industry analysts alike, Capcom's unveiling of a Resident Evil 5 trailer caused quite a buzz of excitement.
My fist thought upon seeing the trailer--mingled, of course, with unbridled excitement--was that the aesthetics looked similar to those found in Resident Evil 4. The game's setting seems to be a dilapidated village that looks straight out of something found in the bowels of Serpent and the Rainbow, and the villagers are especially similar to the "not zombies" found in Leon Kennedy's now classic mission to save Ashley Graham. Featuring eyes that shine with a hybrid of madness and lucidity, the townsfolk don't appear to be along the lines of the rotting, shambling undead found in earlier Resident Evils. The emphasis on the next generation of the not-zombies' mental clarity is stressed by villagers rallying around an apparent leader speaking to the masses through a megaphone.
Could Resident Evil 5 be a true sequel to Resident Evil 4, then? It's certainly a possibility, as the fourth game in Capcom's long-running series has enjoyed success on three different systems. Then again, it could be argued that much of Resident Evil 4's success came from the game's almost total reconstruction of almost every series staple--no real zombies, a control scheme that felt more manageable due to the implementation of a better camera system, and no wacky mansions with even wackier puzzles. Perhaps Capcom aims to re-invent the series yet again in order to attract new players, similar to Resident Evil 4?
Everything is merely speculation at this point, of course. Whether a true follow-up or a separate entry in the series, there is no doubt that whatever the game ends up fitting in the series' zombified storyline, new theories, trailers, and screenshots will be the focal point of much conversation and debate until its 2008 release.