Resident Evil Outbreak
Capcom today revealed some new details regarding its upcoming online PlayStation 2 survivor horror title. First off, the Japanese based company has renamed Resident Evil Online to Resident Evil Outbreak. Why the change? Capcom is adding an offline mode to the game, so the subtitle "Outbreak" is more appropriate than "Online."
Name changes aside, Resident Evil Outbreak's offline mode will offer five missions. Not much else was said about the single player mode, but it's good to see that Capcom isn't leaving people who don't own Network Adaptors out in the cold.
As mentioned in previous updates, Outbreak has a total of eight playable characters -- with each one of them providing a unique skill or item. For example, the police officer starts with the best weapon of them all, while a girl named Yoko can carry the most items (gee, I wonder where she gets all that extra room).
One interesting thing to note about Resident Evil Outbreak is that each person will get his or her own virus gauge. As you progress through Outbreak, the gauge will fill up automatically and if it becomes completely full -- you will turn into a member of the undead. That's right; you'll transform into one of the zombies. The best part is that you can control the zombie and attack the other human players. The gauge increases if you take damage, but there are ways to slow down its affect on your character.
Now before you rub your hands in anticipation of becoming a zombie and killing other people, Resident Evil Outbreak's producers emphasized that the game is more about teamwork. For instance, Capcom demonstrated that you can carry other players out of danger if they become too wounded to defend themselves. Also, you can help other players reach tall ledges by lifting them upwards into the air.
Last but not least, Outbreak's monsters will have better AI than in previous Resident Evil titles. If zombies or other creatures see you, they can follow you from room to room if you try and escape. The good news is that you can hide in closets and such until the monster gives up and goes away.
Needless to say, Resident Evil Outbreak appears to be a promising game that will take the RE series in a whole new direction. More details will be posted when it becomes available.
2005 Update: Check out screenshots and movies for Resident Evil Outbreak 2 in the media section of this site.
November 5, 2002 Update
For the first time since E3 2002, Capcom has officially released additional information and screenshots for Network Biohazard (Resident Evil Online). If you didn't know, Resident Evil Online takes place during Resident Evil 1, 2, and 3. However, instead of playing the role of familiar characters such as Claire, Chris, or Jill; you'll be in control of the citizens of Racoon City. There will be a total of eight playable characters in RE Online.
You'll have the choice of controlling a police officer, journalist, surgeon, plumber, subway worker, waitress, worker from a security company, and a mysterious young girl. In addition, each character will have their own special abilities and some will be more useful in certain situations.
Resident Evil Online can support up to four players online simultaneously. If there aren't four human players in a game, the PlayStation 2 will control any remaining characters. Teamwork appears to play a major role in RE Online, but the game will force you to play certain segments alone. Eventually, you'll meet back up with the other players though.
One interesting thing to note about RE Online is the fact that the backgrounds are generated in real time. Apparently, Capcom has effectively utilized the PS2 hardware so that backgrounds can be generated on the fly without compromising the quality of the character models. As you can tell from the screenshots below, RE Online still looks very nice despite the lack of pre-rendered backgrounds.
Resident Evil Online will be out in Japan in the Spring of 2003, but the North American version will most likely be released Fall 2003 (with both broadband and dial-up connections in mind). As usual, I'll post new info and screens when it becomes available.
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