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Why I want Ninja Theory to reboot Resident Evil

Ed gives Capcom another earful

This isn't just an article, dear reader. It's a psychological rendezvous, a crossing of the ways 'twixt those who haven't played a Devil May Cry game (or at least, not in real depth) prior to Ninja Theory's DmC reboot, and those whose hands have been cramped into fleshy sickles by the strain of tackling Devil May Cry 3 on Heaven or Hell difficulty.

To you, the newcomer, I say: rejoice! This is one of the gentler hack and slash games you'll encounter, at least to begin with - a fine, substantial introduction to a franchise that has hitherto spurned the fingers of wayward laymen. To the pro, I say: rejoice also! For while DmC may not represent Devil May Combat at its most arduous and experimental, it's an order of magnitude smarter than most rival action titles, and the over-clocked, calculatedly corny stylings are worth lingering over as you would a particularly large and lurid gobstopper.

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Now that peace has been achieved between these rival groups, who will absolutely never take up arms against one another in online discourse ever, ever again, let us speak of tomorrow. Capcom's been on a farming-out spree for the past few years, parachuting in developers from around the globe to evolve wobbly franchises. Among their successes we count Blue Castle's Dead Rising 2, a gold-dusted expansion of the first game's time-dependent zombie outbreak premise. There's also Grin's Bionic Commando Rearmed, one of Xbox Live Arcade's more entertaining 2D remasters.

But alas, the going has not always been good. Hatred for From Software's Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is unanimous, despite my telling you all you're unfit to scrub its ponderous hooves. Airtight's Dark Void was a high-flying embarrassment, thankfully forgotten in the wake of Quantum Conundrum, and the less said about messily spun-out shooter "re-quel" Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, the better.

Present apathy for Resident Evil can't be laid entirely at Slant Six's door, however. The series that cemented the importance of zombie outbreaks in videogames has been trundling around under a cloud of disdain for years. Somewhat ironically, the title that bears primary responsibility for that is probably Resident Evil 4, viewed by many as Resi's finest hour - in sowing the seed of the modern third-person action genre, it tore out the franchise's survival horror roots.

You can't argue with the sales of subsequent releases- Resident Evil 5, often decried for dodgy racial politics and suspense-free shoot-outs, is the best-selling Resident Evil so far - but I suspect that sooner or later, the rude farting noises the name of Resident Evil arouses online will take their toll on revenues. Especially if future budgets match or exceed that of the monstrously overblown Resident Evil 6.

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This seems like an appropriate time for a reboot, then, and I can't think of a Capcom partner I'd like to see in the driving seat more than Ninja Theory. (The pair have already told OXM they wouldn't mind collaborating again.) Ninja Theory's association with Capcom has benefited it in the form of extensive mentoring about real-time combat systems, but in Resident Evil's case, I think the Cambridge-based independent would have more to give than to receive. To be more specific, I think it could put together a Resident Evil storyline that's actually worth the trouble of toggling subtitles.

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