The Presence of Horror was a Capcom staff blog published 1st May 2009. Written by Yasuhiro Seto, the director of Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, it was the second in a series of some twenty-three blogs detailing the development of the game.
When talking about Darkside Chronicles, the first word that comes to mind is “presence”. By that I mean experiencing something that feels like it could actually exist. After completing Umbrella Chronicles we gave a lot of thought to what kind of sequel we wanted to make, and the word presence really captures the theme of the game.
Even though it was the first title in this series, I was able to achieve quite a lot with Umbrella Chronicles. It serves as a great overview of the entire Resident Evil series and provides arcade-style shooting gameplay that is easy for anyone to pick up and enjoy. It was a really cool experience that the user had total control over, and I’m really proud of that achievement.
Of course, there were certain things I want to see done better this time around. Many aspects of the game I want to improve can be summarized with that word, “presence”. We will put that feeling into the game while retaining all the above-mentioned points.
Darkside Chronicles is a horror themed / Arcade shooter.
One of the things I love about Resident Evil is its horror aspect. Resident Evil puts the player in a desperate situation, forcing them to survive by using limited ammo and health-restoring herbs wisely, as well as occasionally forcing players to run to survive. I want to use that tension to make the player feel like they are really there.
In Umbrella Chronicles, a strong feeling of presence was one of my team’s goals in making use of a first-person perspective. Umbrella Chronicles was a very complex game in many ways, and we did a good job, but I still think that we could have nailed the horror aspect of the game a little better. As a developer, looking back on your last project and accepting its shortcomings is the best kind of feedback. It helped me realize that there was still a lot I could do with this type of game system.
I used a lot of the feedback from Umbrella Chronicles to help perfect that feeling of presence in this game.
The camera was the first thing that we worked on. The viewpoint of a person who is surrounded by horror and wrapped in tension is not steady like a movie camera, but rather moves quite violently. In order to convey that tension and sense of presence more effectively, in certain places we used a camera that really moves as if it were attached to a person’s face.
One other thing that we focused on was the presence of your partner. Seeing your partner being grabbed by zombies on-screen or watching monsters sneak up on them really highlights the fear of being attacked.
We also paid special attention to the in-game voice and used it to great effect. We recorded screams, death rattles and confused voices which our voice actors pulled off wonderfully. Not only that, we added many more layers to the voice acting, including panting and shortness of breath as well as a high degree of distress in the normal conversations of the characters. I’m really proud of how recording all those little details helped us to bring the characters’ feelings of horror to the forefront.
Of course these aren’t the only things we are doing to bring that feeling of presence to the player. My team and I are working hard day and night experimenting with and implementing a huge number of game elements that will bring that feeling of presence to everyone who plays Darkside Chronicles.
I hope you’re looking forward to “the presence of horror” in Darkside Chronicles. Keep checking for more updates!
- ↑ RESIDENT EVIL / The Darkside Chronicles TALING EVIL. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31.