Noritaka Funamizu
Talks About
Resident Evil Outbreak
F: Noritaka Funamizu (Producer of Resident Evil Outbreak
--: Interviewer -Koichi Hamamura-

How to appeal the users personality in the Resident Evil world

--: Until now, I felt that a network game is to be played by a lot of people and have fun. But this game, Resident Evil Network is more like always feel scared other players you play with will die and you'll be alone in the world. I thought it is a lot different from other network games and it shocked me.

Well, I really, strongly wanted to keep the world of Resident Evil.

--: What was the idea that gave birth of Resident Evil Network?

In those days, people and the media said that a network game is the thing, game creator should make. A lot of people requested Mr. Mikami to make Resident Evil Network..... Then after one year, Mr. Mikami told me "Mr. Funahashi, why don't you make it?"
--: Suddenly?

Yeah, and I thought "Why me?" *laugh* then I started to think about "what is the network game of Resident Evil?"
--: Was it a long time ago? Before Playstation 2 was released?

Yes, but in those days, I only had a basic idea and after a while, Mr. Okamoto General Manager asked me "When you going to start?" So, I realized I have to start make it. *laugh* First, I considered how we can make the network game without stepping out from the world of Resident Evil. I talked to a lot of people at Capcom and everybody said "Resident Evil is scary because you have to fight alone."
--: That is true.

I made a mini-game in the tool and let people play, and if one of the player died then everybody started to run away. Because nobody want to be the last person. Also, people tried not to use ammo and others said "Soot it". It made me realized that Resident Evil really shows the users personality.
--: I understand that, people feel like my friend is attacked by a zombie but not me, so I want to keep my ammo for me. *laugh*
F: I think when you see somebody trying to get away from zombies, you chose to help the person or not, in this kind of situation, the users act variously. Maybe some say "I'll be safe when I get to the door, why do I have to help?".
--: Hum, it really shows the users personality.

One of my conclusions when I thought about Resident Evil world, I wants the users to be one of the character and act in Resident Evil story. And I tried to making the game to show the users personality inside of the play.
--: It is different from other network games. It is easy to imagine those people playing current network games together like "You support us by magic and I fight by sword." I never imagine how is the Resident Evil Network going to be, but from what I hear right now, I think it is not going to be easy.

In current network games, even the user uses the character to play the game, still the user himself is shown. Resident Evil is the game where the users have to act as Chris or Jill and enjoy. So, I used this principal and if I use it right, I can make good network game.

Minimum chat, Unique way to communicate to others

--: I heard in Resident Evil Network, the users can't chat like other network games.

It is because I don't want the users to chat a long time and destroy the world of Resident Evil.
In the game, everything -interior design, atmosphere and background create the world of Resident Evil, in that world, if people start to talk stupid, it destroys everything and we feel like "We tried hard but why..." *laugh*

--: I know, some people might start to talk about their real life.
Then, how will people communicate with other users?

They can talk to each others by chose from the word we prepared.
--: So, it is a choice from the words.

Yes, the users have to pick the word from the choices, one more thing is, I haven't named this system yet but I'm in the process of making the new system where the users act in the cut scene. It is like the game goes to a cut scene but the users will still be able to move the character. But I haven't made all the functions work yet, so it's still under construction.
--: It sounds great!! I thought a network game is miscarriage without chat. But in Resident Evil Network, limited communication is one of the important factors.

I think a lot of people want to try the network game but some of the people don't want to play current style network game.
--: You are talking about the Role Playing Game with chat.

I heard some people said they have nothing against join the network game but don't want other people to ask a lot of questions.
--: I understand, people talk about private life.

In the current network game world, that kind of "Don't talk to me" people wants to play just the game and enjoy the another world, but sometimes have to communicate with other players by unwanted way.
--: Yes, it is true.

If, a network game has to be like that, I think the ultimate network game is chat. Of course, I'm not against that style, but doesn't work with my game philosophy. I thought it is not game anymore, so I wanted to create this game.

--: That thought is amazing. Maybe some people thinks like "I'm in the network game, so I have to talk even I don't want to"

When I started to make Resident Evil Network, several other "chat " network games were announcing their release, I thought if I go opposite way, I have an advantage. Also, it is hard to play network game just a short time, now, network game is not the game to play just a little bit before you go to bed, maybe because connection to the internet has evolved a lot.
--: It usually takes 3 to 4 hours to play network game.

So, I thought it is an important to create a game that can be finished in 1 or 2 hours.
--: I think people can concentrate on game play only about 2 hours.

One stage takes about 2 hours you can disconnect from the network and when you comeback, you can play the following story. Or, maybe some people wants play more, they can continue to play. I felt this is a good idea.

Various Stories

--: Story is not only one? There is a lot more?

Yes, reason for it was, when I made "Gundam" game, I realized everybody has their own Gundam. A lot of creators said "My way of Gundam is like this.". Then I found our people feel the same way about Resident Evil, people have "My Resident Evil". Some people prefer a game that is shooting a gun all the time, or others like to procure the reality. We want to make a game that people can enjoy the different kind of "My Resident Evil".
Then maybe this is a extreme case, but one of the idea was for the story to start and end in only one room. The user locked in the room and a ton of zombies with you.
--: You have to kill all those zombies!?

Yes, or other idea is the users have to figure out how to get out from the room. We have a lot of ideas, one of them was the characters almost don't have contact with zombies. *laugh*
--: on the contrary, it is scary.

In the Resident Evil Network, there is a lot of NPC, So, we can make the game with a dramatic human story too.
When we talked about a lot of idea, I thought people actually have "My Resident Evil" like I thought. And we decided to create a lot of stories like the theme of the story is the love of parent and child, trust or people who wants to keep their own world.
--: It makes me want to play the game right now. *laugh*
By the way, how will people get together and start the game? There is a hall where you can wait for others?

Yes, but once you step on to the Resident Evil world, the users have to act as on of the Resident Evil world characters, so, maybe some of the character's story starts in the bar, and wait for other characters to show up. The character didn't pick to go with others just leave from the place. Eventually I want to make the users to think "When did the game exactly start?"

--: the users have to pick the character from the 8 characters?

Right, only one from the 8.
Every character has a different speciality, so when the users try to open the locked door, some can open but same can't. Different character combination makes different things happen, or different story and ending.
--: It is great, I'm sure it will make people crazy about the game.

I'm worry about the volume of the game, *laugh* taking too much time to develop.
--: When I only look at the screenshots, I had no idea what kind of game it is going to be, but when I heard the story, it is easy to understand and simple.

I'm making the game as simple as possible, still, network game is not for everybody, so I made it understandable to people.

--: By the way, when is it going to be released?

Well.... I hope before the weather gets hot. *laugh* I want to release it quick because I want a lot of people to play the game and compare it to current network games.
--: This Resident Evil Network is different, so people can play this game easily.

No need to have "Hard Drive"?

--: How many stories are there?

At this point, about 18 stories. We are thinking how we can make more stories.
--: It depends on how much capacity is in the Hard Drive.

No, the user doesn't have to have a Hard Drive to play Resident Evil Network.
--: Really!?

Doesn't have to.
--: It is good, Playstation hard Drive is a little expensive.

I know, it is not the same as buying a game. So, I had to figure out how we can go without a Hard Drive. Because I want a lot of people to try the network game.
--: The price of the Hard Drive is one of the reasons to make people hesitate to try a network game.

But still, we create a system that people who have a Hard Drive will be able to install in it. Those people can feel the benefit to have a Hard Drive, because loading time is quick, and now I'm thinking about something extra for the people who have a Hard Drive. So, it is worth having the Hard Drive.
--: So, the people who have a Hard Drive can play a better way.

The users and game developer both have the obstruction of to be easy to step in to network game. The users have to go through the process to start the game and for the game developer too.
The game developer invests a lot of money and have to get a big server, if they put a lot of money in it, they can make the game with certain level, but the users have to pay.
--: So, how much money are you planning for it to cost for each user?

I want to make it cheap, I hope I can make users to pay only $10 a month. My ideal is only $5 or free..... but I don't think I can do that.
It is too expensive to start a network game, pay to enter the network and have to buy game.... It is our job to create a system that people can play with low price.

Interview from Weekly FAMI-TSU 725
Published date Oct 25 2002
Published by Enter Brain

All text translated by doughboy.
Original Japanese text all rights reserved by Capcom and related publishers.
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