Released for the PlayStation back in 1997; Resident Evil popularized the concept of survival-horror. Then in 2005; Resident Evil 4 redefined the franchise on the GameCube with a complete new makeover.
However while Resident Evil set the standards for the horror-survival genre, Resident Evil 4 started a new trend that has inspired other game developers to give their iconic classics a new makeover for the seventh generation consoles.
For a classic-series; the norm for a transformation onto a new consol has involved adding a few new gaming elements and improve the environment. Resident Evil 4 however decided to redesign the game-play from scratch.
Now many classic series have undergone a radical redesign for the seventh generation consoles. Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell, Call of Duty and Red Faction are among a few examples of games that have followed Resident Evil 4’s example.
So why did so many classical series decide to abandon its core principle? This trend is the result of a combination regarding the advancements made in gaming technology and the growth of the gaming market.
While the advancements made in gaming is obvious the expansion of the market is not so. Because gaming has become part of mainstream culture, developers need to make their games more appealing to a greater audience. Hence; one of the biggest changes is making the game attract new players.
The benefits to this trend are that the aspects of a game that were frustrating or irritating have been removed while players are allowed better interaction with the gaming environment. As a result a greater audience has been exposed to a series allowing a new fan base to develop.
For example; Call of Duty originally started of as a WWII game. But when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released, the games popularity exploded into becoming one of the highest grossing franchises. It helps to know that Call of Duty: Black Ops outsold Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt.1 during its opening weekend.
However the draw back has been developers abandoning the core elements that had made their games a success to begin with. As a result this trend may have upset older gamers who have been fans of a series since its humble beginnings.
But regardless of how one might feel; Capcom had realized that the gaming culture has changed and Resident Evil 4 was the first to appeal to a new audience.