How Resident Evil 4 Saved The Resident Evil Franchise

The Resident Evil franchise has been a household name in the world of gaming for decades. However, as with any long-running series, there were bound to be bumps in the road. In the early 2000s, the Resident Evil franchise had been losing steam in terms of sales and interest, and it was starting to look like the end was near. That was until the release of Resident Evil 4 in 2005.

The Decline of Resident Evil

In the years leading up to Resident Evil 4, the franchise had been losing its way. Critics and fans alike were starting to grow tired of the same old formula that the series had been using since its inception in 1996. The games were becoming predictable, and the level of horror and tension that once defined the series was fading away.

Resident Evil Zero, released in 2002, was the first game in the series to receive mixed reviews from critics and fans. While the game still had its fair share of moments, it was clear that the formula was starting to wear thin.

The same year, Resident Evil was getting remade for the Nintendo GameCube. While the remake was well-received critically, it struggled to gain a foothold with the general public due to being a remake of a game that was only six years old at the time. It was clear that the franchise needed something fresh to reinvigorate it.

Enter Resident Evil 4

2005 saw the release of Resident Evil 4, a game that would go on to revitalize the franchise and turn things around. The game was a drastic departure from the formula of the past games in the series. It did away with the pre-rendered backgrounds and tank controls and instead opted for an over-the-shoulder camera and a new control scheme.

But it wasn’t just the gameplay that was different. The game’s story and setting were also a departure from the norm. Instead of taking place in a creepy mansion or laboratory, the game’s story was set in a rural village in Spain. The game’s antagonist was no longer a mad scientist or an evil corporation, but rather a cult-like group known as Los Illuminados.

The Impact of Resident Evil 4

The changes that were made in Resident Evil 4 were met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. Some praised the game for its fresh take on the franchise, while others were disappointed that it strayed so far from the series’ roots.

But regardless of how people felt about the game, there’s no denying the impact that it had on the franchise. The game received universal critical acclaim and sold over 10 million copies across various platforms. It not only revitalized interest in the series among fans but also brought in a whole new generation of players who may have never played a Resident Evil game before.

Resident Evil 4 paved the way for future games in the series, such as Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, which continued to use the over-the-shoulder camera and action-oriented gameplay of its predecessor.

The Legacy of Resident Evil 4

It’s hard to overstate just how important Resident Evil 4 was to the franchise. It not only saved the series from dwindling sales and dwindling interest but also helped define the survival horror genre for years to come.

The game’s impact can still be felt in modern games. The over-the-shoulder camera and action-oriented gameplay that Resident Evil 4 introduced have become staples of not just the Resident Evil franchise but of many other games in the genre as well.

Resident Evil 4 will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans who remember how it saved the series from extinction.


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