On the first day of E3, we stopped in with Capcom to see an in-depth showing of Resident Evil 6's new Crossover feature.
For those who've totally been out of the loop, Crossover is what it sounds like, involving multiple story campaigns and different characters. The game will star a grand total of six characters split in three: Leon and Helena, Sherry and Jake, and Chris and Piers. Each pair has their own story campaign, but these will overlap at certain points in the Resident Evil 6 story, temporarily turning any single-player or co-op playthrough into a four-player experience.
During the demo, producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi showed us a boss fight between Leon-Helena and Sherry-Jake. The four meet up in a cutscene, then proceed to fighting a relentless half-metal B.O.W. The fight's most notable moment might be when the partners are switched, and the four-person team is momentarily split up until one side manages to break through the fence with an old bus.
Hirabayashi made a note that the Crossover feature is really about connecting the larger global community, where the two-player co-op is focused on playing with your friend. As such, there's appears to be no way of actively controlling who you play with, though you can decide at each encounter whether you want to open your game to others. Before the scenario in question, the game asks whether you'd like to participate in online play. Declining will equip you with A.I. partners instead, which can, fortunately, take basic commands.
Survival is still a big part of Resident Evil 6, however, as Hirabayashi assures the small audience. Most of the game will still see players going solo or with their one partner, while the four-player co-op segments are designed in a way that accommodates a larger crowd. Each of the three campaigns will have its own feel though, separating them in more ways than just characters. He didn't go into any specifics on that front.
In terms of content, Capcom isn't skimping. We're told that each campaign alone should be about 70 to 80 percent of Resident Evil 5 in volume. Yeah, that's a lot of hours you could spend killing zombies.
Despite Hirabayashi's assurances that the survival aspect remains intact, Resident Evil 6 is clearly no longer the breed of survival horror we remember from the first games. That said, the action driven gameplay looks fun and, more importantly, far more streamlined than before. Being able to shoot while moving around, greater navigational freedom, and a smoother interface all contribute to the franchise's continuous transformation.