Resident Evil is a storied series, loved by fans of many genres and tastes. Yet the Resident Evil entries on Wii console haven’t quite matched up to the series’ sales expectations– at least not all of them. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition performed respectably, and the on-rails shooter Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles surpassed sales expectations as well. Then, the latest Wii Resident Evil game, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, was largely considered a failure and was responsible for an operating loss for Capcom in the quarter it was released. The question here is simple: What went wrong?
1. Too Many On-Rails Shooters.
When The Umbrella Chronicles was released, there were just not very many Wii shooters– even on-rails shooters. Fast forward a few years, and The Darkside Chronicles has to contend with games like Dead Space: Extraction, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, and multiple House of the Dead games, not to mention regular FPS games like Call of Duty and The Conduit. It was simply easier for Darkside Chronicles to get lost in the crowd.
2. Deceptively Similar.
While Darkside Chronicles does have improvements and different features than its predecessor, at first look it isn’t really that different from Umbrella Chronicles. Yet it had a slightly improved graphics engine, “shaky cam” visuals (that can actually be a bit off-putting), and some new locales that are not from any previous Resident Evil games. The fact that Leon, Krauser, Claire Redfield, and a few new characters were playable wasn’t that big of a draw.
3. Not a “Real” Resident Evil Game.
The Darkside Chronicles is clearly a side-story to the Resident Evil franchise and not a main entry in the series. With Resident Evil 5 being released on HD consoles, perhaps it out-shined its spinoff Wii game, even months after 5‘s release.
In order for Resident Evil to succeed on Nintendo’s console, it needs to start doing what the franchise did best with Resident Evil 4: Innovating and shaking things up. Resident Evil has done on-rails shooters before, although never specifically with motion control. Put together an all-original, all-new adventure built for Wii from the ground up, and gamers will flock, no question. After the disappointing sales of Darkside Chronicles, it’s unlikely we’ll see another side story.