There just aren’t enough people buying survival horror games to justify big investment in the genre, claims Resident Evil: Revelations producer Masachika Kawata.
The Resident Evil began as a prime example of a horror game, with a slower pace and more emphasis on atmosphere and anticipation, but in more recent games the franchise has had more in common with action shooters.
"RE4 started in that direction, and RE5 kept going in that direction," Katawa told Gamasutra.
"I think that especially for the North American market, we need to keep going in that direction, and take that a step further. And that’s exactly one of the reasons that Revelations is the way it is."
This trend may not continue in the upcoming Resident Evil 6, with which Kawata is not involved, but he still believes the series could benefit by following the example of best-sellers like Call of Duty.
"Looking at the marketing data, the market is small, compared to the number of units Call of Duty and all those action games sell," he said.
"A ‘survival horror’ Resident Evil doesn’t seem like it’d be able to sell those kind of numbers."
Kawata has no involvement with Resident Evil 6, but he expects the genre to continue towards an action-heavy experience.
"It doesn’t have to be a straight up shooter, but my impression is that Resident Evil 4 and 5 aren’t shooters, per se," he said.
This doesn’t mean Capcom is abandoning the genre altogether.
Resident Evil: Revelations kept a careful balance of horror and action elements, and similar unnumbered games could continue to explore the survial horor roots of the franchise.
"We have our numbered series, and we can say we have a more adventure-oriented version, like a Revelations-style game," explained Kawata.
"We also have Operation: Raccoon City, which is a third-person shooter."
"I think that by extending the market in this sense, we can still have the numbered titles keep their identity about what Resident Evil is supposed to be, but still expand and hit other markets as well."
Despite the market data, Kawata believes the key is not to conform to the market, but to adjust the marketing for the game to create a market for rich content.
"If you’re going to be selling a game based on its good gameplay, then you don’t have to worry about the market in which it will be sold," he concluded.
"That might be obvious, but that’s why Grand Theft Auto IV, Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare also sell in Japan, because their gameplay is interesting."