We weren't supposed to know anything about Capcom's upcoming Project REsistance until September 9. However, leaked images seem to show four different playable characters, leading to speculation that the game might have cooperative play. The possibility of a four-player co-op zombie survival game set in the Resident Evil universe sounds like an amazing idea - especially since we've seen in the past how well co-op zombie games can play.
The high watermark of this style of game is, of course, Valve's beloved Left 4 Dead series. It's been almost a decade since Left 4 Dead 2 came out, though, and Valve infamously cannot count to three. A sequel isn't expected until sometime between the release of Half Life 3 and the heat death of the universe.
Unfortunately, in Valve's absence, the modern slew of co-op zombie games have not been picking up the slack. The recent World War Z was lackluster at best, feeling like a cheap knockoff of a better game. The Vermintide series is much better in the gameplay department, but a fantasy battle against rat-men just isn't the same as fighting against hordes of undead. The Zombies modes in the Call of Duty games do a decent job of scratching the zombie itch, but what we're hoping for is a stand-alone zombie game, not DLC attached to a military shooter.
But now there's the hope that maybe, just maybe, Capcom can pull off a major multiplayer hit that will have players forgetting all about Valve and their long-suspected triskaphobia. Certainly, the Resident Evil name sure has the clout needed to get people to pay attention to the new series.
Capcom has been experimenting with multiplayer in its Resident Evil games for years. This dates all the way back to Resident Evil Outbreak series on PS2, which gained a cult following that played the game on private servers well after the official online capabilities went down.
But while those games offered four-player co-op, it was slow-paced and meticulous, with tank controls that made it feel like the classic Resident Evil games of the time. Sure, they're multiplayer zombie games, but it was a much different beast from what fans of Left 4 Dead have come to expect.
After Outbreak, co-op in the Resident Evil series went MIA for a while, but they started adding it back in after the series' fourth installment was released. Resident Evil 5 and 6 both had co-op mode, as did Revelations, and all three featured sleeker controls and faster-paced combat made for a more action-oriented experience. But those games only allowed for two players, and the games had a story focus that isn't quite the same as the focus on frantically trying to survive a rampaging horde seen in the Left 4 Dead series.
It seems unlikely that Capcom will slim down the story focus enough to truly feel like a Left 4 Dead game. But if Project REsistance does bring back four-player co-op and combines it with the frenetic combat of the later Resident Evil games (not counting 2017's entry, which was its own beast entirely), then it's possible the void left by Valve's abandonment of its beloved zombie series could soon be filled.