Fan Project Resurrects Resident Evil: Outbreak’s Dead Online
Sometimes I have to marvel at fans’ tenacity.
Though marching toward a full decade since its release two whole console generations ago on the PS2 – the Former Champion of the World, as you may well remember – fans of the highly experimental and hopelessly ahead of its time spin-off, Resident Evil: Outbreak, are not content to let the dead lie.
If you don’t recall this obscurity, Outbreak File #1 and its “sequel”/expansion File #2 took the traditional, fixed-perspective scares of the pre-Resi 4 titles and created a scenario-based, cooperatively online game – Resident Evil’s first foray into the online space.
Outbreak featured a bunch of cool ideas that you know Capcom’s teams have been wanting to toss into the games for years. Pitting you and a handful of other survivors in the ongoing ruination of Raccoon City, the game was a meaner, more survivalist focused experience that forced item management, combat tactics, and even environmental defense onto your group lest you all faced the business end of a horrible, T-Virus induced death. Fight alone and you die alone.
The series did not persist. A number of staggering design flaws made sure Outbreak would begin and end at cult status (without the PS2’s HDD the game didn’t just have loading times, it had goddamn loading eras). This wasn’t helped by Sony’s admirable but lackluster first try at console-only online.
The servers, of course, have long been shut down. But one group of survival horror activists said, “To fuck with that noise.” Enter the Outbreak Server Recreation Project. Through the magic of the project’s custom servers, you’re able to actually play online with both File #1 and File #2… if you own the Japanese versions of the games, that is (emulators also work, but aren’t condoned by the group, mind you).
If you’re like me, Operation Raccoon City didn’t scratch that Outbreak itch (personally, it just bruised the area around the itch, then pissed on it… to heal the bruising?). Perhaps this attention, albeit small, may plant the notion in a Capcom exec’s head to kick around the Outbreak IP once more. Imagine what today’s tech could do with this concept. With the popularity of similarly themed games like DayZ and State of Decay, a modern day restart of Outbreak starts to click.
Ah, wishful thinking. We may have to settle for our nostalgia. But at least you can take that nostalgia online again.