Impressions By CVXFREAK.
Resident Evil Outbreak launch party in San Francisco on April
2, 2004 at 6PM was an interesting, although underwhelming event.
Around 300 people total attended (give or take about 50), but
many gamers couldnt make it to the event because they took
the Bay Bridge toward San Francisco but got stuck because of a
suicide jumper that never jumped. Too bad for them.
Anyway, I got to the Metreon and parked
my car. I walked down the street toward the Metreon when it was
about to get dark, at 5:50PM. In front of me was a mentally challenged
quite scary. I finally reached the building
and there was a line. I was about the 100th person to get in line.
Most people talked about the series in general; how they got into
the series, some Hispanic guy bitching at REmake/RE0/RE4 being
GC only, some guy who liked the RE4 video, some guy whose favorite
RE was RE2. I didnt say anything.
At around 6PM they started entertaining
the line with zombie skits. Basically people dressed up as soldiers
and zombies started recreating scenes from the game like when
a zombie grabs you. I thought it was sorta geeky. But then they
started passing out little booklets on the characters from REO,
from the BradyGames Resident Evil Outbreak Strategy Guide. Its
a neat little booklet and is helpful in getting people acquainted
with the game. Also given out were nurse-like face masks with
the RE Outbreak logo on it. At around 6:30 they finally let us
in. The store was designed to show the destruction of Raccoon
City. Red and yellow lights were everywhere, providing a dark
appearance. Techno-like music was being played to keep the mood
high. The zombie skit actors/actresses continued to do their role
There was a little setup stage (off limits
of course) that showed a crashed car with a plastic corpse in
it. Nearly all the stores game units were playable with
the U.S. version of Outbreak while a few TV screens (plasma TVs
as well as regular ones) were showing the RE2 movies advertisement-like
footage. Alice was in one of them for a brief moment, but overall
it didnt tell much of the movie other than that some pharmaceutical
company played a role in the destruction of Raccoon City.
The event took place in the PlayStation
Store. This store is filled with kiosks and tables for people
to try PS2 games in general but all were setup for Outbreak. The
PlayStation store sells a lot of PS2 games, and is pretty flashy
overall. Comfortable seats, nice posters, and Limited Edition
PS2s were also on sale.
There was also a cash register with several
cases of RE Outbreaks for sale. Only one box was opened
so not very many people were buying the game. I bought my copy.
I estimate about 6 crates that carried 50 copies of the game were
for the game demonstrators, generally people werent very
surprised or excited. The game obviously takes some getting used
to which is why not a lot of people were enthusiastic. Many gamers
were getting bitten by zombies and dying, others were watching
the introduction FMV. Most were on the first scenario. Overall
people seemed fairly disappointed in the title if lack of enthusiasm
coupled with low sales were an indication. If I have to estimate,
perhaps 15% of all attendees bought the game (a misleading figure
because some people came with their family.)
Back when I was in line for the event I
was given a raffle ticket. Each person with a raffle was eligible
for a drawing. Most prizes were T-Shirts for Outbreak, or strategy
guides. The grand prize was both the shirt and the guide, plus
the game itself. My ticket number was 9000347. The first raffle
number called was 9001347. You can imagine me being a little pissed
off. =( Raffles were called every half hour. The guide is Dan
Birlews Signature Series BradyGames guide (whatever Signature
Series means). Its decorated
in a similar cover to the game itself I believe.
I stayed at the event until 7:30. Clearly
all that was left for the event were the rest of the raffle prizes
and basically people trying and buying the game out until they
dropped. So I left. Had I not forgotten my credit card I would
have left with an HDD too. =( When I left, people were still coming
into the event.
Concluding the event was a disappointment
because I already bought and played the Japanese Outbreak and
received minimal goodies (although they are cool). It would have
been nice if they held LAN contests or held Resident Evil knowledge
quizzes for games rather than raffles. It would have been nice
if premiere Capcom developers were at the event, but it was pretty
fun overall and I hope they hold more of these events in the future.