Impressions By Mike "Wirebrain"
(Note: Click on the screens to see larger versions)
causes Outbreak in San Francisco!
How I survived the Resident Evil Outbreak Premiere
at the Metreon.
to the world of Survival Waiting
On Friday, April 2nd, Capcom and the Sony Metreon, located in
San Francisco, held a special event to commemorate the release
of Resident Evil: Outbreak - the long awaited online enabled adventure
that allows you and several friends to survive the chaos that
occurred in late September of 1998 in the small company town of
Raccoon City. Arriving at 5:20 at the Sony Metreon, there was
already a small but anxious crowd of no more than 12 people at
one of the entrances to the Playstation store, where the event
was to be held.
A slight confusion began to occur when the line was moved to another
entrance to the shop, thanks to a silent employee, obviously not
experienced in the wonderful world of crowd who only bothered
to tell the first people in the ever-growing line, now consisting
of 20+, and assumed that the others would get the hint as the
first group began to walk clear across the complex (Those who
haven't been to the Metreon should be warned that the place is
quite huge with several levels housing many things including an
anime theater, a Starbucks and an Imax theater, along with a traditional
Cineplex showing Hellboy and the usual sundry garbage-of-the-month).
now in the "Proper Line", this humble reporter who was
wearing a beige photographer vest and STARS team member T-shirt
at the time, was asked by two enthusiastic young ladies who were
really looking forward to the show if I was dressed up as RE1
hero and acting hack, Barry Burton. Those people who have met
me in person can attest I look nothing like the middle aged, balding
red haired patron saint of cheesy dialog, so I just nervously
smiled and apologized for getting their hopes up. This scene told
me two things- one was that, yes little Timmy, Chicks really do
indeed enjoy this game series, so don't be afraid to have your
collection on display once a member of the fairer sex decides
to pay a visit in your room.
The second one was wearing any type of outfit outside of a t-shirt
and jeans could get you easily mistaken for a cosplayer (the current
slang term for a person in costume.) at one of these events. Take
that one as you will. Their costume-hunting attention was soon
diverted by the first "cosplayer" of the evening, a
young woman, excellently and appropriately dressed up as Jill
Valentine from Nemesis, armed with a Air soft Berretta and a few
other personal touches. At
this time, it was now 6:00 and the crowd was beginning to trail
outside the building and everyone began to become a little antsy
until a fellow in a white medical bunny suit (think the Intel
dancing guys from commercials a few years back) began to hand
out raffle tickets.
We were assured we'd be let in very soon, and to entertain us
a few soldiers in black began to hand out promo Dossiers of the
playable characters in Outbreak and doctors masks with "outbreak"
across on them. Zombies soon followed outside, their make up work
and costuming was rather well done, looking as if the T-virus
struck them in the middle of their daily life, and their antics
of shambling across the halls and attacking people, to this reviewer,
entertaining. What was rather interesting from this little side
show, as could be told from the crowd cheering, was that "Jill",
jumped into the fray with replica weapons in hand and began to
"defend the innocents" from the local-paid-actors-dressed-as-zombies
invasion. This kept us, and the local police dept. busy until
they finally opened the doors over 30 minutes late from the original
Welcome to Raccoon City
would you like to buy a Hard
the black rope was dropped, the crowd quickly ushered into the
store, which had been decorated with some sizable amount of effort
to look like a demolished portion of the city and "a laboratory"
containing rubble, body bags and more smoke across the floor than
seen at Thomas Chong's place on April 20th (ask your parents).
This more seemed like the Techno Dance room of the Damned than
your local game shop, with digital flames projected on the walls,
a few flashes of light blasting across the room at intervals and
the occasional bit of indiscernible music playing thankfully not
loud enough to drown out the numerous game machines hooked up
with the game. Many people were enjoying just discovering what
the game offered, from shooting doors open to attacking a monster
with a homemade flame thrower. Many of these people were too enthralled
to notice the Zombies creeping up behind them, or when the Raffle
was occurring, first at every 30 minutes, and then at every 15.
the people I talked to, only one out of 10 would have any complaints
with the game after they tried it out, always fascinated by the
next cool thing they could do or find. Those who were waiting
patiently for the promise of free watch/compass combos, t-shirts
and games, or to play the game were treated to watching the Resident
Evil: Apocalypse Trailer, the same one that premiered with "Underworld"
and can be seen right
The first "guests" of the evening
(if you can call them that) was the Official Playstation Magazine
film crew taking interviews and shots of, what seemed to be on
average, the geekiest looking individuals at the event along with
the only two people who bothered getting into costume for this
event, "Jill" and a fellow who dressed up as RE2 anti-hero
and bonus game king, Hunk. This concept isn't really surprising,
as even the media for the video game industry will do its part
the illusion of that every single person who dares pick up a game
pad is a potential Oxy-10 test subject with lack of companionship
or ambitions outside of the little game discs that they use for
their prime entertainment. Exhibit A for this point is the coverage
they did for the Final Fantasy Fan Day for the film that was done
two years back at this exact location.
The second, albeit quietly and unannounced
guest was the CEO of Capcom, who toured the store and the many
people playing his companies title before posing with some zombies
at the event and quickly leaving, most likely to see Hellboy two
The Self Destruct Sequence has been activitated
All Researchers and Gamers should take cover immediately.
The hardy partygoers who decided to stick around until the end
were treated to more chances to win free stuff, as well as the
unveiling of the true grand prize, an authentic prop from Resident
Evil Apocalypse. This Prop is a [Potential Spoiler Alert!]
Disguised carrying case for T-virus samples,
made up to look like a child's lunchbox that at the push of a
switch in the lower portion of the box, would slide out the container
to showcase it's insidious contents within.
Click here for
[End of Potential Spoiler, you can move along and go about your
business, these are not the droids you're looking for
to say, many were chomping at the bit to get their paws on this
prize, and it wasn't soon after that a fire alarm went across
the building and everyone needed to be evacuated in a "calm
and orderly" fashion, which just lead to people entertaining
themselves by either blaming Jill for activating the Self Destruct
mechanism or by comparing their thoughts of the game. It was about
8:30 once everyone was asked to wait outside, and it wasn't until
8:55 that we got back in. Thankfully the early night air was warm
enough to wait around while one die-hard fan was telling me about
how he wrote a term paper about the T, G and T-Veronica viruses
and the effects they had for a science class, and how the teacher
honestly believed that the report was 100% factual and true.
back in the Metreon, I noticed that a few fans really wanted to
get back into the event, as they began to make a zombified performance
that would make George Romero shed a tear.
As the shutters rose once more and people
moved quickly inside, all were clutching their tickets like if
this was a horrific version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,
hoping that their number would be the magic one to get them the
big package consisting of the Game, the Strategy Guide, a spiffy
T-shirt, a Watch and the "lifetime supply of movie style
T-virus" and it's handy carrying case.
fan by the name of James, adorned in a blue STARS/RPD shirt and
shoulder pads most likely picked up by the local skate shop, stood
by me as we took turns looking over our tickets and fiddling with
the game, being more interested in making Alyssa "slam-dance"
around the Men's room of J's Bar instead of having her find a
way out of the monster infested hell hole. Sure enough, after
one number was called and unclaimed, the winning ticket was called,
and it was none other than James.
The gentleman was a good sport about his winnings, and although
you'd figure a few guys would break out tire irons and wait for
him to immerge out of the complex, most were rather happy a true
fan snatched the much drooled over booty instead of the clichéd
and expected result of some confused mother who came in to buy
the Winnie the Pooh game for her 6 year old claiming the goods.
The fact was also made evident after his interview with the OPM
crew, who just wanted to get the entire thing over with to make
it to their screening of Hellboy (I kid you not), that he promptly
gave away his free copy of the game to another partygoer before
showing this intrepid survivalist his catch.
the raffle, the store began to become as abandoned as the fictional
town it was attempting to portray as the manager of the store,
who bore a striking resemblance to intellectual heavy weight and
professional wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, gave
out t-shirts to both "Hunk" and "Jill", who
had just been called Claire Redfield by a passerby employee, thanking
them for coming in costume and gave out a few more things to those
who stuck around before closing time. It was 9:30 and it was high
time I left. That, and I had no idea when the Giants game in the
city would end, where the traffic would make any monster making
virus epidemic look welcoming to any weary traveler.
enjoyed myself immensely as did many others, although I couldn't
help but feel that they could have done something more for the
event than just a raffle. A competition, a contest, a hearty game
something to challenge even
the bravest of survivors, but still what was shown and displayed
there was still enough to keep them happy for their brief visit
in the world of Survival Release Parties.
- Mike "Wirebrain" Stevens