IS CREAZN STUDIO WORKING ON RESIDENT EVIL: OUTBREAK HD?

As we reported last week, an anonymous source mentioned previous involvement in a HD remaster of Resident Evil Outbreak, which Capcom supposedly outsourced to the independant studio he/she worked for at the time. Working off of the clues given in that message, we may have pinpointed the studio in question.

First, we’ll run down the most important bits of the anonymous message:

“I was working for an indie studio in Canada.”

Canadian indie studio. Got it.

“The studio I was working at had been working on a Resident Evil Outbreak like clone for a couple years as a side project.”

They were working on a game similar to Resident Evil: Outbreak, as a “side project.” For those unaware, that would point to a slower-paced survival horror title with a focus on co-op. Okay, next:

“After awhile, we pitched it to Capcom in March 2015 and they were impressed, but did not green-light the game. Unexpectedly however, in late June 2015, my boss got a call from Capcom telling us they want us to develop an HD edition of Outbreak, which we are.”

So they pitched the game to Capcom, though Capcom refused — but was impressed enough to offer this indie studio a job working on the game they were inspired by in the first place! Can you imagine being part of that team when the call came in? That would have to be like a dream come true, and perhaps enticing enough to divert all of their resources to this new venture. Especially because…

“The deadline for the game to go gold as part of our contract is May 2016.”

Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s think this through. At first glance, there isn’t much information to mine here. I was stumped, particularly because I had never been aware of any indie game that was inspired by RE: Outbreak.

The distinction of it being based on Outbreak is especially noteworthy, because that was a drastically different direction for the Resident Evil series to go in when it launched in 2003. Online co-op wasn’t all that common on consoles at that point, and RE was a purely solitary experience before then. So what recent indie games would fit into that particular mold?

I-NFECTED seems pretty dead-on, touting a return to classic survival horror while also delivering a cooperative experience. Who develops it? Creazn Studio, based out of Toronto.

But that could be a coincidence. It would be irresponsible to spread rumors based only on this tiny nugget of information. That would make me look like a fool, and that happens enough in my personal life! I needed more to go on, so I started to look into Creazn for myself.

I nearly ruled it out immediately due to its announced slate. For a small studio, it already seemed to have a lot on its plate with two concurrent projects — I-NFECTED, as we established already, and Dollhouse, a second survival horror game. How could it possibly work RE: Outbreak HD into that schedule? Creazn’s website lists only 10 employees, so additional workers may have needed to be hired to pull it off. Even with hypothetical help, a small team would likely have to set aside their original projects to accomplish this task.

Well, according to the Steam Greenlight pages for each game, that may very well have happened. I-NFECTED’S last update was posted on February 18th, 2014, while Dollhouse’s most recent announcement came via Twitter on September 29, 2015 to confirm the closure of its beta application period. When fans continued to ask about the beta afterward, Creazn merely stated it would be sure to answer such questions whenever possible. Before that point, fans were noticeably annoyed that greater focus was being put on Dollhouse while I-NFECTED was brought up less and less — perhaps relegated to side project status?

Hmm. So even if progress hasn’t been suspended outright, it obviously slowed. What could possibly prompt this? A promising opportunity would do the trick. Even so, that’s a pretty big leap for me to make. Does the timing make sense?

The studio reportedly working on RE: Outbreak HD was said to have received the call from Capcom in late June of 2015. It would be a fair assumption to say that such a deal wouldn’t be struck instantly, and that some back-and-forth would need to happen before contracts were signed. Capcom would obviously want to get a sense of whether or not the indie studio could handle such an important task before reaching that point.

Let’s assume negotiations were lengthy and extended into September, during which time the indie studio would still be working on any projects it had going. There would be no reason to halt progress until a deal with Capcom was finalized, after all. So all work and updates would proceed until then.

Anything after the contract signings would be tricky, as there is one more piece of information to consider. Taken from the opening paragraph of the original anonymous message:

“I know what two announcements are, one because I helped worked on the game, and the other, was because it was an accidental reveal to us because it was listed on documents we had to sign agreeing to a “Lips Sealed” policy while working there. Anyways, one of these announcements is that Resident Evil 6 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One.”

Obviously this indie studio wouldn’t be able to talk about its new gig after signing such high-stakes agreements. If this is indeed Creazn, what could it do? How could it communicate to its fans and supporters why work on both original games stalled? That would be a tough call to make, and silence is arguably a logical answer… Which is exactly what Creazn has done ever since September, 2015.

As for RE: Outbreak HD, we know the rumored game is supposed to be completed by May of 2016. If we assume development began mid-September, that gives Creazn a little over six or seven months to work on it, depending on when work began. That doesn’t seem like a very long time…

Except I’ve always described RE: Outbreak as a bite-sized Resident Evil, consisting of only five chapters total — none of which are all that substantial. This was a game meant to be played over and over again with friends and strangers, not experienced like a traditional RE title. Plus Capcom is said to have provided the source code from shortly before the original disc pressings, meaning no assets would need to be recreated from scratch. More than that, the original tip mentioned that the problematic SNAP online plugin was resolved quickly, and HD textures for two whole chapters were completed before the new year.

This in no way confirms Creazn Studios’ involvement, nor does it point to the existence of Resident Evil: Outbreak HD. I’m merely suggesting that these things appear to line up in a convincing way, which may suggest some truth to a recent rumor. One has to wonder why a member of a small studio would spill the beans, even if they are no longer employed. It’s food for thought, anyhow.

Special thanks to EQOAnostalgia for originally pointing us toward I-NFECTED and, consequently, Creazn Studio.


Chris Cobb is an Associate Writer for MONG who really thought he would be done writing about Resident Evil by now. If his obsession ever subsides, you can find him on Twitter.

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