Capcom confirms Africa setting for Resident Evil 5
In the wake of controversy suggesting racist undertones of Resident Evil 5, Capcom producer Jun Takeuchi explains the game setting in a recent interview with Japan's Famitsu magazine.
"We really wanted to show the origins of the virus," said Takeuchi, speaking of Resident Evil 5. "So for the setting we thought, how about using the place where humankind was born... We thought we would use Africa, which is now called the birthplace of humanity."
Capcom unveiled a teaser trailer for RE5 at E3 2007, which has a white protagonist (Chris Redfield) killing native African zombies. The video stirred emotions for some, suggesting the imagery developed by the Japanese game-maker was racist.
On Thursday, Newsweek game journalist N'Gai Croal criticized Capcom in an interview with MTV Multiplayer saying the trailer lacked the necessary context to explain the imagery. He added, "clearly no one black worked on this game."
Previous Resident Evil games have taken place in American, a fictional remote island, Antarctica, and most recently Spain, all of which have the player gunning down hostile Zombie (or Zombie-like) natives.
For players more interested in the game than the surrounding controversy, actual gameplay can be seen at the 5:06 mark in the video. Resident Evil 5 is planned for release on Xbox 360 and PS3 sometime in 2009.
As I said in my comment on MTV Multiplayer, the discussion of race feels ethnocentric, in that a North American perspective is judging the creative decisions of Japanese developers. In any case, these are issues Capcom will likely have to deal with moving forward, regardless if any real racism is involved.