Since the days of Resident Evil 4’s exclusive GameCube launch, it has been no secret that Capcom and Nintendo have maintained a particularly close relationship, with many of entries from their flagship horror franchise finding their way onto Nintendo systems. There have been Resident Evil games on Nintendo 64, the Wii, and even a series debut on the 3DS with the popular spin-off Resident Evil: Revelations.
The decade-spanning trend of Capcom bringing the series’ games to Nintendo systems has only become more apparent in the modern console generation, with the Nintendo Switch now boasting an impressively large library of games from the Resident Evil back catalogue. Whilst a similar selection can also be found of both the Xbox and PlayStation stores, the ability to jump in to almost any of the entries in the franchise on the go is particularly novel, and, it's possible that the newly released Resident Evil Village could be in line for the handheld treatment.
Completing the Collection
Although Capcom does seem to intent on bringing every entry in the franchise to the Switch, it is undeniable that soon the system’s limited power is going to become a sticking point. Whilst many of the later games like Resident Evil 5 and 6 have been built upon MT Framework, a game engine first created for Dead Rising way back in 2006, the very newest entries, like Resident Evil 7 or the recent remakes, have now made the leap to the considerably more modern and far more powerful Reach for the Moon Engine—or RE Engine for short.
This upgrade in engine has opened the door for a greater level of graphical fidelity, facilitating some gorgeous, near photo-realistic visuals, but it has come at the cost of increasingly demanding hardware requirements in order to keep everything running smoothly. Unfortunately this means that unlike the pristine ports we've seen for many of the games up to now, bringing a flashy current-generation title like Resident Evil Village to the Switch would likely pose an almost insurmountable challenge in optimization—at least when it comes to a conventional port.
Luckily, the addition of cloud streaming to the Switch has paved the way for such games to be brought to the handheld more easily and without the need for any substantial compromises. As the name would suggest, cloud-streamed games are actually running on a nearby server and being live-streamed to your system, and, much like a video-streaming service, this method of playing your games negates the need for any local processing power. All you need is a steady internet connection to maintain steady video quality and quickly transmit your button inputs to allow you interact with your game without any noticeable delay.
In the west, cloud-streamed Nintendo titles have only started appearing recently, bringing the otherwise impossibly intensive Control: Ultimate Edition and Hitman 3 to the Switch. Before this, the technology had been exclusively utilized for the console in Asia where it was used to release Resident Evil 7 on the Japanese eShop almost three years ago. Whilst this version of the game has yet to see an official release in the West, there is still a good chance that ports of both Resident Evil 7 and its successor Village could be on the horizon.
Assembling the Evidence
The most compelling evidence for the possibility of a Resident Evil Village port comes from information leaked as part of the huge Capcom data breach last year. The leak made details of many unannounced company projects publicly available prematurely, including a cover image for a cloud version of the 2020 Resident Evil 3 Remake, suggesting that it was on the way. As the cover bears the western moniker Resident Evil as opposed to the Japanese title Biohazard, it is safe to assume that it would be intended for release to an English-speaking audience. In my opinion, it seems pretty unlikely that Capcom would be working towards bringing just one of the series' newer releases to the Switch, especially now when interest in the exploits of Ethan Winters, the unlucky protagonist of RE7 and Village, is so high.
There is also the fact that Resident Evil Village is already available on other streaming platforms. With the game launching on Google Stadia, Capcom is clearly not adverse to the idea of making Village available in such a format, and so it would make a lot of sense to also release such a version on the far more popular Nintendo Switch. Furthermore, whilst Stadia users only have access to the series' two most standalone games (RE7 and Village), the sheer number of Resident Evil games in the Switch's library makes the glaring omissions even more apparent.
Through a cloud version, Capcom has the potential to reach an otherwise untapped demographic of gamers who only own a Switch console and either don't want or can't afford to spend a significant amount of money on a second console just to experience one game. This is also not to mention the idea that it would be downright unfair to the Japanese fans who bought the cloud version of RE7 if they were left without any way to access its direct story sequel on the same system.
As a huge Resident Evil fan, I'm sure that I am not alone in wanting the ability to experience the entire franchise from the comfort of my bed, and whilst this evidence does all point to this as a likely possibility, whether we see any moves to bring this dream to fruition, only time will tell.
Do you think there will be more Resident Evil titles coming to the Switch? Would you buy a cloud version of Resident Evil 7 or Village? Share your thoughts in the comments below.