Design Doc - Resistance 4
The rumours, and fan expectation of a new entry in the Resistance franchise have been bubbling along for a decade now. While playing second fiddle to Guerrilla Games’ Killzone franchise throughout the PS3 generation, Insomniac’s Resistance was arguably the more beloved IP.
We’ve heard reports of a Resistance 4 being conceived at Insomniac at one stage, only for Studio Head Ted Price to declare in an interview with GamesRadar in 2013 that “Resistance 4, while possible and something we seriously considered, wasn’t going to be the right game for us at that time. We wanted to do something new.” Meanwhile, we’ve heard other reports from industry insider Colin Moriarty that a pitch was rejected by Sony due to there being too many post-apocalyptic games already in development. Our most recent nugget of insight into the future of Resistance comes from former Bend Studio Game Director Jeff Ross, who outlined a pitch that he had made for a fourth core Resistance entry, discussning elements of it in an interview with David Jaffe. Ross stated, “The pitch I was making was an open world Resistance [and it] would be fucking rad. We have all these open-world loops that we figured out and it almost wrote itself with Resistance. There were so many aspects of that property that kind of lent itself to open-world gameplay.” Unfortunately, that pitch never made it through the Sony gatekeepers either.
So with so much community desire for a new Resistance entry and numerous failed attempts on the development side, this is where “Design Doc” comes in: These are my ideas for how to make Resistance 4 a winner.
What Jeff Ross pitched, an open-world (or more precisely in this instance, a semi-open world with hub regions) Resistance game is the best direction the franchise can go in. Resistance is at its best when you’re in linear or semi-linear environments where the hordes of Chimera can pop out of nowhere and terrorise the player. There’s no reason why we can’t see some larger hub regions connecting the various missions ala 2015’s Rise Of The Tomb Raider. Resistance is often (though not always) set in larger, crumbled-down cities, so those hubs don’t need to easy, breezy open spaces like what we’ve seen from many other modern, open-world games, even the like of of what Jeff Ross himself worked on with Days Gone, various nodes on a broader map can be connected by this network of Chimeran tunnels, or broken down cityscapes to slow the crawl (but in a tense, atmospheric, and engaging way, not a game-clock–bloating way) from point to point. Once you’ve begun a mission at a location you can go big or small, similar to what we’ve seen from Resistance Fall of Man, through Resistance 3. The main missions of the franchise up to this point worked, and there’s little tinkering required here.
To enable this, we need stories more akin to Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2; the countryside and rural cities of Resistance 3 don’t create the necessary environment for the tight, suspenseful firefights that the Resistance 4 I’m proposing would require. With Nathan Hale dead, and Joseph Capelli having obliterated the Chimeran force on Earth, this is an opportunity to progress the timeline forward significantly. Human technology advanced significantly from the period of WWII to even the 50s when Resistance 3 is set, let alone a jump of another decade or two; this time-skip grants the remnants of the Chimera several decades to regroup, for new Chimera variants to be concocted, and so it allows plenty of time for the war to reignite with a fresh, even more dire flavour.
What Need Does It Serve?
Outside of obviously satiating the appetites of fans who’ve been long craving a new entry in the franchise, it also addresses a notable gap in the current PlayStation Studios portfolio – the First Person Shooter. When Resistance titles ceased any further development following the launch of Resistance 3 in September of 2011, it was assumed that Killzone was being given a wide berth so that it could become the “Halo Killer” that it was initially pitched as. Now, while it never amounted to that, Killzone didn’t contribute much more to the PlayStation portfolio either – two titles, the excellent PS Vita entry Killzone: Mercenary, and PS4 launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall injected a little more life into the franchise, but it too has gone nearly a decade with without a pulse. FPS’ are one of the industry’s most popular genres and PlayStation currently doesn’t have an exclusive one of its own in the popular gaming zeitgeist. While I’m not expecting them to create a Halo Infinite, a Call of Duty, or even an Overwatch in terms of its presence, a strong FPS is important to broadening the catalogue of titles that PlayStation Studios are offering – and let’s be real, Resistance is the one with the greatest potential upside.
Sealing The Deal:
Up until this point, you’ve read semi-open world, but there’s been nothing said about what you can do in it. Frivolous side-quests that meandre and distract from the main objective can really hamper a narrative, especially one that involves an alien invasion of Earth. Fetch quests, save my lost dog, and the like are hardly imperative when stacked up against a war for the fate of the humankind, so what sort of side-quests can be included in this kind of open world in an additive way? It’s actually quite simple, don’t give too many, but make them impactful – impactful in the sense that they affect the gameplay experience of the primary campaign. We’ve seen Hale and Capelli take on Chimeran Towers over the journey, so why not make the destruction of Chimeran encampments even more relevant.
Suppose the next main mission requires you to take down a particular Chimeran tower, but there are several others that are nearby as well. Maybe you choose to take down some of these other towers as side-quests, but the consequence is that the Chimera are now alerted to your intentions, and so when you then go for that main objective the landscape of the battle has changed. Maybe more Chimera fortifications have been set up? Perhaps there are more Chimera or variants there to defend the Tower? Maybe, as a result of your actions in side-quests you have emboldened others to help you in that next primary objective? Your actions on a more micro level affect the larger battle in ways of substance. Think Mass Effect 3’s “Galactic Readiness”, but without the forced multiplayer or mobile app use.
So that’s what I’m pitching you, the audience as a potential Resistance 4. What do you like? What needs refining, and would you snap this up if it were available to you? We want to hear your thoughts, so be sure to hit us up via social media!