Four Million Gamers Play RE5 Demo

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Shipping two million copies of Street Fighter IV? Pfft, that’s small time for Capcom – more than four million people have played the Resident Evil 5 demo, according to the game’s producer.

MTV Multiplayer’s Stephen Totilo had a chance to catch up with RE5 producer Jun Takeuchi in Las Vegas last week for one final interview before the game ships in early March. Among other things, Takeuchi said that the Resident Evil 5 demo had been downloaded more than four million times across both the Xbox 360 and PS3.

On the one hand, that’s good news for Capcom – this certainly demonstrates a high interest in the title, which is to be expected given the survival horror series’ popularity. RE5 will also be the first game in the series released on multiple platforms, further broadening its scope.

On the other hand, there’s a small chance that the popularity of the demo might end up actually hurting sales. Beyond the racism controversy re-ignited by the demo’s release, some gamers have taken issue with other features of the game: Its implementation of splitscreen play, the clunky controls, and frequent loading times – to give a few examples. Might the demo actually turn off prospective buyers from buying the real thing when it hits shelves?

Probably not – and even if the demo does end up convincing a few gamers to not buy the thing, they’ll just be a small drop in the bucket (er, a small un-drop in the bucket?) compared to the ravenous, zombie-like hordes of gamers who can’t wait to get their hands on the thing.

Takeuchi himself mentions the issues in question to Totilo, confident that the full version of the game will vindicate the development decisions the team at Capcom has made. According to Takeuchi, loading times in the full version should be significantly shorter (and less frequent) than in the pre-release. He also remains adamant that people who were unhappy with the ham-fisted, archaic controls of the demo that rendered protagonist Chris Redfield unable to move and fire a gun simultaneously will understand why they made that choice when taken in the context of the full Resident Evil 5 experience.

After having forked over their cash, of course. Call me a skeptic, but I can’t see how playing with clunky controls for a longer length of time makes them any less frustrating to deal with.

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