Stolen Pixels #210: The Business Plan

By Shamus Posted Friday Jul 9, 2010

Filed under: Column 95 comments

Here is another dig at the plot of Resident Evil 5.

Read the comic then come back.

Okay, how many people noticed that Sheva and Chris traded places? I noticed it, but I put the thing together.

I usually try to construct dialog scenes so that one party is always on one side of the frame, and the other party sticks to the opposite side. The the shot is framed so that Ann is to the left and Bob is on the right, I’ll try to preserve that as much as possible. (I’m pretty sure this is a rule they teach you in film school as well. Don’t do an abrupt cut to the other side of a conversation, because the eye will tell you that the actors switched places, not the camera. Not a hard rule, but a “know what you’re doing before you break this rule” kind of thing.) If the camera swings around and views the scene from the other side, I’ll try to avoid using that view because it’s sometimes disorienting. If I have to use it, I’ll flip the frame. As long as there isn’t any writing in the shot this usually works out fine.

I wanted to keep Wesker on the right for consistency, but the camera moved from his left shoulder to his right. As usual, I flipped the frame. If Wesker was just talking to Chris this wouldn’t be a problem, but Chris and Sheva were side-by side. No matter what I did, SOMEONE was going to swap spots. I decided that swapping the tiny figures was the least disruptive thing to do.

I’d have just swapped Chris and Sheva via photoshoping, but the patterned floor made this problematic.

This screenshot stuff can get surprisingly complex. Sometimes I think it might be better to just learn to draw.



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95 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #210: The Business Plan

  1. Ross says:

    As thin and repetitious as the plot is for the game, it’s even worse for the movies. Plural. Who thought that was a good idea?

    1. Lambach says:

      This is why I haven’t watched any movies based on video games since “The Wizard”, it’s a policy that has worked pretty well for me.

      1. Electron Blue says:

        “Prince of Persia” is pretty damn solid. Take a look if it’s showing in a cheap theater – it may give you hope.

        1. Rosseloh says:

          While I certainly enjoyed it (apart from the fact that our small-town theater has crappy speakers that crackle and nobody seems to care except me), I could definitely tell it was a video game film. As in: “Oh, that’s a quicktime event, definitely”. “Hey, look, it’s the magical device of ultimate power that only has a little bit of ammo”. etc…

          1. merle says:

            But…Prince of Persia didn’t have quicktime events. Did it?

            1. Raygereio says:

              Sands of time and Warrior Within didn’t. Two Thrones and the craptastic 2008 PoP game did.

              1. Thedark1owns says:

                The Prince of Persia movie was delightfully mediocre. It seemed like they were trying to do a movie that followed all the steps of a cliche movie. Nothing new and exciting, but something safer. It really banked on the fact that it had the title Prince of PErsia. It it was named Jake Gyllhenal goes to Persia it would have flopped.

                1. Coffee says:

                  I enjoyed Resident Evil: Extinction.

                  Except for the crappy clone plot… It wasn’t actually a game tie-in movie so much as a movie tied into a series whose name was tied into a movie once.

                  But hey, I like post-apocalyptic stuff, and it was a pretty cool romp around the post-human wasteland.

                  1. Shamus says:

                    I was really surprised at how good the rest of the movies was, given what rubbish the rest of the movie (and the series) is. The part with clones and Wesker is drivel but the survivors in the desert was great stuff. I wish they’d just made a movie about those guys.

      2. SnowballinHell says:

        I’m one of 2 people I know (my brother and myself) who liked the Silent Hill movie, It did a hack job at portraying the mood and complexity of the first 2 games…
        But what made us both like it can be summed up in 3 letters
        we spent the majority of the movie screaming “What the F*** !!”
        Not in a confused way, but a horrified way…we were constantly amazed by what was taking place on screen
        So while not a true representation of the games, it did entertain us
        What more could we ask from a movie?

        1. My main problem with the Silent Hill movie was that the ending didn’t. There was no real closure or anything for the main characters, though obviously there was for the little girl in the town and those trapped.

          It just wasn’t a very satisfying ending. I really enjoyed it up to that point though, so it’s worth a viewing

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well,at least the first one was just average,and not bad as the sequels.And it had good music.

    3. Ergonomic Cat says:

      Resident Evil movies are zombie action. The plot is no worse than ID4 or whatever the kids watch today. Without worrying about the plot, they’re a blast to watch. I can’t wait for RE: After the Matrix to come out. Seriously.

  2. X2-Eliah says:

    Why is the Umbrella Corp always shown as the evil guys? Wouldn’t it have been better if they had just been experimenting on advancing the human species and the zombies being just a few escaped physical resilience experiment subjects?

    Also, the joke’s on the world – once UmbCorp gets their zombie control act together, they have a zero-expense, zero-maintenance workforce, perfectly legal even. They’d run all the factories for iphones.

    1. Raygereio says:

      I going to have to put some serious questionmarks around the word ‘legal’ there.

      1. Mari says:

        Name one country that has a law against making zombies. Actually, now that I think of it, the U.S. Congress could have stuck that in just about any bill in the last 40 years and we’d probably never know because most of the bills go unread by even the people voting on them because they’re so couched in boilerplate legalese.

        1. Simulated Knave says:

          There are a variety of laws about mistreating corpses…

          1. Mari says:

            The majority of laws about desecration of corpses are strangely specific in that they deal with corpses being DUG UP WITHOUT PERMISSION. Ergo, if you didn’t excavate the jury must exculpate. /Johnny Cochran

            OK, seriously, I just needed an excuse to get my Johnny Cochran on. I’m not debating the legality of zombification. If nothing else, I’m pretty sure that Umbrella’s zombie virus constitutes murder in that you were alive and then an agent deliberately caused you to be dead. At best you could get away with negligent homicide. And as pointed out below, it would also be considered a biological WMD which is pretty much frowned upon by most nations’ legal systems. Although I suspect that with the right legal team, Umbrella could probably get by with minimal sanctions in the real world.

            1. X2-Eliah says:

              No, no, see, if an infected person dies from normal circumstances (accident, gang mugging), and after ‘death’ zombifies and digs himself out, then the corporation didn’t excavate him and didn’t mess with a corpse at all.

        2. Raygereio says:

          As Simulated Knave kindly pointed out; creating zombies easily falls into the whole desecrating corpses thing that a lot of countries do have some form of law against.
          And realistically speaking (I can’t believe I said that in this context) those nations that don’t, will create laws against it once an actual zombie creating virus becomes reality.

        3. Putting that aside, the Umbrella Corp are clearly violating the Biological Weapons Convention, any number of other bio-warfare and biological agent treaties and laws, environmental laws, etc., as well as practically declaring war on countries. The only reason why they haven’t been burnt to the ground is because of the narrative trick that I like to call Unifactional Advancement. Umbrella gets super zombies. Everyone else… is doing what? Just sitting there?

    2. Audacity says:

      I think you guys are missing the FAR larger hole Shamus was trying to point out.

      You cannot sell anything to a planet full of zombies. Even if you could, what would you do with it [EDIT: the money] when everyone else is dead, and there is thus nothing to spend it on? You need supply and demand for any sense of profit to exist. Without intelligent free agents, supply and demand do not exist.

      You cannot rule a planet full of zombies, because they are useless at everything except making more zombies. You might as well declare yourself king of an anthill, you will have the exact same amount of power and influence. Except the ants would be more organized and intelligent than the zombies. EDIT: and less likely to kill you ironically in your moment of triumph.

      Corporations exist to make profit, you cannot profit without customers, or competition. Without these your goods have no value. Even if they wanted to try and sell a cure/vaccine for the T-Virus, the money would all be worthless in light of the massive socio-economic collapse a zombie outbreak large and serious enough to warrant spending an exorbitant amount on a cure would cause. Umbrella Corp fails at Economics 101, and (un)commonsense.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I didnt notice the switch,till you pointed it out.But then again,you usually do the dialogue jokes and not visual jokes,so thats what I focus on when reading stolen pixels.

  4. Lalaland says:

    A lot of bad movies in the last decade have used the same tired plot it’s as if the screenwriter has in his minds head a boardroom strategy meeting

    Suit 1: …and so that’s how we make millions
    Suit 2: Wait go over that again
    Suit 1: Sigh, it’s so simple. Step 1: create terrible humanity ending weapon/virus and unleash on all mankind
    Suit 2: Uh-huh
    Suit 1: Step 2…
    Suit 1: Step 3: Profit!
    Suit 2: Wait what happens at step 2?
    Suit 1: Goodbye! [pushes button to dunk Suit 2 in a pool of sharks]
    (with apologies to The Underpants Gnomes and South Park)

    There is never a logical reason advanced for how these rapcious money loving corporations (boo, hiss) are going to make a profit when everyone is dead and paper money is just so much papier maché

    1. Mari says:

      The money comes in BEFORE humanity is dead. Clearly the U.S. Dept. of Defense is funding all these humanity-destroying super-weapons and if Congress will pay thousands of dollars for a single hammer, how much do you think they’ll shell out for humanity-destroying super-weapons? I mean, heck, sometimes they even spend billions on weapons the DoD doesn’t even WANT. That’s how you make your money destroying all of human civilisation. Unfortunately, the money becomes meaningless after because, y’know, nothing to spend it on. But the acquisition of wealth and power is the thing, not the use of it. We all know that.

    2. Steve C says:

      Two letters: BP

      1. Deoxy says:

        Without getting TOO political, I hope, let me just point out that their business plan was to CUT CORNERS while delivering a product that is vital to the world economy (not to mention that oil naturally occurs in the oil from natural sources, and even a disaster as large as this will likely be completely recovered in less than five years – the last major spill in the gulf was about this size and took about 2 years to recover from). They would only benefit as long as there was no accident resulting from the corners being cut.

        To compare that to the creation and haphazard usage of bio-weapons or a particularly terrible sort (which is really saying something, since all bioweapons are nasty to begin with) is either political point-scoring BS or just plain ignorant.

        1. Audacity says:

          That last spill happened in ’79 during the Carter administration. And was nearly identical in every way to this one. Seriously look it up, same outfit, same drilling methods, same proposed and failed methods of cleanup and containment, same lockdown on more Gulf drilling. Its like somebody tore a hole in the space-time continuum or something…

          1. Moridin says:

            History monks needed that bit of extra time…

  5. Dazdya says:

    I can imagine a corporation trying to get a monopoly this way, by infesting their competitors with the virus. Of course, the next step is that it gets out of hand.

    But in that case, a sensible corp would have an antidote standing by, probably mission impossible 2 style.

    On a related note: I have never seen an organisation of over 100 people that had competent management…

    1. Audacity says:

      Does Umbrella Corp. have any competitors in the zombie-virus manufacturing field?

  6. Benjamin Orchard says:

    In your commentary, you asked what I (er, the readers) might do if I (er, the readers WERE) was in charge of rebooting the franchise.

    Now I haven’t played ANY of the series, but I’m pretty sure I can come up with something less convoluted and more interesting than what you’ve shown here.

    GAME 1 PLOT:

    You are taking the role of one , an ex-marine turned news photographer, now living in , when you notice that there is something strange going on in your hotel, with people checking in for one day and then disappearing without checking out. Curious, you take your camera and check it out. The trail leads you to an abandoned hospital, where you discover rooms full of zombies. Careful to leave them in the locked rooms, you start searching for clues about why there are hordes of zombies locked up in the hospital.

    Research at the hospital (there doesn’t seem to be any staff) shows that it is a research facility for a Dr. , who is world-renowned for research on cloning and cancer. You look him online and discover that he lives nearby, so you go to pay him a visit.

    When you arrive at his home, he tearfully explains that the zombies are clones infected with a mutated virus he had designed while looking for a cancer-fighting agent. Instead of fighting cancer, it had turned his clones (grown so that he wouldn’t have to experiment on humans with any real thoughts) into the zombies you found at the hospital. He tells you that he could probably find a cure, but only if someone is able to capture one of the zombies ‘alive’, and bring it back to him along with a sample of a certain virus so he can study. He doesn’t want to get the authorities involved because the zombies remain fairly passive unless they smell blood, and the authorities would probably start shooting them, triggering a frenzy.

    [in terms of game mechanics this is great because it lets you depend on stealth to get back into the hospital and out again–or if you decide to go in guns blazing, you get to shoot a bunch of frenzied zombies, and it’s really your choice].

    You ask if there is a way to stun one of them, and he states that a standard tranquilizer should do the trick. You make a few calls to some old friends, and soon find yourself in possession of a tranq gun, and you head back in to the lab he says you need to get into to get the virus.

    Upon reaching the lab you realize that it has been smashed up, so you decide to get out of there before anything bad happens. You consult with the Dr. and he tells you how to get a proper bio-hazard suit.

    [again, this helps the feeling that you should be careful–biohazard suits aren’t really good for stealth OR fighting, but you need it to stay sealed so you aren’t exposed to the virus; I think its safe to say that at SOME POINT in my version the hero is exposed, thus putting a time limit on the game before he goes mad.]

    The third time in, you immediately notice the zombies are not locked up–and seem to be missing. You make your way to the lab, collect the sample, take it to your car, and head back in to find out where the zombies went.

    [This puts you in the position of trying to track down the zombies. You are purposely trying to track something down but still want to remain hidden and non violent (although the player always has the choice to use the gun that the ex-marine is now carrying)].

    You manage to find the zombies, track one into isolation and shoot it with the tranquilizer. Unlike you expected, the tranq doesn’t knock it out, it just makes it angry, and suppresses the systems that the Dr. had put in place to keep the zombies docile and unthinking. This is where the game gets violent. This new zombie chases you, howling, and you have to run and gun, as it draws the legions of fast, agile, and now frenzied zombies with it.

    It’s a race out of the hospital, and you jump in your car as they try to chase you down.

    Now you have a problem–the zombies are loose, frenzied, and really want something to eat. So they’ve started attacking the city of Venice.

    You call some old friends back up and tell them you need firepower, and that they should alert authorities. They agree, and promise to be there within 24-48 hours.

    The rest of the game is about hunting down the zombies and killing them before they destroy Venice.


    Okay, there’s clearly a LOT of work left to be done on that concept, but I think it’s a start. I’m not sure its my best idea ever, but it’s better than a lot of plots I’ve seen.

    The problem with zombie-genre games is that you have to make a LOT of suppositions about science/magic in order for them to work. The ultimate question boils down to this: why would anyone want to create them. Generally, unless they also have a way to control them, the answer is ‘they wouldn’t’. Zombies would make terrible servants unless centrally controlled. As an army they wouldn’t be much use for taking over a country unless you just wanted the land–and were perfectly happy to have EVERYONE dead.

    With magic, the effort to personally control a legion of undead seems very high. So that’s no good. With tech, the only thing that would make sense is if the zombies were centrally controlled by an AI. But since zombies are still mindless critters who are going to be easily destroyed by any armed force with access to weapons (especially high-grade stuff). And unless there is a compelling reason not to go in with guns blazing the authorities are going to do exactly that.

    In the scenario above, the compelling reason is that you are trying to contain the zombies before the authorities have an opportunity to react. Take a remote location where the photographer could be, make it so that it’s the kind of place where not much happens, and you have a good justification for having the hero act on his/her own before the authorities arrive. Especially if the local police are not used to dealing with anything more violent than the occasional robbery. Add to that a heavy dose of skepticism about the threat level, and it makes the local police useless, and therefore you need to protect everyone while friends can convince higher ups of what’s going on. Instead of Venice, pick any remote Eastern European village, any number of villages or towns in the USA that are under population 10,000 or so, and ditto for South America.

    There’s no need for evil faceless corporations that span the globe when the more likely scenario is a research project gone horribly wrong. In the scenario above, its possible to include Umbrella Corp as a benefactor to the Doc, and possibly show evidence that they have tampered with the research intentionally to trigger the zombies.

    The truly plausible goal in this instance is that they want there to be a massive problem that only THEY can stop, thus getting billions in government contracts to clean up the mess. You have to have them acting reasonably to earn a profit.

    For instance, something current, pretty much everyone agrees that the BP oil spill was a horrible accident. I think it’s also safe to say that at no point did anyone in the company sit down and say, “Folks, I think we need to have a major oil spill in order to boost profits.” But it would be easy to say in a game world that they did that because they thought that it could be blamed on someone else (a 3rd party contractor) and they would therefore get tons of publicity and press, as well as making money off the cleanup in the form of insurance payouts and gov’t contracts. I don’t for a second believe that’s what happened, but in a game world you can set things up like that–as long as the ultimate motive is profit, not destruction.

    Oh well, now that you’ve read this novella, I’ll shut up.

    1. Specter says:

      read it all, like it…
      at least it makes sense…

      1. You need to have a look at this comic if you think the “something went horribly wrong” scenario is “more likely”.

        I think that if I were put in charge of the reboot, I’d just go ahead and admit that yeah, these people are stupid and get rid of the whole “we were just trying to make money” thing and turn them into a group of people who were actually trying to bring about some sort of zombie apocalypse. Perhaps they hate people. Perhaps they wanted to “rule the world”. Maybe some of them are religious fanatics who are trying to hasten the second coming or something along those lines.

        Even though this would still be a bit hackneyed, you could do an interesting story by having the “corporation” that’s behind all this break into splinter factions because once they HAD the Zombie Apocalypse Juice made, suddenly everyone and his brother has a different idea for when/how/why to use it. All the different factions try to get their hands on the ZAJ via various schemes with various levels of hatched, and the next thing you know someone’s dropped the containment crate out of an airplane onto Times Square and there’s a bunch of ‘splainin to do.

        Then, have the main character be someone who, for whatever reason, has been tasked with digging through this mountain of coverups, betrayals, counter-betrayals, counter-coverups and figure out who was actually responsible for this mess (and then shoot them and pry the antidote from their Cold Dead Hands) while at the same time fending off the ever-increasing hordes of zombies.

        P.S. actually it occurs to me that this would lend itself beautifully to a big in medias res cutscene startoff where you get to see several bickering Evil Dudes arguing over the crate and the scene concludes with the aformentioned dumping, then your character gets brought onto the scene and it’s your job to figure out wtf just happened. As a writer, you could have a blast with it by having this search for the antidote further confused by all the various bad guys being sure that SOMEONE has the antidote but NO ONE knows for sure who actually has it (or, if they do, they turn out to be wrong). You could even throw in a twist where there is no antidote and you wind up having to obtain an original sample of the ZAJ so that some OTHER people can MANUFACTURE one. All sorts of possibilities.

  7. Jarenth says:

    “What would you do with the Resident Evil story if Capcom asked you to handle the reboot?”

    Print the script a couple of thousand times. Fold printed scripts into paper airplanes. Sell paper airplanes to dexterity-impaired children; use any surplus for personal enjoyment and good times.


  8. JohnW says:

    The evil corporation storyline is so cliche.

  9. ClearWater says:

    So how come it’s called Resident Evil 5 and not Resident Evil 27?

    1. Shamus says:

      Different “series”. Sort of like how Star Trek:TNG, DS9, Enterprise, and Voyager all have their own episode numbering.

  10. acronix says:

    I didn´t notice the switch.

    The first thing I´d do is change the evil corporation name to something more serious, like CookieCorp.

    1. Rick C says:

      The first thing I´d do is change the evil corporation name to something more serious, like CookieCorp.

      UmbrellaCorp’s not a name, it’s a description. I noticed mention on the Wikipedia page something about UC being bought out. So apparently the Umbrella Corporation has an umbrella corporation. That’s either inspired or stupid.

      1. Audacity says:

        It’s stupid.

        1. Audacity says:

          Uh Sorry, there was supposed to be more to that post, but my connection died on me.

          I was going to add: But coming from Capcom’s writers it’s inspired, relative to their other material. Which seems to be mostly storyless fighting games and beachball pr0n.

  11. Jos Metadi says:


    New business model
    Turn market into zombies
    Next step brains and cash

    1. Audacity says:

      Zombies No Cash Have
      Problematic Business Model
      Unsustainable Sale

      — This was an awesome idea Joe. —

  12. Kdansky says:

    I noticed the switch and was irritated about it. I can hardly call your flipping an improvement. Still, it’s less horrible than the actual plot. “Tens of thousands!” Another great line would have been: “How about getting a job? You’ll earn tens of thousands every year!”

  13. kikito says:

    They have already put one of the Resident Evil characters on a Street Fighter game, so I can just hope they include Dan Hibiki on RE 6. I would buy that.

    1. Dodds says:

      Best. Game. EVER!

  14. How to handle the reboot? Hmmm . . .
    OK, we switch the plot around!
    Get this: The zombies have figured out a way to create moronic, soulless executives (no, really, even more so than the real ones). They plan to sell these to corporations everywhere! You must stop the zombies’ evil plan . . .
    This way, even the bosses are zombies. Although, sometimes you may find creches full of budding corporate executives and have to mow them down for the good of humanity . . . but there’s no need to *talk* to them, because they don’t know anything. While you slaughter them they may try to get you involved in board meetings, or convince you that the changes to the compensation plan are intended to make things better for you, et cetera. This will add a certain extra visceral rush to the game . . .

    1. Deoxy says:


      Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything when I read this one. Funniest thing I’ve read since I kicked my Dilbert habit.

    2. Kdansky says:

      While I fear there might be issues with your general idea, it’s still better than the official version…

      1. Jarenth says:

        “Rated M, for graphical depictions of TPS reports.”

    3. Sumanai says:

      And it would have an excuse for durable bosses too!

      Unfortunately, the sanity system from Eternal Darkness would be perfect for that, but is patented by Nintendo.

  15. WILL says:

    Oh, Wesker’s here! Matrix time!

  16. Will says:

    Oh you mirrored the image. I just spent like 5 minutes thinking that RE5 must have screwed up and accidentally swapped Chris and Sheva around in the cutscene (currently playing the PC version and i’ve noticed more than a few little hiccups like that :D ).

    So yes, i did notice it. Something in my little hindbrain went “Wait a minute, you’re looking at them from the front now, why is Chris still on the left? What gives!?” And then i looked at the fourth frame and went “What! Now he’s on the right!? What’s going on here! I call shenanegins!” And then in the fifth frame he’s back on the left again!

  17. Will says:

    Also, in a note unrelated to my previous post, the first thing i would do to a RE remake (heh, R.E.Make) is i’d make the Zombies the result of a deliberate bioweapon attack.

    I am so, so, so sick of ‘OH NOES GIANT EVIL CORPERATION DID SOMETHING BAD MUST SAVE WORLD FROM EVIL BABY-EATING CAPITALIST BUISNESSES’ that i actually start getting nauseous every time someone even looks like they’re about to propose a big buisness conspiracy behind some sort of disaster.

    Hell; make it a terrorist attack, set it in somewhere new and different, like say Tibet, testing ground for a new bioweapon that turns people into zombies.

    Actually that could be pretty decent; something goes horribly wrong in Tibet, Chinese forces move in and promptly start getting eaten by the zombie weapon; you play a Chinese spec-ops commando or something sent in to find out what the hell is going down in Tibet and if there’s any way to turn it into a Chinese advantage; the rest of the world remains blissfully ignorant of the whole thing due to a massive censorship operation, but word will eventually get out; clock’s ticking.

    End the game having the player find out that the zombies are the result of a bioweapon, but don’t tell them who or why, do it properly and you’ve got yourself a nice little cliffhanger to segue into a sequel.

    Damn, i like that idea, i’m keeping it.

    1. I dunno. The fact is, corporations are the dominant players in modern international politics, let alone the economy. Almost by definition, that makes them the most likely force behind any given evil plot–not because they’re more evil than everyone else, just because they’re more pervasive. Companies kill lots more people than terrorists do, just because their reach is so much broader (heck, tobacco companies alone . . . ). And that’s just directly–if you start getting into the deaths caused by policies enacted largely due to corporate influence, well!

      Corporations also work as bad guys because they have the money and organization to pull things off. Large organized religions might work too . . . but there aren’t many of those, and most are less organized than they seem on the surface; Islam for instance is quite decentralized, really. The Catholic church works . . . it has the money, the centralization, the corruption . . .

      Still, the Tibet scenario is interesting.

      1. silver Harloe says:

        Also, corporations are legally obliged to care about nothing but the short-term bottom line. There’s a lot of room for unintended consequences there.

        1. Will says:

          Uh, what? I’m not sure where you got that idea from, but it is quite impressively incorrect.

      2. Deoxy says:

        [blockquote]Companies kill lots more people than terrorists do, just because their reach is so much broader (heck, tobacco companies alone . . . ).[/blockquote]

        That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. Heck, that’s not even an apples-to-oranges comparison. That’s more of an apples-to-jellyfish comparison. Tobacco companies SELL something to people that the people WANT. Yes, it kills a lot of them (eventually), but that’s not REMOTELY the same thing as murder. Even fairly dangerous jobs (where accidents do kill people) are paid positions, where the employee weighs the risk against the pay when deciding whether to take the job… and companies that are responsible for death of an employee (even in “high risk” occupations) are on the hook, legally, for those deaths (yes, some of them manage to get out of it in slimy ways sometimes – not the point).

        Actually, if you want to get into areas where REALLY bad things are done, non-profits are where it’s at – they exist for some moral reason, not to make money, and the “moral” they exist for can be highly problematic, to say the least (real world examples abound).

        In fact, this description, “they have the money and organization to pull things off”, works at least as well for some of these non-profits, and they don’t have the “massive money sink with no profit at the end” problem to worry about (and the worst of them are usually funded by a very small, even just one, wealthy individuals – George Soros is often mentioned on the right, but other examples abound – “Islamic” charities, for instance).

        1. RustyBadger says:

          If we’re using tobacco companies as a whipping boy (as much as I’d prefer a guillotine over the lash), they are indeed guilty of murder. They manufacture and sell a product that kills people. Yes, those people buy it, even though they have been told it will kill them. However, through massive lobbying politicians, and by spending billions on advertising, the tobacco companies have managed to continue selling their deadly product with little consequence to their bottom line. So yes, it does make them murderers on a much larger scale than any terrorist has ever dreamed of. Of course, it makes a lot of other people accessories to murder, too.

          We do like to pick on Big Tobacco (easy target), but there’s a whole raft of other corporations out there whose business plans result in people dying: resource extraction companies that exploit developing nations; weapons manufacturers who deliberately build light arms suitable for child combatants; and biochemical firms who pollute the air, soil, and seas in order to save money on safety systems.

          Charities? Bah. There’s a few bad ones that funnel money back to their homelands to fight hopeless wars of independence, and a few more who have known ties to nasty groups. But by and large, their harm is limited to bilking people out of their money, and brainwashing others into doing things like waving signs around and yelling.

          1. Audacity says:

            Saying that tobacco companies are murderous is like saying that auto-manufactures are genocidal because car crashes are the leading cause of violent death in North America, or that we shouldn’t sell salt to people because it is bad for them and causes heart-disease, the leading killer of North Americans.

            If someone chooses to do something stupid, knowing the dangers, like driving unsafely or smoking, then they’ve taken their life into their own hands and earned whatever happens to them. Now the way the tobacco industry tried to cover up the evidence that smoking could cause cancer was immoral, but providing people a product they want isn’t. People have brains, let them decide to use it or not themselves.

          2. Deoxy says:

            There's a few bad ones that funnel money back to their homelands to fight hopeless wars of independence, and a few more who have known ties to nasty groups. But by and large, their harm is limited to bilking people out of their money, and brainwashing others into doing things like waving signs around and yelling.

            Your naivete is refreshing, but not very helpful.

            The single largest cause of human murder in the last century was socialism. There are many non-profits promoting highly socialist views.

            The next (well, maybe third, depending on how you want to count WWI) was fundamentalist Islam, and there are many charities promoting and fund-raising for that, too.

            Starving people to death is an awful thing to do, but there are plenty of “green” non-profits whose goals would (and in some cases HAVE) do just that. Oh, and malaria kills about a million people a year, ENTIRELY due to green political concerns (there’s no science to back up the DDT ban – the guy who MADE the ban said so himself, EVEN AS HE PUT THE BAN IN PLACE). Yeah, a million a year, for the last 40+ years. Nice.

            You think the tobacco companies are bad? At least they just want to make money – set up a system where they can make more money doing other things, and they will do so. Groups driven by non-monetary goals, especially goals that involve the death of large numbers of people, make Big Tobacco look like Mother Teresa.

        2. Moridin says:

          Tobacco companies may be a poor example…But what about, say, companies that sell homeopathic products? They kill people by getting them to drink water and eat sugar pills instead of taking real medicines.

      3. Actually that could be pretty decent; something goes horribly wrong in Tibet, Chinese forces move in and promptly start getting eaten by the zombie weapon; you play a Chinese spec-ops commando or something sent in to find out what the hell is going down in Tibet and if there's any way to turn it into a Chinese advantage; the rest of the world remains blissfully ignorant of the whole thing due to a massive censorship operation, but word will eventually get out; clock's ticking.

        Young monk, not enough grasp of magic, cuts corners, trying to create a zombie army to drive out the Chinese … just creates a zombie virus that is threatening to eat first Tibet and then the world.

      4. Will says:

        Perhaps it makes sense thematically to have large corperations be big evil enemies, personally i sincerely doubt this; there is very little profit in being evil, as Umbrella have so conclusively shown.

        But these are fictional stories, made up, they need have no more bearing on reality than the writer wants them too; i would much rather play through an interesting and fantastic story than a bland but plausible one.

        Mainly though, i’m just sick of outrageous conspiracy theories. Enough is enough.

        1. Audacity says:

          Agreed it’s boring as all hell. Why can’t we have something with depth and nuance more often? Did all the good writers quit the industry at once?

          1. Sumanai says:

            Howler monkeys killed them in caged matches. It was ugly. But it’s quite impressive how many ways you can kill a person with poo.

  18. Nasikabatrachus says:

    I didn’t notice the switch. In fact, had I been paying attention to that kind of thing, I still might not realized they switched places because it’s kind of confusing. Also, I have some advice for Mr. Umbrelli, who I assume runs the Umbrella corporation:

    Zombor! Apply directly to the brains!
    Zombor! Apply directly to the brains!
    Zombor! Apply directly to the brains!

    Just tell people your viruses come in homeopathic doses, they will eat it up with a spoon. This “randomly turn cities into zombie infested wastelands” business model isn’t even a business model.

  19. What you are referring to is something called the “180 Degree Rule”.

    Essentially, you don’t want your camera to pass an invisible line down the middle of the shot. You want to keep all of your camera angles within 180 degrees of that invisible line. Otherwise, it will appear as if your actors are switching places.

    Proper cinematics FTW!


    1. Jos Metadi says:

      That applies to cutting between shots (which exists by definition in between each frame of a comic), but it’s acceptable to cross the plane IF you actually show the transition (which a comic can’t do). Still, safest thing to do is avoid crossing when possible.

    2. Sumanai says:

      Interestingly Shamus knew about the rule, one manner or another, while the people at Capcom apparently didn’t. Which means Shamus would likely make a better director than whoever they’ve hired. And it seems that poor directing in cutscenes is so common that no-one bothered to even note this before me. I know I shouldn’t, but I’m feeling flabbergasted.

      1. Shamus says:

        To be fair, I knew the rule and broke it. Actually, I did worse than break it. I actually made the characters trade places. :)

        But I really was curious how people would react. We got the whole spectrum from “I didn’t notice” to “It drives me nuts and you should repent.”

        Interesting lesson, though.

  20. says:

    Not so funny after watching Austin Powers with an almost identical joke. Nonetheless, good job again!

    1. joshua says:

      Yeah, funny but not only was the joke recycled off of Austin Powers, it was actually a repeat of one of Shamus’s earlier jokes(Stolen Pixels about Assassin’s Creed).

  21. Scott says:

    I felt unsettled because I normally don’t lose track of whose speaking in comics. I did in this one, but didn’t investigate why.

  22. Atarlost says:

    The umbrella corporation has to stay. The name is so linked to the franchise that even I, who has only seen any RE in your comics, know about it.

    But there are not for profit corporations. Umbrella could be a privately funded charity. The catch is it would be funded by green extremists who want humanity reduced to pre-technological levels. There is no profit motive because the lunatic fringe of the environmentalist movement actually considers a drastic reduction of the human population a desirable goal.

    The zombie virus is designed to turn some fraction of people, say 50%, that are exposed. These will kill the un-turned, but some people will survive. There will be survivors, but they’ll be the sort that is most likely to be able to live off the land. The cities will remain zombie dens for a generation or so forcing the survivors to flee to the countryside for a closer to nature existence.

    The first game in the reboot starts with the player as just one of the immune in a small town selected as a test target. Half the town become zombies. Most of the rest become lunch, but a few others also scrounge up defenses and you may get the opportunity to link up with some of them.

    You find some evidence of umbrella involvement, but the victory montage always ends with the case being thrown out of court. With each iteration the location changes and either the zombies or the delivery method gets improved.

    After maybe the second or third iteration some international body realizes there’s a problem and forms a response team, which includes the protagonists from the first few games. Coincidentally at this time umbrella starts going after bigger targets. Cities will have proportionately fewer survivor types so the game can get tougher to compensate for the added party members and better starting equipment.

    At this point the idea someone had in the last RE thread of doing a backwards FPS where you start well equipped and ditch the cool guns as they run out of ammo comes into play.

    When the franchise gets old again third stage is a release of the virus with a latency built into it. Things don’t go quite right (wrong?) and it gets caught in time to shoot down international flights, but Australia or Britain or Japan (whichever hasn’t been used) is now zombie central. The response team gets sent in, but this time finds solid evidence of Umbrella involvement and will be able to shut them down, but this time some of the immune rescued are actually people with an unusually long latency period. The world as we know it ends.

    See, throw out the profit motive and the concept makes a lot more sense.

  23. Yar Kramer says:

    Hmmm. Don’t know, I’ve never had “Make a zombie-story” handed to me before. Don’t want to rehash anyone else’s idea either … let’s see, Dan Hibiki … Capcom characters from crossovers which include Resident Evil characters …

    Wait, I know! A Devil May Cry crossover! Wesker is actually under demonic influence, thus removing profit from the equation, because everyone knows that all devils are concerned with is messing humanity’s s**t up! And instead of just zombies, the enemies are all zombie demons! And then when you beat the last boss, Wesker wakes up and thanks you for freeing him from his possession, but after the end credits, his eyes start glowing and he gets a “JUST AS PLANNED” smirk, thus inviting the possibility of sequels which are every bit as ridiculous as they are now!

    1. Audacity says:

      Except we could have good controls, interesting combat, and impressive level design for once. Hey! mix in a little Ninja Gaiden, sans Team Ninja’s screwed up view of women, and we could have a challenging game for once too. And there would be Ninjas versus Zombies! If only we could somehow work in pirates…

      The main character would still probably be some whiny brainless effeminate emo douche, with horrid one-liners, but you can’t have everything.

      1. Syal says:

        Somalia gets infected; an ancient ninja clan show up to stop the spread of zombies; an enterprising pirate group tries to smuggle zombies out to sell as a biological weapon; Umbrella tries to cover its ass by sending in robot assassins.

        1. Audacity says:

          But they have to be, “Yarr! When I’ve settled yon zombie’s grey-matters with me blunderbuss, I’ll test yon ninja’s steel with me cutlass and boarding axe! Yoho! am I ever drunk!” type pirates. Modern day Somali pirates would just create another racism scandal.

          You can’t portray races that exist as minorities in the USA as anything other than decent, mistreated, nice people, at worst they may be mildly misguided or forced (zombie-itis doesn’t count here) into doing evil by oppressive white guys in suits. The guardians of truth, our valorous media just wont stand for it, unless the minority group are Asians, then its okay to make them bad and corrupt because they all know hard math and wear suits and have money too.

          1. Syal says:

            Then move it to the Caribbean, where the Last Pirates found a fountain of youth or some such, and see the zombies as their ticket back to the top.

  24. The game does actually provide an explanation for the business plan. The founder of Umbrella wasn’t concerned with making money, he wanted to use the virus to create an ideal human for his vision of a utopian society, and wasn’t put off by the fact that pretty much everyone besides Wesker turned into a mindless monster. Wesker’s was trying to complete this plan by spreading the virus around the world so that it would improve the strongest people and kill anyone too weak to handle it.

    I said there was an explanation, not that it was a good one.

  25. JKjoker says:

    i think that when Capcom devs said things in the sense of “rebooting” the franchise they meant the gameplay style not the plot, and btw, RE4 was a reboot, it took exactly 1 game to go back to be like before

  26. Kian says:

    Noticed the switch. But since you sometimes need to grab caps from places not in the same sequence as what appears in the comic, I figured maybe they switched around during the cutscene and they weren’t where you needed them for the shoot.

    As for a reboot, here’s my entry:
    You belong to the security force of Umbrella (to keep the name), working in a remote research outpost. You’re ill equipped for a zombie outbreak, your duties being mostly related to keeping possible spies away from sensitive areas and such. The place has several dangerous chemicals in place, but it is mostly benign if not entirely ethical (cloning research, samples of diseases they’re looking for cures for, that sort of stuff).

    There’s been a bunch of protesters around the place for the last while, convinced that the place is researching bio-weapons and the like. The company is eventually forced to alow an inspection to appease the protesters, but during the inspection a few protesters slip through and run into secure areas the tour wasn’t going to visit. It takes a while for the overtaxed (because of the inspection) security personel to notice the breach, which gives the protesters some time to saerch for the ‘evidence’ of wrong-doing they meant to find. Of course they don’t take any precautions, a couple get infected with stuff they don’t immediately realise, and the interplay of diseases makes them go all zombie like and highly contagious.

    You’re the first guy sent to get them out of the restricted areas, and arrive just in time to see a bunch turn into zombies and the rest run away.

    So now you need to help coordinate efforts with the rest of the security team to keep the infected ones from spreading the contagion, manage the press present to avoid a PR nightmare, keep as many people alive, hunt down the zombies you couldn’t save and work with the doctors in the facility to try and come up with a cure.

    Needs a little polish. I mostly wanted to invert the regular theme from evil corporation to stupid protesters. And then shoot the protesters.

    1. Deoxy says:

      I actually laughed out loud at that last paragraph. Considering the type of people who made up all the “protests” (until the last 18-ish months), I can see satisfaction!

    2. Audacity says:

      This would actually be pretty cool if it were to borrow some tactical base-management elements from X-Com or Syndicate.

      Plus I love the premise, it would be like burning the annoying PETA aresholes from my university in effigy.

    3. Deoxy says:

      Was reading through the comments again… laughed at “And then shoot the protesters” again.

      Still funny. Snerk.

  27. Syal says:

    I didn’t notice the switch until you pointed it out, but I have to ask; why didn’t you make the first panel from Wesker’s perspective, leaving him on the left?

    Having never really played the Resident Evil games, I’d always gotten the impression that Umbrella was dangerously incompetent with mad scientists who kept jumping from one insanely uncontrollable experiment to the next without fear of consequences, only getting away with it because the heroes show up and destroy the experiment (and scientist) before it becomes public knowledge and kills everyone. Then I find out it’s a deliberate attempt to do… something. That’s just silly.

    Anyway, my rewrite would turn Umbrella into Tri-optimum, or that guy who ran Jurassic Park. Nothing more than catalysts.

  28. Miguel says:

    I noticed the switch, but it didn’t really impact my enjoyment of the comic.

    Anyway, if I were tasked with a reboot of Resident Evil… (Bear in mind, I’ve only played the fourth.) The first thing I’d do is take a page from George Lucas’ book and number the first game “Resident Evil 3”. My (loose) understanding is that Resident Evil 2 takes place the same night as Resident Evil 1, just in a different location. Even if that’s not the case, I like that idea, so we’ll hang on to it.
    This first game would pretty much just be Resident Evil 4 again, but the opening scene would be Leon’s briefing where we get some exposition about what Leon’s been through, a name-drop for Krauser to take advantage of the “Starting From a Sequel” feel we’re going for, and that Umbrella’s goal with the Zombie Outbreak business was that they were sick of the modern world and wanted to regress it back to the basic “Survival of the fittest” primal stage. From there, it’d be basically be the same game we’ve already played, just with better writing.
    Also, at some point Leon passes out during a Ganado assault and Ashley has to use weapons dropped in by The Merchant from a nearby cliff to fend them off, with Leon commenting that he could probably train Ashley, setting us up for a sequel. Also, in said sequel, no matter who ends up the playable character and who ends up the AI partner, I’m making it mandatory that there’s some sort of AI Adjuster. Like, you can order them to go for the legs or knee-caps and have them opt for knifing or suplexes.
    I’d also hang up a sign in the writer’s room stating “NO PREQUELS”. The players’ imagined versions of Resident Evil 1 & 2 would be far superior to anything we could come up with, and we’ll just leave it like that and not make it pointless to start from #3.

  29. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I was never crazy about how the dramatic focus is always on the Umbrella employees and not the monsters. The game is strongest when it’s focusing on the freak show of foes, and turns into a farce whenever the fighting stops so you can chat with some silly-suited goof from Umbrella Corporate headquarters.

    Interesting… the reverse is mostly true for RE1, since most of that game’s backstory was finding notes written by scientists before and after all hell broke loose, and it was actually intriguing learning what happened to everyone after the weapon they were working on turned against them.

    The set up also meant plot holes were more easily forgivable, as we never meet the people and thus don’t know how much they know themselves about what’s going on.

    Wesker was also there, and he was actually a competent villain with a coherent motivation (steal virus to sell to other weapons corporation and make money), and the actual story was less complex (invloving about 5 to 6 characters trapped in a mansion) and had fewer plot holes, to boot.

    In short, find the REmake of RE1 on GC or Wii and play that if you’re aching for a zombie game with a half decent story; just avoid RE0, that game is basically the worst parts of the RE story rolled into an awkward mess…

  30. Susie Day says:

    The funny thing is that the original Resident Evil was blatantly ripped off of Sweet Home (also by capcom), which was an early “survival horror” game for the NES that actually had an interesting plot. The problem was that once the game was over, you had solved the mystery and there wasn’t a lot of room for a sequel. So, Resident Evil IS the game reboot ;-)

    If you haven’t heard of Sweet Home, or played it, basically you play as a party of four characters who are filming an old haunted mansion for a documentary. There is a cave in so that you cannot leave (the mansion obviously has no windows), and so you have to solve the mystery of the mansion (through notes and diary entries from a previous team) before you can leave … if you survive, since there are ghosts and zombies living in the house. Until I figured out a couple tricks about how to heal all of your party at once, etc, I died quite a few times. This wasn’t an amazing game, but it was a fun little adventure / puzzle game focusing on resource management, mapping and figuring out the funky Japanese translations. to see “the door” :-)

  31. someguy says:

    I’d like to see:
    Average Joe/Jolene trying to survive and/or flee from Zombie infested Racoon City (or any other place where Umbrella’s shit has hit the fan). Same gameplay as in somewhat constrained movement, 3rd person, item management (with a tad more dexterity – in RE5 I would have liked to be able to *walk* with the weapon pointed), maybe throw in bits of Fallout3 or Mass Effect style rpg elements et voilà : Zombie Survival Horror Action that deservers the genre label.

  32. Rick says:

    Wouldn’t it have looked fine if you flipped panels 1, 2 and 4 also?

    Well, it looks great any, but that would’ve fixed your problem, right?

  33. homemade says:

    ” Well, this really isn’t about your legs and back. We simply love HardX. This in turn prompts the fashion designers to come up with newer and better collection each passing day so that their clothing can help in enhancing the personality of the wearer. Hard X now, Previously engaged to NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, who was killed in a 2004 Martinsville plane crash, Maynard knows a thing or two about keeping up with the sports world.

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