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Resident Evil’s new co-op card game is designed to feel like passing the controller as kids

Up to four players control either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield together.

Resident Evil is getting a new card game that hopes to capture the experience of passing a controller between friends while playing the original PlayStation horror game.

Resident Evil: The Card Game puts up to four players in control of either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield - the two playable characters in Capcom’s seminal 1996 video game - as they explore the Spencer Mansion and deal with its undead inhabitants. As in the video game, each character has a unique starting loadout of equipment.

Unlike other co-op takes on the video game, such as the upcoming Resident Evil: The Board Game, all of the players control a single character between them, rather than having individual characters. At Essen Spiel 2021, designer Jaime López told Dicebreaker that the system had been partially inspired by passing a controller between friends and siblings while playing the original PlayStation game, and aimed to capture the same sense of collaboration. The card game has been in development since 2018.

During the game, players collectively select a set of three action cards to move Jill or Chris between various rooms, ranging from the different floors of the house itself to its garden and hidden laboratory, represented by facedown cards on a playmat board. Taking inspiration from the creaking doors of the PlayStation game’s loading screens, the cards must be flipped from their locked side by using keys collected around the mansion.

The door cards hide transparent cards that reveal what each room contains, with the contents of a room randomised during each playthrough due to the potential to find different items. Rooms can include stock Resident Evil healing items such as green herbs, new weapons and other helpful items, with multiple copies of each numbered card in the deck for further randomisation.

Rooms may also include enemies such as zombies, which players can choose to fight or flee. Health is represented by a cardboard token matching the video game’s heart monitor, which decreases from green to orange and then red as damage is taken.

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Jill or Chris can also encounter friendly allies, such as their fellow S.T.A.R.S. members, and the more powerful bosses found in the video game. López confirmed to Dicebreaker that all of the bosses seen in the video game would make an appearance in the card game.

The players must find the keys to the roof of the Spencer Mansion in order to successfully escape during each 90-minute run. López described the card game’s difficulty as being as tough as the PlayStation game, with the ability for players to unlock an easier mode if they struggle with the default challenge.

When players do succeed, the card game will offer what López described as a “New Game Plus” mode, unlocking additional items for future replays.

Resident Evil: The Card Game will release direct to retail, with publisher Gen X Games predicting a release in Q1 2022.

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