PAL gamers may miss out on the chance to play Resident Evil Outbreak online, Capcom admitted this morning, citing technical issues relating to network incompatibilities between the SCEE (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) network and the two other main territories.
Tsuyoshi Tanaka, the Resident Evil Outbreak producer and general manager for Capcom's Studio 1 admitted: "We are considering releasing [Resident Evil Outbreak] offline [in PAL territories].
"It depends on SCEE," he said cryptically, "because the [network] system is very different [to Japan and the US]. There is a possibility the game may have no option for online play. We would very much like to include an online mode, but if we do we can't tell when it will be released. Without online play we're looking at a May 2004 release for PAL territories, [but] we're going to try as hard as we can to make sure online play makes it in the PAL release."
The news will come as a another blow to the traditionally harshly treated PAL gaming contingent, but we suspect that Capcom feels the extra development time required to get the game to work successfully over the SCEE network would harm the game's commercial potential.
However, should SCEE weigh in with the necessary support (which it should, given the title's importance), we may yet see Outbreak released as Capcom intended.
The game is currently on track for a Japanese debut in late November/early December, with a US version following in March. Look out for a full hands on first impressions of the game tomorrow.