Resident Evil 6 entered pre-production after the release of Resident Evil 5. It had an original release date scheduled for 20 November 2012, but following reports by Hiroyuki Kobayashi that development was sped up, this was changed to 2 October 2012. The game is one of Capcom's largest-development games, with some 600 people involved in production.
Resident Evil 6 entered pre-production soon after the release of Resident Evil 5 to favourable sales and reviews. Producers Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Yoshiaki Hirabayashi began preparing for a game similar to it.
Director Eiichiro Sasaki - director of Resident Evil Outbreak - devised an ambitious, massive-scale scenario which would be told in the form of a "hero's journey". This idea was expanded to be multiple hero journeys, and it was agreed there would be an ensemble cast of protagonists rather than one, each going through their own thematic journey. This idea evolved to give each character's story its own style of horror to make them stand-out, as Sasaki felt these characters would naturally react differently even to the same conditions. Leon's story was planned out as calling back to ideas from the original Resident Evil with the cast focused on investigating a case. Chris' story was planned with Resident Evil 5 in mind, being more military focused with Chris confronted with the deaths of his team mates and being made alone and vulnerable. Jake's story was given the fear of being pursued, leading to the creation of Ustanak as a recurring boss. Ada's story was planned out to tie together loose threads from the first three stories.
As with Resident Evil Outbreak, the decision was made that environment design be divided into teams, with four main teams each handling the five stages of their respective campaign, with a team each for Ada, Chris, Jake, and Leon.
According to lead cinematic artist Masato Miyazaki, the separation between Zombie and J'avo creature designs between Leon and Chris' stories led to competition between the two for the best looking designs. Tomonori Takano served as art director for the game; enemy designs were developed based around gameplay requirements and how it could be killed, and later tailored to fit the game. After the concept stage, audio director Watauru Hachisako would discuss with Takano what the overall size and motion style the creature should have so that sound effects could be appropriately designed.
For insight into how to design Lanshiang, Sasaki and Hirabayashi went to China for inspiration.
Soon after the game's announcement, Capcom announced that there would be a demo for Resident Evil 6, which can be downloaded with codes when purchasing the Xbox port of Dragon's Dogma, which was released in May, with the beta starting on July 3. A demo for PlayStation 3 owners of Dragon's Dogma came out on September 4, 2012.
Capcom announced that a fully public demo will be available on September 18 for Xbox Live Gold members and the PlayStation Network. The demo will be available to Xbox Live Silver members on September 25. Unlike the Dragon's Dogma demo, which is taken from the demo shown at E3 2012, the public demo will be the one that was presented at San Diego Comic-Con.