We threw some questions at Resident Evil 2 remake producer Tsuyoshi Kanda to find out what’s new in the rebooted fan favourite.
How long has the project been in development for?
Tsuyoshi Kanda, producer: The development started on Resident Evil 2 back in 2015 when Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi revealed the title with our “We Do It” announcement. Fans have been asking for the title for years, so it was great to finally start creating it!
What is involved in ‘reimagining’ a game that was released 20 years ago?
It took a lot of work to implement a new gameplay system while recreating the feel of the original game. We’ve tried to make sure to keep memorable key scenes intact, while adding new flavours to the game, so that it is both fresh and familiar at the same time. For example, the puzzles retain that classic Resident Evil feel, while being redesigned. So even if you’ve played the original game, you’ll need a fresh approach.
Are there any noteworthy changes to game mechanics or story that players should be aware of if they’ve played the original?
The general story elements are the same as the original, but we have done some noteworthy changes and fine tuning to modernise the game for today’s audience. There will definitely be a few surprises for players as we wanted to ensure that everyone had a fresh but familiar feeling when playing the game. You’ll have to play and find out these changes for yourself though, as we want it to be a surprise!
What was involved in reworking the control scheme and camera?
We tried a fixed camera like the original game featured at the start of the development. It was also unique but the team felt that in the current era of games it actually would make it really difficult for players to control. As a result of experimenting with different styles, we decided to use a RE4-style over the shoulder camera and this allowed us to create a whole new level of fear in Resident Evil 2. You now have the fear of being bitten by a zombie but in a very different and effective way, as we are not so restricted in terms of what you can see on the screen.
Why has it taken 20 years to get a remake?
Although we have considered plans for a Resident Evil 2 remake several times before, they have never reached the official development stage. Meanwhile, the Resident Evil series has evolved title by title through many challenges, and we have always been aware of the voices of passionate fans requesting a Resident Evil 2 remake. The main reason why we have decided to develop this new title is that while of course we wanted to respond to the passionate requests from the fans, we were also sure now that we would be able to deliver the best zombie horror entertainment experience with our new technology and teamwork – the key piece of which is the RE Engine. We are sure that this is the best timing to incarnate the passion of many fans and the development team.
With the surge in popularity that horror/zombie games are experiencing, do you think people are becoming harder to scare, and has that been reflected in development at all?
We feel that there are various methods of horror (to scare people). While the improvement of the graphics has made it easier to create a realistic horror experience, from a viewpoint of ‘creating an interesting video game that is worth taking a look’, which is one of the goals we have when developing video games, it should be not only scary but also interesting to play as a video game. Thanks to contemporary technologies, it’s now easier to get a higher quality of ‘horror’ experience including visual, sound and level designs, but it’s getting more and more difficult to create an ‘interesting game’ including the balancing. In this Resident Evil 2, we can say that the ‘terrifying zombies’ are one of the main characters, and in order to create terrifying and tough zombies, we have paid a lot of attention to details including motions, ragdoll physics and recovery from it, and the real-time damage representation including deformation, so we hope you will take a closer look and enjoy it. By the way, zombies in this game will never chase you running.
What do you think it is about the Resident Evil series that has allowed it to thrive for this long?
Resident Evil is a great blend of survival horror, appealing characters, a mysterious world, action and puzzles. Horror in particular is something that will never really be out of fashion, as people love the catharsis of facing fear and getting through it. That’s something that won’t change no matter how many years pass.
What’s next for the franchise?
We’re focusing on bringing the Resident Evil 2 remake to fans and gamers in January at the moment. As for what’s next, you’ll have to wait and see!