Capcom gave the long-running Resident Evil franchise something of a fresh start with the back-to-roots survival-horror gameplay of Resident Evil VII, and the results were impressive. Now they're taking VII's game engine and using it to revisit one of the most popular classic entries in the franchise: Resident Evil 2.
Video game graphics and control schemes have evolved significantly since Resident Evil 2 originally released, which means Capcom is tasked with striking the right balance between faithfulness to the source material and creating an experience for modern audiences. This is also true when it comes to the story, as modern hardware and software allow for more realistic character portrayals and cutscenes.
So how does Capcom plan to address all of this? Producer Tsuyoshi Kanda discussed this topic (and others) as part of Capcom's Developer Interview series. Here are a few excerpts from his Q&A session:
Question: So could you tell me about some of the things you changed and some you kept?
Kanda: Even as we say that it's completely re-imagined, of course we were conscious of maintaining the world and "play-feel" of the original. However, if you already know about all of the scary parts, it loses some of its impact, so when it comes to the horror aspects we're changing some pieces from how they were in the original, while remaining faithful to the original motifs. For example, one of Resident Evil 2's greatest charms is the feeling of exploration, so the layout of the police station has been changed from the original to maintain that experience.
Question: Are there any changes to the story?
Kanda: The overall plot remains the same, but we've rearranged some of the events that occur throughout the game, or tweaked things to make the game a bit easier to understand as a whole. We've also tried to deepen the narrative experience and the relationships between not only Leon and Claire, but all of the game's characters, in order to increase the dramatic tension.
Question: Are there any things that you were unable to accomplish 20 years ago, but were able to include now thanks to new technologies?
Kanda: Well, when it comes to graphics, the RE Engine has allowed us to make a game with a much greater level of three-dimensionality and detail. For example, in the original game, the Lickers were introduced in an FMV cutscene in which they appeared on the ceiling, but when you fought them they only ever crawled along the floor. In this version you'll face Lickers with 360-degree mobility, creating much more expansive battles overflowing with tension and the sense of really being in the thick of it.
It sounds like Capcom is putting a lot more effort into developing the story and characters this time around. They've also redesigned parts of the game world (and the monsters inside it) in order to keep players on their toes, even if they've mastered the original game. The Resident Evil 2 remake launches on January 25th, 2019. Hopefully, it's just as well-received as its predecessor.