One of this year’s most anticipated titles and the latest in a string of high-quality remakes is Resident Evil 4. A beloved classic fine-tuned and rebuilt for modern audiences. Thanks to developer Capcom we got a recent opportunity to check out a hands-off preview of the game alongside a developer Q&A so that we could have our most burning questions answered.
Having an early look and the ability to correspond with Director Ampo Yasuhiro and Producer Hirabayashi Yoshiaki was a high honour.
Q: How do you go about remaking an already beloved title like Resident Evil 4? Is there added pressure from diehard fans to get a remake like this feeling perfect?
“Resident Evil 4 is one of the most beloved games in the series, so we were really nervous when tackling the remake.
As was the case with the Resident Evil 2 remake, we aimed to produce something fans of the original would enjoy.”
Q: The change of perspective from fixed camera angles to third-person was part of what made the Resident Evil 2 & 3 remakes so consequential. How will you ensure Resident Evil 4 feels equally as updated and substantial, considering it doesn’t have that same perspective shift?
“You’re right that there isn’t a perspective shift. The controls of the original game—which is close to 20 years old now—felt a little out-of-date, so we made some improvements there that we hope the fans enjoy. We also focused on expanding the original’s gameplay by adding new knife mechanics and other player actions.”
Q: What elements of the original game do the development team most love? In what ways were the elements kept in place or highlighted for the remake?
“A lot of us on the team loved the sheer number of options the player had when overcoming obstacles in the original game. We expanded those options in the remake by adding new knife and player actions.”
Q: Conversely, were there any pain points of the original RE4 that were addressed in the remake? What were they and how do you adapt them for a modern era?
“While the original game is an amazing experience, the controls feel a little of their time. We tried to update those in the remake in a way players will enjoy.
Using the RE2 and RE3 remakes, as well as Village, as a base, we added things like more knife actions and a crouch mechanic, giving players even more options.”
“…the best approach was to capture the essence of the QTEs in a way that suits modern gamers’ tastes.”
Q: We already know that Quick Time Events have been changed or removed entirely for the game’s remake. What is it about QTEs that don’t resonate with gamers or make them feel outdated?
“We discussed how to handle the QTEs that were a part of the original game’s cutscenes, and ultimately felt the best approach was to capture the essence of the QTEs in a way that suits modern gamers’ tastes.
Though in the original game button prompts appeared on screen, the remake handles things differently, but still maintains the feel and tension of those scenes. If you loved the original QTEs, you should play the game and see for yourself.”
Q: Knife parrying is new too. How crucial will this technique be for players to master and why was this added to the game?
“The parry system actually came about from experimenting with the Krauser fight and exploring how to translate that scene into engaging gameplay.
We felt it was a good fit for the game’s basic combat system as well, so we implemented it into the rest of the game. The timing required to pull off a parry will vary based on game difficulty.”
Q: Improved AI and less frustrating escort sequences are something I think a lot of gamers will be excited about. How challenging was it to make those necessary improvements?
“For the remake, we wanted Ashley to feel more like a real person, so we reworked how she interacts with Leon and how she operates in-game.
She talks to Leon during normal gameplay and will no longer stay put in dangerous situations or refuse to traverse higher/lower terrain on her own.”
Q: Resident Evil as a series has bounced a bit between horror and action, with typically the more action-heavy games or sequences feeling less scary. How much consideration went into that balance for RE4?
“When reworking elements, we basically adhered to the original game’s ideas and pacing, so we feel the balance between horror and action is roughly the same. That said, we have implemented more modern gaming elements to suit the modern gamer. Some sections are even scarier than in the original, and the overall gameplay has been expanded upon, too.”
Q: Watching Leon suplex an enemy is both gleeful but also somewhat comical. Was there ever any consideration to remove this kind of animation for being a bit too silly or was it always very important to maintain that level of campy fun?
“Even though Leon is six years older and more experienced from his time in Resident Evil 2, we wanted to maintain the charisma he had in the original game. We also feel to truly enjoy survival horror, you need some more lighthearted elements to spice things up. So, to answer your question more directly, no, we never considered removing those animations.”
Q: We know about the dog at the start and how it’s changed from the original to now. Will there be other subtle narrative changes in store that we should keep an eye out for? How important was that for you in crafting this remake?
“If we tell you some of the changes now, it’ll spoil the fun of finding out on your own! Our team put a lot of love and care into adding fun new things for fans of the original game to notice. The game’s almost out, so we hope players are excited to dive in and see what’s waiting for them!”
Thank you to Resident Evil 4 Director Ampo Yasuhiro and Producer Hirabayashi Yoshiaki from Capcom for answering our questions. Resident Evil 4 is set to release March 24th for PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S. Are you excited to return back to this iconic game?