Game

Resident Evil 2 revisited: The director of the 2019 remake reflects on the pervasive power of the 1998 original

Sometimes players easily fall into the trap of believing that a sequel is an easy-to-make game, which is far from the truth. If your game is successful enough to warrant a follow-up, you need to pinpoint why it happened in the first place, and then maintain that magic while providing enough new content and improvements to justify the cost of potential players. Many have succeeded in this regard, but there are many sequels that have disappointed players and are forgotten. Every Tomb Raider 2 has a Heart Of Alien, every F-Zero X has a Sparkster.

Read more great retro features in Retro Gamer Magazine.

Resident Evil 2 was actually my first Resident Evil game, so I didn’t have a baseline for the original game set in a mansion compared to the town in Resident Evil 2,” explains the Resident Evil veteran. But his first work on the series was It’s a remake of the original game, so it’s a good description of how the games are different: “When you later played Resident Evil, the atmosphere and claustrophobic standalone setting of Resident Evil and the different settings of each game like RE2’s bigger drama and entertainment. I felt it brought these different strengths,” he continued.

right of withdrawal

Resident Evil was pretty quiet after the action-packed intro FMV, so it’s easy to see what he means. The designers gradually increased the tension by introducing the missing teammates, blood, and the first zombie. It’s a shocking moment that only happens after a few screens into the game. The intro to Resident Evil 2 was also explosive. That’s because the two protagonists are literally separated by an explosion caused by a zombieized truck driver. However, as soon as the game begins, they are thrown into the streets of Raccoon City and surrounded by carnivorous undead.

“I think Resident Evil built suspense using a setting that was locked in one place as the nature of the situation gradually revealed,” says Hirabayashi. “But when it came time to do a sequel, it was an integral part of the story, and it would have seemed more effective to immediately inform players just how much bigger the situation was.” The story move to Raccoon City has been allowed for developers. To instantly convey the difference between the relatively limited zombie outbreak of the first game and the complete catastrophe of the sequel.

This story helps create unique game locations even if certain practical facilities are lacking. A conscious decision to model the RPD on something other than a modern police station allowed the setting artists to create a place that serves multiple purposes. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s a police headquarters, but it can potentially accommodate a curiosity not found in a purpose built station. Gothic architecture is both awe-inspiring and menacing. Before you even realize you’re crawling with the dead. And, as Hirabayashi pointed out, the mere thought of a zombie outbreak in a police station is psychologically disturbing. “I can’t talk about the original development process. Don’t think that I’m speaking on behalf of the original developer! – but I think the police department contrasts well with the dangers of the situation the characters are in,” said Hirabayashi. “Feeling a dangerous place because it has to be a safe place is a very interesting subject.”

Yoshiaki Hirabayashi

It’s also worth noting that the background of Resident Evil 2 represents a significant improvement over the background of the original game. As before, these were pre-rendered to provide the highest possible visual quality, but this time the scene was much more complex. This is evident in the first scene, where the streets are littered with crashed cars and broken glass and the alleys are full of garbage. It is covered in graffiti and shows signs of a military containment operation. Throughout the game there is more detail in each scene compared to the wallpaper and décor of the original mansion. The game also provided CGI sequences for FMV throughout the game, removing the live-action elements of the original.

But it’s not just the pre-rendered graphics that’s been a major upgrade. The character models received a higher number of polygons, and the new enemy designs are some of the most iconic we’ll see in the series. One of the scariest ones is the Licker. Lickers are vicious nightmares with their brains and muscles exposed and a distinctive long tongue used to attack players. Why can’t she forget her?

“Zombies are a visually normal extension of human beings, but Lickers take the insides of the human body that we all know is inside us, but we rarely see directly. [it] In contrast to the human-looking zombies, they expose them in a wonderful and shocking way. “His ability to move up and down walls and ceilings flexibly also contrasts well with the zombies.” In fact, the intro of this creature is one of the most memorable moments in the game. Street. Turn the corner and you’ll see blood dripping from the ceiling before a cutscene that reveals Licker’s eerie details.

transform a masterpiece

As with its predecessor, Resident Evil 2 allowed you to choose a male or female protagonist, but unlike the characters in the previous game, these weren’t highly combat-trained special agents, which made it easier for them to relate. Although a trained police officer with his own gun, Leon Kennedy was a freshman who arrived on his first day of employment and found a situation that exceeded all expectations.

“Leon is a charming character in terms of personality and looks, and I think a lot of people have appeared in their first Resident Evil game. That way you can feel a special bond with him,” said Hirabayashi. Start developing the game again. Leon’s character design and background hasn’t changed much – the Capcom staff seems to have known he was with him in the quest for a winner – so it’s no surprise he’s returned to games like RE4 and RE6.

The other protagonist was Claire Redfield, whose character evolved from the original Elza Walker concept. She retains most of the backstory and personality traits of the original design, including her love for motorcycles and student status, but has been rewritten as Chris Redfield’s sister to better connect the game to the overall Resident Evil storyline. Although she is the series’ first civilian protagonist, she is still a tough and capable warrior. She protects Sherry Birkin, the daughter of the game’s fearsome mutant adversary.

“Family is one of the most important subjects in a story, so having children’s characters really helps tell a story like this,” says Hirabayashi. In fact, one of the main fears of zombie horror is watching your loved ones not only get killed, but also turn their backs on you. And the fact that William Birkin is keeping himself strong enough to pursue his daughter tenaciously makes him all the more terrifying. Oddly enough, Sherry is unarmed, but she’s small and fast enough to dodge most of her enemies she’ll face.

One of the biggest innovations in the game design of Resident Evil 2 was the “story-zapping” system. “Resident Evil allows you to choose between two characters, giving you different perspectives on the story. I think the team wanted to go further than Resident Evil by combining the story and gameplay system to create a zapping system,” said Hirabayash. Each character can play through A and B scenarios, with a car accident at the start of the game. It could go differently and investigate what would have happened if the character had been stranded on the other side of the truck, but it’s more than just a storytelling trick: the actions you take in Scenario A affect other characters’ subsequent sessions in Scenario B. For example A-Scenario characters can make things harder for B-Scenario characters by taking key items like submachine guns, or make things easier by destroying certain unique enemies that don’t appear later.

This is certainly revolutionary, but as Hirabayash said, “Developing a game around a feature like this is definitely a daunting challenge.” It’s kind of like using chip-generated music instead of a CD soundtrack (you won’t notice a difference unless you tell me, the quality is great).

When Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998, it was praised by critics. The game has a 96% rating from Alan Rausch on Play, who praised the game for its “various and exciting” location and set pieces. He also compared his relationship with the original to the movie Aliens. “Adventure has evolved from tense and wild origins to uncompromising behavior.”

In CVG’s 5/5 review, Steve Key noted that “our gaming online forum pages have mixed views on RE2, with them complaining that RE2 is too short”, but citing the replay value the two characters offer and provide for her. I did not agree with that evaluation. A and B scenarios. Edge’s review gave the game a 9/10, with particular praise for the advancements in storytelling. The magazine rated it “a video game more cinematic than almost anything tried” and “the sequel has a screenplay.” It’s not exactly Shakespeare’s work, but it’s not far from the X-Files.” The official UK PlayStation Magazine also gave the game a 9/10 rating.

successful attempt

Years later, Resident Evil 2 stands the test of time. Retro Gamer readers voted the game as the largest PlayStation game in their Top 25 list of issue 127, and also ranked #1 on 150 of the 150 Greatest Games of All Time. The game also has a huge legacy. “It has inspired the entire series since it came out, and of course is the main source of all inspiration for reinventing Resident Evil 2! We want to create a modern game system that perfectly fits the core elements of the original game, which we want to keep as intact as possible. We’re trying to design,” said Hirabayash.

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Resident Evil 2 revisited: The director of the 2019 remake reflects on the pervasive power of the 1998 original

Sometimes, it’s easy for players to fall into the trap of thinking that sequels are easy games to make – and that’s far from the truth. If your game is successful enough to warrant a follow-up, you have to identify exactly why that happened in the first place, then keep that magic while delivering enough new content and improvements to justify the spend to prospective players. And while many were successful in that regard, there are plenty of sequels that have disappointed players and faded into obscurity – for every Tomb Raider 2, there’s a Heart Of The Alien, and for every F-Zero X, there’s a Sparkster. 
Read more great retro features in Retro Gamer magazine

Resident Evil 2 was actually my first Resident Evil game, so at the time I didn’t have any reference point of the original game being set in a mansion compared to Resident Evil 2’s city,” explains the Resident Evil veteran. However, his first work in the series was on the remake of the original game, so he’s well-placed to explain how the games contrast with one another. “When I subsequently played Resident Evil, I thought the different settings brought out different strengths in each game – the atmosphere and claustrophobic single location of Resident Evil, and the larger-scale drama and entertainment of RE2,” he continues.
Resi-recstion
It’s easy to see his point, as Resident Evil was fairly sedate after its action-packed introductory FMV. The designers gradually ramped up the tension by introducing a missing team member, blood and then the first zombie – a shocking moment that doesn’t come until a few screens into the game. Resident Evil 2’s introduction was also explosive – quite literally, as the two protagonists are separated by a blast caused by a zombified truck driver. But once the game begins, they’re dropped straight into the streets of Raccoon City and surrounded by the flesh-munching undead. 
“I think that Resident Evil used its setting of being trapped in a single location to build up tension as the nature of the situation was revealed gradually,” says Hirabayashi. “But when it came time to make the sequel, that was an established part of the story and it was probably seen as more effective to immediately message to the player just how much bigger in scale the situation is.” Moving the action to Raccoon City allowed the developers to instantly convey the difference between the first game’s relatively contained zombie outbreak and the complete catastrophe of the sequel.

This story helps to make a unique gaming location, albeit one lacking in certain convenient facilities. By choosing to deliberately fashion the RPD after something other than a modern police station, the background artists were able to create a location that serves a number of purposes. It can believably be seen as a police HQ, but could conceivably house oddities that wouldn’t be found in a purpose-built station. Its Gothic architecture is simultaneously striking and intimidating – even before you realise that it’s also crawling with the living dead. And as Hirabayashi notes, the very idea of a zombie outbreak in a police station is psychologically jarring. “I can’t speak to the original development process – please don’t think I speak on behalf of the original developers! – but my opinion is that a police station is a good contrast with the danger of the situation the characters find themselves in,” says Hirabayashi. “It should be a safe place, so finding it to be such a dangerous place is a very interesting motif.” 

Yoshiaki Hirabayashi

It’s also worth noting that Resident Evil 2’s backgrounds were a significant step forward from those of the original game. As before, these were pre-rendered to provide the maximum possible visual quality, but this time the scene complexity was far greater – evident from the very first scenes, where the streets are strewn with crashed cars and broken glass, alleyways are piled with rubbish and covered in graffiti, and remnants of military blockade operations are visible. Throughout the game there’s more detail in every scene, compared to the wallpaper and indoor decorations of the original mansion. The game also incorporated CGI sequences for FMV throughout the game, ditching the live action elements of the original. 
But it wasn’t just the pre-rendered visuals that got a major upgrade. Character models received an increased polygon count, and the new enemy designs are amongst the most iconic to be seen in the series. One of the most terrifying is the Licker – a blind, skittering nightmare with an exposed brain and visible musculature, with a signature long tongue that is used to attack players. What is it that makes them so memorable? 
“Zombies are, visually speaking, an extension of normal humans, but the Lickers takes the internals of the human body, which we all know we have inside us but rarely, if ever, see for ourselves; and [it] lays them bare in a way that’s a great, shocking contrast with the more human-looking zombies,” says Hirabayashi. “Its ability to climb over walls and ceilings fluidly also contrasts well with the zombies.” Indeed, the creature’s intro is one of the most memorable moments of the game – as you wander through a corridor in the police station, you can see something darting in the distance. You round a corner and see blood dripping from the ceiling, before a cutscene plays and shows you the Licker in full, gruesome detail. 
Mutating a masterpiece

Like its predecessor, Resident Evil 2 offered the choice of a male or female protagonist – but unlike the characters of the prior game, these weren’t special operatives with heaps of combat training, making them somewhat easier to relate to. Though he was a trained police officer with his own weapon, Leon Kennedy was a rookie, arriving for his first day on the job to find a situation beyond all expectations. 
“Leon is an appealing character in terms of his personality and looks, and also I think he’s been in games which may have been many people’s first Resident Evil games. So they may feel a special connection to him in that sense,” says Hirabayashi. Indeed, even when the development of the game was restarted, Leon’s character design and backstory were changed very little. It seems like Capcom’s staff knew they were onto a winner with him, so it’s no surprise that he has returned in games such as RE4 and RE6. 

The other main character was Claire Redfield, whose character was evolved from the original Elza Walker concept. She retains most of the backstory and personality traits of the original design, including her love of motorbikes and status as a student, but was rewritten as being the younger sister of Chris Redfi eld in order to better tie the game into the overall Resident Evil story. She’s the first civilian protagonist in the series, but remains a tough and capable fighter. She finds herself herself protecting Sherry Birkin, the daughter of the game’s hideously mutated antagonist. 
“Family is one of the most important themes in the story, so having a child character really adds to the ability to tell a story like that,” notes Hirabayashi. Indeed, one of the primary fears of zombie horror is seeing your loved ones not only killed, but turned against you – and the fact that William Birkin retains just enough of himself to doggedly pursue his daughter makes him that much scarier. Uniquely, Sherry is unarmed but is small and quick enough to dart around most of the enemies she’ll encounter. 

One of the biggest game design innovations in Resident Evil 2 was a ‘story zapping’ system. “Resident Evil let you choose from two characters to play as, giving you multiple perspectives on the story. I imagine the team wanted to go even further than Resident Evil did in mixing the story and gameplay system together to create the zapping system,” says Hirabayashi. Each character could play through A and B scenarios, examining what would have happened if the car crash at the beginning of the game had turned out differently, stranding the characters on the other side of the truck. But it’s more than just a storytelling trick – the actions you take in the A scenario affect subsequent sessions in the other character’s B scenario. For example, the A scenario character can make things harder for the B scenario character by taking key items like the submachine gun, or make things easier by destroying certain unique enemies that won’t appear later. 
This is certainly innovative, though as Hirabayashi notes, “It’s definitely a tough challenge to design a game around such a feature.” The increased scope of the game meant that two discs were needed to deliver the full game, even with space-saving measures such as the use of chip-generated music rather than a CD soundtrack (not that you’d notice the difference if you weren’t told – the quality is superb). 
When Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998, it drew widespread critical acclaim. The game was awarded 96% by Play’s Alan Rausch, who praised the game for its “varied and exciting” locations as well as its setpieces. He also compared its relationship to the original with that of the movie Aliens – “the adventure has progressed from tense, gritty origins to all-out action.” 
In CVG’s 5/5 review, Steve Key noted that “Our forum page on Game Online has differing views on RE2, many complaining that it’s too short,” but disagreed with that assessment, noting the replay value offered by the two characters and their A and B scenarios. Edge’s review scored the game 9/10, with particular praise given to its advances in plot delivery – the magazine felt that it was “a video game more akin to a movie than almost anything else that’s been attempted”, and that “the sequel has a script that – while not exactly Shakespeare – isn’t far short of something like the X-Files.” The Official UK PlayStation Magazine also scored the game 9/10. 

A successful experiment
All these years later, Resident Evil 2 stands the test of time. Readers of Retro Gamer voted it the greatest PlayStation game in issue 127’s top 25 list, and they also placed it highly in issue 150’s countdown of the top 150 games of all time. The game has an enormous legacy, too. “It has been an inspiration for the entire series ever since it came out, and of course, for the reimagined Resident Evil 2, it’s the main source of all our inspiration! What we are trying to do is design a modern game system which matches up perfectly with the key pieces of the original game which we want to try to keep intact as much as possible,” says Hirabayashi. 

Save up to 57% on a Retro Gamer magazine subscription bundle and have the best retro gaming features and interviews delivered to your door each month

#Resident #Evil #revisited #director #remake #reflects #pervasive #power #original

Resident Evil 2 revisited: The director of the 2019 remake reflects on the pervasive power of the 1998 original

Sometimes, it’s easy for players to fall into the trap of thinking that sequels are easy games to make – and that’s far from the truth. If your game is successful enough to warrant a follow-up, you have to identify exactly why that happened in the first place, then keep that magic while delivering enough new content and improvements to justify the spend to prospective players. And while many were successful in that regard, there are plenty of sequels that have disappointed players and faded into obscurity – for every Tomb Raider 2, there’s a Heart Of The Alien, and for every F-Zero X, there’s a Sparkster. 
Read more great retro features in Retro Gamer magazine

Resident Evil 2 was actually my first Resident Evil game, so at the time I didn’t have any reference point of the original game being set in a mansion compared to Resident Evil 2’s city,” explains the Resident Evil veteran. However, his first work in the series was on the remake of the original game, so he’s well-placed to explain how the games contrast with one another. “When I subsequently played Resident Evil, I thought the different settings brought out different strengths in each game – the atmosphere and claustrophobic single location of Resident Evil, and the larger-scale drama and entertainment of RE2,” he continues.
Resi-recstion
It’s easy to see his point, as Resident Evil was fairly sedate after its action-packed introductory FMV. The designers gradually ramped up the tension by introducing a missing team member, blood and then the first zombie – a shocking moment that doesn’t come until a few screens into the game. Resident Evil 2’s introduction was also explosive – quite literally, as the two protagonists are separated by a blast caused by a zombified truck driver. But once the game begins, they’re dropped straight into the streets of Raccoon City and surrounded by the flesh-munching undead. 
“I think that Resident Evil used its setting of being trapped in a single location to build up tension as the nature of the situation was revealed gradually,” says Hirabayashi. “But when it came time to make the sequel, that was an established part of the story and it was probably seen as more effective to immediately message to the player just how much bigger in scale the situation is.” Moving the action to Raccoon City allowed the developers to instantly convey the difference between the first game’s relatively contained zombie outbreak and the complete catastrophe of the sequel.

This story helps to make a unique gaming location, albeit one lacking in certain convenient facilities. By choosing to deliberately fashion the RPD after something other than a modern police station, the background artists were able to create a location that serves a number of purposes. It can believably be seen as a police HQ, but could conceivably house oddities that wouldn’t be found in a purpose-built station. Its Gothic architecture is simultaneously striking and intimidating – even before you realise that it’s also crawling with the living dead. And as Hirabayashi notes, the very idea of a zombie outbreak in a police station is psychologically jarring. “I can’t speak to the original development process – please don’t think I speak on behalf of the original developers! – but my opinion is that a police station is a good contrast with the danger of the situation the characters find themselves in,” says Hirabayashi. “It should be a safe place, so finding it to be such a dangerous place is a very interesting motif.” 

Yoshiaki Hirabayashi

It’s also worth noting that Resident Evil 2’s backgrounds were a significant step forward from those of the original game. As before, these were pre-rendered to provide the maximum possible visual quality, but this time the scene complexity was far greater – evident from the very first scenes, where the streets are strewn with crashed cars and broken glass, alleyways are piled with rubbish and covered in graffiti, and remnants of military blockade operations are visible. Throughout the game there’s more detail in every scene, compared to the wallpaper and indoor decorations of the original mansion. The game also incorporated CGI sequences for FMV throughout the game, ditching the live action elements of the original. 
But it wasn’t just the pre-rendered visuals that got a major upgrade. Character models received an increased polygon count, and the new enemy designs are amongst the most iconic to be seen in the series. One of the most terrifying is the Licker – a blind, skittering nightmare with an exposed brain and visible musculature, with a signature long tongue that is used to attack players. What is it that makes them so memorable? 
“Zombies are, visually speaking, an extension of normal humans, but the Lickers takes the internals of the human body, which we all know we have inside us but rarely, if ever, see for ourselves; and [it] lays them bare in a way that’s a great, shocking contrast with the more human-looking zombies,” says Hirabayashi. “Its ability to climb over walls and ceilings fluidly also contrasts well with the zombies.” Indeed, the creature’s intro is one of the most memorable moments of the game – as you wander through a corridor in the police station, you can see something darting in the distance. You round a corner and see blood dripping from the ceiling, before a cutscene plays and shows you the Licker in full, gruesome detail. 
Mutating a masterpiece

Like its predecessor, Resident Evil 2 offered the choice of a male or female protagonist – but unlike the characters of the prior game, these weren’t special operatives with heaps of combat training, making them somewhat easier to relate to. Though he was a trained police officer with his own weapon, Leon Kennedy was a rookie, arriving for his first day on the job to find a situation beyond all expectations. 
“Leon is an appealing character in terms of his personality and looks, and also I think he’s been in games which may have been many people’s first Resident Evil games. So they may feel a special connection to him in that sense,” says Hirabayashi. Indeed, even when the development of the game was restarted, Leon’s character design and backstory were changed very little. It seems like Capcom’s staff knew they were onto a winner with him, so it’s no surprise that he has returned in games such as RE4 and RE6. 

The other main character was Claire Redfield, whose character was evolved from the original Elza Walker concept. She retains most of the backstory and personality traits of the original design, including her love of motorbikes and status as a student, but was rewritten as being the younger sister of Chris Redfi eld in order to better tie the game into the overall Resident Evil story. She’s the first civilian protagonist in the series, but remains a tough and capable fighter. She finds herself herself protecting Sherry Birkin, the daughter of the game’s hideously mutated antagonist. 
“Family is one of the most important themes in the story, so having a child character really adds to the ability to tell a story like that,” notes Hirabayashi. Indeed, one of the primary fears of zombie horror is seeing your loved ones not only killed, but turned against you – and the fact that William Birkin retains just enough of himself to doggedly pursue his daughter makes him that much scarier. Uniquely, Sherry is unarmed but is small and quick enough to dart around most of the enemies she’ll encounter. 

One of the biggest game design innovations in Resident Evil 2 was a ‘story zapping’ system. “Resident Evil let you choose from two characters to play as, giving you multiple perspectives on the story. I imagine the team wanted to go even further than Resident Evil did in mixing the story and gameplay system together to create the zapping system,” says Hirabayashi. Each character could play through A and B scenarios, examining what would have happened if the car crash at the beginning of the game had turned out differently, stranding the characters on the other side of the truck. But it’s more than just a storytelling trick – the actions you take in the A scenario affect subsequent sessions in the other character’s B scenario. For example, the A scenario character can make things harder for the B scenario character by taking key items like the submachine gun, or make things easier by destroying certain unique enemies that won’t appear later. 
This is certainly innovative, though as Hirabayashi notes, “It’s definitely a tough challenge to design a game around such a feature.” The increased scope of the game meant that two discs were needed to deliver the full game, even with space-saving measures such as the use of chip-generated music rather than a CD soundtrack (not that you’d notice the difference if you weren’t told – the quality is superb). 
When Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998, it drew widespread critical acclaim. The game was awarded 96% by Play’s Alan Rausch, who praised the game for its “varied and exciting” locations as well as its setpieces. He also compared its relationship to the original with that of the movie Aliens – “the adventure has progressed from tense, gritty origins to all-out action.” 
In CVG’s 5/5 review, Steve Key noted that “Our forum page on Game Online has differing views on RE2, many complaining that it’s too short,” but disagreed with that assessment, noting the replay value offered by the two characters and their A and B scenarios. Edge’s review scored the game 9/10, with particular praise given to its advances in plot delivery – the magazine felt that it was “a video game more akin to a movie than almost anything else that’s been attempted”, and that “the sequel has a script that – while not exactly Shakespeare – isn’t far short of something like the X-Files.” The Official UK PlayStation Magazine also scored the game 9/10. 

A successful experiment
All these years later, Resident Evil 2 stands the test of time. Readers of Retro Gamer voted it the greatest PlayStation game in issue 127’s top 25 list, and they also placed it highly in issue 150’s countdown of the top 150 games of all time. The game has an enormous legacy, too. “It has been an inspiration for the entire series ever since it came out, and of course, for the reimagined Resident Evil 2, it’s the main source of all our inspiration! What we are trying to do is design a modern game system which matches up perfectly with the key pieces of the original game which we want to try to keep intact as much as possible,” says Hirabayashi. 

Save up to 57% on a Retro Gamer magazine subscription bundle and have the best retro gaming features and interviews delivered to your door each month

#Resident #Evil #revisited #director #remake #reflects #pervasive #power #original


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