Between 1996 to 1998, the Capcom team comprising of producer Shinji Mikami, director Hideki Kamiya, and 50 others alongside professional scriptwriter Noboru Sugimura created a sequel to Resident Evil/Biohazard. Against all odds like a development overhaul, the game managed to supercede the original because it surpasses its ambitions.
Thanks to Mikami, the original plans for an RE 1.5 was overhauled to a two character-focused survival horror game. With Kamiya’s vision, the game looked, sounded, and felt like a Hollywood horror masterpiece in its PS1 glory. And with Sugimura’s writing talent, the plot beats come together as RE2 made a ton of references and connections to the first game and also opened the path for a lucrative Capcom franchise.
Yet at the same time, we felt that Resident Evil 2 was the perfect sequel was because of its development kerfuffles, technical constraints of its platform, and do-or-die attitude of its creators. Its design, its scares, its batshit insane climax, and its patented “Zap” system where you play as both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield in different intervals to see both the A and B sides of the overarching story.
Which begs the question: what can the Resident Evil 2 remake add to amplify its source material apart from pretty graphics and loads of shadows & muted palettes? Simple: the Resident Evil 4 camera system and the Resident Evil 7 first-person perspective shift.
The RE4 controls and perspective make sure that a trained combatant like Leon can get around in a scuffle but also get that sense of dread since you’re not that agile. At the same time, a first-person perspective adds a sense of claustrophobia and vulnerableness when navigating the giant-as-heck Raccoon City. Capcom should pick between the two while also giving them modern controls so that they feel like they aren’t too frustrated.
At the same time, ramp up the challenge and the infected/zombie count. Make sure that when a player comes across the dreaded Licker(s) that they’re forced to run probably due to low health or low ammo count. The original RE2 gave you enough options to fight off certain threats but you still had to play it smart and be careful against the tougher and more limber foes. The remake should capitalize on that while taking advantage of its new colour scheme and lighting techniques.
We don’t know much about what’s going on with the remake and whether it will deviate from the source material or even do some retconning. All we know is that with a city setting this time around, and an underground lab, the scares and the zombie horrors have to be magnified. Capcom might be shooting themselves in the foot in remaking this classic, but this is also their time to shine and prove that they still can make a zombie dog pull off new tricks.
Also, we hope whoever this guy is can shake things up in this Resident Evil. The remake will be out 25 January for PS4.