Capcom has released a new video on YouTube that reveals some of the internal struggles and issues that the developer had to face and overcome while making Resident Evil Village.
The game launched for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC earlier this month. It was a massive success, selling over three million units to date, probably because of how good the game turned out to be (check out our review of the game here).
The video features several members of the game’s development and QA teams speaking about how difficult it was to work on the game during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. What’s interesting is that they had to make a pretty significant change to the game’s core gameplay.
According to Resident Evil Village director Morimasa Sato, an earlier version/build of the game was originally harder, featuring more aggressive enemies which would swarm players with overwhelming numbers. However, this made the game unnecessarily more frustrating and not necessarily scarier.
“The original concept for Resident Evil Village was heavily based on “a struggle to survive”.
How much should we try to frighten players?
How aggressive and terrifying should enemies be?
We put a lot of work into these things.
At one point in development, we conducted a focus test with a group of players.
The enemies were very aggressive, but the players found that they didn’t need to think that hard while playing because of this.
In an attempt to understand what to fix, we also shared what we discovered with QA.”
QA Manager Shutaro Kobayashi said:
“I remember having a really strong negative reaction.
The game’s content was completely divorced from what the development team thought they had made.
The playtesters’ first impressions of Resident Evil Village were:
There are too many enemies, and they’re overly aggressive.
Plus, there isn’t enough ammo.
This made the combat uninteresting.
This also made the combat frustrating and boring, and incredibly tiring to play.”
How did they fix the game into what it is now?
Well, Sato and the rest of the development team had a solution.
“The players shouldn’t mindlessly react to the game but engage the game and even second guess themselves, then finally overcome their fears and the obstacles in front of them.
These points feed into that “struggle to survive”.
Then, it becomes a matter of how players will react to the changes.
How much can the narrative and level design create these waves of emotion?
We struggle a lot trying to tackle these concepts.
“Give them space.”
Rather than making the players panic by just throwing aggressive monsters at them, we make them paranoid about if and how they’re going to be attacked, and worry about where the next enemy will be.
Then, when an enemy appears, it’s relentless.
We consciously focused on improving the pacing.
I think that’s when it started to click.”
You can check out the full 7-minute video below: