The Resident Evil 2 remake has finally been revealed at E3 and people couldn’t be happier to see fan favourites Leon S Kennedy and Claire Redfield back in action in one of the best survival horror games of all time.
I’ll admit I was personally worried about this game after Resident Evil VII released last year and for good reason, with the drastic move to first person and things within the game not feeling like a classic Resident Evil game, although better then the stuff we got in Resident Evil 6, I was worried the game would impact the development of the remake. Thankfully after seeing Resident Evil 2 in action it’s clear that this isn’t the case and the game looks like a true evolution of the franchise completely updated for 2018, or 2019 when the game finally releases on January the 25th next year. This has shown me something I already knew and I would personally argue to the high heavens about when it came to Resident Evil VII, that Capcom are quite capable of making a Resident Evil game in this day and age which feels like a true sequel to the old classic games we all know and love. You might think I’m hoping the success of the Resident Evil 2 remake early next year will impact the development of Resident Evil VIII so they can ditch first person and make a true looking sequel, however at this point it’s not that easy.
It’s clear that the success of Resident Evil VII has split the fan base and even brought in new fans that never liked what Resident Evil was before the change in perspective. At this point, despite my own personal feelings on Resident Evil VII, it would be selfish of me to want changes that could possibly upset new fans of the franchise. Ultimately it seems like we are at a stalemate and Capcom won’t be able to please everyone, where the selfish part of me would just like them to take the new first person changes and apply them into another horror IP, I mean old fans were here first right? The more open minded part of me would like them to at least give players the choice between the two perspectives. It’s a hard choice at the end of the day and we all know that when a developer tries to please both audiences it can go horribly wrong resulting in everyone being disappointed.
So what can Capcom do? It seems to me that the answer is right in the front of them and is something they have already been working towards, a concept 16 years in the making, going back to the first Resident Evil Remake released in 2002. Back then the remake of Resident Evil didn’t just give the game a new lick of paint or improved on little tweaks to make the game run better, Capcom served up an expanded version of the original game. New areas were added, changed puzzles to keep the game fresh and even an expanded upon lore which brought in Lisa Trevor, a new enemy within the game, along with back stories on her father’s involvement with the mansions construction. Whether you see it or not Capcom essentially created a new timeline or altered Universe parallel to the original games and with the remake to Resident Evil 2 it seems they’ll be continuing on from that.
There’s never been full confirmation by Capcom that the games set after the remakes were based on their timeline; we all just assume that games like Resident Evil 4 or 5 for example follow on from the original games. The Leon S Kennedy in Resident Evil 4 is the same version we saw in the original Resident Evil 2 or the Chris Redfield from Resident Evil 5 is the same character from the original Resident Evil, not the remakes. This opens up the possibility that Capcom can officially separate the two timelines where the remake versions can be taken in a new direction if they choose to do so and in turn this could actually be used to please both audiences. The original timeline could continue to go first person with Resident Evil VIII while the remake timeline can stick to the old classic, third person Resident Evil formula cherished by older fans.
Think about it for a minute, with the first remake it was self contained, the changes didn’t affect anything else found in the original Resident Evil 2 and so on because it was self contained within the mansion but with the upcoming changes found in the Resident Evil 2 remake they could end up contradicting things we saw in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis considering they both take place in Raccoon City during the same time frame. When Capcom finally remake Resident Evil 3, and they will let’s be honest, they will most likely correct inconsistencies they made during the Resident Evil 2 remake and I’m sure there will be moments during Resident Evil 2 where we’ll scratch our heads and think things like “but this didn’t happen in Resident Evil 3” or “I wonder why Jill and Carlos didn’t come across this?” but it won’t matter once the Resident Evil 3 remake comes out as Capcom will have fixed these issues to make Resident Evil 3 fall into the altered story created in the Resident Evil 2 remake.
So where does this leave us in the future? Will Leon still end up in a rural part of Spain to save the President’s daughter while fighting off cultists that are infected by a mind controlling parasite? Honestly who knows but if Capcom want to successfully utilise the new Universe they’ve created to its full potential then the best thing they can do is to fix any mistakes that sent the series down into its downfall. Now don’t get me wrong Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games I’ve played and is fantastic addition to the franchise but the introduction of the Las Plagas did not help the future of the series as they moved further away from normal Zombies to fully aware enemies that could use guns. Personally if it was up to me I would do Code Veronica for Resident Evil 4 but instead of Leon telling Chris where his sister is to save her Leon decides to do it himself. It would be a pretty good move for the future of the series as the Las Plagas would have been dropped, the third person survival horror experience would still intact and the best thing of all that Wesker would still be alive and didn’t die in a stupid volcano while steroid Chris punches boulders. Not to mention Jill or the original surviving STARS not having a part in Weskers death but instead a new character like Sheva who has no history with him. I could go on about Resident Evil 5s problems but that’s a story for another day.
So in conclusion to this blog post, if Capcom want to be smart about this and want to please both audiences they have amassed over the year’s then maybe making the Resident Evil remake games a separate Universe from the originals is not a bad idea. Both third person and first person Resident Evil fans could then be pleased in the upcoming years and everyone will then have something to look forward to. It’s a great opportunity and it would be a sad site to see Capcom not pick up on it.