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Resident Evil 2 Turns 1: Capcom Celebrates the Remake’s First Anniversary

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Resident Evil 2 Turns 1: Capcom Celebrates the Remake’s First Anniversary

As the acclaimed survival horror marks its one year anniversary, Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, Director Kazunori Kadoi and more share their thoughts on key moments of development.

One year ago, Capcom resurrected its survival horror opus, Resident Evil 2, to terrify a whole new generation. A complete rebuild of the PSone classic, Remake managed to hit the iconic highs of the original, introduce fresh surprises and give us one of the most memorable bogeymen of the PS4 era in the form of Mr. X.

While remakes are no longer a rarity, fan furor behind this particular project — before the first trailer debuted and even before it was even officially announced by the studio — underscored how highly regarded the 1998 release was, and still is. Any trepidation to the gameplay changes being wrought by the developer dissipated as soon as players took their first few steps into a remodelled yet eerily familiar RPD Police Station.

To mark the game’s one year anniversary, we asked key members of its development staff — Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, Director Kazunori Kadoi, Art Director Satoshi Takamatsu and Composer Shusaku Uchiyama — to recollect key moments from its development. Below are their personal accounts and memories, starting with the original pitch and finishing with the game’s launch in 2019. Enjoy.

The story behind the original pitch

Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi: “We’ve spoken about this a lot since the game was announced, but we’ve always had many fans telling us they want us to remake Resident Evil 2. We considered it several times over the years, but it’s a tough proposition to make a great remake out of this classic game, and we never got it off the ground.

Finally, after some years, the timing was right and we talked about remaking RE2 again, and this time we were able to get the go-ahead to proceed with development. Some fans may remember that as soon as we did this, we did our “We Do It” announcement on social media in August 2015, because we were so excited to be able to confirm the game was in the works. To the team, which was still relatively small back then, this felt like the real start of the hard work!”

The moment when the team realized the new design would work

Director Kazunori Kadoi: For me, I think it was when we first got the visuals and gameplay functions of the zombies all working in tandem and were able to playtest shooting them, taking off limbs with well-placed shots and so on. It felt great and it didn’t get boring no matter how much you did it, and that made me feel like this game really had something special.

The team’s biggest challenge

Director Kazunori Kadoi: Well, since it’s a remake and the original is a game which already has many, many fans around the world, the biggest challenge was really in not betraying the expectations of those fans while also keeping the remake fresh. Balancing these aspects was a tough juggling act during development and required many tough decisions.

Art Director Satoshi Takamatsu on redesigning RE2’s iconic characters

Leon

It was important to retain the look Leon had in the original, emphasizing the fact that, as this is his first appearance in the series chronologically, he’s very much a “greenhorn” rookie. I also wanted to bring a more realistic touch to his police officer’s outfit and accessories — no more shoulder pads! We actually worked with a military gear manufacturer to this end.

Claire

As with Leon, I felt that we had to bring a balance of respecting her original design while bringing the realism that is expected of a modern title. Claire likes motorbikes and is very active, so I wanted to redesign her in a way that reflected her personality and showed that she is an attractive, strong person. She has her iconic red biker jacket which of course had to stay, but we had the design on the back redone from scratch by our other art director, a British guy called Gez Fry.

Ada

Ada’s a character who means a lot to both the fans and the development team, and she was really tough to design for this remake. We had so many iterations of her costume, and it took over six months of auditions before we settled on her face model. After all that work, I was glad to see that the fans seemed to like her new look! Getting positive feedback makes the effort worth it.

Sherry

I approached the redesign of Sherry by thinking that she should not just be a stock “cute little girl” character, but have some depth to her and make her a character that you could get attached to, and who you want to protect. For Sherry, Claire and Ada, the art director from Resident Evil 7, Tomonori Takano, joined the team and helped us.

Tyrant

In the original Resident Evil 2, the Tyrant is dropped in from a helicopter, but in the new game we approached his design based on his original concept: an infiltrator who will relentlessly pursue his target until he can exterminate them. This is why he hides his face with a hat, although I guess he hasn’t been totally successful in doing so… (laughs) It’s been great to see how scary players found him and how much they love him as a character.

The game’s new score and its sound design

Composer Shusaku Uchiyama: The issue of how to create sound design and music that would both be modern and fitting for a new game in 2019, and also bring to mind the sound of a game released 20 years ago, was a tough one, but it was also a fun and rewarding experience to tackle that challenge together as a team.

Watching fan reaction to the game’s reveal

Resident Evil 2 Turns 1: Capcom Celebrates the Remake’s First Anniversary

Director Kazunori Kadoi: The whole development team got together in our office to watch the E3 announcement in real time. We didn’t think that a game which is “just” a remake would garner such a massive reaction, so we were surprised and delighted to see the response. Not only that but once reactions to the gameplay on the E3 booth started to hit, we saw that people loved it, and we even got some show awards! This was both the highest praise for me as a director, and also somehow a kind of additional pressure for the remaining months of the project (laughs).

Celebrating the game going gold

Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi: Once the game went gold, we had a big party together. I could see from everyone’s expressions that each and every team member had a huge sense of achievement at finally getting to this point, and we chatted about the various difficulties we’d had during the project, the fans’ impressions of the gameplay and so on.

Actually, the project leaders including myself wanted to have this kind of “behind the curtain” discussion be available for fans to see what we really talk about, so we had another dev team roundtable session separately, which was filmed and put online. If any of your readers are interested in hearing lots of great stories and anecdotes from the development of Resident Evil 2, including an appearance by the original game’s director, Shinji Mikami, please check this video series out! Here are the YouTube links.

Resident Evil 2 Roundtable Part 1: The team didn’t actually know they were being filmed yet during this part! So, you get some really frank discussion (laughs).

Resident Evil 2 Roundtable Part 2: This section has some images and video clips from the game’s development that aren’t available anywhere else!

Resident Evil 2 Roundtable Part 3: In this part, none other than Shinji Mikami, the original game’s director, joins us for a discussion with the remake directors. These three all joined Capcom at the same time, so they go way back! They even discuss the fabled “RE1.5” and we show some footage.

Resident Evil 2 Roundtable Part 4: We originally only planned three parts of this series, but we had some more great anecdotes, so we added a bonus fourth part.

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16 Comments

  • I want an unattractive person in a RE game to represent me

  • I’d love to see a Resident Evil 1 remake like this, to complete the trilogy.
    I know there’s a remake from 2002 and it has a remaster on PS4, but I think it’s time to get this awesome game updated with the same engine and treatment RE2 and RE3 are getting! :)

  • Thanks for everything, guys! For RE 8, can you guys bring Rebecca back, please.
    It wouldn’t be RE8 without Re8ecca

  • Thank you for great game guys!!!

  • #1 Resident Evil 2 game ya I’m a xbox one or pc gamer but the original Resident Evil sold me the original playstation but this game is the best R.E. ever made and I’m waiting on Resident Evil 3 and next Resident Evil made . I’m a xbox gamer but I’m not going to disrespect anyone but what ever you play on you need this game.

  • Such a great game and remake. Thanks to everyone at Capcom for bringing this game back as well as the upcoming RE3. Can’t wait to see what other future things are to come for Resident Evil.

  • small correction, its Hideki Kamiya not Mikami that joins in the discussion in part 3. these were great to watch though!

  • Ahh man…here I thought this was leading to a discount of some sort for the game or better yet add it to PS Plus next month ;-)

    • Cant believe I got it for $15 within the same year it was released. Wow!

      (But what does that mean, struggling financially in some department?)

      Thanks blog, maybe I’ll go back and continue playing this remake instead of my current game I play. (Time is such a luxury, I hate it)

  • Thank you to everyone that made this game and the remake ,I’m very excited about the new Residentevil3 remake I’ve already go it preordered the z version from Japan ! All the changes that where made to Re2 where great choices in my opinion. I felt the horror more then ever dealing with the tyrant. The only thing I was bummed about was the super tyrant I felt like its transformation was too conservative for me but every thing else made it feel like I was playing Re2 for the first time well done Capcom!

  • I love this game, so faithful yet so fresh. This team has my full confidence with the franchise. Amazing job, thank you so much!

  • Thank you for this great remake guys! Made me a Resident Evil fan! My game of the year in 2019. Really looking forward to the remake of 3! :)

  • Niceou!

    Trully great game.

  • An AMAZING remake, improves upon the original game in every way. Hopefully the remake of 3 this year will be just as good.

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