A new fifteen-minute gameplay demo of the Resident Evil 2 remake shows heroine Claire Redfield exploring the inner reaches of the Racoon City police department in search of a key card, before facing off against some of the series’ most horrifying foes: Lickers.
The new voice acting, improved character models, excellent lighting, and fantastic material work do a tremendous job of bringing Racoon City back to life. The video, posted on the official PlayStation YouTube channel, shows Claire and Sherry making their way through a parking lot in the police department when they stumble upon the deranged police chief, Brian Irons. Of course, things go very wrong quite quickly, and all hell breaks loose.
The video goes a long way towards illustrating just how much care and effort is being put into the remake. What was a somewhat simplistic, brief scene is now much more harrowing and emotionally charged. The corrupt Irons comes across as a real villain, and Claire’s desperation is etched in every strained line on her face.
Revealed to much fanfare on Sony’s stage at E3 2018, the survival horror classic has been completely reimagined for modern consoles. The remake is set to feature all-new voice work, retooled gameplay, story, puzzles, and state-of-the-art real-time graphics at 60 frames-per-second, powered by an enhanced version of the RE Engine. Earlier this year, Hideki Kamiya, director of the original Resident Evil 2, revealed in an interview with Polygon that while he is not directly involved in the new game, he is worked closely with the new game’s director.
“No, I’m not directly involved [in the Resident Evil 2 remake], but the director of the remake is actually somebody who joined Capcom the same year that I did. We worked closely together on the Resident Evil design team. We were both game designers. When [Resident Evil 2] started, I went to direct that game. He went and worked on Mega Man Legends. We go out drinking now and again, and one time he was like, ‘By the way I’m directing the remake of RE2.’ I was like, ‘What? You’re doing what?!’ After I heard that, I felt like … we need to go drinking some more.”
The footage seen so far exhibits a certain reverence to the source material, but Capcom has shown it is not afraid to mix things up and update core design decisions, presentation, and narrative. Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi discussed the development team’s approach to the remake in a post-E3 interview with Gamespot.
“You know, we see-sawed a lot between total respect/recreate the original, and then bring something new. Players today need something new to experience, and the team all have got their own individual memories of playing the original game and how they felt about it, and what they wanted to bring to the new project. It’s hitting all the beats that you’ll remember, but it’s taking time to also bring you something fresh in between those.”
The positive reception to Resident Evil 7, which returned the venerable series to its survival horror roots, seems to have emboldened Capcom. The game has a renewed focus on slow, atmospheric build-up, tension, and dread, rather than the explosive action-horror formula made popular by Resident Evil 4 and built upon in its sequels.