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The lost golden rules of RE

Hardware

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Every once in a while I go back to this interview ( ) with Hideki Kamiya and Noboru Sugimura made around the time of RE2's release. I find three passages particularly important in this day and age - and it's quite interesting that all these points came from Sugimura, who was no game designer.

Anyhow, here they are:

"Sugimura: I think space and distance are very important to Resident Evil. That’s why we didn’t add melee weapons. We want players to feel fear and dread, like danger is just around the corner—even if you can’t see it on-screen, you can hear the footsteps of licker or the groaning of a zombie… should you flee, or fight? But if we go and give the player a steel pipe that can be used over and over, then we’re giving that player a reason to approach the zombies! And then the player will no longer be afraid. The Resident Evil world must always hold true to the idea that approaching the enemy == danger. And even if you do choose to fight, you run the risk of expending your precious ammo…"

"Sugimura:
That’s why I was also against the idea of having the Tyrant drop bullets when he’s defeated. We must not give players a reason to seek out fights with enemies. Unlike many other games, the enemies in Resident Evil don’t drop gold or experience. In Resident Evil we’ve sought to convey a terror free from such impurities, and I think that has been the key to its success."

"Sugimura: That will probably continue to be an issue for us. If we’re going to preserve the true character of Resident Evil, we may not be able to continue to “open the gates” to new players like that."

All these "big no no" points eventually ended up being the foundations of RE4, a game that encourages you to engage the enemies because they will drop gold coins. A game made to "open the gates" to new players. A game that was the beginning of the identity crisis the franchise is still experiencing today...something that could've been avoided in toto had they stuck to these rules (especially given that, contrary to popular belief, RE4 wasn't a smash hit on first release: on the GC it sold 1.3 million units, which was pretty average for the series - RE3 more or less sold that much at a fraction of the costs - and far away from the 4 million units RE2 sold on the PS1 alone).
 

Mr.R

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So ironic that all these came before the release of one of the easiest games on the franchise, where you have ammo to kill every enemy twice. "Precious ammo"...in RE2. Okay then...
 

RipvanX

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The golden era of RE was when Flagship and Sugimura were at the helm. There was an ongoing narrative that the survivors of Arklay and Raccoon were sent down but it was dismantled by Mikami’s moronic take on Leon’s misadventures in Spain. I do think RE4 is a fun but flawed game, but they have abandoned everything that I had come to love about the series in the first place.

Now we’ve come to the latest entry that has Far Cry style menu’s that store countless amounts of resources. We also not only have wrestling moves, but blocking now as well, which just robs all sense of dread and terror from the games. Even though knives are melee, they still had a level of risk being used, and the reward was to simply conserve ammo. My qualms over the recent titles seem to fall on depth ears though since the games are at least “fun.”

That’s not good enough, RE needs to differentiate itself from other popular IP’s so it does not feel similar. It’s tiresome to see Capcom keep experimenting with this franchise when they know what actually works. Seems they are still following trends instead of having a true vision going forward.
 
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REX

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As much as I agree with the article and with you guys, if I take off my RE fan blinders, videogaming is a business. First and formost.

Capcom wants to develop and publish games that are sells the best. And fact pace gamplay, a lot of gun fire, action movie like cutscenes always sells better than slow paced survivor horror.

For me - and obviously its just my opinon - I am really happy even with the latest remakes. RE2R and RE3R are “somewhat of” a going back to those rootes that we love so much. I even like RE7 and Villige. Hell, those ones are more resident evil than the games we’ve got from RE4 onward.

What Iam trying to say is, todays market is demanding a very different genre than the SH. Companies even the giant ones like Capcom wont publish anything that goes against those whishes. Maybe its better if we appraciate what we got and be happy with it.
 

UniqTeas

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I love these concepts and I think that they were smart for the older games. But I also think that Resident Evil is so successful because they abandoned these concepts once they felt a little bit stilted. Now, there is room to add them back in and use modern technology to add fear and exploration together. RE7 and the RE2, RE3 REmakes did these very well and I think they added the exploration equals fear as a great asset to these games.

But it is always interesting to hear their concepts for their original games. I always wondered why they did not use melee weapons and this explanation absolutely makes sense.
 

Turo602

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As much as I agree with the article and with you guys, if I take off my RE fan blinders, videogaming is a business. First and formost.

Capcom wants to develop and publish games that are sells the best. And fact pace gamplay, a lot of gun fire, action movie like cutscenes always sells better than slow paced survivor horror.

For me - and obviously its just my opinon - I am really happy even with the latest remakes. RE2R and RE3R are “somewhat of” a going back to those rootes that we love so much. I even like RE7 and Villige. Hell, those ones are more resident evil than the games we’ve got from RE4 onward.

What Iam trying to say is, todays market is demanding a very different genre than the SH. Companies even the giant ones like Capcom wont publish anything that goes against those whishes. Maybe its better if we appraciate what we got and be happy with it.
This is horrible logic and a major misconception.

As fans and gamers, we need not concern ourselves with the business side of gaming. We are not collecting a paycheck from Capcom, we are not getting a cut of the game's sales. We are consumers paying for a product and if we don't like it, we can say so without any guilt or regret. We literally owe them nothing more than our money for their product. They on the other hand need to earn our appreciation and they definitely don't get mine by tossing us bread crumbs.

The whole business thing is actually the problem with Capcom these days anyway as they're run purely by greed. Everything they do is driven by business which is good business, but leaves us the consumer with creatively bankrupt games that chase trends from game to game rather than a coherent and consistent franchise.

Survival horror games may not be the biggest sellers on the market, but that is definitely no excuse for changing a series so drastically. Especially when said survival horror game is Resident Evil, which has always sold on name alone except for when Capcom greedily took Nintendo's money to make the series exclusive to a console that alienated their target demographic.

Resident Evil has in fact been so successful that Capcom had to tighten their leash around it and keep using it in any way possible to draw more money because it's such a well known IP rather than start over with a new one and have faith in their ideas and gameplay because they rather take shortcuts. Business should never compromise the integrity of art.
 

SpaceOwlHoot

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I really had to change how I play games when it came to the OG Resident Evils. In any other game, when I get to an area, I would clear out all threats and then spend some time gathering everything and inspecting everything.

Running away from enemies and leaving them be was new to me and had to keep convincing myself this is how its meant to be played.
 

REX

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This is horrible logic and a major misconception.

As fans and gamers, we need not concern ourselves with the business side of gaming. We are not collecting a paycheck from Capcom, we are not getting a cut of the game's sales. We are consumers paying for a product and if we don't like it, we can say so without any guilt or regret. We literally owe them nothing more than our money for their product. They on the other hand need to earn our appreciation and they definitely don't get mine by tossing us bread crumbs.

The whole business thing is actually the problem with Capcom these days anyway as they're run purely by greed. Everything they do is driven by business which is good business, but leaves us the consumer with creatively bankrupt games that chase trends from game to game rather than a coherent and consistent franchise.

Survival horror games may not be the biggest sellers on the market, but that is definitely no excuse for changing a series so drastically. Especially when said survival horror game is Resident Evil, which has always sold on name alone except for when Capcom greedily took Nintendo's money to make the series exclusive to a console that alienated their target demographic.

Resident Evil has in fact been so successful that Capcom had to tighten their leash around it and keep using it in any way possible to draw more money because it's such a well known IP rather than start over with a new one and have faith in their ideas and gameplay because they rather take shortcuts. Business should never compromise the integrity of art.
Yeah, you right. I agree with every word of yours. But the thing is, actually you summed up pretty good in your last sentance. Business should never compromise the integrity of art. Yeah In a perfect world this should never happen. But our world aint no perfect. Reality is just different. You can boycott their games as much as you want and what not, but in reality induvidually we are nothing. Millions of people still gonna buy it, its not gonna change anything.

The point I was trying to make at the first place is, maybe its better to acknowladge our world, understand it at than live in it accordingly. In general, I try to live my life this way. Be happy for the things I have and turture as minimum as possible myself for the things I dont have.

Of course everyone lives their lives the way they want and they think about stuff the way they please. All I can say is for myself, it makes my life happier.
 

Turo602

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Yeah, you right. I agree with every word of yours. But the thing is, actually you summed up pretty good in your last sentance. Business should never compromise the integrity of art. Yeah In a perfect world this should never happen. But our world aint no perfect. Reality is just different. You can boycott their games as much as you want and what not, but in reality induvidually we are nothing. Millions of people still gonna buy it, its not gonna change anything.

The point I was trying to make at the first place is, maybe its better to acknowladge our world, understand it at than live in it accordingly. In general, I try to live my life this way. Be happy for the things I have and turture as minimum as possible myself for the things I dont have.

Of course everyone lives their lives the way they want and they think about stuff the way they please. All I can say is for myself, it makes my life happier.
To each their own, but I definitely don't accept that Capcom's way of business is the reality of all business because it isn't. There are plenty of things in life that make me happy and I won't dilute that by pretending something that doesn't does just because we have no control over it.
 

Hardware

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This is horrible logic and a major misconception.

As fans and gamers, we need not concern ourselves with the business side of gaming. We are not collecting a paycheck from Capcom, we are not getting a cut of the game's sales. We are consumers paying for a product and if we don't like it, we can say so without any guilt or regret. We literally owe them nothing more than our money for their product. They on the other hand need to earn our appreciation and they definitely don't get mine by tossing us bread crumbs.
You're right. I hate when people come over and try to explain you the business choices that have been made in movies\videogames\tech\whathave you: I am not in the business (well, I am actually in the movie business, but I am not a producer\moneyman\decision maker and I have in fact worked on shows that were terrible IMHO), so I don't owe them anything. I was one of the people that made RE what it was on the other side of the fence, I am one of those guys that spent good money on their games because they were survival horror with what seemed to be a cohesive world and I liked all of that.

Mikami actually received a lot of negative feedback for RE4 when it took over, according to this article , so even within Capcom there was concern about what he was doing.

And, again, I'd like to stress out that RE4 wasn't that successful initially - 1.3 million copies on the GC, people: it's pretty much the average amount of units any game in the franchise moved. The much-despised Code:Veronica sold 1.14 million copies on the DC (a dying console) and 1.4 on the PS2 (where it was already considered outdated by the time it released). The reason why RE4 was ported over PS2 was because they needed to sell more, especially after development had protracted for so long. It now sold about 10 million copies, but that's because it's a game they keep porting. The first RE game that really made a lot of money on first release with the new action-heavy approach was RE5 - which was essentially Gears of War. Capcom simply didn't and doesn't have the guts to pull out a new IP because sticking the RE brand to anything is safer...until it stops being so (see RE6 and the switch back to horror, albeit not very RE-ish, with 7).
So ironic that all these came before the release of one of the easiest games on the franchise, where you have ammo to kill every enemy twice. "Precious ammo"...in RE2. Okay then...
You should read the whole article in full - they actually talk about difficulty and how they evened it out because Capcom wanted more people to play it. No, you don't have the ammo to kill everything twice. Take it from a guy that shot every zombie from the crashed truck to the RPD as a noob on his first playthrough: I literally had to scrape out my survival for almost the rest of the game (definitely from the RPD to the factory).
 
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RipvanX

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Well business involves risks. Whether they inject new ideas into RE or a new IP is part of that risk. That is the problem with older IP’s being “modernized” today. Turning something so beloved into a completely new thing causes alienation and divides fanbases, creating a toxic fandom/community.

Thinking outside of Capcom, Sonic is one of the best examples. It’s a game about a blue hedgehog that is supposed to go fast. Instead they have games where he wields swords, turns into a werehog, and has his own RPG game. Identity crisis’ are a huge problem that these developers don’t seem to recognize and throw under the rug like nothing happened.

Horror centric IP’s in general have mostly suffered from experimentation like this, which has been an ongoing problem for decades. Do you risk boring your audience rehashing the same thing or do you try something new? RE2 was a big risk back in the day due to going from a mansion to a big city, but it worked. It’s a delicate balance that is hard to pull off effectively and with a franchise like this, it’s impossible to please everyone at this point.
 
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Turo602

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with a franchise like this, it’s impossible to please everyone at this point.
And that's exactly the problem. They need to stop trying to please everyone and start thinking about doing what's right by the series. And the messed up part is, it's not even that hard to do and people will still eat it up all the same.
 

Hardware

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And that's exactly the problem. They need to stop trying to please everyone and start thinking about doing what's right by the series. And the messed up part is, it's not even that hard to do and people will still eat it up all the same.
RE2make, which is far from being a "let's please everyone" game (it can be even tougher than RE1make), sold 8.1 million units as of March 2021. That shows Capcom has been wrong for about 20 years, but, with Village still selling a lot in the West (it's not doing well in Japan), I doubt they will ever recognize the error of their ways.
 

Mr.R

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You should read the whole article in full - they actually talk about difficulty and how they evened it out because Capcom wanted more people to play it. No, you don't have the ammo to kill everything twice. Take it from a guy that shot every zombie from the crashed truck to the RPD as a noob on his first playthrough: I literally had to scrape out my survival for almost the rest of the game (definitely from the RPD to the factory).
Let me rephrase: the game has ammo to kill everything twice after you step foot on the rpd, dodging some zombies on the street. Of course, some of it are hidden on the scenario but still...RE2 throw ammo at you like it's candy, way out of the "Dodge zombies manage ammo" narrative.
 

Jonipoon

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As a person who mainly play games for their story and not gameplay, I'm actually not that bothered by this discussion. Gameplay is still extremely important to me, but it always comes second to the story. I definitely thought OG RE2 was easy when I first played it, but by that time I had already played lots of RE games not to mentioned many other horror games. If it had been my very first survival horror experince, things would've been different. You guys have to remember that we're talking about a 23 year old game that was released during a time when survival horror was still a pretty new thing....

On a side-note; both CV and RE3 are still pretty difficult to this day but they're more like exceptions rather than examples. The other games are still easy.
 

Hardware

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On a side-note; both CV and RE3 are still pretty difficult to this day but they're more like exceptions rather than examples. The other games are still easy.
Actually C:V is pretty easy (save for the "escape from Steve" bit - there are ways around it, but they require you to be a god of the analog stick) if you discover the tricks Hiroki Kato, the director, disseminated it with - he simply made them so that you have to figure them out for yourself. To list a few...

1) You can actually kill every zombie with the knife. If you aim at their knees\legs, you will cause them to instantly fall down and you can continue to stab them to death. If you do it for a little while, you'll end up with way more handgun rounds that you can shoot.

2) There's actually more ammo than people believe, but you must explore every location throughly.

3) The Tyrant on the plane is a non-threat if you used the green, anti-BOWs grenades. Seriously, shoot him with them and he's ready to get hit by the catapult and die. Worst case scenario, you might have to shoot him with a few extra explosive arrows. Problem is, most people usually waste those precious rounds (you only get three) early on. Kato was a genius in essentially treating a weapon and boss like a puzzle.

4) You don't need anything but about 15-20 explosive arrows to force Alexia to mutate in her third form (where you just need to shoot her with the linear launcher). Shoot her fast and she'll turn. Everything else will do little-to-no damage to her - which means you don't have to save ammo like crazy for the final boss: you are free to empty all your other guns (grenade launcher, shotgun, magnum, assault rifle and even SMGs if you managed to get them) on every other enemy you encounter. Essentially, if you saved enough ammo with Claire, with Chris you can essentially drop everything that moves.
 

Turo602

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I think Code Veronica's difficulty comes from not having a very apparent learning curve. It's easy to list off tips after everyone has gone through the trial and error to figure them all out. I think that goes for pretty much all the games. Ultimately, how easy or hard of a time you'll have will depend on your skill level and how well you understand these games. Experimentation is just part of the process of getting better and will in turn make the games feel much easier once you know it all.
 

Hardware

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As a person who mainly play games for their story and not gameplay,
Dude, I am very much into the story of the series (that's why I hate everything that came after C:V), but story and gameplay are co-dependent. Who made the remarks I quoted, after all? Sugimura, the scenario writer. That's because, if the game doesn't play in a certain way, you cannot have a specific story. You cannot make a gothic horror story about survival (which more or less describes 1,2,3 and C:V - even 2 and 3 have some gothic elements in their mood and design) if the game is all about kicking everyone's ass and collecting points to become stronger so you can kick even more asses.
 
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