Resident Evil 3 Remake was released on April 3rd. During the game's announcement, Polygon published an exclusive excerpt from the book An Itchy, Tasty History of Resident Evil [The tingling and delicious story of Resident Evil]. It reveals exclusive facts about the creation of the Resident Evil series, as well as a retrospective of the games. In honor of the release of Resident Evil 3 Remake, we have translated this excerpt dedicated to the creation of the original Resident Evil 3. Once just a spin-off, which at the last moment became an excellent sequel and one of the best games per se. In the first excerpt, we will talk about how the franchise developed after the second Resident Evil, about its other spin-offs and the need to create a kind of Resident Evil 1.9 on the PlayStation.
For gaming companies, the 90s were a decade of constant change and evolution. On the home console front, the era began with 16-bit 2D systems from Sega and Nintendo, while arcades continued to flourish in Japan and the United States. Street Fighter 2 was a hit for Capcom, both on arcade and home consoles, as well as a new and cultural phenomenon.
Meanwhile, the industry continued to move forward. Sony got into the fight in 1994 with the 32-bit PlayStation, while Sega replaced the Genesis with the Saturn, fueling a shift in tastes and a growing preference for polygonal 3D gaming.
With a gradual decline in the profitability of its 2D fighting games, Capcom entered difficult financial times in the mid-1990s, but was saved from collapse by the unexpected horror hit Resident Evil from Shinji Mikami. Capcom quickly launched Resident Evil 2 under the leadership of Hideki Kamiya, and although the game took two years to develop and underwent a complete reboot, the sequel, released in January 1998, proved even more successful than its predecessor. Capcom entered the 90s with Street Fighter, but were about to end the decade with Resident Evil as their main series.
Resident evil for all comers
Following the incredible success of Resident Evil 2, Capcom has decided to capitalize on subsequent games.
The first was Resident Evil 3, under the direction of Hideki Kamiya, following his successful result in Resident Evil 2. Capcom gave him the ability to lead the project on his own terms, allowing ambition to have unlimited impact on the project. He felt that the PlayStation could not offer the technology needed to realize his vision.
“I think Resident Evil 2 represents everything that I could achieve in the survival horror genre on PlayStation. My plans were to do something new and more provocative. As a result, I decided to make Resident Evil 3 for PlayStation 2, ”says Kamiya.
The PlayStation 2 was originally slated to launch in 1999 before Sony finally decided on a March 2000 release in Japan, two years after RE2.
Around the same time, a new project, Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, appeared. At the same time, Sega competed with the PlayStation with its Sega Saturn, in the end it did not achieve the same level of success as its competitors, while developers complained about the complexity of development for the Saturn architecture and the relative lack of power.
Capcom released a port of the original Resident Evil for the Saturn in July 1997, and a sequel port was planned sometime in 1998. Ultimately, Capcom was unable to bring Resident Evil 2 to their console. Yoshiki Okamoto, general manager of Capcom at the time, learned that Sega was in the process of developing a more powerful 3D-focused successor that was announced in August 1998 - Sega: Dreamcast. Interested in continuing Capcom's long-term partnership with Sega, Okamoto planned to launch Resident Evil CODE: Veronica on the Dreamcast, both as an apology to Saturn users for canceling Resident Evil 2 and to promote the new system.
Capcom has always been platform independent, and the Dreamcast appears to have had at least a year before the PlayStation 2. The Dreamcast launched in Japan in November 1998, giving it a 15 month lead. Resident Evil CODE: Veronica was not Resident Evil 3, but Capcom's intention was for it to be a proper continuation of the Resident Evil 2 storyline.
Speaking of Nintendo, Capcom also had ambitions to provide a franchise for the Mario and Zelda platform, despite big technological hurdles and demographic issues. Nintendo competed with the PlayStation and Saturn with its Nintendo 64, but its market share fell compared to the Super Nintendo as developers around the world chose to support the PlayStation with its cheap discs over the expensive Nintendo 64 cartridges with their limited capacity. Advances in data compression technology allowed Capcom to release a port of Resident Evil 2 for the Nintendo 64 in October 1999, giving Okamoto the opportunity to create an exclusive prequel called Resident Evil 0, which, like Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, will have significant links to other games in series.
By fall 98, Capcom was preparing Resident Evil games for the PlayStation 2, Dreamcast, and Nintendo 64. Since PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast were next-generation platforms, new games took significantly longer to develop on them. Capcom also had to worry about limiting the capacity of the Nintendo 64 cartridges, which meant Resident Evil 0 would also take longer. However, Capcom recently sold about 4.96 million copies of Resident Evil 2 to PlayStation owners, and despite the next generation looming, Sony's debut platform was still the most successful console ever, requiring Capcom to support it as well.
The large gap between Resident Evil 2 and 3 presented many risks to Capcom. Okamoto and Mikami needed to find other ways to keep the Resident Evil brand active. The video game industry was very competitive and other publishers were already trying to release their own horror titles that could take over Capcom's market share.
Konami was preparing their own Silent Hill, which came out in January 1999 also for the PlayStation. Capcom was the market leader in the horror genre, but a long absence could lead to its usurpation by competitors.
Capcom couldn't afford to wait for the PlayStation 2 to launch. The company wanted to release a spin-off during the transition from PlayStation to PlayStation 2. As a result, in addition to the three games for PlayStation 2, Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 developed by Okomoto, a new Resident Evil for PlayStation.
This third PlayStation title is called Resident Evil 1.9.
Resident Evil 1.9 will turn out to be a very different project than Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2. Considering that the project had to fill the gap between more significant stages. Okamoto wanted the project to be completed in a shorter time frame and on a lower budget than the first two games. Since the fall of 1998, Okamoto has given the Resident Evil 1.9 team roughly one year to complete the project, while Capcom tentatively planned to release the game in the summer of 1999. Many creators of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 moved on to other, more important development teams, and the Resident Evil 1.9 team consisted of younger and less experienced employees or freelancers.
Due to the fact that the project was allocated fewer resources than other games, the size of Resident Evil 1.9 was modest from the beginning. The first two games lacked such things as full voice acting, CG scenes. Resident Evil 1.9 was supposed to be even "thinner" than its predecessors, and given that this is a spin-off, Capcom allowed developers the creative freedom and experimentation.
Mikami chose a man named Kazuhiro Aoyama to lead this game. Aoyama joined Capcom in April 1995, just months after the port city of Kobe was hit by the devastating Great Hanshin Earthquake. The disaster killed about 6,500 people and left many homeless. This affected people who worked at Capcom in neighboring Osaka.
“In Japan, newly hired employees often lived with the company to save money. In the earthquake, some of Capcom's new employees in 1995 lost their homes or were unable to find alternative housing due to lack of resources. Thus, some of us had to share rooms in the company during the first year while the situation was resolved, ”Aoyama explained regarding his first year at Capcom.
He worked on Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 as a system planner and pored over hidden mechanics like enemy and weapon damage, movement speed, and other components related to game balance. As a result, Aoyama was very knowledgeable about the inner workings of the RE system.
Aoyama had some ideas that he wanted to implement in the Resident Evil spin-off, but first he needed a scriptwriter for the game, as main series author Noboru Sugimura was working on other more important Resident Evil stories. Mikami hired a young writer named Yasuhisa Kawamura in 1998 to write the script for RE 1.9. Kawamura began his career as an apprentice of the manga illustrator Yukito Kishito, but did not have much success in this endeavor. And although he, in his own words, behaved strangely during the interview, he was accepted into the team.
Return to Raccoon City
“I wanted to use the same length of time and the same Raccoon City setting as in Resident Evil 2, but we were not planning to develop the setting beyond its limits,” says Aoyama.
Events will take place right before Resident Evil 2, which justifies the use of the pseudo "1.9". This actually turned the title into a prequel. Thus, the game would give players a better look at the zombie apocalypse that happened in Raccoon City before Leon and Claire arrived.
With a smaller budget and fewer resources at their disposal, Aoyama's team couldn't use a completely new engine or do anything too ambitious to develop the Resident Evil formula. To stay within their modest budget and timeline, the team decided to reuse the Resident Evil 2 graphics engine along with a number of their production assets. Now the pre-rendered backgrounds from the previous game have been reverted, and the controls have barely changed. And the basic elements of the gameplay, like solving puzzles, opening locks and killing zombies, remained unchanged. To give a sense of continuity from Resident Evil 2, the chief strategically placed a couple of rooms in the game in the Raccoon City Police Department, thereby creating an easter egg for hardcore Resident Evil fans. who are more likely to play spin-offs than ordinary players. The Resident Evil 1.9 team only had enough time and resources to create one scenario, not two, as was the case in previous games. The actual script length was also supposed to be shorter than in Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2.
To make up for the more modest gaming experience, Aoyama decided to make minor but noticeable changes to the gameplay to keep it fresh without straying too far from the established formula. He decided to make the game more action oriented than pureblood horror. Aoyama was previously in charge of the Fourth Survivor mode in Resident Evil 2. So 1.9 gave him the opportunity to polish the formula.
For the first time in a series, players could create different types of ammunition by mixing different types of gunpowder. The zombies moved faster and more aggressively, and appeared in large numbers. Improvements made to the existing Resident Evil engine have made encounters with zombies more alive. In response to more advanced enemies, the player could dodge to avoid being attacked. Characters can run slightly faster than in Resident Evil 2 and an auto 180 degree rotation feature has been added to make navigation smoother. Some item locations and safe passwords have been randomized and have several solutions that will differ from playthrough to playthrough.
The Level Selection function has also been added to the game. She provided a choice in certain places that slightly, but still changed the plot. This became an element of the gameplay that made the game very different from the previous installments. The idea was for players to be able to complete the game in just one playthrough, like an arcade.
With randomized elements and slightly different cutscenes, players will be prompted to go back and play the game a second, third, fourth, or even eighth time [every secret in the game requires players to play it at least eight times to solve]. Although there was only one scenario in Resident Evil 1.9, there were more details in this scenario than in Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2.
We will tell you how Resident Evil 1.9 became Resident Evil 3 in the second part of the article.
The Topic of Article: Looking back at Resident Evil 3 and its creation. Part one.