At Tokyo Game Show 2022, we got a first look at the Resident Evil 4 Remake and interview its producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi.
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi has a long history with the Resident Evil franchise. He worked as a lead designer for the original Resident Evil 4 and would go on to be a producer for Resident Evil 6 and the Resident Evil 2 Remake.
In this interview, he told us more about the Resident Evil 4 Remake and how it has been updated from the original game.
For many people, Resident Evil 4 is one of the most important games in the series. How does it feel to be bringing that to new people?
“I am a Resident Evil 4 fan and as a fan, I’m super happy to be given the opportunity to produce the Resident Evil 4 Remake. This is a very important game for a lot of people, not only for me but for the entire development team.”
Resident Evil 4 changed a lot in the development [Devil May Cry was originally supposed to be Resident Evil 4]. Did you look at any of those previous versions when looking for things to add to the game?
“When we were making the Resident Evil 4 remake we didn’t really look at other titles. We just looked at the original Resident Evil 4.”
“Of course, internally we also have the Resident Evil 2 Remake, Resident Evil 3 Remake, and Resident Evil Village. With making the RE4 remake, the Capcom team looked at these past games in terms of how they felt and how they featured modernized gameplay. Of course, the developers aren’t fans of every game so they do look at other games outside of the series as well.”
The game feels very cinematic and I think a lot of that is to do with the next-generation hardware. Can you tell us more about how you were able to make it seem more like a cinematic horror movie?
“The more cinematic approach is all thanks to the latest hardware. Compared to the original game which came out on Gamecube, this one is on PS5. This allows us to bring a greater horror essence to the game. For example, we’ve been able to get better shots with the lighting and add richer post effects. This helps increase the horror movie feel of the game.”
Earlier I couldn’t tell the difference between old gameplay mechanics and new gameplay mechanics. Could you tell us more about what is new gameplay-wise in the remake?
“The remake allows you to control the character more like how much in the RE2 or RE3 remakes [the original had tank controls]. Also in the original when you, aim you cannot move but that’s been changed in the remake so now you can move around.”
“That being said the general play feel of the game is something that the development team has aimed to preserve from the original game. So while the controls have been updated to the style of the RE2 and RE3 remakes, the players will feel that it is still closer to the original game in terms of play feel.”
“And of course, the knife has now been upgraded to you can perform multiple actions with your knife. For example, you can now parry with your knife. You can also use it for last-minute actions to escape from bad situations.”
“There are other different features that have been added to the game but for what has been shown today [TGS2022] that is what has been added.”
Knowing that you can use the knife to escape being grabbed kind of changes the flow of the game. Did you need to adjust the enemy placement or behavior to account for the fact that players can get out much faster with the knife?
“Yes, we have adjusted. We have increased the enemy numbers and in that sense, we have also adjusted enemies’ placements. Considering the game was made from scratch, enemy adjustments have also been made in that way as well.”
When it was first announced that Resident Evil 4 was getting a remake, fans of the original really like the attache case and were asking if it would be coming back. Will we see the attache case once again?
“I wasn’t aware fans reacted so strongly to the attache case so I’m thankful that you told me that. To answer your question, yes, we also have the attache case and item crafting in the remake.”
Leon is by far the most popular Resident Evil protagonist, especially among female players. Did you have to work extra hard to portray him faithfully (and keep him handsome)?
“Of course! Leon is an important part of the remake series. In RE2, he’s a newcomer, but in RE4 he’s a special agent, and he has a lot more experience. One thing we’ve done to make him cool is that we have Leon use his abilities to overcome even the most difficult of situations. He doesn’t overcome these situations because he’s a superhero or because he’s invincible. Instead, he uses his own training and wits to get through each problem.”
The resident evil series means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Some people like it for the horror atmosphere while others like it for puzzles and resource management. What are your thoughts on people playing for such different reasons?
“The RE series is basically built on four important pillars: horror, action, puzzles, and resource management. All RE games have these central pillars in them to some extent. It really depends on the game you’re playing to determine what sort of balance you have of these. Each game is really good in that they have some form of this balance.”
“Some games are more horror and for this remake, we’ve added a bit more horror so maybe your sister will like this one more but the other pillars are still there. It’s a nice balance that will ensure that loads of people will like this game.”
Is there anything else you’d like to say to SEA Resident Evil fans?
“So for fans of the original game and fans of modern games, this game is a lovely mix of the original Resident Evil 4 game with updated gameplay. We hope you will all play and enjoy it.”
Resident Evil 4 has always been one of my favorite games in the series. The over-the-shoulder camera felt far more natural and fun than the stiff tank controls of the original three games (they’re good games I just prefer the more modern style). While it’s often cited as the start of Resident Evil’s turn to the action genre, I still found it plenty scary, I mean, I can’t imagine what the regenerators will be like in this remake.
We’re thankful to Yoshiaki Hirabayashi for speaking to us in this interview about the Resident Evil 4 Remake. The game hasn’t quite been as overhauled as the RE2 and 3 were but if anything that just shows how well the original game has held up. We wish them the best of luck bringing this classic back from the dead.
The Resident Evil 4 Remake will launch for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on March 24th, 2023.