Resident Evil 3 was a spin-off until Capcom changed his mind at the last minute

(Ed. Note: In January we published a retrospective book excerpt on the development of Capcom’s Resident Evil 2. Since then, this book – An Itchy, Tasty Story by Resident Evil – has gone online on the crowdfunding platform Unbound, and Capcom has announced a remake of Resident Evil 3, so we considered what better chance there would be to publish a second excerpt , this time about the making of Resident Evil 3. Read on to learn more about the game’s path to a main Resident Evil game, and check out the crowdfunding campaign to find out more about the book that interviews with many of the key characters who worked on the series at Capcom.)

For video game companies, the 1990s was a decade of constant change and evolution. The era of home consoles began with the 16-bit 2D systems from Sega and Nintendo. In Japan and the USA, the arcades continued to flourish. For arcades and home consoles, Street Fighter 2 was both a hit for Capcom and a cultural phenomenon. In addition to a number of other games, the company gave a strong identity as a developer of fighting games. The industry continued to develop in the meantime. Sony went into battle with the 32-bit PlayStation in 1994, while Sega also replaced Genesis with Saturn, which contributed to a change in taste and a growing preference for polygonal 3D games.

Capcom experienced a gradual decline in the profitability of its 2D fighting games and ran into financial difficulties in the mid-1990s, which benefited from the unexpected critical and commercial success of the original survival horror title Resident Evil in March 1996, Shinji Mikami. Capcom quickly illuminated a Resident Evil 2 under the direction of Hideki Kamiya. While this game was under development for almost two years and underwent a full reset during production, the sequel released in January 1998 was even more successful than its predecessor. Capcom may have been at the forefront of Street Fighter in the 1990s, but the company wanted to end the decade with Resident Evil as its leading brand.

Resident Evil 3 Remake screenshotCapcom

A resident evil for everyone

After the sky-high success of Resident Evil 2, Capcom decided to take advantage of its momentum by giving the go-ahead to a number of projects related to the franchise. Each project would serve a specific purpose.

The first was “Resident Evil 3”, which was staged by Hideki Kamiya after his successful result with “Resident Evil 2”. Capcom allowed Kamiya to lead the project as he saw it, and his ambitions reached far and wide – specifically, he felt that the PlayStation could not offer the technology needed to realize his vision. “I think Resident Evil 2 represents everything I could do for a survival horror game on PlayStation,” said Kamiya. “My vision for the next game was to do something brand new and challenging. As a result, I decided to make ‘Resident Evil 3’ for PlayStation 2. “The PlayStation 2 was originally scheduled to launch in 1999 before Sony finally decided to release it in Japan in March 2000, two years after the release of Resident Evil 2.

Another project that went green at this time was Resident Evil CODE: Veronica. Ultimately, while Sega took on the PlayStation with its Sega Saturn, it wasn’t nearly as successful as its rivals, while developers complained about the difficulties in developing the Saturn architecture and its relative lack of performance. While Capcom released a port of the original Resident Evil for Saturn in July 1997 and planned a port of its continuation for 1998, Capcom was ultimately unable to satisfactorily port Resident Evil 2 to Saturn. Yoshiki Okamoto, then General Manager of Capcom, learned that Sega was on the road with a more powerful, 3D-focused successor, which was unveiled in August 1998 as a Dreamcast. Okamoto is interested in continuing Capcom’s long-term partnership with Sega and in the green-lighted Resident Evil CODE: Veronica for Dreamcast, both as an apology to Saturn customers for terminating Resident Evil 2 and as a means of supporting the system.

“Capcom couldn’t afford to wait for PlayStation 2 to launch. The company wanted to release a spin-off title during the transition from PlayStation to PlayStation 2.”

Capcom has always been platform independent and the Dreamcast seemed to have at least a year to it before the PlayStation 2 could arrive. The Dreamcast was launched in Japan in November 1998 and had a lead of 15 months. Resident Evil CODE: Veronica did not have the name “Resident Evil 3”, but Capcom wanted Resident Evil 2’s plot to continue properly. “The idea was to keep numbered games at Sony and use different names for games developed for Sega and Nintendo,” Okamoto told me in summer 2017.

With regard to Nintendo, Capcom also had ambitions to bring the franchise to the platforms of the Mario and Zelda manufacturers, despite steep technological hurdles and questions about demographic adjustment. Nintendo competed with its Nintendo 64 against the PlayStation and Saturn, but its market share declined compared to the Super Nintendo as developers around the world supported PlayStation and its disc-based format through the limited-cost, low-cost Nintendo 64 cartridges. Thanks to advances in data compression techniques, Capcom released a port of Resident Evil 2 for Nintendo 64 in October 1999 and paved the way for Okamoto to release an exclusive prequel titled Resident Evil 0, which, like Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, has a story with significant Bonds to other games in the series.

In autumn 1998, Capcom had Resident Evil games in production for PlayStation 2, Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. Since PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast were next generation platforms, it would take time to develop new games. Capcom also had to worry about capacity bottlenecks on Nintendo 64 cartridges, which meant that Resident Evil 0 also took some time in the oven. However, Capcom had recently sold at least 4.96 million copies of Resident Evil 2 to PlayStation owners, and despite the emerging new generation, Sony’s debut platform was by far the most successful console that Capcom and all other third-party vendors needed to continue to support, as the industry changes.

A long gap until the next new Resident Evil harbors further risks for Capcom. Okamoto and Mikami had to find other ways to keep the Resident Evil brand active. The video game industry was very competitive and other publishers were already looking to launch their own horror games that could weigh on Capcom’s market share, as was the case at the beginning of the decade when a flood of street fighter competitors emerged. Square released Parasite Eve, a novel-based 3D title horror game, just two months after Resident Evil 2 for PlayStation. The game from Square was praised for its high quality and became a million seller in Japan. Konami was on the road with his own new horror game called Silent Hill, which was also released for PlayStation and major fanfare in January 1999. Capcom was the market leader for the horror genre, but a long absence may have invited it to be swept away by its rivals. “Capcom couldn’t afford to wait for PlayStation 2 to launch. The company wanted to release a spin-off title during the transition from PlayStation to PlayStation 2,” said Mikami. In addition to the three games in development for PlayStation 2, Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 started Okamoto to produce an additional Resident Evil game for the PlayStation.

This third PlayStation Resident Evil game was named “Resident Evil 1.9”.

One-point-nine

“Resident Evil 1.9” would turn out to be a completely different project than Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2. Since the project should essentially close a gap between important milestone entries, Okamoto wanted the project to be completed with a shorter time frame and one smaller budget than the first two games. From the fall of 1998, Okamoto gave the Resident Evil 1.9 team about a year to complete the project, with Capcom temporarily aiming for release in the summer of 1999. While many experienced members of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 switched to other, more important development teams, the team for “Resident Evil 1.9” was smaller and staffed by younger, less experienced employees or freelancers.

Due to the smaller resources available than in other projects, the scope of “Resident Evil 1.9” was modest from the start. The bells and whistles of the first two games would be missing, such as extensive voice output, CG cutscenes and several scenarios. “Resident Evil 1.9” would have to be shorter and leaner than its predecessors, and as a side effect, Capcom would allow a little creative experimentation to highlight it, without stepping on the toes of more ambitious projects like Kamiya.

Kazuhiro AoyamaAlex Aniel

Mikami chose a man named Kazuhiro Aoyama to head Resident Evil 1.9. Aoyama joined Capcom in April 1995, just a few months after the port city of Kobe was hit by the devastation of the great Hanshin earthquake. Around 6,500 people lost their lives in the disaster, and many more remained without adequate housing. This affected people who worked at Capcom in nearby Osaka. “In Japan, newly graduated employees often live in company houses to save money. As a result of the earthquake, some of the Capcom employees hired in 1995 lost their homes or were unable to find alternative accommodation due to shortages. So some of us were asked to share a room in the first year while the situation was emerging, ”said Aoyama regarding his first year at Capcom. He worked on both Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 as a system planner, where he was involved in “hidden” elements such as damage to enemies and weapons, movement speed, and other components related to gameplay balancing. As a result, Aoyama was very knowledgeable about how the Resident Evil gameplay system worked.

Aoyama had some ideas that he wanted to bring to the table to make the very first Resident Evil spinoff, but first he needed an author for the game because main series author Noboru Sugimura was working on other more important Resident Evil stories. In 1998 Mikami hired a young writer named Yasuhisa Kawamura to write the script for “Resident Evil 1.9”. Kawamura started his career as an apprentice for manga illustrator Yukito Kishito, although he saw little success from this endeavor. At the behest of his older siblings, Kawamura applied for a screenwriter position at Capcom and came into contact with Mikami and Aoyama for the first time. Kawamura tends to passionately express ideas for stories that he believed have given Mikami the wrong impression. In an interview with Eurogamer in 2016, Kawamura explained how he almost failed the interview: “I looked back at how I behaved after the interview and assumed that I was disqualified. I later found out that I was offered the job. “It turned out that Mikami shared with Kawamura an interest in a form of martial art called Kenpo, which helped to win Mikami over to choosing to bring the young writer into Capcom’s most prestigious game series. Aoyama was also a fan of martial arts and shared this interest with Kawamura.

Back to Raccoon City

With Kawamura on board the project, he and Aoyama worked out the setting for “Resident Evil 1.9”. “I wanted to use the same timeline and setting of Raccoon City’s Resident Evil 2,” said Aoyama. “Otherwise, we had no plans to connect to other Resident Evil games.” Kawamura chose a side story to Gaiden that focused on three different hired mercenaries for the Umbrella Corporation. The events would occur immediately before Resident Evil 2 and would justify the use of the pseudo number “1.9”. This effectively turned the title into a prequel. The game would give players a closer look at the zombie apocalypse that Raccoon City had before Leon and Claire arrived.

At the end of the game, Aoyama’s team with a smaller budget and fewer resources didn’t have the luxury of using a brand new engine or doing anything too ambitious to push the Resident Evil formula. To meet the modest budget and short timeframe, the Aoyama team decided to reuse the Resident Evil 2 graphics engine along with a number of its production resources. The iconic pre-rendered backgrounds have been restored, with controls largely unchanged, and basic resident evil gameplay designs such as solving puzzles, unlocking doors, and killing zombies, have remained unchanged. To give a sense of continuity with Resident Evil 2, Aoyama strategically placed a small number of rooms from the Raccoon City Police Department in the game to offer an Easter egg to the supposedly hardcore fans of Resident Evil who were more likely to play a spinoff title than more casual fans. The Resident Evil 1.9 team only had enough time and resources to create a single scenario instead of the two in the previous games. The actual length of the scenario should also be shorter than what was offered in Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2.

“The idea was that players could complete the game in a single pass, like an arcade game.”

To make up for the leaner, more compact experience, Aoyama opted for minor but remarkable changes to the gameplay to keep things fresh without going too far from the established formula. Aoyama decided to make the game more action-oriented, which reflects Aoyama’s preference for action over pure horror (similar to Kamiya). Aoyama previously staged the action-packed mini-game “The 4th Survivor” in Resident Evil 2, and “Resident Evil 1.9” gave Aoyama the opportunity to refine the formula. For the first time in the series, players were able to create different types of ammunition by mixing different types of gunpowder. Zombies would now move faster and more aggressively and appear in greater numbers. Improvements to the existing Resident Evil engine enabled refined zombie encounters. In response to the more advanced enemies, the player could now initiate evasive maneuvers at the right timing so as not to be attacked, or to attack enemies and push them away. The characters could run a bit faster than in Resident Evil 2, and an automatic 180-degree rotation has been added to make navigation through the worlds smoother. Some element locations and password solutions were chosen at random and provided with several solutions that differ from play through to play through.

Kawamura also came up with the idea of ​​so-called “live selection”, in which players have to choose one of two different options that occur at a number of fixed points during the game. These options lead to different scenes that change the story in mostly minor ways. The “Live Selection” feature would be the gameplay element that differentiates this game from any other Resident Evil game. “These changes should make the game more repeatable,” said Aoyama. “The idea was that players could complete the game in a single pass, like an arcade game.” Random elements and slightly different cutscenes would encourage players to play through the game for a second. third, fourth, or even eight times (to unlock every secret in the game, players have to beat it at least eight times). Although there was only one scenario in “Resident Evil 1.9”, there were more variations in this scenario than in the “Resident Evil” and “Resident Evil 2” scenarios.

The most notable element is the creature known as “Nemesis”, the main enemy of the game. Japanese gamers often refer to him as “The Pursuer” or “The Stalker”. Originally it was supposed to be an amoeba-like “blob creature”, as it comes from the film “The Blob” from 1958. Nemesis could outperform the character, behave more aggressively, and scream in a disturbing monstrous voice. Nemesis was able to hold its own against some established resident evil tropes: unlike other opponents, Nemesis could go through certain doors to pursue the player. This contradicted expectations that entering a door meant access to a safe haven. Although not invincible, Nemesis had immense strength and was able to kill the player immediately under the right circumstances, leading to an early end of the game. While different boss fights took place in the first two games, the smaller budget and shorter timeframe for Resident Evil 1.9 meant that Aoyama’s team didn’t have the leeway to host a variety of boss fights. To compensate for this, Nemesis is very present and appears frequently throughout the scenario. Some appearances are pre-made and others are randomly selected from session to session, which in turn adds to the replay value of the game. Apart from Nemesis, there is only one other boss, an oversized worm called “Grave Digger”, which increases the number of bosses to a whopping two, while the game’s predecessors contained several more.

From spin-off to full successor

Aoyama and Kawamura originally had no intention of seeing anyone from the first two games in “Resident Evil 1.9” as it was supposed to be a spin-off. Instead, it would focus on new characters. Early conceptual documents show illustrations for the characters, who were ultimately named Carlos Oliveira, Nicholai Ginovaef and Mikhail Victor. All were mercenaries who worked for Umbrella, but otherwise nothing to do with the S.T.A.R.S. had to do Members or the cast of Resident Evil 2.

In the middle of the development, however, the team was faced with an unexpected change. As a result of a change in the history of Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, which was being developed by another team at the same time, Kawamura was allowed to change the story to include Jill Valentine from the first game. “The story (from” Resident Evil 1.9 “) was originally intended to be just an escape chronicle from an infected raccoon city, but after talking to (Mikami) and (Aoyama) it was decided that Jill would not introduce a new character. Valentine will play the main character role.” , Kawamura told Project Umbrella. The change immediately added legitimacy to this spin-off as Jill is popular with Resident Evil fans. It also benefited the game by linking directly to the original game that did not exist before. Along with Nemesis, Jill would become a defining element in the game’s identity, but the game’s most effective change was yet to come.

“This game was supposed to be a spin-off, so I stuck to this framework during development.”

The development of “Resident Evil 1.9” was largely free of problems that plagued the first two games of the series. Aoyama’s vision was to make a Resident Evil spin-off that was orthodox in some senses and unique in others. Thanks to the familiarity of the Resident Evil 2 graphics and gameplay engine combined with a focused vision, there was never any risk of the game being canceled or restarted. In contrast to the first two games, “Resident Evil 1.9” changed significantly when development was due to be completed in summer 1999.

As the development progressed, Kawamura fleshed out the story of “Resident Evil 1.9” so that Resident Evil 2 acted as a precursor in the first half, before moving the timeline immediately after Resident Evil 2 in the second half. The project therefore became the awkward title “Resident Evil 1.9 + 2.1”. The nickname appeared in the second half of development in development materials.

Of course, “Resident Evil 1.9 + 2.1” was almost out of reach for game consumers, and so the team decided in early 1999 for the final names: “BIOHAZARD: LAST ESCAPE” for the Asian release and “Resident Evil: Nemesis” for North America and Europe , Capcom believed that the subtitles accurately reflected the content of the game. Both the subtitles “Nemesis” and “Last Escape” refer to two different but related topics in game history. The former refers to the game’s iconic villain, while the second subtitle refers to Jill’s “last” escape from the zombie-infested raccoon city (in the sense that Jill could never return to the city). Asian and Western subtitles were different because Capcom’s localizers were concerned that “Last Escape” didn’t sound like an appealing or natural phrase, while “Nemesis” was not a common name for the antagonist at the time in Japanese localization. (In fact, the name “Nemesis” was largely unused by Japanese players until the release of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, developed in Canada, in 2012.)

Resident Evil 3 Remake screenshotCapcom

“RE3”

Not long after, in the spring of 1999, Aoyama was called to a meeting with his superiors Okamoto and Mikami. During the meeting, his bosses dropped a bomb that Aoyama had not expected. The discussions took place over three days, but the end result was Okamoto’s decision to transform and expand the conceptual scope of “Resident Evil: Nemesis” to match that of a main entry / non-spin-off. Under a number of modifications, Okamoto decided to include number “3” in the game’s title and use the final name of BIOHAZARD 3 LAST ESCAPE in Asia and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in the west.

Aoyama remembers that the rebranding completely caught him off guard. “This game was supposed to be a spin-off, so I stuck to this framework during development. I didn’t expect it to be Resident Evil 3, ”said Aoyama. Mikami, who was very little involved in the creative elements of the game, but oversaw the project as a producer remotely, went on to explain that “the basic idea is to make an” indie “resident evil game”. Mikami’s use of “indie” here refers to underground rock bands whose music tends to be different from the mainstream, as opposed to the definition of the video game industry of “indie game” as developed by independent developers. “Aoyama’s game should appeal to underground hardcore fans of Resident Evil who didn’t care whether the game was weird or quirky,” said Mikami. A number in the title indicated that the game would be a main entry, and Aoyama and Mikami feared that Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was too short and different than fans had expected from the main role Resident Evil. If Capcom wasn’t careful, the move could backfire, especially given the immense commercial success and critical recognition of Resident Evil 2.

“It would have been unacceptable if a game developed by (Kamiya) weren’t of the perfect quality. It would also be unthinkable to push ahead with the development of brand new hardware like the PlayStation 2.”

Regardless, it was too late to restart the game, and Aoyama’s team only had about two months in the summer to add enough content to improve the game’s playability. “Okamoto asked us to add more content to make the game longer,” said Aoyama. In particular, after a last encounter with Nemesis, the game should originally end at the Clock Tower. It may take the average player two or three hours to reach this point in the game, and less if he repeats it. As a result, the Aoyama team added new locations such as Raccoon City Park and the Dead Factory. Other existing areas have also been expanded to include new rooms.

The content of the game has not changed dramatically with these additions, but it has made the game longer than it was originally intended. Aoyama estimates that the game gained about 30 minutes of extra game time. It was the best the team could do with just two months of development. Anything else would have risked a delay that Capcom wanted to avoid as more Resident Evil games were planned for 1999 and 2000 (especially Resident Evil CODE: Veronica). Capcom hoped that the modest additions to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis would help alleviate fears that the company would release a Resident Evil sequel that was significantly less content than its predecessors.

Aoyama has a theory about why Capcom turned its spinoff into the next Resident Evil game. “If I remember correctly, Capcom wanted to become a listed company in the 1999 financial year. Capcom needed a winning title to win investor confidence. They thought a new, numbered Resident Evil game could help them reach their goal more easily, ”said Aoyama.

Kawamura offers more insight by explaining that the factors were beyond his team’s direct control. The Kamiya team had also developed “Resident Evil 3” for PlayStation 2, but the project’s progress was stalled due to major changes in direction. “The (Kamiya) team had to go back to the drawing board to design for the PlayStation 2. This meant that PlayStation fans had to wait several years for the next sequel, a scenario that Capcom wanted to avoid. On the other hand, it would have been unacceptable if a game developed by (Kamiya) had not been of perfect quality, and it would also have been unthinkable to push ahead with the development of brand new hardware like the PlayStation 2, ”said Kawamura of Project Umbrella.

After Aoyama’s project became Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Kamiya’s title was later renamed “Resident Evil 4” (Resident Evil CODE: Veronica was not affected by this change). This project itself would be renamed at some point, this time to something completely different in the form of Devil May Cry. This change to the drastic and dramatic conceptual makeover that this game experienced made this game unsuitable for release under the Resident Evil brand. Devil May Cry was finally released for PlayStation 2 in August 2001, while the replacement for Resident Evil 4 was released in January 2005 under Mikami’s direction for Nintendo GameCube.

Indie ambition, AAA sales

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was finally released in Japan on September 22, 1999. While the first two games were released almost simultaneously in Japan and North America, the release of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in North America was postponed to November to give Dino Crisis, which was released in August in the West, more leeway.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis became a commercial and critical success for Capcom. In Japan, it followed in the footsteps of Resident Evil 2 and sold over a million copies in the first week. It has also been successful elsewhere, selling over two million units in the United States and Europe. Given the game’s origins as a low-budget spin-off title, the enormous success of the game Capcom was surprising. “Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was probably Capcom’s most profitable Resident Evil game at the time,” said Mikami, adding, “We were expecting to sell only 1.4 million copies, but instead sell 1.8 million. It is unglaublich! “Laut Capcom verkaufte sich das Spiel weltweit 3,5 Millionen Mal. Der dritte Eintrag lag zwar etwas unter den 4,9 Millionen verkauften Exemplaren von Resident Evil 2, übertraf jedoch unter Berücksichtigung der kürzeren Entwicklungszeit, des geringeren Budgets und des ursprünglichen Plans als Ausgründung die Erwartungen von Capcom bei weitem. Okamotos Versuch, das Spiel in einen nummerierten Haupteintrag zu verwandeln, war am Ende sehr gut kalkuliert. Bei GameRankings.com erreichte das Spiel eine respektable Punktzahl von 88,21% von 100. In späteren Jahren wurden die Ports des Spiels für Dreamcast, PC und GameCube veröffentlicht.

“Ich bin wirklich glücklich über die Resonanz auf das Spiel in den letzten 20 Jahren. Ich hätte nie gedacht, dass dies einen solchen Einfluss auf die Spielkultur haben würde. Dafür bin ich dankbar. ”

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis hat auch in der Gaming-Popkultur einen bemerkenswerten Fußabdruck hinterlassen, wie es in keinem anderen Spiel der Serie der Fall ist. Mit ihrem einzigartigen Top-Kostüm und ihrer harten Persönlichkeit wurde Jill Valentine eine Repräsentantin weiblicher Videospielcharaktere, die zu Leuten wie Lara Croft von Tomb Raider, Chun-Li von Street Fighter, Samus von Metroid und sogar Prinzessin Peach von der Mario-Serie. Auch Nemesis wurde zu einer Ikone und ist für seine Aggressivität und schreckliche Persönlichkeit bekannt. Seit 1999 ist Nemesis in mehreren Best-of-Listen für Feinde und Charaktere aufgeführt. Nemesis tauchte in einer Reihe von zukünftigen Resident Evil-Titeln neben Crossover-Titeln wie Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Das Schicksal des Universums und Project X Zone 2 auf. Es besteht eine sehr hohe Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass jemand an einem Videospiel, einem Anime oder einem Film teilnimmt Comic- / Manga-Konventionen treffen auf mindestens eine Person, die entweder als Jill oder als Nemesis cosplayt.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis ist auch der einzige Eintrag in der Serie, dessen Inhalt in einer anderen Form von Mainstream-Medien reproduziert wird: dem Kino. 2002 erschien der erste Live-Action-Resident Evil-Film, der von Paul W. S. inszeniert wurde. Anderson und spielte Milla Jovovich. Für Sony und Screen Gems war es erfolgreich genug, dass sie sofort mit der Produktion einer Fortsetzung begannen, die 2004 als Resident Evil: Apocalypse veröffentlicht wurde. Der zweite Film war eine ziemlich enge Adaption von Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, die dieselbe allgemeine Geschichte, Einstellung, Charaktere und Feinde mit einer Reihe kleinerer Ergänzungen enthielt, die dem separaten Universum der Live-Action-Filme entsprachen. Resident Evil: Apocalypse erzielte mit einem Budget von 45 Millionen US-Dollar weltweit einen Umsatz von 129 Millionen US-Dollar. Dies war ein starkes und profitables Ergebnis im Vergleich zu anderen Videospielfilmen, die zu dieser Zeit veröffentlicht wurden.

“Ich bin wirklich glücklich über die Resonanz auf das Spiel in den letzten 20 Jahren. Ich hätte nie gedacht, dass dies einen solchen Einfluss auf die Spielkultur haben würde. Dafür bin ich dankbar “, kommentierte Aoyama das Erbe und den Erfolg von Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Nach der Veröffentlichung von Resident Evil 3: Nemesis verließ Aoyama die Serie für immer und wechselte als Systemplaner zu anderen Titeln wie Onimusha: Warlords für PlayStation 2 und Dino Crisis 3 für die ursprüngliche Xbox. Aoyama blieb bis 2004 bei Capcom. Aus familiären Gründen beschloss Aoyama, Capcom zu verlassen und in die Präfektur Ishikawa an der Westküste Japans zu ziehen. In contrast to Tokyo and Osaka, Ishikawa was quieter, more peaceful, more affordable, and more relaxing. He currently works at another game developer doing much of the same tasks he did as a system planner for Resident Evil, this time for pachinko games. Despite not having been involved with Resident Evil since 1999, he still harbors fond memories of working on the series at Capcom.

Resident Evil 3 remake screenshotCapcom

Newfound glory: Resident Evil 3 remake

On December 10, 2019, Capcom revealed that a remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Simply titled Resident Evil 3 in the west and BIOHAZARD RE:3 in Japan (dropping the subtitle of the original), the remake follows on the heels of a successful remake of Resident Evil 2 released in January 2019. With its planned release on April 3, 2020, the Resident Evil 3 remake comes just 14 months after the Resident Evil 2 remake.

Given that games in the 2010s require far longer development times and higher budgets than those in the 90s, Capcom is offering a relatively quick turnaround with Resident Evil 3. The last time two Resident Evil games in the mainline series released so close to each other was when the remake of the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil 0 both released for GameCube in 2002 (they were apart by only eight months). If one were to take into account the quasi-mainline Revelations titles, then Resident Evil Revelations and Resident Evil 6 released nine months apart in 2012. The overall record goes to the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, which were released only four months apart in 1999 and 2000. Such close releases have become more difficult for Capcom in recent years due to longer and more elaborate production times and the company’s more recent policy of multiplatform development over the platform fragmentation that the Resident Evil series saw in its first decade.

At a glance, the Resident Evil 3 remake appears to have a small number of parallels to the original game from a development and marketing angle. Both titles are releasing toward the end of their respective generations, for instance, with the original game having released as the industry was moving toward PlayStation 2 and its remake arriving just before the expected releases of PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.

It might seem like Resident Evil 3 is once again destined to become Capcom’s red-headed stepchild that cannot catch a break. And yet, 2020 looks to give the third entry a newfound sense of legitimacy that the original never enjoyed. This remake is being developed entirely on its own terms with access to Capcom’s state of the art RE Engine and photogrammetry technologies. While it shares the same basic gameplay engine as the Resident Evil 2 remake and, based on its announcement trailer, will once again revisit locations from Resident Evil 2, these throwbacks seem to no longer be just minor Easter eggs or attempts to prolong gameplay and save money by reusing old assets. If the Resident Evil 2 remake was about exploring the trees, the Resident Evil 3 looks to show us the entire forest.

Nor are there any other publicly announced Resident Evil games that can detract from anyone’s attention on the Resident Evil 3 remake. While it seemed possible that Project Resistance could potentially occupy some of Capcom’s attention following the release of the Resident Evil 2 remake, the company decided to bundle the spinoff, now renamed Resident Evil Resistance, together with Resident Evil 3 to form a comprehensive single and multiplayer offering. There is currently no announced next-gen equivalent to Resident Evil CODE: Veronica or a Kamiya-directed highly-anticipated, groundbreaking equivalent to Resident Evil 4 that can cause any consternation among fans. It is presumed that Resident Evil 8 is in development, but until it is officially announced, it might as well not exist.

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