Resident Evil 2 producers Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and Tsuyoshi Kanda share their views
To remake something well, you’ve really got to love the original. You have to know what made it so great, what makes it worth repeating. And when we sit down with Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and Tsuyoshi Kanda, their passion for Resident Evil is immediately apparent.
OPM: Do you have a favourite game or character in the Resident Evil series?
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi: I have a lot of favourite characters but if I had to choose one I would say Ada Wong.
Tsuyoshi Kanda: I love the eccentric Baker family from Resident Evil VII, and especially the son, Lucas. Just thinking of the scene where he peels off his fingernails makes me break into a sweat…
OPM: Much is made of videogames needing more female heroes. Do you think Resident Evil series has been ahead of its time in this respect?
YH: Yeah, we do have a lot of games where you can choose to play as a male or female character. I don’t know if we were ahead of the times so much as we simply thought that players would surely be interested in playing as both.
TK: Our female heroes are an essential part of our stories and history, and one of the reasons behind its enduring popularity.
OPM: What is the legacy of the series?
YH: I think it is the way the series expresses survival horror as a key part of its identity.
TK: The way we continue to provide fresh, creative, and surprising games all around the theme at the series roots, survival horror.
OPM: Why do you think retro games are popular? Are you a fan of PlayStation Classic?
YH: Retro games often have simpler controls than modern games while offering great, deep experiences. So I think players who want great experiences can find them in either place. And yes, I am interested in PlayStation Classic but until the full game lineup is revealed I don’t know yet if I can call myself a “fan” of it.
TK: Games which were called masterpieces at the time still have entertainment to offer today. One of the benefits of modern entertainment is how fun can be passed down from generation to generation. In that sense I can’t wait for PlayStation Classic and want to play it with my kids while letting myself get absorbed in nostalgic memories! OPM: How important has it been to keep development of the Resident Evil games inside Capcom? YH: I think as long as we have passion behind creating survival horror, external development would work as well. But our internal development team is very well versed in the latest hardware technology, and that’s one of the keys to our great results.
TK: I think it’s really important that the DNA of the series is kept going internally for the sake of the continuity of the series. As the franchise develops, the choices to be made about the approach to gameplay will need to increase, and I think that can contribute to the development of multiple games.
OPM: What was the first Resident Evil game you played, and what were your first impressions?
YH: It was the original RE2, which was also the first PlayStation game I played. I didn’t think it would be that scary before I started, but within the first hour I was proven wrong…
TK: Mine was also RE2. It was so scary, but I also wanted to see what happened next so I would stick at it. It certainly brought a shock to my quiet college life! Now I think of it as an old friend.
OPM: Is there a formula to making a good Resident Evil game?
YH: There is never a clear answer until you start the creation process. The development team, their relationships with each other, the current technology… All those parts come together and the choice of what is the best way to proceed changes each time. But the one thing that never changes is that Resident Evil must be horror. TK: I wouldn’t call it a formula, but an indispensable part is keeping up balanced tension as you survive through the game. The placement of enemies, weapons, and items creates a tension curve, and it’s important to have moments to release the built-up stress and also keep the story momentum going. Otherwise, players won’t want to keep playing. OPM: Do you remember the first time you were chased by Nemesis? How did it make you feel? YH: It was such a long time ago… but I do remember a feeling of helplessness! TK: I used to be so hesitant to leave the save room! I’d rush out and then panic and hit the wrong buttons. It was really scary.
OPM: Which game in the series would you like to remake after Resident Evil 2?
YH: I don’t have room for anything in my head other than Resident Evil 2 at the moment!
TK: I think it would be interesting to provide over-the-shoulder versions of our other fixed-camera titles. But for the time being my priority is making Resident Evil 2 a success.
“THE ONE THING THAT NEVER CHANGES IS THAT RESIDENT EVIL MUST BE HORROR.”