Resident Evil Village garnered headlines for the past week with Capcom announcing a release date, confirming a release for the Xbox One and PS4 versions, and even unveiling yet another multiplayer mode that hardcore fans don’t want. However, even with all the big announcements made, something felt conspicuously absent. Given that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Resident Evil series, one had to wonder – Where was the Resident Evil 4 Remake?
To be clear, Capcom has never formally announced that said remake is in development. It didn’t tease an appearance for the showcase and hasn’t even hinted at its existence. If things had remained quiet, we would have assumed that development is still on-going. The project’s existence is hardly a secret, especially since the Capcom data leak confirmed it’s in the works, but we could still pretend.
However, a report from VideoGamesChronicle revealed that the Resident Evil 4 Remake has been rebooted. Numerous sources revealed to the site that M-Two, which developed Resident Evil 3 Remake, had its role reduced following a project review last year. The reason for this is apparently due to disagreements with how the project should proceed. M-Two wanted a more faithful remake, especially since one of the major complaints for Resident Evil 3 Remake is how it didn’t have certain memorable moments from the classic. On the other hand is Capcom, which is looking for a more unique experience that doesn’t closely follow the original, like Resident Evil 2 Remake.
Keep in mind that this isn’t exactly new information. Prominent leaker AestheticGamer reported Capcom’s interest in expanding on the original game back in June 2020. The company was looking to greatly expand on the original game’s story, including possibly offering more information on Dr. Salvador, the infamous Chainsaw Man. While the gameplay was noted to be seeing some changes, these would have placed it closer in line to the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes. However, one interesting bit that AestheticGamer added was that a lot could still change before launch.
This indicates two things – One, the Resident Evil 4 Remake was indeed in the works since 2018, as rumors have reported, but on a smaller scale. Given that Capcom was also busy working on the other remakes, this makes some degree of sense. Two, development would have ramped up following M-Two’s completion of Resident Evil 3 Remake, which is around the same time that rumors of it being involved in a larger remake project began to swell. Even reports from last year indicated that Resident Evil 4 Remake would be launching in 2022. If you look at the time-frame for Resident Evil 2 Remake – which was confirmed to be in development in 2015 and subsequently released in 2019 – then a four to five year cycle doesn’t sound too strange, especially for what’s meant to be a “larger” remake.
The question now, then, is why did Capcom reboot the project? If it’s indeed looking to make wholesale changes, then to what end? One could argue that a remake that’s too similar to the original couldn’t be marketed on its own appeal. Meanwhile, M-Two’s approach seems to indicate that it wants to stick to a more faithful title to appease fans rather than thinking outside the box. It’s possible that Capcom just really loves how the Resident Evil 2 Remake turned out in terms of gameplay. It also could like the slower-paced survival horror approach where ammo must be carefully managed than latter additions in the franchise, like Resident Evil 4 and 5. Of course, with over 7.2 million copies sold, there’s no faulting the company for wanting subsequent remakes to take that same approach.
If M-Two insisted on sticking to Resident Evil 4’s original formula as much as possible, then it wold have caused friction with Capcom. Whether the publisher having games that follow Resident Evil 2 Remake is a good sign or not, especially when it could mean that content from the classics is not included, is a question for the creatives in charge. Even if Resident Evil 3 Remake caught criticism for the same, the fact that it sold 3.6 million in less than a year is a big deal.
Of course, there’s also the issue as to why Capcom feels so comfortable giving the game another year for development. The reasons for this are numerous – Resident Evil 4 is one of the company’s best-selling titles of all-time, raking in tons of awards and being credited for its innovations in the horror and third person shooter space. To say that Capcom wants the remake to do it justice – and naturally outsell it by a healthy margin – would be an understatement.
But there’s also the fact that the company isn’t sweating its current roster of releases. Resident Evil Village has had an incredibly good reception and seems on track to sell exceptionally well (especially since it’s launching for current and previous-gen platforms). The company can also expect DLC to fetch additional revenue in the long-term like Not a Hero and The End of Zoe did for Resident Evil 7, even if it’s not a crazy amount. There’s also the matter of Resident Evil Outrage, another title mentioned in the infamous Capcom leak that’s rumored to be Resident Evil Revelations 3 in all but name and stars Rebecca Chambers.
The game is rumored to launch on Nintendo Switch and other platforms as well. With the current demand for Monster Hunter Rise on the Switch (which is also rumored to be coming to PC later), it’s expected that Outrage will also perform spectacularly, both at launch and when it releases for other consoles. All in all, Capcom is set with its Resident Evil release schedule for the next two years and that’s not even accounting for other titles it could announce.
There’s always going to be concern over a title’s development, especially one that’s reportedly been in the works for as long as Resident Evil 4 Remake and with so many expectations riding on it. At this point, Capcom’s approach of not discussing the game is working out very well. It already has major releases which are receiving plenty of focus, and that are more or less guaranteed to deliver outstanding returns.
It doesn’t need to confirm the existence of a title which it doesn’t feel is anywhere near ready to be shown. Because once you reveal, for example, that a game like Metroid Prime 4 or Bayonetta 3 is in development, the hype train will be rolling even if years go by without any major announcements or new details.
For now, it’s best to wait until the game is in a complete enough state before announcing it. It’s worked well enough for Resident Evil Village and Monster Hunter Rise which are releasing in the coming months. We’ll just have to wait and see if this works out for Resident Evil 4 Remake when all is said and done.
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