Resident Evil HD Interview Yoshiaki Hirabayashi
Charlie – Many gamers are looking forward to the upcoming HD version of Resident Evil, but some are curious: Why did Capcom decide to release this version?
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi – Resident Evil represents the origin point for Survival Horror kicking off as a genre. And, within this series, the GameCube remake stands as a real masterpiece – the best version of that original idea. We wanted to offer users a chance to revisit this game and get more enjoyment out of it.
Another reason is that we’re just now getting to a point where a high quality port is feasible on a technical level. The original iteration of the game was released on hardware that now seems rather quaint in its prowess. The original team had to use a lot of tricks and roundabout ways of getting the high quality performance they needed. That means that we need to get under the hood, solve the puzzle of how the game is put together, and replicate the techniques they used at the time. This is no easy task. We’re finally at a point where we are able to do what we need to do to produce a high quality remastered version.
Charlie – What are some of the challenges that presented themselves in the development of the upcoming version?
YH – This is the kind of game that really requires a deft touch. Simply going through the assets and touching them up in a standard fashion wouldn’t cut it. We really need to focus on replicating the way the original felt – the fear, the atmosphere, the tempo of gameplay. These elements are so important to this game that we ended up going through each individual scene one at a time and tackling them with techniques specific to those scenes, all the while keeping a keen eye on preserving the original feel. In a nutshell, the real challenge was finding a way to polish the game and make it look better while maintaining a sense of respect and reverence toward the original.
Charlie – How does being an inter-generational product (PS4/PS3 and Xbox One/360) affect the game (if it does)?
YH – We are working toward making sure each version of the game (both console and PC) is the best experience it can be. There should be no significant experiential difference present in any version you may wish to play.
Charlie – Are there any differences between the current generation (PS4, Xbox One) and previous generation (PS3, Xbox 360) that gamers should be aware of when deciding which version to pick up?
YH – As I mentioned above, the game content itself remains unchanged from platform to platform. The big difference you will notice is that the next-gen iterations display at 1080P.
Note that we will share more details about the PC version at a later date as well.
Charlie – Some are worried that some of the game modes from the GameCube version may have been removed from the upcoming HD version of Resident Evil. Has anything been removed, or are the fans worrying needlessly?
YH – No content present in the GameCube version has been left on the cutting room floor for this iteration. However, one change has been implemented that addresses an exploit in the original GC version.
Charlie – Aside from the graphical upgrade apparent in the videos and screens, what else is new in the upcoming HD version of Resident Evil?
YH – The upgrades aren’t just in the graphics department. On the sound front, we’ve also implemented 5.1 surround sound support to add even more atmospheric depth to the proceedings. Because the original game is so well balanced, we didn’t want to jeopardize what was already there by fiddling with it too much and adding content. Our goal was to reproduce the original, with some visual and aural upgrades. You’ll also notice that the widescreen compatibility is new, as is a new Very Easy Mode.
Very Easy Mode will allow players who may find more difficult games to be daunting to enjoy all the thrills and chills of the game. However, item and enemy locations and the like remain unchanged to preserve the fear factor and the overall pacing and tempo of the original.
Charlie – What, exactly, has been upgraded in the visuals? Some were unhappy with the treatment that Resident Evil 4 received in this regard and are wondering what all will be enhanced.
YH – We don’t see this project as a simple upconvert. We are working with assets on an individual basis and giving each scene careful attention.
As you know, the original game utilized pre-rendered backgrounds, some of which were still images, and some of which contained moving elements presented essentially as a video file playing in the background. We carefully went through each and every scene, polishing up the visuals and improving resolution, re-rendering where needed, to achieve the look we were after. We are also making broad improvements to bloom filters and other post effects.
Moreover, the video backdrops have received extra care, with some background elements being recreated entirely in polygons and lots of attention paid to effects.
Some video backdrops remain as video, but in those cases, we went through and improved each and every individual frame to achieve the look we’re after.
The characters and effects have undergone a great deal of attention as well, with requisite resolution improvements accompanied and bolstered by new textures, materials, and shaders.
Charlie – There have been rumors that the classic Resident Evil for PlayStation (specifically the Director’s Cut version) will be included in this version, either as an unlockable game or via a voucher. Is there any truth to that?
YH – That’s an unfounded rumor. This title contains only the remastered version of the GameCube remake.
Charlie – Will there be any extra skins in the game, such as an option to play as the classic versions of the characters?
YH – All the costumes present in the original still remain. In addition, we have decided to add the modern BSAA iterations of Chris and Jill as a reward because we got enough registrants on our “Raccoon City Contagion” campaign to get the “infection rate” to 100%, so we’ll get those costumes implemented in the game.
Charlie – I’m sure you get asked this quite a bit, but if this HD version of the game is successful, are there any plans to create HD remakes of Resident Evil 0, 2, 3, and Code Veronica in the vein of the GameCube remake? I know that many gamers, including myself, have been eagerly hoping that you would announce such versions for years.
YH – I’m afraid I don’t really have a suitable answer to give you. What I can say is that I share your enthusiasm about Resident Evil 0, 2, 3, and Code Veronica. I think they’re great titles.
Speaking purely as a fan and not as a producer, I would love to do something like that should the chance arise but nothing has been confirmed.
Charlie – Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer the questions!