So, it is finally official. Capcom recently confirmed the announcement of the development of a Resident Evil 2 Remake project. After years of pleas from fans, and even a fan-made remake, Capcom is finally moving forward with a full, official remake of the classic franchise installment. Capcom’s hesitant attitude toward moving forward with a Resident Evil remake is understandable. Why? Unlike the original Resident Evil game, there was not a recent post-2000 update of Resident Evil 2 to upgrade. The Gamecube version of Resident Evil 2 was nothing more than a port of the original title. The situation is not like the remake of the first game released on the same console. In other words, Capcom would have to spend and invest significantly more money into a modern update of Resident Evil 2. The Resident Evil 2 Remake will require a lot more research and development than the high-definition remastering required for the Gamecube Resident Evil remake that was recently released for current and last-gen consoles in January 2015. However, now that the project is greenlit, this is easily Capcom’s best and smartest move in years.
The most obvious reason why this was a good move for Capcom is the sales potential for a modern update of Resident Evil 2. The HD Resident Evil remake has already sold over one million copies. In addition, the game was hailed as the fastest selling digital in Capcom’s history (via Gamespot). This proved that there was untapped financial potential for releasing next-gen, upgraded remasters of the classic Resident Evil series installments on the next-gen consoles. The sales for the Resident Evil remaster proved that there was potential and fan support in going back to the classic Resident Evil catalog. Fans would turn out and buy the classic games with updated graphics and in a HD format. Capcom continuing on that path depended directly on the sales of the Resident Evil remaster. The sales figures surpassed expectations so Capcom would move forward with Resident Evil 0. Of course, that would be an easier game to tackle as a remaster since it was also released for the Gamecube in 2002.
Before 2015, the Resident Evil franchise was essentially in tatters. Like it or not, Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 were not as well received as previous installments. The games did not meet expectations in terms of reviews or sales. So, instead of moving forward with the franchise’s main line of games, Capcom opted to search through its past. It might be sad to consider the fact that players would rather look at the older games than the newer ones, but those games are classics for a reason. What Resident Evil needs right now, as a franchise, is rejuvenation. Offering fresh coats of paints to classic, beloved installments of the franchise could give the franchise the shot in the arm it needs. It started with the Resident Evil remaster, and the Resident Evil 2 Remake is the next part of that. If Capcom pulls off the Resident Evil 2 Remake with flying colors, that could really put the franchise back on track in many ways.
What is arguably most significant is that this announcement pleases the fans, and that is something Capcom really needs right now. It finally puts some momentum and fan approval back on their side. Fans essentially demanded this Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Capcom acknowledged those desires. In short, Capcom is getting some good PR for a change by developing this project. Besides Street Fighter V, it gives players something else to look forward to from the Capcom catalog in the coming years.
In short, the Resident Evil 2 Remake project will give Capcom an almost guaranteed win and hit, which have been in short supply as of late. In 2014, Capcom announced a sales drop of 51.3 percent in revenue and 39.9 percent in profits compared to 2013 (via Gamespot). What is worse? 2013 was already the company’s least profitable year since 2013 (via Games Industry). Capcom has undeniably been struggling in recent years. When that is happening for a major game publisher, the company cannot afford too many missteps. The Resident Evil 2 Remake already has the support and excitement of players on its side. This project is pretty much a win-win for Capcom from every angle.
Since Resident Evil 2 is a classic video game, it is important for Capcom to remember not to try and reinvent the wheel with this remake. Once again, the project will entail more than just upgrading the graphics, textures and screen presentation. Capcom might have to rebuild character models and even cut scenes from scratch. The voice-overs might be considered outdated and could possibly need to be re-recorded. Changes such as those are understandable. However, in making changes, Capcom should not try to alter what made the original so special. Resident Evil 2 played like an amazing progression of the original. The Zapping System at the time was a revelation to experience. Capcom should not mess around with these basic building blocks, or even the controls. Sure, the option of a more streamlined control scheme similar to the Resident Evil update is fine. New skins, trophies and achievements are also fine. However, that is where the tinkering should end. In remaking Resident Evil 2, I want every room, every boss battle and all the major story beats to remain identical to the original.
More details for the Resident Evil 2 will be revealed later on. The experience of getting to experience the true vision of survival horror yet again will be a sight to behold.