Part 1: Analysis
Resident Evil 2 Remake (2019)
The 2019 remake of Capcom’s 1998 survival horror game ‘Resident Evil 2’ on the Playstation 1. The game features two campaigns, allowing players to complete the game as either rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy or student Claire Redfield. Released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One
- The original game was released in 1998, meaning many people buying the game may be in their 30s, having enjoyed playing the original. However, the game’s updated graphics and mechanics enable the game to appeal to new players to either the Resident Evil franchise itself or those new to Resident Evil 2’s story.
- The game features two campaigns from both a male and female perspective. Initial stats from Resi.Net may suggest the game to be more popular among male gamers, with 79% of players completing their first playthrough as Leon.
- The difficulty settings range from assisted to hardcore, appealing to a wide range of playstyles.
- 74% of sales were on the PS4. Makes use of the light bar and speaker in the PS4 controller and ‘Resident Evil 7’ (2017) had a VR mode for PS VR.
- Merchandise – selling a Resident Evil 2 ‘zombie scented’ candle. Highlights that players are looking to be immersed in the experience when they play the game
- Speedrunners – before the game had been released, speedrunners were already attempting to complete the demo in the shortest time possible. After the game’s release, speedrunners are streaming their world record attempts. The speedrunner demographic is also suggested through the achievement list – achievements for only taking a certain number of steps during the campaign.
- Survival Horror – dark, wet environments in the game are filled with detail to emphasise atmosphere
- Family – Claire is searching for her brother, Chris Redfield and eventually meets Sherry Birkin, a little girl who is looking for her mother
The average play time for the campaigns in the original Resident Evil 2 was around 3-5 hours. In the remake, each campaign can last around 10 hours. Players are also encouraged to play both campaigns in order to unlock the true ending, as well as the free ‘Ghost Survivors’ DLC and unlocking other modes such as ‘The 4th Survivor’ hence adding to the total play time.
Photorealistic graphics. Facial models were generated from photos of Eduard Badaluta (Leon) and Jordan McEwen (Claire).
Unique Selling Points
Prior to the release of the game, a ‘One shot demo’ was released from 11th – 31st January 2019. Providing just 30 minutes for players to complete the demo, two thirds of players didn’t manage to complete it. One reviewer even stated that the demo ‘showed [him] that there’s way too much detail and atmosphere in this game to just breeze through’.
The game uses adaptive difficulty, as every Resident Evil game has used since Resident Evil 4. If the player is doing well, the difficulty will increase to ensure there’s always a sense of dread and tension. If you select to play the game on ‘hardcore’ difficulty, you can only save if you have an ink ribbon.
Zombies will usually not stay dead after they have been shot, adding to the difficulty.
As this is a remake, the layout of the police station was subtly changed to prevent returning players knowing what was going to happen. Without mystery, the survival horror element wouldn’t work
As mentioned previously, the game needs to be played from both Leon and Claire’s perspective to unlock the true ending, with each campaign varying slightly and including different segments. This then unlocks the ‘4th Survivor’ mode, and upon completion of this mode, players can then unlock the different flavours of the Tofu survivor
At the end of the game, players see how long it took them to complete and are given a grade. This makes players want to replay and get a better grade – speedrunners have already managed to complete the game in under an hour.
When players complete certain tasks, they can unlock weapons with infinite ammo etc. For example, if players shoot all the Mr. Raccoon collectibles in the game, they will unlock an unbreakable knife for another playthrough.
PC players can add mods to their game, with mods that allow players to play the game from a first person perspective being made shortly after the game’s release.
- Rewards – unlocking extra play modes/ costumes/ true ending/ achievements
- Achieving goals – emergent narratives are likely to arise given that each player is likely to have a unique story from their game – for example, they may have run out of ammo at one point and had to find an alternative way to do something. Certain achievements provide the player with goals such as not healing themselves for the entirety of the game
- Exploring and building – ability to use gunpowder to craft ammo for different guns
- Collecting – the player collects resources like herbs throughout the game to survive. Files and maps are also located around the game. If players manage to find and shoot all Mr. Raccoons they receive an achievement and an unbreakable knife. Photo hints can be found to provide hints/ locker codes. Players can collect hip pouches for extra inventory space.
- Problem solving/ strategizing – need to strategize when you use ammo as it is limited. Puzzles located throughout the game
- Role playing/ imagining – the two campaigns feature a segment where you will either get to play as Sherry Birkin or Ada Wong
- 9/10 – IGN – ‘inventory and ammunition management is still a key part of Resident Evil 2’s gameplay. This is real survival horror, where it always seems like you’re just barely scraping by’[…] Capcom did a fantastic job of resurrecting all the best parts of the classic Resident Evil 2 and making them look, sound, and play like a 2019 game. If you’re of the mind that the series had lost its way for a while there, this game is very much a return to form. The zombie combat is satisfying and exploring the dilapidated ruins of Raccoon City is a thrill.
- 9/10 Gamespot – ‘Capcom shows respect for the original while also going to great lengths to give the macabre atmosphere and tense gameplay a noticeable upgrade’ […] Resident Evil 2 is not only a stellar remake of the original, but it’s also simply a strong horror game that delivers anxiety-inducing and grotesque situations, topping some of the series’ finest entries.’
- 5/5 Twinfinite.net – ‘Bullet shots feel impactful, regardless of whichever gun you’re using’ […] The Resident Evil 2 remake is, indeed, the best Resident Evil game ever released. I see that now. It brings back everything that fans loved from the PS1 classic, and presents it in a fresh way that’s both exciting and nostalgic in a modern age.’
- ‘Characters like Ada and Sherry feel less like silly caricatures, and more like human beings now. Key story scenes have been fleshed out even further, giving the tragedy of Raccoon City a new layer of depth that was only ever slightly hinted at in the original game. I mean, young Sherry Birkin is actually likable now, and that’s saying something.’
- IGN – The one big letdown is that the two characters’ stories aren’t different enough to make the second playthrough as rewarding as the first, even after unlocking the 2nd Game mode
- Twinfinite.net – ‘the only difference between Claire’s 1st and 2nd run playthroughs is that she’ll reach the station before Leon in the former; story-wise, everything after that point save for the ending cutscene, remains the same’ after ‘the original Resident Evil 2 was praised for how intricately its different stories and scenarios weaved together. There were parts of the game where you’d bump into Leon in the station as Claire, and when you beat the game, you’d unlock Leon B, where you could find out what Leon was up to right up to that minute he met Claire in the hallway’
- Gamespot – ‘Though the Tyrant offers a nerve-wracking surprise during some of these key moments, which makes the feeling of getting the best of it all the more satisfying, there are other times when it can disrupt Resident Evil 2’s pacing. This is especially frustrating when you’re trying to acquire an item or solve a puzzle in a room that the Tyrant and zombies frequent. What should be tense encounters can sometimes become annoying exercises to lure it away’
- Allows players to choose between two campaigns, with the true ending being unlocked upon completing the second run scenario. While the game is single player, there are weekly challenges and you receive a grade after completing each campaign, with this data being sent to Resi.Net if you allow it
- Photorealism and verisimilitude – Leon’s new costume design removes his oversized shoulder pads and Ada wears a coat over her dress when we first meet her.
- Limited ammo and hip pouches needed to unlock extra inventory space. Limited fighting and hardcore difficulty limits the number of saves available
- Strong replayability value – two campaigns, free DLC, costumes and graded campaigns
- Evokes a sense of nostalgia for previous players but also provides a new experience
- Always gives players a sense of mystery/ fear
A 2005 action adventure platformer where you play as Raz, an aspiring Pychonaut who sneaks into psychic summer school, learning to control people’s minds. Published by Majesco Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, Xbox and PlayStation 2.
- As Tim Schafer Designed the game, this is likely to appeal to fans of his work at LucasArts (e.g. ‘Grim Fandango’) prior to Psychonauts
- The game was influenced by games like ‘Rayman 2’, and is hence likely to appeal to fans of that
- Mental health – Tim Schafer has stated how no one in Psychonauts is beyond redemption and how even when you fight a really bad character, when you see into their brain you can see the problems they’re facing and actually help them to heal/ overcome/ gain control over their outlook on life
- The game appears quite innocent at the start but later on when all of the children have been kidnapped and monsters are roaming around the camp in the dark it is somewhat horror
The main story takes around 15 hours but for a completionist playthrough it can take around 22 1/2 hours
Presents what Schafer calls an ‘outsider’s take on art’. The characters look like toys and the visual style was inspired by 50s stop motion
Unique Selling Points
Psychonauts is a stylised platformer with open world elements. The game was released in May 2005 when there was a lot of focus on next gen consoles like the Xbox 360 that was coming out at Christmas, meaning there wasn’t as much room in the triple A space for it and so gained a reputation for being a good game that didn’t sell well
New and interesting mechanics like Raz’s powers in addition to an original story with a distinct sense of humour
Starting levels introduce the player to the core game mechanics – Milla’s level teaches the players how to use their new levitation power for example.
Many players have commented on a difficulty spike at the end of the game during the Meat Circus level
Unique story and characters make the game stand out and hence makes players want to return to replay it
Some players may want to go back and play it for a certain achievement. For example, there is an achievement that players can only get if they play the game at Christmas. Players may also want to return and find all of the collectables, as certain collectables like the memory vaults add to the game’s narrative
Resurgence with Steam selling special editions of the game and it being included in Humble Bundles. Gets people playing and talking about the game again.
- Core mechanics – platformer element – Raz’s acrobatic skills make sense as he has escaped the circus to join the summer camp
- Rewards – achievements, increasing your Psychonaut rank
- Achieving goals – need to use Raz’s unique powers to get to the next stage
- Exploring and building – open world to an extent. If you walk around the camp you can listen to conversations the other kids at the summer camp are having
- Collecting – can collect ’emotional baggage’, golden helmets, scavenger hunt items, brains and memory vaults for example
- Problem solving or strategizing – puzzles throughout the game where you have to use the powers you have unlocked
- Role playing or imagining – allowos you to empathise with all characters, even if they are bad
8.8/10 – Gamespot – ‘Even though the game isn’t particularly hard, at least it’s not repetitive. The goals and challenges of each level are totally exclusive’ …. ‘the game has more to it than just a lot of jumping around. There are puzzles to be solved in Psychonauts, as well as battles to be fought, and both require use of Raz’s crazy psychic powers’ … ‘Psychonauts’ greatest achievement, perhaps unsurprisingly, is in the realm of its presentation. Graphically, this is one of the nicest-looking platformers on the Xbox or PC’
Gamespy – “Each area is completely unique, from the black-and-white-checkered cube taking up space in the mind of a German minimalist to the lush, black velvet and neon purple zones found in a fellow camper’s psyche…sumptuous, mind-bending visuals”
1UP – “The visual style is also refreshing in a gaming landscape currently dominated by anime-inspired Japanese games or the militarized aesthetic in most Western titles. “
Gamespot – ‘The game isn’t especially challenging, except in somewhat sporadic spurts, not a terribly long adventure and not a great deal of replay value’
Gamespy – ‘Occasionally frustrating controls; weird camera angles can obscure important clues; rather short’
- Single player story which includes a lot of satirical humour and incorporates themes of mental health into the design of the characters/ levels. Wish fulfilment narrative
- Background of characters is emphasised through level design/ mechanics. Raz comes from the circus which is reflected in the platform mechanics of swinging and jumping across platforms. Platformer but you can explore the 3D space in a free and open way.
- Stylised visuals – characters are designed to look like little toys and based on 50s stop motion. Fresh look from other games
- Unlock powers like clairvoyance to see how other characters see you. Can move around the map by levitating
Part 2: Game Concept Presentation
Part 3: Project Summary
Resident Evil 2 Remake and the Impact of Technology:
- Released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One
- Other platforms available: VR, mobile, Nintendo Switch
- Photogrammetry is the use of dense photographic data to create 3D models, textures and normal maps and was used in Resident Evil 2’s remake. It is likely a similar, if not the same set up was used for photogrammetry in Resident Evil 2 as Resident Evil 7, whereby 100 DSLR cameras were used for full body scanning, whilst 40 were used for facial scanning. The cameras have an instant shutter so the camera can simultaneously take hundreds of images. The images are then uploaded to software like ‘PhotoScan’, which creates a point cloud. A dense cloud build then needs to be made, whereby it tries to blend all the nodes together to make a mesh that’s easier to work with. This can then be imported into programs like ZBrush and Maya, where modellers can fully modify the model to their liking.
- To make photorealistic graphics for Claire and Leon’s outfits, a physical version of both Leon and Claire’s costumes was created. When using photogrammetry for objects, Photometric Stereo is used, which involves taking pictures of objects in every lighting condition and adding minor details/ changes afterwards
Advantages of Photogrammetry
Helps create photorealistic visuals – allows for detailed expressions and adds to the horror
Again, helps aid in photorealism
Uses higher end features of the RE engine for the first time
Using technology to create my sequel:
- Continue the use of photogrammetry, motion capture and the RE Engine as with RE 2 Remake
Potential drawbacks/ limitations of technology
- PS4 generation uses a physically-based workflow, meaning Devs have to prepare more high resolution data for textures from the normal map
- Physically-based workflows require a large number of models to be created in small units (plates and lamps), so managing assets is another challenge
- Photogrammetry can’t be used for all models. When this happens, data adjustments using attribute transfers and the UV editor in Maya is useful
- There are always limits to texture memory if many characters appear simultaneously
- VR – needs to be optimised for 60 fps and prevent motion sickness – keep camera shaking to a minimum and adjust walking speed
- New generations of consoles may be released around the time the game comes out – Psychonauts had a similar problem
Marketing/ Social Platforms to Boost Sequel
- Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Gaming Magazines – give exclusive interviews/ free Resident Evil 3 Remake merch with special edition of magazine. For example, the official Xbox Magazine included a Resident Evil 2 remake poster and travel card holder with the magazine
- For Resi 7, the team filmed player reactions and posted them on social media. Conducted a programme called the Resident Evil Ambassador Program, using fans who have the power to spread information on social media
- Give copies of the game early to popular streamers
- Show ads in-between horror shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ and before horror films at the cinema
- Resident Evil 2 opened an immersive bar in London on January 25th – 26th Part of this involved teams of 4 journeying through a recreation of the iconic Racoon City Police Department. Featured a blood antidote sample to try. Once that has finished there’s a bar serving Resi-inspired cocktails. Free tickets and limited number of walk-in spots for access to the bar
- Part of a franchise with an established fan base – word of mouth
Research Methods/ Critical Perspectives
My research consisted of entirely secondary research. In retrospect, I could have gathered some primary research by creating questionnaires or asking questions on forums
- 74% of players bought the game on PS4
- 79% of players completed their first playthrough as Leon
- Review Scores (9/10 from IGN and Gamespot)
- Critical Perspectives
The qualitative data was useful as it enabled me to become aware of what people liked and disliked about the Resident Evil 2 Remake, hence enabling me to expand on what people enjoyed in my remake, as well as being aware of possible improvements for my remake.
How this data influenced my sequel/ remake
- I was aware of what players liked and the criticism of the resi 2 remake – led me to consider replay value and how Nemesis should follow the player.
- Was aware of my demographic – resulted in adding more features to make the most out of the PS4 controller
- Kept what went well such as making use of inventory management, tense atmosphere and updated characters
- Added an extra first-person mode upon after a first-person mod was made by fans soon after the release. As the original showed your character, I didn’t want to make the initial playthrough first-person, but to increase replayability, have this as an unlockable mode
- Some players wanted to have been able to explore outside more – took the concept from the original of exploring outdoor Raccoon City but inspired it by recent games
Peer comments on the Resident Evil 2 Remake:
- Liked the smooth gameplay and control over your character. Enjoyed crafting and shooting mechanics. Liked that they didn’t drastically change the game for the remake – kept the fundamentals whilst keeping anything that’s worked in the Resident Evil franchise up to this point. Added a new dynamic on something that already worked. Also liked how an entire floor was added for the clock tower, making each bit of the map its own level
- Criticised the difficulty curve – harder for new survival horror players because the zombies don’t die easily. For people that are used to the genre it is easy to get used to
Peer comments on my sequel:
- Liked the idea of having the option to enable motion controls for PS4 and how I have limited the effectiveness of the dodging mechanic as people exploited this mechanic in Mercenaries mode. Also liked the idea of having an open area to explore. Also liked the idea of bringing back live sequence events
- Thought I could have included a story driven DLC with Nikolai so you can see what he’s doing during the campaign (in a similar way to the ‘Wesker’s Report’ DLC for Resident Evil 1) and have the decisions made in this impact your next playthrough
This feedback was useful as I received feedback from both someone who has played both the original game of 2 and 3 as well as the remake, in addition to someone who has only played the Resident Evil 2 remake, hence providing me with two different perspectives.
Additionally, as the feedback for my sequel idea was specifically regarding my sequel, this was useful as it was directly aimed at me.
However, I would still argue that the secondary research I completed prior to this was more useful as I could quickly find multiple sources regarding the Resident Evil 2 remake which went into a lot of detail