Resident Evil 4 remake interview with Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi

Resident Evil 4 is one of the most loved games in the entire series. Released multiple times across different platforms, players are usually enamored of Leon’s journey to infiltrate a cult armed with biological weapons and rescue Presidential daughter Ashley Graham from their clutches. With Capcom finally getting started on the remake, we had a lot of burning questions, and Resident Evil 4 producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi was kind enough to talk to us about several of them. Check out how the team handles the game, how the remake is being improved with Resident Evil 4, and how many iconic items are being reimagined!

Shaknews: Resident Evil 4 is one of the highlights of the series and is said to have reinvigorated the franchise. How do you feel to come back to that game and enjoy this game so loved by the fans?

Yoshiaki Hirabayashi: So, for Resident Evil 4, you mentioned… It’s a game that many love. So, while creating this now remake of Resident Evil 4, of course, we are doing our best to create this game that we hope everyone will love and make a game that everyone will remember.

Shaknews: The original RE4 is notorious for having gone through so many prototypes that Capcom has sorted out the direction it wants to take with the game. Was there any such difficulty in the remake or did the team know exactly where they wanted to go with it?

Hirabayashi: We stuck to the phases people know and remember from the past. What we did next with the new version is we took those phases and basically solidified them. We updated it for the modern player. So, for example, while we’re doing this, if you look at the opening village area, this area was recreated several times during the development process and was set many times to create the specific type of area and [the] A clear sense that we wanted to get the preliminary stage of the game.

The opening village in Resident Evil 4 remake
Source: Capcom

Shaknews: Speaking of new hardware, it’s been a long time since the original RE4. She was beautiful at the time, but still kind of flat or plump in certain areas. What was it like to experience reimagining the main parts of Resident Evil 4 with more powerful technology like the PS5?

Hirabayashi: Like you said, in the past, we had, uh, maybe limited technology when we had the GameCube and PlayStation [2] And what about it. Now, we have the very modern PlayStation 5 as a console that you can play the game on. So, Art Director, when looking at making this game [was] Really focus on the actual space [and] The environments the user enters when playing the game. Instead of being constrained by technology, he can [instead] Instead, focus on what he wants to use for the feel and then delve into the actual details of the game itself. This is not only the small graphic details, like I mentioned various details, housing, etc., but also the lighting of the levels themselves.

Shaknews: With the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, we’ve seen characters who might not have played big roles in those games expand in interesting ways. Characters such as Carlos or Sherry featured extended or unique transformations in their novels. Can we expect something similar from the side characters in RE4?

Hirabayashi: When making a remake on RE4 now, [during] Discussions With the director himself, an important factor when looking at development is the actual character interactions and how that might change now when we look at remaking the games. Therefore, when optimizing the game for modern consoles, there is also the importance of improving character interactions, so character interactions are also improved. It has been run and deepened. Now when Leon is going through RE4, we have of course improved the interactions with Leon and the characters around him as well.

Ashley Graham in Resident Evil 4 Remake, she runs through the woods next to a creek bed.
Source: Capcom

Shaknews: Ada Wong was very much a part of the original RE4, and not only appeared alongside Leon’s campaign, but also showcased her own campaign in separate ways. Will we see something similar to it in the Resident Evil 4 edition?

Hirabayashi: Therefore, we cannot go into details about this question at the moment, but we can say that for the main game, Ada Wong will be the same as in the main story of the original game and has also been preserved in the new version. That’s about what we can say now.

Shaknews: One of the complaints fans had about the original game was Krauser, who showed up very late in the match and felt a little embarrassed in the way he was portrayed. Did the team notice these comments in the reworking of the Krauser part in the remake?

Hirabayashi: Krauser himself is something we don’t want to touch on now. We want users to experience this as they play the game. However, from the original game to the remake, 17 years have passed since these two games now. Between… There have been many RE games that have come out – not only the numbered entry series but also a sub-series. Within that, more information has been released about all the characters and the settings themselves, so we now have all of this information that we can now use to improve the game and look more into the characters themselves and in their directions and sort of boost what we feel modern players should get for the new version now .

The cult in Resident Evil 4 remake
Source: Capcom

Shaknews: Both the Resident Evil and the original Resident Evil 2 remakes are almost universally loved by fans, but when it came to the Resident Evil 3 remake, there were players who felt it strayed a little further from the original. How has the team handled this criticism in its approach to RE4 when it comes to satisfying older fans and creating something interesting for new players?

Hirabayashi: for [the RE4 remake]We’re looking back at the RE2 edition. We have the same director now in the RE4 remake, so it’s the same team of directors and producers. Now when they’re looking into making this remake of RE4, you have the same kind of mindset that they had in Resident Evil 2 in 2019, and that includes how they want to keep the kind of feel and essence of the original game. Feeling nostalgic… I think it’s a good way of saying that it also refreshes the game for a modern audience. So, that balance is at hand when they’re looking for some kind of same mindset now for RE4.

Shaknews: It’s worth noting that this game comes after Resident Evil 4 VR, and while the control styles between VR and non-VR vary greatly, I’m curious whether the team played VR and if there was anything the team did that felt valuable or Could it be implemented in the next RE4 edition?

Hirabayashi: So, for the first question, yes, some of us have played the RE4 VR version. But we can’t really answer if we have anything concrete that we’ve learned and brought from VR to the new version at this time.

Leon Kennedy climbs into a country house in the remake of Resident Evil 4.
Source: Capcom

Shaknews: Resident Evil 4 is pivotal for a lot of reasons in the franchise, particularly because while it’s still a horror game, the franchise has tended to run deeper at this point. Is this the same in the RE4 edition? Can you talk about how the team is working to balance terror and work here? How do you keep threats and dangers going?

Hirabayashi: Therefore, the actual balance between action and horror in general is very close to what it was in the original game. However, as a trend with the latest Resident Evil games, survival horror elements are also important to the RE4 remake. So, the horror aspect is something we focused on. Users may feel that there is a little more horror than they felt in the original game. But [players will also notice] The movement in the game has been greatly improved since the original game.

Shaknews: With so much love for Resident Evil 4 and so many fans waiting for this to happen, what do you want fans to see from the RE4 remake, whether they’re longtime fans returning to the game or new players taking on RE4 for the first time?

Hirabayashi: We can’t really say one thing we want you to focus on. We are making a game that we hope users will remember the kind of nostalgic feeling they had when they played the original game. But at the same time also, we want new users to be able to play the game in a similar way that we feel as if people are enjoying the latest RE games as well. So instead of focusing on one point, we want to say that we are focusing on both the nostalgic feeling that users had as well as updating the game so that all new players can enjoy the new era of remaking it.

This covers the Resident Evil 4 remake interview. Be sure to stay tuned for more coverage and check out our site Game preview! The remake of Resident Evil 4 is slated to release on March 23, 2023 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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