For Resident Evil fans everywhere, myself included, it’s no secret that we’ve envisioned a high-definition remake of one of the greatest survival horror games of all time. The thought of seeing Raccoon City and its undead inhabitants remastered in stunning detail, along with the game’s main co-stars Leon S. Kennedy and Claire S. Redfield, would undoubtedly send fans everywhere into an “infectious” frenzy. (Sorry, I had to.)
The Resident Evil series is already no stranger to “HD remakes”. Resident Evil 1 (1996), also incredibly popular, was remade and released on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2002 to no doubt surprising acclaim. IGN gave the game a rating of 9.0. Many players and critics alike described the game as “absolutely stunning”, and that “it’s still a match for the modern sequels being produced today”.
Later in 2007, Capcom released a different kind of HD remake on the Nintendo Wii called Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. At that time, Nintendo began attempting to cater to a bigger demographic of gamers by releasing more action and horror games on their new console.
The Umbrella Chronicles takes on several different plot scenarios from the games Resident Evil 0 through Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, all in far higher definition than their original predecessors. In terms of gameplay it’s an “on-rails shooter”, which basically means that movement of the character is strictly controlled on a predetermined path. Your main point of liberty is aiming and shooting wherever enemies appear around you. This adds a surprisingly scary element to the game, rather than it being a setback. The game sold considerably well and got many positive reviews from fans everywhere.
In 2009, Capcom followed up their first Wii success with another high definition sequel called Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. Another on-rails shooter, DC focused primarily on character stories around Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. For those familiar with the events of Resident Evil 4, the Darkside Chronicles also satisfies a major character development plot hole from that game between Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser. Like the previous title, this game also sold pretty well.
So in light of all of these remastered classic RE games, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see another one in the pipeline. However, it’s important to also note that fans and Capcom alike have been hinting at this dream project for a long time. The petition for support of a remake was originally posted online September 27, 2012, with an initially goal of 10,000 signatures. When that milestone was reached, Capcom, raised the stakes to 15,000, then to 20,000 by the end of October. The petition has since surpassed 30,000 signatures, and Capcom has yet to make any major announcements regarding this outpour of support. Perhaps it’s not enough for them to seriously consider production? Perhaps it was more of an experiment to see, statistically, how many people would respond to the idea. No doubt if they kept raising the number, more people would flock, right? Or is the slow down of signatures sending another message?
It’s very difficult to tell where this petition could lead, but personally I think it isn’t meant to be seriously considered. 30,000 is a small number, especially in the scope of business. You can’t really do much with that. If they wanted a realistic projection, I think that they should have originally made the stakes very high, at least at 100,000. Each person that signs is a potential buyer, and of course they would want way more than thirty-thousand buyers.
At this point, I think the Resident Evil 2 Remake “project” is suffering from Final Fantasy VII Remake Syndrome. It’s something that’s been hinted at for the past few years, and Square Enix has done little more than drop teaseful, imaginative concept art, nothing beyond. They come back once in a blue moon to remind us that the idea still exists, we get hyped, and then with time it dies off again. Somehow I see this happening with Capcom. Though they’ve delivered a fair share of remakes, putting their most prized game title back into the cooking pot is understandably something they may not be eager to do. Is a remake worth the risk?
While many remastered games in the market have sold well, some don’t sell so well. The infamous Silent Hill: HD Collection unfortunately fell into that category. Numerous staff and budget conflicts at Konami coupled with scraps of the original game code made for a hot disaster that did not sell well at all. Those that did buy it, myself included, were quickly disappointed. Sound and graphic glitches plagued both Silent Hill 2 and 3 to the point of utter outrage. I traded mine back in shortly after completing one round of SH2. Other HD Collections, such as Metal Gear, didn’t necessarily have problems, but their sales were nothing to write home about. Some players simply prefer keeping the original release games. This likely also affects Capcom, who has arguably been viewed as a profit-driven company.
All in all, it’s tough to say what will come of this petition. What do you all think might happen? Do you think an HD remake of Resident Evil 2 should be made? After the flop of Resident Evil 6, would it rescue Capcom’s reputation?