In April this year, Capcom confirmed that a remake for Resident Evil 4 had been greenlit at the studio. This came as unsurprising news to me, since we just got remakes for Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 from Capcom, and a recent rumor regarding Resident Evil 8 suggests it will be set in a European village and castle, meaning that Capcom could reuse assets between both projects and save on development costs that way.
But is remaking RE4 a clever move? Despite the general response to the remakes for RE2 and RE3 being positive, both of these remakes had a lot of content cut from the original games. It’s safe to assume that, even if the RE4 remake were to receive a bigger budget, there will also be content cut from it. While it’s easier to ignore that with RE2 and RE3, this might be a bigger ordeal for the fanbase. RE4 is also known for its big budget cinematic set pieces, dramatic quick time events, and variety of environments and obstacles, so any loss of content here will undoubtedly be more noticeable in the remake.
RE4 also already exists on nearly every gaming platform under the sun. The remakes for RE2 and RE3 made more sense since it wasn’t possible to play those games on any hardware newer than a PS3 or through an emulator. They allowed new players to experience those games due to their inaccessibility. RE4, meanwhile, is still accessible everywhere. On top of this, RE4 already uses over-the-shoulder, and since the RE2 and RE3 remakes changed those games to use over-the-shoulder, we can assume that the RE4 remake will continue to use that camera perspective. So what is really the value of remaking RE4, other than sales?
By greenlighting this remake, Capcom is also preventing other games in the series from being remade. Resident Evil — Code: Veronica, which received critical praise at release, would have been a considerably better candidate, since that is another game which is not as accessible anymore and is still using the fixed camera perspective. Resident Evil Zero is another option, as well as the highly underrated multiplayer game Resident Evil Outbreak. These are games which could be improved on and made more accessible to new players. RE4 hardly has these issues.
In conclusion, I suspect that fans of RE4 will be disappointed with the remake no matter how well it turns out. As an investment, I think Capcom is taking a big risk with this remake. Fans may be unreceptive to it since this remake seems wholly a financial decision at Capcom rather than a creative one. One can only hope they will somehow do RE4 justice, but even then, we’re losing out on remakes of other classic games in the series in the process.
All I wanted was a Code Veronica Remake…I’ll have to wait I suppose.