Fifteen years of Resident Evil 4-a game that changed the genre of action games
We tell you how one of the greatest video games in history was created
On January 11, 2005, Resident Evil 4 was released-a truly epoch-making game. Thanks to it, the cult series finally managed to leave all the game design archaisms in the past and be reborn. In addition, the fourth part had a huge impact on the entire industry, and numerous developers have repeatedly confessed their love for the brainchild of the “kapkomovsky” genius. Colossal success was given to the best shots of the Studio Oh, how not easy.
Almost six years of production hell
After the commercial success of Resident Evil 2, Hideki Kamiya gained a lot of credibility within Capcom and toward the end of the 90’s convinced the management to entrust the development of the fourth part to him. The idea was to create a cool and stylish action game about a certain person with superpowers, and make the mystery of his origin the Central intrigue of the plot. In order for the hero to be seen from all sides, Kamiya decided to abandon the pre-rendered backgrounds, after which he went to Europe for 11 days to shoot all sorts of statues, destroyed castles and other Gothic structures.
After returning to Japan and continuing development, the game designer suddenly found himself thinking that the work of his team had moved too far away from the canons of the series. As a result, Kamiya made significant changes to the plot, chose the world covered by demons as the setting, and made a hunter of evil spirits named Dante the hero. Resident Evil 4 in its original form died, giving birth to another iconic series-Devil May Cry.
Cutting the frame with a demonstration of early versions
The next attempt was made at the end of 2001 by Hiroshi Shibata, a man whose achievements at that time included only pre-rendered backgrounds for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. However, the version created under his leadership was already 40 percent complete by the time it was announced in November 2002. According to the scenario, Leon Kennedy was infected with a progenitor virus, so that his left hand inherited some power. The action of the game unfolded at the headquarters of the umbrella Corporation, made in the form of a castle. Also in the script appeared a certain girl, apparently served as the basis for the creation of the future Ashley.
And although the development was once again decided to collapse, the idea of the progenitor virus was later implemented in Resident Evil 5, and the hand with incredible power became the main tool of Jack Krauser-Leon’s former partner and one of the antagonists of the final version of RE4.
However, already at E3 2003, the public was presented with a new version dedicated to Leon’s misadventures in a haunted Gothic building. This version, jokingly named hook man version because of the antagonist armed with a hook, also had a big impact on the final appearance of the future RE4. The famous bomber, the view from behind the hero’s shoulder and the revived knights-all this moved to the final version. But the branching system of dialogues, alas, decided to abandon. It was also assumed that Leon would experience hallucinations during the passage, highlighted by a” floating ” camera.
The last version in development was canceled before the announcement, because they thought that the next battle against the zombie army is too banal.
Better late than never
As a result, Resident Evil 4 lasted until the end of the PlayStation 2 era, although it was originally planned for release in the early 2000s. in addition, the owners of the console from Sony had to bite their elbows with envy for almost 10 months. After all, the game was first released on GameCube as part of a deal for five exclusive projects, which were developed by Capcom. However, looking at the low popularity of P. N. 03 and Viewtiful Joe, Mikami, under pressure from shareholders and other important people, had no choice but to announce the release of the port on the PS2. Moreover, the shocking news was made before the release of the “Kubovskaya” version. This hit its sales very hard and caused a big rift in the relationship between Capcom and Nintendo.
However, the game designer can also be understood: too much effort and money was invested in the development, and the position of the GameCube on the market was very vague at the time of signing the exclusivity agreement.
Fifteen years of Resident Evil 4-a game that changed the genre of action games
In order to boost sales, Nintendo released a limited version of the console. The set was not very successful.
RE4 itself already in the first hours of passing made it clear that for the sake of such a project, it is not a sin to buy a separate console. After all, it is impossible to imagine a brighter way to say goodbye to the sixth generation of gaming systems. The fourth part was the quintessence of the rich experience gained by Mikami over the long years of working at Capcom. The story of Leon Kennedy, from the time of the second part of “pumped” to the status of a government agent, immediately plunged into itself with his head. This was facilitated by the abundance of bright characters, as well as the gameplay of manual dressing. By shifting the focus to action and minimizing backtracking with its accompanying puzzle solving, the developers have completely transformed the old mechanics.
Of course, Orthodox fans did not hesitate to say that the fourth part killed the atmosphere of its predecessors, but this is not entirely true. At the very least, the notorious fear of meeting zombies has not gone away. Leon, though, has become more mobile than the “paralytics” from the classic games in the series, but he is very far from the briskly jumping Dante from Devil May Cry. Due to the inability to shoot on the move and a very limited viewing angle, it was possible to get an axe to the head in no time. Three strikes on normal difficulty was usually enough to send the hero to another world. And the game weighed just enough bullets to not feel defenseless, but also not to turn the gameplay experience into a shooting range.
Admit it, did you feel uneasy too?
To help the player, Mikami came up with a great way to save ammo — stun the enemy with a well-aimed shot in the head, knock them to the ground with a kick and finish them off with a knife. Another thing is that most of the skirmishes took place with the participation of a large number of enemies, and here you can come up with a lot of ways to get out of the situation. Including escape, because the locations in RE4 are mostly quite spacious. It is also possible to buy new weapons and upgrade from a merchant who teleports from place to place, following the example of the “bottomless” boxes from the classic “Residents”. And the health scale could be increased by preparing a special mix of medicinal herbs.
By the way, the developers themselves have named their child no other than survival action.
A variety of enemies — another fat plus in the piggy Bank of advantages of the fourth part. Barely standing on their feet, the victims of the T-virus are a thing of the past: Las Plagas residents and cultists are able to run and attack sharply. Quite quickly, they will have dynamite sticks and crossbows in their hands, and closer to the final there are also military men armed with firearms. As a kind of greeting to the past parts, the results of biological experiments like locust — like monsters that can become invisible, and regenerators-vile humanoid carcasses that can only be killed by hitting specific places on the body. Ideally, you should use a sniper rifle with a special sight, but you can lose a lot of ammunition at random. By the way, for the first time you will encounter them in the laboratory, which can also be considered as a reference to the past parts.
As the final praise for the gameplay — bosses. Previously, games in the Resident Evil series could boast of just a couple of memorable antagonists, one of which was an unbalanced Nemesis. All the others were killed strictly according to the same scheme: we lead dances around the enemy’s not too mobile carcass and lower all the accumulated ammunition into it. There is no such thing in RE4. Each boss here requires a strictly defined tactic, to identify which you are sure to fail more than one attempt. You won’t be able to stand still for a long time either — many bosses use a powerful attack in response to this, or even kill at once. No wonder the battle with Jack Krauser, consisting of several stages, is still set as an example as an example of one of the most striking boss fights in the history of games.
A clear illustration of Mikami’s painstaking approach to creating bosses
Well, the last element of phenomenal success is the plot. Until the fourth part, the series hardly spoiled us with good scripts. Just remember the memes ADA, WAIT and absolutely absurd tie of the third part. Therefore, when creating Code Veronica, the authors finally realized that the best way to brighten up the weak points in the script is to add irony. Indeed, the dialogues between Chris Redfield and the “resurrected” Wesker from the first part made you smile. As well as one of the antagonists, who suffered from a split personality and dressed up as a sister. The fly in the ointment was the cringe drama between Steve and Claire, but the seed had been sown. And it was Mikami who managed to take the best of both worlds, finding the perfect balance between black Comedy and seriousness.
Of course, meticulous critics will get used to the fact THAT one agent was sent to save the President’s daughter, but these are trifles. Such lively and natural dialogues, not devoid of humor, before could not boast of almost any game. This scenario is matched by a dramatically increased timing of scripted scenes, some of which contained interactive segments.