Will 'Resident Evil 2 Remake' Sell More Than The Original?

Kingdom Hearts III is poised to release later this month, but right now, all the hype is about [...]

resident evil 2 half face
(Photo: Capcom)

Kingdom Hearts III is poised to release later this month, but right now, all the hype is about Capcom's upcoming remake of Resident Evil 2. And a lot that is thanks to the free new demo Capcom released this past Friday.

Earlier today, we reported that the demo has already surpassed one million downloads, which is a healthy number, but in reality, not representative of much. The one million figure only consists of people who opted in for Capcom's stat tracking. And when you consider many, if not most, opt out of this type of tracking usually, it's probably safe to assume there's a lot more than a million people who downloaded the demo.

And all of this begs the question: just how well is Resident Evil 2 Remake going to sell? And is it possible it will sell more than the original?

According to Capcom's own figures (as of March 31, 2018), Resident Evil 2 has sold 6.11 million units to date. However, around launch, the figure was around 5 million units. And this was just on the PS1. And then further re-releases and ports seemingly helped push it to over six million.

At the time, Resident Evil 2 was a record-breaker. With only a $5 million adverting campaign, the game raced to the fastest-selling video game in North America at the time. On the weekend of its release it grossed $19 million, which at the time, was better than all but one Hollywood movie and broke previous sales records set by video games Final Fantasy VII and Super Mario 64.

In 2019, games are much, much, much bigger and the profit margins much fatter than they were in 1999. While the Resident Evil 2 Remake is unlikely to be a record-setter like the original was, there's a good chance it will sell more copies.

(Photo: Capcom)

For one, upon release it will be available on three platforms -- Xbox One, PS4, and PC -- not just one. When Resident Evil 2 released in 1998, the PS1 was in its third year, and didn't have nearly as many units in the wild as the PS4 currently has. And when you factor in PCs and Xbox Ones, the potential install base doesn't even compare.

Two, games sell more now. Sure the Resident Evil 2 remake isn't going to be in the zeitgeist like the original was, but game sales have a much higher ceiling than they used to. So I'd like to think these two things probably just cancel each other out.

Three, the five million people who bought the original when it released, probably still play games. And because this isn't a standard re-release, but a complete overhaul that completely transforms the game, you have to assume a healthy portion of this five million are going to be in line again. And then there all the people who didn't play games back in 1998 or who weren't born yet who are going to pick it up. Resident Evil 2 is considered not just one of the best horror games of all-time, but one of the best games of all-time across all genres. And there's a lot of people who have never experienced it, but now finally have the chance.

Lastly, it's releasing at a great time. Resident Evil 2 Remake is the first big release of 2019, and has smartly gotten ahead of Kingdom Hearts III, which is surely poised to dominate gaming circles once it releases a couple days later. The first couple of months are actually pretty packed with some big releases, so it's very shrewd by Capcom to get out ahead of the rest of the pack.

resident evil 2 fight
(Photo: Capcom)

With that all said, it seems inevitable that Resident Evil 2 Remake will surpass the sales of the original. Right? I think so, but when you look at the sales numbers of Resident Evil 7, I'm not as sure.

As of March 31, 2018, Resident Evil 7 has sold 5.4 million copies, which is about 700,000 than Resident Evil 2. It's possible the game will eventually past RE2, but for the moment, it hasn't. And if a brand-new installment in the series after a five-year hiatus couldn't beat Resident Evil 2, how will a remake? It's a good argument. However, I'd counter and say that a Resident Evil 2 remake is just as big of deal among Resident Evil fans as a new game, and for the more casual consumer, there's really not much difference.

Who knows. At the end of the day, all we can do is wait and see. For all I know, it will hit Resident Evil 5 numbers, the best-selling game in the series (and Capcom's second best-selling game ever) at 12.4 million. Do I think it will though? No way. Will it touch Resident Evil 6's 10 million? Probably not. Resident Evil 4's 8.3 million? Nope, probably not. But will it beat Resident Evil 2's 6.11 million? I think so.

Resident Evil 2 Remake is poised to release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 25, priced at $59.99. For more news and coverage of the game, click here.