Capcom's upcoming Resident Evil 2 Remake was at one point flirting with being in first-person, as well as having a fixed camera. But thankfully, the developer eventually opted against both design choices.
As you may know, 1998's Resident Evil 2 is widely considered one of the best games of all-time, particularly within the horror genre, but like many old games, in hindsight, it has its issues. For one, it had very clunky tank controls. And it also had a fixed camera. Both of these design choices have largely been thrown away by modern standards, especially the former, but for Capcom they have been an interesting sticking point in a much larger issue: how do you remake such an old and cherished classic like Resident Evil 2?
Not only has video games moved on from tank controls and fixed cameras, but the series moved on from both with Resident Evil 4, which added an over-the-shoulder view and traditional third-person shooter controls.
Then last year, Capcom completely flipped the Resident Evil formula on its head with the release of Resident Evil VII, which took the game from third-person and made it first-person for the first time, a decision that was warmly greeted by some, and detested by others.
All of that said, during early development of Resident Evil 2 Remake, Capcom had to make multiple tough decisions, such as, does it bring back the game's original camera and controls? Should it shift the perspective to first-person?
According to Capcom Europe's COO Stuart Turner, it had to figure this all out, and thus spent some tying messing with the formula, before ultimately deciding to bypass the radical shift to first-person and to bring back the game's archaic controls and camera.
"We had discussions on whether we could make a game that was everything for everyone," said Turner while speaking to GamesIndustry. "For those guys who want tank controls and want fixed cameras... can we do that?
"But the world has moved on and these players have changed. And if we did [introduce old school mechanics], these fans might play it and actually decide it's not what they wanted after all. But we played around with a few things in development. We did try first-person, we did try fixed camera. But the way the game has been designed, we decided that a third-person view works better."
The game's marketing director, Antoine Molant added that going into E3 2018, where Capcom unveiled the title, it was worried that the fanbase would be divided with some of the changes and tweaks it made to one of their favorite games ever.
"That was probably the main worry, or question mark, that we had," said Molant. "We knew there were expectations around the game, and we knew it looked great and would be a good game. But around the point of the tank controls and fixed cameras, we were worried that the fanbase would be divided. But, although there might have been some initial dissenting voices, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive."
"We were concerned internally about who RE2 would appeal to. With RE7 we had done this first-person thing, and with RE2 we've done this thing that looks great, but it's also back a step. So the response to that, the pre-orders we've seen already... we have been a little taken aback by how well it has gone down."
While first-person Resident Evil 2 does sound neat, it's probably for the best Capcom opted to stick with third-person. It's also probably for the best it scrapped the tank controls and fixed camera. And judging by the fan response to the game so far, I reckon most agree the studio has gotten every decision right so far.