Capcom are trying something new with Resident Evil: Revelations 2. The game is built from the ground up to be a digital episodic series. It builds upon the chapter structure inspired by television shows that was used in Resident Evil: Revelations, but this time, it’s an actual episodic game that will be distributed over the course of multiple weeks.
In addition, the game brings ClaireRedfield—last seen way back in Code: Veronica—back, and pairs her up with the daughter of Barry Burton, named Moira. Speaking with Siliconera, producer Michiteru Okabe discussed these aspects of the game, and how they will affect its story.
It was recently revealed that Revelations will become its own brand, one aimed at longtime fans, with the idea being that the mainline series will retain its recent focus on action and that Revelations will retain much of the classic survival horror aspects that Resident Evil used to be synonymous with. What exactly was the decision making process that led to this?
Michiteru Okabe, Producer: Obviously I can’t speak about the future of the mainline series, we don’t know for sure what direction that series will eventually go. But as far as Revelations goes, honestly, it was the fans who made the decision for us, that it should be its own series. The reaction was very good for the first one; it seemed to speak to something that they were wanting and needing. So our goal is to listen to our players, to build upon and replicate those desires.
Why did you want to make a story with Claire Redfield again? She seems different, much quieter than before in Code: Veronica. How has she changed as a character?
First of all, we haven’t seen her in a while, as a playable character. So it seemed like a great time to bring her back. Also, we know that fans like her, so why not give them what they want? Also, Dai Sato, the writer who wrote the scenario, for this game is a big fan of her personally, so those three factors basically converged and led to her return.
As for how she’s changed, years have gone by since Code: Veronica. She’s a little older, a little more mature, has been through all these experiences. As for specifically how and why she’s different, we’re leaving it up for the players to find out the exact reasons.
Regarding the scenario writer who is a big fan of Claire; how exactly does he or she, or anyone at Capcom, perform research on any character or aspect of the series? Is there one stop authoritative source within Capcom who keeps track of all the Resident Evil canon from over the years? To make sure everything is consistent with what came before?
It’s not there’s just one person with all this information, but when we do start work on another Resident Evil title, we all get together with both the current and former producers from past Resident Evil titles, to help shape the game we want to make. To help understand how that fits into everything else, how that might affect other games in the future. So it’s not really one person, as it’s a committee of people that have been involved until now. We all put our heads together and make those decisions together.
So is it accurate to say that, if you worked on one Resident Evil game, that’s it: you are part of the team. If you’re still at Capcom, you are going to be referred to from that point forward and have a voice with every future Resident Evil game, even if you no longer involved with the franchise anymore?
Yeah, I think it’s safe to describe it that way. Everyone who has ever worked on a Resident Evil title, as you say, wants to have a say, they want to have their voice heard, what they had in mind for the future and where they saw the story going. And we recognize as well that the fans place a great deal of importance on that, too. So the least we can do is have all our heads together and know what we’re all doing.
Barry’s daughter has some choice dialogue, like “What the cock did I just see?” Were you purposely trying to bring back the campy feel of the original Resident Evil? Also, how are you translating these lines into Japanese?
With Moira, she’s a new character; she’s been referred to before, but she’s new in the sense that you get to see and control her for the first time. Now, when you do a new character, one very important thing to do is to make sure there’s something memorable about them, so players can immediately understand what kind of person they are. Having a unique way of talking is one approach to that. So for us, it was less about going the camp angle and more making sure she’s memorable, making her sound appropriate, like a younger person in a difficult situation.
Now, when it comes to the translation, the script is actually done first in Japanese and then it’s turned into English. We have more writers involved in terms of how she should talk and would talk for the English audience. So at the end of the day, she has a unique way of speaking in Japanese as well. Is it exactly the same? Probably not. There will be different nuances, but at the same time, she’s definitely the same character. The overall feeling you get will be similar in either language.
How are the enemies in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 different from other games in the series? Why did you make them more human-like?
What we try to do with every Resident Evil title is to come up with some new and compelling enemy types. And what happened with the first Revelations is how we always do things, and that’s to come up with a story first, then the environment, then the general beats, and then we think of the kinds of enemies that would make sense for all that.
Especially in the case of Revelations 2, because it takes place on this island… it’s this kind of crazy place, this island of insanity… it’s filled with this enemy type, the Afflicted, who are a very important type of enemy for this environment and they link up very well to the story. Are they human? Were they human? The island has affected them in some manner, and once you play you’ll understand who and what they are.
So having more human-like enemies is not necessarily another way to reinforce yet another distinction between it and the primary Resident Evils, which has generally speaking, featured more grotesque creature-like foes?
I’m not going to say that it didn’t cross our minds and it’s unrelated. But it’s a very organic process; once we had the storyline in place, it all just fell into place, the realization of what kind of enemies to feature in Revelations 2.
The game feels like it’s a TV series since the demo ends with a cliffhanger leading into next episode. Why did you want to make an episodic game? What can you do differently with this format and did you have to change the pace of the story to have cliffhangers?
We knew early on that we wanted to go digital, that we wanted to go episodic, and indeed that will affect the way the story is told. The way the writer dealt with this is how, in a normal game, you would have this big ending. One big finale.
But going episodic allows us to create mini-endings if you will, which are the cliffhangers at the end of each installment. It leaves you wondering what happens next and allows the user to speculate, talk amongst themselves. So it really does reflect the culture that springs around television shows. So it’s a very different kind of story-telling, one that we’re very conscious of.
When all the episodes are released together on a physical disc, will they retain the same format as they did digitally? Will they still be individual episodes, or will everything blend together? To form one large, continuous story, like a movie?
Whether you go digital or buy the disc, the way everything flows together will remain unchanged. The key difference will, when playing the episodes as they come up, you’ll be able to share in that aforementioned weekly television-like experience. Interacting with friends and fellow members of the community in that way. Whereas on disc, you can play a bit more on your own pace; if you want to play everything all at once, that’s possible. But as far as presentation and flow, it’s essentially the same experience.
So via the disc version, one can play the episodes out of order?
What kind of extra content will people get when they purchase the disc version?
It’s kind of complicated, so please allow me to explain. There are the four main story episodes; you can buy them individually if you choose to. Each episode will have a Raid mode based on content in that episode. If you buy the full season all at once, all digital episodes together, which we are calling the complete season, it’s a little more expensive. Like a dollar I think?
Now, if you buy the disc version, which is $39.99, you get everything from the $24.99 digital full season, as well as more extra content of some kind. Any of these packages, whether you do the digital season, the digital complete seasons, or go disc, you save a little money and get extra stuff, but none of this is cut off from the digital users who are buying episodic. You can buy everything separately, but you save money by getting everything in one chunk.
So, are there extra story missions? Vanity Items?
You’re just going to have to wait until we make announcements regarding all that.
When the first Resident Evil came out, it reignited interest in the zombie genre on the big screen, which has since even trickled down to the small screen. How does it feel to be part of that mythos, and having such, let’s say, responsibility?
[laughs] It’s interesting; there’s definitely a lot more horror games, specifically zombie games, plus more horror and zombie movies and TV shows then ever been before.
The really interesting thing is how Resident Evil was inspired by zombie movies, and as you just stated, the games fed back to films… You still see that same pattern today; we influence other mediums, other mediums influence us. We have a nice cycle going, where we all drive inspiration from each other. It’s an interesting time to make such content.
With all that being said: what is your all time favorite zombie movie, and what have you taken from it, which might be apparent in Resident Evil: Revelations 2?
To be clear, I didn’t write the storyline, so I don’t know how much of my taste will be evident in the game… But at the same time, my favorite zombie movie would definitely be Dawn of the Dead, the original from the ’70s. I was quite young when I saw it, so it scared the crap out of me, and it put in image in my head of what zombies are, at a very young age. It’s something I still carry with me.
More recently, I’ve become a fan of the Walking Dead; I like the realism, the fact that it focuses on the human characters, the drama and interplay between them. And I think that influence does show up in a lot of our games as well.