The first Resident Evil game I ever played was Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube. While I’ve never been much of a console gamer, one of my exes owned the diminutive console. I found the conceit of “you can’t move while shooting” fantastically annoying, given that “moves while shooting” had been a feature of literally every FPS game I’d ever played. But the gameplay and atmosphere of RE4 hooked me immediately — so much so, that I recently replayed it using upscaled textures and updated assets on the PC.
Capcom hasn’t formally announced anything yet, but given the success of RE2 and RE3, it’s inevitable that the company would look back to one of its seminal titles in the entire franchise. Reportedly, the game will release in 2022, with development led by Osaka-based MTwo. Original game director Shinji Mikami isn’t leading development, but has blessed the effort and provided unofficial support. This effort has attracted a larger team than the remakes of RE2 or RE3 and has received more internal support from inside Capcom as well.
RE4 is considered to be the highest-rated game in the Resident Evil franchise and is the top-selling title overall, with more than 7.5M copies sold. RE4 was the first Resident Evil game in which weapons could be shot out of an enemy’s hands, or where shooting at their feet could cause them to stagger. Controls are often context-sensitive (you’ll hop through a window but start climbing a ladder with the same button, depending on what you’re near), and it relies on plenty of the game tropes you’ve come to know and love, like quick time events.
Pssst. Hey, Capcom. Feel free to leave those out.
Fans released their own remaster of the game fairly recently and a trailer for the fan-made project is embedded below. This is the version of the game I recently played.
Playing RE4 on a modern system is a split experience. On the one hand, the updated textures genuinely look great. On the other, it’s painfully obvious that you’re looking at higher-detail textures paired with a lighting model straight out of 2005.
Hopefully, the remaster will do a bit to spruce up the voice acting and overall plot. It would be easier to make a list of the lines in RE4 that aren’t delivered in cheesy, sneering villainspeak than those that are. Also curious to see if the remake will clear up whether Ramon Salazar is an exceptionally evil little person or a demented adult in a child-size body that never grew to adulthood on account of being infested with an ancient parasite while still a child. It didn’t help that in the original game, he appeared to have a physical age somewhere in between 10 and 70 (the GameCube wasn’t exactly a great machine for fine facial detail, even by 2005 standards, especially compared with demos like Nvidia’s Dawn). Canonically he’s only 20. He’s a very strange-looking 20.
It’s at least a little surprising.
I’ll be curious to see how much they change in RE4. Certain aspects of the game’s design, like the use of a contextual “Do” button, are still modern. Others, like not being able to shoot while moving, felt archaic even in 2005. Problem is, they were also part and parcel of what made the game play as it did. Not being able to move and fire meant that positioning Leon prior to shooting from stealth was critical, as was timing your run-and-gun moments. As much as I disliked the limitation at first, I can’t deny that it also created a unique challenge and ultimately contributed to the fun I had playing the game.
Based on Capcom’s previous practices, we’d expect the game to release on Sony, Microsoft, and PC platforms. Switch support is unknown, but neither RE2 or RE3 have a Switch version.
Feature image by Capcom, from previously released RE4 HD (Official).