Resident Evil 20th anniversary video interview: Koji Oda

The director of Resident Evil 0.

 - Resident Evil 20th Anniversary

Capcom has released the second in its series of developer interviews celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Resident Evil series.

The new video features Resident Evil 0 director Koji Oda, who talks about the game’s setting, the concept behind its characters, and how Capcom added more to the January-released remaster.

If you missed it, catch the first video with Hiroyuki Kobayashi here.

Get the Koji Oda interview and transcript below.

Intro

I’m Koji Oda, director of the HD remaster of Resident Evil 0. I also directed the original GameCube version. I was involved in the series before, during the planning of the first Resident Evil game.

The HD Remaster of Resident Evil 0

Resident Evil 0 would be the last game in the series to feature the classic fixed camera angle style. Starting with Resident Evil 4, we changed to a third-person view. That’s very different from the classic style, which used a series of camera angles designed like shots in a movie. The pacing and horror style are different from post-Resident Evil 4 titles, too. You could say 0 is a compilation of the classic Resident Evil features, so you can enjoy those aspects as you lose yourself in the game world.

Remastering The Game

At the time we thought we’d done everything we could with the game, but when I came to play it myself after it was released, in addition to getting feedback from customers, I did start seeing things I wished I’d done differently. For the remaster, I kept that feeling in mind and wanted to try new things, but the HD remastering alone was a huge task. We took care to remaster the game and preserve its quality while not affecting the balance of the gameplay. Still, I felt that wasn’t enough, so we also added Wesker Mode.

The Characters

The main character needed to be involved not just in this game’s story, but provide a connection to the Mansion Incident as well. This led us quite naturally to Rebecca. The gameplay also required that we add a second main character. Rebecca needed a partner who hadn’t featured before and who had a certain darkness about them, who you felt might turn against you at any moment. Someone who’s not fazed by dangerous and deadly situations. That was the thinking that led to the creation of Billy. In terms of design, with Billy being a prisoner, handcuffs were an obvious choice, but we wanted to add something unique, something he couldn’t remove like the cuffs, and that would look cool. At the time, there wasn’t such a negative perception of tattooed characters, so through the process of trial and error we arrived at his final design.

Writing a Prequel

The most difficult part of writing the story was how to deal with Bravo Team in a prequel. Players who know the story might look foward to seeing it, but we already know they get wiped out later in the story. It wouldn’t have been very interesting to show that. So we delved into the setting before the events of the first game, making it a kind of secret episode in Raccoon City’s history. We were focused on Rebecca’s experiences and growth as a character, so we didn’t keep the whole trilogy in mind much, focusing instead on how 0 connects with 1.

Wesker Mode

The HD remastering itself was the biggest challenge, but once we got a handle on that, we wanted to do more to make the game more than just a remaster. That’s where Wesker Mode came from. At first it was just Wesker in his S.T.A.R.S. leader uniform, but you see that in the story mode and it’s not that exciting. Then again, just having Wesker in a new costume is kind of boring, too. So I asked the already over-worked team to give Wesker some super-powers for this new mode. Of course, the original GameCube version wasn’t designed to support a super-powered Wesker dashing around the place, so I was worried it might cause some game-breaking bugs, but the development team did a great job on it, and internal reviews said it was a lot of fun as a “new game plus” mode. So in the end, I’m really happy with how well it turned out. We had other ideas for new features before we settled on Wesker Mode. We were thinking of characters you see a lot, but don’t get to play as. Playing as an enemy creature was one of the ideas that was mooted.

A Message to Resident Evil Fans

I’m a huge fan of Sweet Home, Resident Evil‘s Famicom predecessor. That was one of my inspirations for the unorthodox ideas we had for Resident Evil. Thankfully, Capcom was open to us designing a game that worked against the player in order to maximize the horror atmosphere. Things like limiting how often you could save or heal yourself, not displaying a precise health gauge, and so on. We hoped that players who could accept these concepts would come along for the ride. The fact that we’re here now 20 years later is so amazing to me, and that’s because the fans were able to understand what we wanted to achieve. We want to keep betraying your expectations in the best way possible, so I hope you’ll continue on this journey with us!

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