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‘Resident Evil 5’ director discusses how to mix scares with co-op

Resident Evil 5 stands as one of the most controversial games in the entire series. While it refined the over-the-shoulder combat of Shinji Mikami’s Resident Evil 4, the addition of cooperative play and an entirely different setting moved the series from “survival horror” to “action horror.”

In a new developer interview, director Yasuhiro Anpo discusses the challenges of making the game a reality, as well as his work on the canceled “Resident Evil 1.5.”

In making the first cooperative game in the Resident Evil series, Anpo and his team were forced to rethink how horror would work when playing through with a friend.

“I thought of it like enjoying the scares in a ghost house with a friend,” Anpo says.

Related: Resident Evil: Revelations developers reveal what makes the subseries unique

This ultimately led to an installment that was never that frightening, but instead kept a sense of suspense and uncertainty until the credits rolled — it was also much, much better when played cooperatively than when relying on the AI.

“Enjoyment comes first with horror,” Anpo adds, and while this may be a case of a phrase slightly lost in translation, it would account for the emphasis on massive action sequences in Resident Evil 5.

Before his time as a director at Capcom, Yasuhiro Anpo worked as a programmer on the original Resident Evil and its sequel, but he says that there was another game he worked on in between the two: a canceled version of Resident Evil 2 that he claims was nearly finished.

“We’d made all the stages and everything, but the quality was judged insufficient and we had to start over,” Anpo says. “But thanks to that decision, Resident Evil 2 was highly praised by many players.”

It’s still widely considered one of the best games in the series, and its Raccoon City setting was recently revealed for inclusion in the online shooter Umbrella Corps, which releases this month.

The Resident Evil series is now 20 years old, and in addition to a Resident Evil 2 remaster already announced, there are rumors of a Resident Evil 7 reveal at this year’s E3. We won’t have to wait too much longer to find out if they’re true. To learn more about Anpo’s past work on the franchise, including the very first game, check out the above video.