Everything we know about the ‘Resident Evil 2’ remake, from gameplay to story

Everything we know about 'Resident Evil 2', and Capcom's plans for more remakes

Following the success of Capcom’s original Resident Evil remake for current-generation consoles, the company decided to tackle Resident Evil 2 – considered by many to be one of the best survival-horror games ever made. Rather than just alter the control scheme and give the game a new coat of paint, however, Capcom decided to give Resident Evil 2 the full remake treatment, complete with a new camera angle and gorgeous modern visuals. The Resident Evil 2 you know and love is still very much there, but it’s now ready for a new generation of players. Here is everything we know about the Resident Evil 2 remake, including its story, gameplay changes from the original, and how loyal it’s staying to the source material.

The story

resident evil 2 interview how sound design injects horror into games zombie crawl

As in the original 1998 game, the Resident Evil 2 remake is set in Raccoon City, which has been overrun with zombies, and stars series mainstays Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Kennedy is a rookie police officer, while Claire is a college student and the sister of Chris Redfield from the first Resident Evil. Though the basic plot threads remain the same between the older game and the remake, as it’s intended to play to older fans’ nostalgia, it isn’t a straight one-to-one retelling this time around.

Speaking to Gaming Bolt during E3 2018, Capcom brand manager Mike Lunn shared that certain scenes would be altered, in part to keep veteran players on their toes instead of anticipating every single scare. One section that takes place in a police station has been tweaked – a “Lurker” enemy would walk by a window at the same point every time in the 1998 game, but the 2019 Resident Evil 2 repositions certain enemies and puzzles.

Leon Kennedy’s backstory is now different than it was in the original 1998 game. Previously, he had missed his first day of work because he had been drinking, resulting in miscommunication with the police station in Raccoon City. He is still about to start his first day in Resident Evil 2, but according to a Japanese tweet translated by Kotaku, he is now late only because he was sitting at home, waiting for orders that didn’t come.

In addition to Leon and Claire, you can expect to see all of the same characters from the 1998 game return in the Resident Evil 2 remake. This includes Ada Wong, who will also be a playable character for part of the game. A trailer released in December 2018 featured gameplay from Ada, including puzzle-solving sections using a scanning device. Sherry Birkin is also briefly playable.

How certain characters meet – and where they’ll meet – are differentt in some cases, as well. Speaking to IGN at the Tokyo Game Show 2018, producer Tsuyoshi Kanda revealed that tidbit of information, but clarified that the “atmosphere” of the city will remain the same.

A new gameplay style

Rather than use the “tank controls” and fixed camera perspective of the original game, the Resident Evil 2 remake instead plays much like Resident Evil Revelations 2. This means the action takes place from an over-the-shoulder perspective, with more precise shooting that players expect from a game in 2019 – however, in an interview with Polygon, Kanda was quick to point out that this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to shoot wherever you want. Weapons still have a sense of weight, and the camera is pulled in far enough on the playable characters that you won’t be able to see in a very wide radius. Sound has also received an overhaul, in the form of a surround sound effect that will fix with the camera angle.

Resident Evil 2’s gore has been given a big update for the modern age, but not just to add even more blood and guts. Firing a shotgun at an enemy can take their entire head off, but it can also simply rip the skin from their skull. If you shoot an enemy’s arm enough times, it can dangle and then separate, and shooting at a zombie’s leg can cause them to collapse and then begin crawling toward you on the ground.

Still loyal to the source material

resident evil 2 interview how sound design injects horror into games licker

Despite the big change to the camera perspective, narrative adjustments, and additional gore, 2019’s Resident Evil 2 still feels like Resident Evil 2. The over-the-shoulder perspective makes lining up shots easier and negates the frustration of trying to get from one point to another — but it’s still a classic horror game. Speaking to GameReactor, producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi said the game was not emulating Resident Evil 4’s action-heavy approach, and would still force players to carefully manage their resources to decide how to take on threats, and there will still be backtracking like in the classic games.

Resident Evil 2, or at least the game’s Deluxe Edition, even pays tribute to a scrapped version of the game that never saw the light of day. In addition to featuring the original Resident Evil 2’s soundtrack as an optional swap, the Deluxe Edition includes a costume for Claire called “Elza Walker.” Elza was the protagonist of an early version of Resident Evil 2, and was a student and motorcycle racer at Raccoon University.

Modern power

best zombie games most anticipated 2019 resident evil 2

The Resident Evil 2 remake is being powered by the RE Engine, which is the same technology behind 2017’s Resident Evil 7 and Devil May Cry 5. Experience working with the RE Engine in the past has allowed Capcom to improve elements for Resident Evil 2, according to an interview IGN did with producers Hirabayashi and Kanda at the Tokyo Game Show in 2018. IGN also added that scars and dirt appear on characters in real-time as they’re attacked. This wouldn’t have been possible, or at least as noticeable, if the game had gone with a first-person perspective like Resident Evil 7.

According to Capcom Europe COO Stuart Turner, the developers actually did experiment with a first-person perspective at one point. Speaking to GamesIndustry, Turner said the decision to use third-person ultimately came down to it fitting in with the way the game was designed.

Because of this change, Capcom also opted not include VR support in Resident Evil 2. The PlayStation VR was supported for Resident Evil 7, allowing players to go through the entire game with the headset.

Other changes were made because of the power afforded by current-generation hardware. Leon’s large shoulder pads from the 1998 game are gone, as they weren’t necessary to convey that he is a police officer with the new engine. Still, Leon’s face isn’t identical to what it looked like even in Resident Evil 6, despite his classic haircut remaining intact.

When can we play it?

Resident Evil 2 is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. On Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, players can choose between a 4K mode, which will run at 30 frames per second, or a standard HD mode running at 60 frames per second.

A $200 GameStop-exclusive Collector’s Edition was released alongside it, and bundles in a large Leon Kennedy figure, digital soundtrack, DLC pack, and art book alongside pre-order bonus weapons. Those pre-order weapons are two special Samurai Edge pistols designed to look like those wielded by Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine from the first Resident Evil.

More to come?

resident evil 2 remake roundup 3

Prior to the release of Resident Evil 4, a few more games using a similar gameplay style to Resident Evil 2 were published, and it appears that Capcom could be remaking these from the ground-up, as well. Speaking to the Japanese site Game Watch, producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi stressed that Resident Evil 2 was remade because of fans’ continued requests, and that another game like Resident Evil 3 could also be remade if similar requests are made.

Product Review

The Division 2 brings the most fun we've ever had to Washington, D.C.

After spending 30 hours with The Division 2, it’s clear that Ubisoft has improved on the original in almost every way. The world is richly detailed, the story missions are wonderful, gunplay and enemy design are great, and the open world…
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

Make some room in your backlog. Here are all the games to look out for in 2019

2019 is already a huge year for video games, with a large number of series getting new installments, including some that have been dormant for years. Brand new franchises are also being created.
Gaming

Upcoming zombiefest Days Gone boasts 30-plus hours of story-driven content

Days Gone, the first PlayStation 4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.
Gaming

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.
Gaming

Is Google launching a game-streaming service? Watch our GDC livestream to see

Google is presenting its 2019 GDC keynote on March 19. Here is how you can tune in to watch the event, as well as what could be shown during the presentation. Google's Project Stream service could be on the agenda.
Gaming

New character Octane makes an entrance with the first Apex Legends Battle Pass

Apex Legends' first season kicks off March 19 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The Battle Pass comes in two versions, with the base version costing around 10 bucks. Seasonal rewards include a bevy of new loot such as legendary skins.
Computing

The Unevn One is a portable desk that brings PC gaming on the road

Bringing a gaming PC outside your usual setup can be a challenge, but the Unevn One is the first all-in-one, portable gaming desk complete with a computer chassis and integrated monitor mount.
Gaming

How to get the most out of agent builds and specializations in The Division 2

The Division 2 has an intricate loot system to let you fine tune your agent to fit your play style. In our builds and specializations guide, we'll walk you through all of the stats you should pay attention to when tinkering with gear.
Gaming

Transport your Nintendo Switch in style with these nifty cases

The Nintendo Switch, which boasts both wired and handheld modes, needs a good case to ensure it doesn't get beat up while you're on the go. We scoured through dozens of Switch cases to bring you the best ones.
Gaming

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Gaming

Here's our guide on how to progress through The Division 2 endgame

Your mission as an agent doesn't end after taking out the three main factions in The Division 2. The endgame brings the Black Tusks, a dangerous new faction, to D.C. Our endgame guide will help you on your quest for the best loot.
Gaming

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs brings 3D demolition into your living room

Angry Birds is releasing its next entry in the spring of 2019 - with a new spin. Bringing 3D environments and destruction, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs uses augmented reality to add a new dimension to a classic series.