Skip to main content

‘Resident Evil: Revelations’ developers reveal what makes the subseries unique

The Resident Evil series has been in a bit of a slump lately. Resident Evil 5, while a solid action game, was a huge departure from the horror of the earlier entries, and both Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City were both annihilated by critics, with our review calling the former game a “hydra whose three heads are weighed down by a lack of focus.”

In the midst of the disappointment, however, was Resident Evil: Revelations, originally a 3DS exclusive that took the series back to its atmospheric, creepy roots. It was followed by a sequel last year, which continued to put horror front and center while focusing on a different cast of characters.

In a video diary celebrating two decades of Resident Evil, developers Michiteru Okabe and Yasuhiro Anpo discuss their design philosophy for the Revelations subseries, which includes a significant focus on the titular “revelations.”

“Starting with the first title, this series focuses on telling stories and revealing truths that aren’t shown in the main Resident Evil games,” Anpo says.

For the first game, this was further enhanced by the “previously on Resident Evil: Revelations” cinematics that were sandwiched between chapters. These were emphasized further in the sequel, which was initially released episodically before getting a full retail release after the series had concluded.

“We had two timelines with separate main characters, so we needed to come up with cliffhangers for both,” Anpo adds.

Revelations 2 also added abilities that bleed into the supernatural, which the developers say were “right at the limits” of Capcom’s universe, with the young girl Natalia capable of tracking enemies she shouldn’t be able to see.

Even though the developers clearly love working on the Revelatiosn games, it appears that a third installment will not be the next in the series. Resident Evil 7 is rumored for an E3 announcement, with industry consultant Serkan Toto claiming that the team is working with Jordan Amaro, formerly of Kojima Productions, to design the game. It will reportedly return to the horror gameplay of the original titles.

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
Resident Evil 4, Death Stranding barely miss a step on iPhone and iPad
El Gigante raises its foot over Leon in Resident Evil 4.

Just two months ago, I had my mind blown when I saw Resident Evil Village running on an iPad. While I expected a very compromised experience, I was shocked when I saw how the horror game barely lost a step on the device. I pushed its settings to their limits and still came out with a fairly smooth experience capable of hitting high frame rates. Suddenly, the idea of playing a console quality game entirely on a mobile device didn’t seem like a far-fetched idea.

That was an impressive feat, but Resident Evil Village was built for the PS4 generation. The bigger test would come from more technically ambitious games that are either exclusive to new consoles or rebuilt with them in mind. I wouldn’t have to wait long to see that in action. At a recent Apple gaming showcase, I went hands-on with both Death Stranding: Director’s Cut and Resident Evil 4 running on a bevy of Apple devices, from the iPhone 15 Pro to a Mac Mini.

Read more
Why do we love horror games? Psychologists explain our morbid curiosity
Leon facing El Gigante in Resident Evil 4 Remake.

True horror is something no human wants to experience. Few would actively want to throw themselves in a powerless position against some life-threatening situation or fearsome creature. Isn’t it much easier to watch these things through the TV screen with scary movies or auditory creepypastas? It's through that outside curiosity that humanity has created so many ways to witness nightmares without having to really put ourselves through actual hell. And one of those ways is through video games, one of the most interactive and immersive ways to take terror trips in a much safer way.

Resident Evil 4 Remake Ada Wong DLC Separate Ways Official Reveal Trailer

Read more
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways leaves me hopeful for a Resident Evil 6 remake
Ada Wong holds a gun in Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways.

This year’s Resident Evil 4 remake was an important victory for the horror series. Not only did it successfully reimagine a beloved classic, but it finally concocted the perfect action formula for the series at large. That’s an important milestone considering that Resident Evil has historically run into trouble when fully dropping survival horror in favor of blockbuster action (see the misunderstood, but undeniably sloppy Resident Evil 6). The remake paves the way for Capcom to once again evolve its series, taking another crack at the third-person shooter genre it struggled to nail.

In that sense, Resident Evil 4’s new Separate Ways DLC feels like a taste of what’s to come. Capcom uses Ada Wong’s solo chapter to push its action formula even further, weaving in some exciting new tricks that are already leaving me hungry for a true spinoff. It’s not the series’ finest DLC, playing more as an asset-reusing victory lap, but it gives me hope that Resident Evil’s second decent into pure action will be much more successful this time.
Grappling forward
Separate Ways follows Ada Wong, the anti-hero mercenary on a quest to retrieve a Plaga sample for Albert Wesker during the main game. The lengthy bonus episode is a remake in itself, but it's perhaps even more radical than the base game’s reinvention. Right from its completely new opening scene, it's clear that Separate Ways is diverting pretty far from the original DLC. That’s a sensible decision considering how much the new version of Resident Evil 4 reworks Ada Wong. She’s no longer a careless hired gun, but a nuanced character struggling to balance her professional responsibilities with her moral ones.

Read more