I do love Resident Evil.
Well, the early ones. Right around Resident Evil 5, the series lost a lot of its wit and charm for me in its rush to be taken “seriously” – perhaps it was more competent developmental cychahahaha no sorry I can’t finish that oh lordy, no just no. Ahem. Hahaha. Heh. *coughs* Anyway, yes, some of the more recent Resident Evil games have fallen a little flat for me. I like Revelations and Revelations 2 – why are they still not coming to the Switch eh Capcom? (Oh wait, they are – I wrote that before Capcom announced them woo) – and I gotta admit, I liked Resident Evil Gaiden. I know, heresy in Resident Evil circles but hey, it was kinda fun and ridiculous in its own way.
The upshot is the Resident Evil 2 Remake is “coming”, probably to coincide with the games 20th Anniversary next year. Yes, it’s been that long and man do I feel old. I adore the old trilogy, far more than I probably should. I used to speedrun the things. I did knife-only runs. This is my old-school jam.
So, as someone who is kind of hoping the Resident Evil 2 Remake is kinda like the original Resident Evil Remake of 2002, I’m down for the game to change a fair bit about the game I loved. The REMake was a great example of what better hardware could bring to the table and how it could give the original creators of a game room to expand on their original ideas, as well as show off that lovely and no doubt horrendously expensive RE Engine.
But there are things I sort of maybe want to see in the RE2 Remake. Things which could be pretty awesome when you think about it, and things which would absolutely make sense when you consider things as they are now. Yes, I know the original voice cast are out and Capcom are going non-Union for this game. I did say years ago this would end up the reality and I got slammed for being unsympathetic for even pointing out this could happen if the unions didn’t make more realistic demands. But that’ll be a discussion for another day. I want fluff today, and fluff I shall have!
So here’s a few things I’m hoping Capcom include in the RE2 Remake. They don’t have to have all – or even any – of these things to make me happy, but it’d be awesome to see regardless…
#1 – Nemesis.
I know lots of people will point out that Nemesis was never originally in Resident Evil 2, introduced in Resident Evil 3 partly as an awesome villain and also partly to explain why Brad Vickers ends up a zombie in the underpass of the Raccoon City Police Department entrance. Thing is, as it stands now, we know Nemesis was around during this period. We know that the first half of Resident Evil 3 happens somewhat before the events of Resident Evil 2 but it’s never explained how long beforehand (long enough for Brad to get up and start shuffling around as an undead zombie, that’s for sure, so maybe a day?).
For me, the inclusion of Nemesis doesn’t need to be anything like a boss fight confrontation – perhaps just a glimpse of this hulking eight-foot PVC and leather-clad supermutant killing machine in a security camera, or in some security feed – particularly since we know Nemesis was in the RPD and you’d think there’d be some security footage of it. It’s an opportunity to tie the Resident Evil 2 and 3 timelines together, to share a little of what they have in common, and also to fulfil some blatant fanservice because heck knows we’re not going to patiently wait another fifteen damned years for Capcom to get around to doing a Resident Evil 3 Remake. Capcom has no issue ramming Nemesis in spin-offs for the hell of it, so in a place where it could technically marry two very good games together and give some perspective into the respective timings of the games – yeah, this is a no-brainer.
Mostly though that window in the RPD should be broken if Nemesis smashed through it. Yes, I am being picky here. Yes it was before RE3 was made. No, they don’t get to get away with this in a remake. Don’t tickle our OCD, Capcom!
#2 – Robert Kendo. Give The Poor Guy A Better Send-Off!
Yeah. The gun shop guy. Who gets all of sixty seconds or so of screen time before he dies in one of the most hilariously stupid ways possible – because standing next to a big window when there are zombies outside is such an awesomely smart thing to do…
Of course, I’ve always thought this was quite a nasty thing to do as well – Kendo was originally a different character in the RE2 Beta. Kendo didn’t need to be a big character, or a lasting character, but as one of the first people you meet – I dunno, you’d think he’d have the sense to have closed the shutters on his window or something. His death is, for me, one of the most ridiculous the series has ever proffered up for a character and personally, I’m actually more of the line of thought if he’s going to die in roughly the same timeframe in a remake as he did in the original game – the guy deserves at least a slightly better send-off than this pathetic excuse for a kill.
He’s clearly been bitten in the original (bandage on the arm tells me bite marks are involved so he’s screwed either way), so why not have him lock the door and whilst you try and make your way out the back, he falls sick and zombifies? You can still nip out the back, or face him for his weapon, but you get the choice in this instance. Or perhaps he follows you for a bit before falling foul of a zombie fight. Heck, you could even have a new Zombie Brad condition where you have to get him to the underpass alive, where he gets unceremoniously jump-munched by Zombie Brad. There are opportunities here to give ol’ Kendo a much better death than the original games frankly stupid one. I mean, he even locks the door behind you! You’d think he’d have figured standing next to a smashable window was not a great idea…
Accuse me of overthinking this if you want, it’s been bugging me for nearly twenty years. Like I said, OCD tendencies…
#3 – Crimson Heads / Regis Lickers.
One of the more brilliant additions in the REMake was the creation of the Crimson Head. Zombies who have been given more time to… well… let the virus do its thing. If you didn’t lop off the head entirely with a well-timed shot or two, or burn the body, those zombie corpses would stay stubbornly in place, waiting for an opportune moment to spring back up into life nastier than before. Which actually made a lot of sense if you think about it – they’re dead. What’s a few bullet holes or a shotgun blast here and there? Total destruction was the order of the day, and it made for some tense situations particularly for those of us who like to speed-run; shoot the zombie down and leg it, knowing they’ll be back up nastier and meaner than before? Or detour quickly to the chest and get some petrol out to burn them?
Whilst I know lots of fans would like the Crimson Heads back in the RE2 Remake, the fact for me is that there’s so much more potential there now for even weirder stuff to happen. In the Outbreak games – yeah, you could have crossover with those too Capcom – there was an indication that the zombies would invariably end up as lickers by default. The crimson heads and the full naked zombie stuff seems kind of in the middle, but the Outbreak games added a transition between the mid point and the end licker – the Suspended, or Regis Licker in some circles. In the game which introduced the Licker, bringing in a few more transitional stages would certainly add to the ambience and you know, acknowledge the Outbreak games were actually pretty good for their time maybe?
Whichever way you cut it, the Crimson Heads were a great addition, and building on them somehow would be an awesome way to continue rebooting/rebuilding the series.
#4 – Ada’s Story.
We love Ada Wong. She’s awesome. If you don’t count how they made her white for RE6 and man does someone at Capcom still need a dozen punches to the face for that bright idea, seriously what kind of idiots are you employing over there Capcom? (Breathe fluff piece keep it fluffy…)
There hasn’t actually been a proper explanation or visualisation of how Ada “survives” her time during Resident Evil 2. I get that there’s a good amount of mystique, but as we all know, she pops up during the B-Side campaign to drop us a rocket launcher. Girl has taste in gifts, you can’t deny that. So from the “event” which varies from Side A to Side B, to that point, there’s a nice big gap. And considering Capcom gave us a healthy dollop of Ada story in Resident Evil 4, I’d like to see a similar – although brief – one in the RE2 remake. You could even make it like Hunk’s 4th Survivor campaign, a challenge run of sorts. That’d be awesome too.
I know it’d be kind of superficial. We don’t really need to know – as I said, the mystique is part of Ada’s charms. But hey, more Ada Wong in Resident Evil is never a bad thing. She should have had her own spin-off game years ago already. Lady gets around, and I’d love a sort of spy-style thriller offshoot of Resident Evil.
Failing that obvious bit of fan-service that’d make Capcom oodles of money because clearly Capcom hates the crisp sound of bank notes quivering in fear, I’ll take finally popping that mystery for 200, Alex.
#5 – The Bad Ending Urban Myth: Make It Happen.
For years, there was a myth that there was a Bad Ending in Resident Evil 2. If you didn’t make the antidote for Sherry properly, the game would conclude with Sherry starting her terrifying mutation whilst you were on a train speeding out of Raccoon City, deep underground, with no hope of escape. It wasn’t real; but often things begin with a grain of truth, so I like to think Capcom just cut the whole idea of a bad ending before launch. Considering how Parasite Eve was effectively unrated in the UK and Europe over that Opera Scene at the start, meaning it couldn’t go on sale, I don’t think the censors would have taken kindly to the concept of a little girl mutating into an angry, hungry mutant monstrosity. Capcom might have been wise to cut it. Just saying, if they had to, they probably had a damned good reason.
Still, considering how pernicious this myth was for so long – I’d actually be pretty on board with having it in there. Bad endings were available in the original game, after all, so why not have one for the RE2 Remake in this vein? Make the antidote timed, or have a mystery extra thing needed that’s well hidden or a timed event or something that would ultimately end up with a fail state if you didn’t make it right. We’re far less squeamish about this sort of thing now, and whilst no it wouldn’t be canon or anything, it would still be a nice nod to the original myth. As for canon… I think Operation: Raccoon City kind of suggests that Capcom doesn’t mind going off-script from time to time.
Plus let’s be honest, it would be a horrifying sequence of events to conclude the bad ending with. And considering horror is the name of the game here, I’m all for some really uncomfortable goings on all the way through, right to the bitter end.
#6 – Elza Walker.
I was going to leave it at five, but I don’t think it’d be right not to include Elza Walker in a list like this.
Elza Walker was, in fact, the original female lead for Resident Evil 2. She was used in early promotional material, artwork and footage – it’s not like she was just remodelled a bit and had her story change, no, Elza Walker was replaced entirely to link the events of Resident Evil and its sequel together. And that’s great, because Claire Redfield is awesome – well, when she’s not being kidnapped and taken to a prison island owned by a shadowy corporate pharmaceutical behemoth. No, I’m not letting that one slide. One is a misfortune, twice looks like carelessness.
But Elza existed – briefly, she was the star. And it’s made her, for many fans at least, the biggest mystery of all – what could Elza Walker have been like? What could have come of this… and what could have happened to her? So I’d say it’d be only right and proper to put Elza Walker into the Resident Evil 2 Remake.
Now, whilst I’d love a full third campaign – chances are this is not going to happen. It’d be awesome, but this is Capcom we’re dealing with. So how do you cram Elza into the RE2 Remake? Well, there are several options Capcom has at play here. First, there’s the same line I suggested for Ada – a brief “4th Survivor” style challenge run, Elza is already at the RPD and she’s got to get back to her bike and get the hell out of the city. The early parts of Resident Evil 2 are never returned to again so it’d be a nice nod, and again – linking back to Robert Kendo, Elza could wander through the back door of the gun shop and face off against a Zombie Kendo. That’d be kind of awesome, and it’d also nearly tie up a couple of loose ends.
Or they could have Elza just be an optional skin for a Survival Mode, Mercenaries Mode or Raid Mode. It wouldn’t make her canonical at all, granted, but it’d be a nice nod to give to a character that never got a chance to shine. Just an optional character for the bonus mode – like Lady Hunk. Only, you know, not as utterly terrible and offensive.
The third option would be cruel but it’d perhaps be an option if Capcom wanted to entirely put this to bed – kill off Elza Walker. Have her come in for a couple of new cameos (the series does like adding new bits – the REMake, Code: Veronica X and so on), and then kill her off like Chief Irons or Ben Bertolucci. She could even be the victim in a security video – oh hello Nemesis ohwtfgargllffsh dead, finally laying her character to rest. There are plenty of ways that Capcom could kill Elza off.
But I hope they don’t. It’s not like we expect them to reuse the Outbreak characters again – though Alyssa still seems to get around. A simple challenge mode to get her from, let’s say the prison cells to outside of Kendo’s Gun Shop (where she faces off against a boss, hell, Nemesis could be a fun thing here!). She gets out and we all go yay, Elza lives and is probably out there somewhere and found someone she loves and has three kids and a puppy and a white picket fence and is living happily ever after. Well, as happy as a person with severe psychological trauma from escaping a zombie-riddled city could be I guess.
For me, this is the best time to address Elza Walker. She’ll always, always be the elephant in the room for fans of the series – and moreso in a Resident Evil 2 Remake. Capcom doesn’t have to do anything complex – though it’d be awesome if they did. Just… I dunno. I’d like Elza to have a happy ending.
It’s about time someone in the series did.