Resident Evil 4 Remake Shouldn’t Change Anything

Resident Evil 4 Remake Shouldn’t Change Anything

Games don’t really have a Godfather. There is no abbreviation for “best game ever” that everyone agrees on. I would not have The Godfather in my personal top ten, but I recognize that it is, in the annals of folklore, the best movie of all time, just as The Beatles are the best band of all time. It doesn’t really matter if you personally agree, what matters is that it’s a shared cultural understanding. Games lack this: technology in our industry moves so fast, and in many ways we’re still finding our way in terms of storytelling and maturity. However, if you had to pick one game to represent the best of our industry, someone would scream for Resident Evil 4. So now that they’re remaking it, why are they changing everything?


Our medium has a big problem with the preservation of video games and respect for our own history. We’re embarrassed, both at how silly games looked and how thin our storytelling used to be. Then there’s the fact that games can be polished and resold on newer systems as new releases, priced high and generating big sales. I’m not opposed to Resident Evil 4 getting a visual overhaul, even if I think we should have more respect and appreciation for how the ship used to look, but it feels like Resident Evil 4 isn’t just made for looks. pretty, it’s being touched up, with all its perceived flaws smoothly removed, like cellulite or pimples. The game deserves much more.

Related: Silent Hill 2 Doesn’t Need a Remake

‘Survival horror reinvented for 2023’ is the headline of the Sony blog post that was published in the wake of this week’s State of the Game. “When it first came out, Resident Evil 4 revolutionized the Resident Evil franchise,” the publication admits, before continuing that the game “will reimagine the game’s story while keeping the essence of its direction, modernizing the graphics, and updating the controls to a modern standard’. Those last two points, fine. Make it look better and play better. I think it’s dismissive of our past, but sure. People will enjoy it more. But change the story? Just keeping ‘the essence’ of the direction, whatever that means? It’s like repackaging The Godfather with modern audiences, aimed squarely at pandering to modern audiences to cut down on dialogue, have Al Pacino Jim on camera, and bring in a Morbius crossover in the post-credits sequence.

You’ve got a great game here, Capcom, one that, even with our media’s overuse of the term, has earned the right to be called a masterpiece. Is there a game with a better opening sequence? I’m not sure I’ve played one. Will that change now, for fear that today’s gamers won’t enjoy the helpless frustration that sets the tone for the whole thing?

Of course, there is a precedent for this. Final Fantasy 7 has an even bigger claim to being our Godfather, and was recently remade to critical acclaim. Although that feels very different. Final Fantasy 7 Remake does not seek to erase the original, but to become a metaretelling. In fact, Final Fantasy 7 Remake only takes us back to what were the first few hours of the original game, and will probably have two or three sequels to tell a completely different story. If Final Fantasy 7 is The Godfather, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is the first episode of The Deal.

Resident Evil 4 VR has set a much bigger precedent. The recent VR adaptation had even more reason to change things up, as it had to accommodate a completely new way of playing the game and decided not to change anything at all, just to offer a bit more depth to the exploration.

Whether Resident Evil 4 Remake will be any good remains to be seen, but whether or not it really doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that it’s further proof that our industry doesn’t care about its history at all, and among all the hype, that should make us very sad.

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