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Shack Chat: Is the Resident Evil 4 remaster/remake a good idea?

This week, the Shack Staff discusses whether Leon and Ashley should return to give us another taste of the most annoying escort mission ever seen in a Resident Evil game.


Happy Friday, Shackers! Somehow, we've muddled through yet another week of staying home and wishing we had never taken the little things, like going to that bootleg T-shirt store at the mall, for granted. That means another edition of Shack Chat, our weekly feature where the staff weighs in on some of the hottest discussions currently ongoing in the gaming world, is finally here once more.

This week, we've got a hot and ready question loaded in the chamber for you. There's been talk of a potential Resident Evil 4 remake floating around here lately. It's got some jimmies sincerely rustled, because some people hate fun. Or good things. But for the sake of conversation, we've opened up the floor to the Shack Staff for discussion to get to an answer once and for all: Is the Resident Evil 4 remaster/remake a good idea?

Oh Yeah! - Asif Khan, Lola’s Dad

It’s been amazing to see the Resident Evil franchise find new life in recent years with Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 both being remade on modern platforms. I have been really impressed with the RE Engine, and would love to see other games built on it. My favorite game in the RE franchise is Resident Evil 4. Many people consider it a perfect video game, and they might be right, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see a new version of it on the latest gaming hardware. These developers deserve a shot at remaking that masterpiece. RE fans who don’t want to play it can go play the original RE4, it isn’t going anywhere. I would just love to see what Capcom will do given enough time and resources to tackle REM4KE.

Yes - Ozzie Mejia

I alluded to this during our Resident Evil 3 Shackcast, but we've seen Capcom pull off a pair of magic acts with the RE2 and RE3 remakes. Specifically in the case of RE3, they took what was a mediocre original game and turned it into something incredible. They deserve all the credit in the world for doing so. But it's one thing to improve on the unexceptional. What happens when it comes time to improve on something already considered by some to be perfect?

That's the challenge that Capcom faces with Resident Evil 4 and it's one that's worth undertaking. On the surface, it's hard to imagine improving on the best game in the franchise. But if Nintendo's efforts with Link's Awakening last year have proven anything, it's that it's entirely possible to take something classic and rebuild it for a new generation. This is the challenge that Capcom potentially faces with this endeavor and it's one I fully support them embracing.

Of Course It Is - Blake Morse, Scared of horror games

Capcom has been raking in beaucoup bucks the last few years by going through their prolific catalog of hits and either putting them in a collection of some sort or making them bigger, better, and newer for the current generation. In the process, they’ve brought themselves back from the brink of extinction. It would be hard not to give the Resident Evil franchise its due accolades for the part it’s played in the current era of Capcom’s renaissance. Add on top of that how much love both the RE2 and RE3 remakes got from fans and critics alike and it just makes perfect sense that REm4ke would be the next title to get a current, or possibly next-gen, facelift. If Capcom is anything like every other company ever, they love money, and this is something that will most likely pocket them more cash than it costs to make. Of course, I’m never going to play it one way or another (unless I’m forced to for GOTY consideration) because zombies are scary! 

Nah, man - Chris Jarrard, Takes crazy pills

Resident Evil 4 has repeatedly been re-released and upgraded multiple times since it first appeared on the Gamecube. It has even seen multiple releases on PC over the same time frame. It makes no sense to go back to the well again for something that has literally never left the conscious of the fanbase. Capcom has so many other deserving properties that would be ripe for a remaster. RE4 is being pushed because it is an easy cash-in. They already invested capital in turning RE2 and RE3 into RE4, so I’m sure most of the heavy lifting is done for them.

I have no interest in this remake. Call me when they wanna remake Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, PowerStone, or Muscle Bomber/Saturday Night Slam Masters.

Yes?? - Sam Chandler, Guides Editor

I’ve never played Resident Evil 4, so a remake/remaster for a new generation of console is absolutely an excellent idea. While we’re at it, do the same for RE5 and RE6 then jump back and do another run at RE1 so I can continue to play them all.

Of course, why not? - Donovan Erskine, Intern

I have a hard time understanding why people get so up in arms about remakes of video games and movies, beloved or not. If the remake is good, then yay! You can enjoy that thing you love in a brand new way! If it sucks, oh well. The original isn’t going anywhere, and hasn’t been altered in the slightest! 

This is how I feel about the prospect of a Resident Evil 4 remake. Many hail RE4 as the best of the franchise, claiming it couldn’t possibly be improved with a remake. Other than 7, I had never played an RE game before Capcom started firing off the remakes last year. The remakes of RE2 and RE3 were awesome, and gave me the opportunity to play two gaming classics without the awkward controls and aged graphics of the late 90’s. I’ve never played RE4, and it’s unlikely that I’ll be hopping into it 15 years later. A remake however? I’d jump at the chance to play that game with all the benefits of modern gaming and technology.

Absolutely! - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

Resident Evil 4 is one of my absolute favorite games in the series. It also happens to be the entry I've played the most. It got all of my friends back in school into Resident Evil, made them interested in the characters and lore, and even had them replaying just to unlock additional bonuses and weapons. I played Resident Evil 4 every time it was released on a new platform, including the Wii. I'm excited to see what a potential remake could look like. Maybe this time Ashley won't be so useless. She could be turned into a useful ally if the developers chose to go that route, and I’d totally be here for it. 

Yes - Bill Lavoy, Power 1,011 

It’s a good idea in this case because I think players overwhelmingly want it. However, I do feel like we’re going to hit a point in our remake/remaster blitz where it gets old. We’ll start getting remakes for games we’re not as excited about as RE4 and begin to crave new stories and experiences. I think what it comes down to is whether fans want the remake more than whatever new idea could be coming. In the case of RE4, we can be pretty sure it will be more popular than RE8. I do feel like we’re running out of remake stamina, though.

Yes - Josh Hawkins, Guides Guy

Not going to lie here, I almost wanted to say no. I absolutely love Resident Evil 4, and it’s by far one of the best games in the series. But there are some glaring issues. For one, the graphics just aren’t as good as they once were. Yeah, we have an HD kit and all that, but it doesn’t really offer the best vision of Resident Evil 4 imaginable, something that this remake could.

But, a remake of the game in the same vein as RE2make and RE3’s most recent remake is definitely something that is appealing to me as a fan of the series. As someone who missed out on playing through the second and third game when they originally released, being able to experience things in a fresh light, with improved graphics, mechanics, and controls was fascinating. Fantastic even. The idea of being able to replay Resident Evil 4, without the 2005-esque controls would be absolutely amazing.

Am I worried about this becoming a cash grab for Capcom? Eh, not really. Sure, it might seem that way to some people, but the work put into RE2make and RE3’s remake clearly show that the studios working on the games love the series and want to make it the best that it can be. So, instead of getting up on my high horse and claiming how perfect and great RE4 is without a remake, I’m just going to quietly sit here and wait to see what they do with it.

It’s Too Soon - TJ Denzer, Resident Stick in the Mud 

If anyone remembers my answer to the question about Mario anniversary remasters a couple Shack Chats ago, the same logic applies here. When I think about what I want from a remake candidate, I think the best ones come from experiences so dated that it can’t really be enjoyed as much in its original form by newer audiences, which is why I would have chosen the Game Boy Super Mario Land games above all else. I love the Metroid: Samus Returns remake on Nintendo 3DS. I love the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes. I love the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. These are examples of products so dated that the developer was practically forced to bring new things to the table to refresh them for modern players while still appeasing old-school fans.

And that’s a big part of my logic on Resident Evil 4. Sure it has a few problems, but that game is still far from dated in the way these other games mentioned above have been. As certainly as I’ll play a Resident Evil 4 remake because I love that game, I think it’s too soon and we’re missing out on something really great that could have been done with it like five years down the line or so.

Games like Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Dino Crisis, however, are extremely dated. I wouldn’t suggest them to new players and say, “you gotta play this. You’ll have fun.” They are of a time, and I don’t think they’d translate well to modern audiences as they are. That’s why I would have liked to see Code Veronica or Dino Crisis get the remake treatment first. There’s most certainly something to accomplish there. Resident Evil 4? You can spruce up its visuals, get rid of the slight problems. But is Capcom really going to blow minds and deliver something the original Resident Evil 4 doesn’t right now? I’m not so sure.

Absolutely Not - Greg Burke, Deep in the Mines

I’m all for remakes. Capcom's RE2 remake was incredible, and our own David Craddock wanted to give RE3 Remake 10/10, even the Final Fantasy VII Remake was an amazing game. However, those games visually hadn’t aged well at all, hence why a remake made sense. RE2 visuals, while impressive in 1998, look outright awful in 2020, same goes for RE3, FF7 and a lot of those PSX generation games. RE4 released as a timed exclusive on the Gamecube and still looks impressive today, it even has a HD Remaster on all platforms. It visually looks fine, and doesn’t warrant a remake whatsoever. We are starting to get to the point where I’m seeing capcom enter “cash grab” territory.

Much like Disney's live-action remakes, while a lot of money is thrown into the production value and casting, the complete lack of creativity is on display for all to see. People whom I’ve talked to so argue that the controls for RE4 HD Remasters are bad, okay, so, let’s update the controls then, no need to remake an entire game just because controls are wonky. I’d rather see Capcom improve on RE7’s formula and continue the story there.

"Leon, HEEEELP!" (Yes) - David L. Craddock, long reads editor

No publisher/developer has a more consistent record creating remakes that combine old and new than Capcom. It remade the original Resident Evil on GameCube in 2002, a mere six years after its debut on PlayStation. At the time, I thought Capcom may have jumped the gun. After all, how improved could a remake only one generation removed from its source material be? Quite a bit, it turned out. Besides sporting one of the most sophisticated audiovisual overhauls in a remake to date--I'm of the mind that "REmake" on GameCube still looks incredible, if more than a little fuzzy on HD screens--it remixed puzzles, balanced monsters and weapons, and added new terrain that flowed organically from, and then back into, iconic locations such as the Spencer Estate's foyer and cabin grounds.

Capcom's remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 boasted even more refinements and additions, while still retaining the spirit of ye olde games from 1998 and '99, respectively. All that said, I understand the mixed response to Capcom's announcement that "REM4KE" is in the works. Resident Evil 4 is beloved. It was a critical and commercial hit, one of the most popular titles in the RE franchise, and one of the most influential video games ever made. But to say a remake would be superfluous shows just how thick rose-tinted lenses can be.

Resident Evil 4's visuals haven't aged well. They still teem with atmosphere, but even the 2011 HD remaster (not a remake) showed that Capcom couldn't do much with then-six-year-old textures. The fan-led RE4 HD Project goes further than Capcom's team did, but that's a remaster, not a reinvention. No matter which version you play today, RE4's textures are muddy, its geometry simplistic. The game will gain much from being rebuilt in the RE Engine, especially if Capcom and M-Two plan to retool the engine to keep it up to snuff with other gaming tech.

Bear in mind that Capcom's official remaster, and the fan-led RE4 HD Project, only touch on the game's visuals. Its controls have been stuck in 2005 since… well, since 2005. Look, I love RE4. Like my colleague Brittany Vincent, I've played every version released. I've replayed it three times (Switch, PC, and Wii) in the past six months alone, to say nothing of the past 15 years since its release. Fandom aside, RE4 was a game designed for movement with a single joystick. Today, navigation is clunky, and constantly opening the inventory to sort items and swap weapons was a chore, especially on higher difficulties. The remakes of RE 2 and 3 still have inventory swapping, but considerably less than RE4.

Reports indicate M-Two, the lead studio behind RE4's reimagining, has been preparing for this project since 2018. Internal teams, plural, within Capcom are focused on it as well. RE4 a big deal, and both studios know it. The hype, as well as the scrutiny, for this game will be an order of magnitude greater than that of RE2make's. This won't be a cash grab. How could it be? No previous remake of a Resident Evil title has been. Let Capcom do its thing.

I’d welcome it - Steve Tyminski, Contributing Editor

Several classic games of the past are getting remade/remastered in this era of gaming where nostalgia puts food on the table. However, since companies refrain from taking risks, the idea of risk-taking doesn’t always pan out. If the developers did in fact decide to take risks, we wouldn’t have so many remakes/remasters in the first place. That being said, the idea of a remake/remastered game is fine. It gives people another chance to play a game they might not be able to get their hands on at the current time or a cheaper option than the original version. Newer versions of games also make live streaming easier since you don’t have to mess with the original system the game was on. . I remember trying to get into the Wii version of RE4 but it didn’t do anything for me, so I’d be open to another shot at the game.

Agree with our thoughts on the matter? Have your own ideas to share? Be sure to do so in the comments below, and come back next week for an entirely different topic. We've got a lot to say on a lot of different things, as it turns out. 

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

From The Chatty
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    April 17, 2020 2:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: Is the Resident Evil 4 remaster/remake a good idea?

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      April 17, 2020 2:07 PM

      Yes. I like REM4KE.

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      April 17, 2020 2:09 PM

      I’m curious how it’s different art direction translates in the remake. And yes of course I want this as long they don’t do something really dumb like try to keep the original GameCube control scheme.

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      April 17, 2020 2:14 PM

      me wants

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      April 17, 2020 2:25 PM

      Absolutely, I would love to see more amazing graphics with that engine

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      April 17, 2020 2:27 PM

      I want it, though I'm hoping they stick pretty close to the original. It doesn't need as much work as RE2 remake.

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      April 17, 2020 2:38 PM

      Of course, they have hit it out of the park with the remakes.

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      April 17, 2020 2:51 PM

      I mean sure, but tackle Code Veronica first. RE4 is still basically a modern game that doesn't need nearly as much.

      Code Veronica could really benefit from the treatment RE2 got.

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        April 17, 2020 3:22 PM

        I liked Code Veronica and was hoping it’d get the treatment.

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          April 17, 2020 3:24 PM

          But FIRST: frikkely frakking DINO CRISIS. Capcom, stop pussyfooting around!!

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            April 17, 2020 3:26 PM

            I mean, if they can get Shinji Mikami’s “blessing” to overhaul RE4, surely they can soothe him over Dino Crisis updates. Hell, maybe he’s testing them with RE4, before he give the Mikami seal of approval on Big D!

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      April 17, 2020 3:24 PM

      Yes, because the RE4 remaster looks and plays like something released 15 years ago. I bought it but stopped after a few hours because it has aged so badly, I couldn't do it.

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      April 17, 2020 3:29 PM

      All they need to do is take the handling from Shadows of the Damned, which was Mikami’s brilliant fine tuning of the RE4 control/combat paradigm. If they can do that, candy coat the graphics and NOT TOUCH ANY FUCKING THING ELSE, I am ok with this overeager cash grabbing.

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        April 17, 2020 3:33 PM

        Updating the graphics so it doesn't look like a shitty gamecube game would be nice.

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          April 17, 2020 3:43 PM

          It’s funny. I played it on GC and again on Wii (waggle light gun certainly made it entertaining). The graphics seemed so amazing to me back then that my mind fills in everything that’s lacking and just believes it’s the perfect blend of photorealistic stylization.

          Not every older game seems so glossy and beautiful in my mind’s eye, but RE4 is one of them. Even looking at all the remakes on the new engine, I keep thinking “hey RE4 already looks that good”, even though that is 100% objectively not true. Funny tricks of the mind.

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            April 17, 2020 3:47 PM

            I never played it back in the day, but bought the PS4 "remaster" and they apparently didn't bother improving the graphics at all. It's pretty bad, I don't recommend playing it.

            I'm hoping they do a real remake, that would be awesome, I know it's one of those games everyone seems to love.

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            April 17, 2020 3:48 PM

            It's because it's a masterpiece and some games at that level just transcend generations. I think it still looks great but yes it's obvious not of this generation.

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          April 17, 2020 3:45 PM

          Man, I don't understand that one at all.

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            April 17, 2020 5:17 PM

            Try playing the PS4 remaster. It looks like they took the old 480i graphics and upscaled them to 1080p, it looks really bad.

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          April 17, 2020 3:52 PM

          the gamecube version looked better than the PS2 version and even the PC version

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      April 17, 2020 5:45 PM


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