Don’t Miss: The making of Resident Evil 4

In this reprint from the October 2005 issue of Game Developer magazine, Resident Evil 4 cinematics lead Yoshiaki Hirabayashi writes about the overhauls and challenges which faced one of the franchise’s most notable entries.

The Resident Evil series has a broad fan base, and in order to meet players’ expectations, we decided to create a totally new entry with Resident Evil 4. Because the series has been around for so long, we really wanted to address the feedback from both our fans and our development team in order to revamp the game. This meant looking at everything from presenting a new way to experience fear, creating more frightening enemies, implementing new ways of using items, and much more.

For this postmortem, we’ll use one element, which was also one of our biggest challenges, as the archetype for the game’s development: the successful creation of the title’s graphical style. I’ll provide an overview of what this entailed and how we were able to achieve it with some specific examples from the game.

1. Cutscene Integration

When we began the project, one area we focused on was how playable portions of games usually shift into atmospheric pre-rendered movies. This seemed like an area that, if done well, would improve critical reception. As gameplay shifts to a cutscene, the change is usually quite noticeable. It’s possible that in that moment, players regard what is on screen as just imagery rather than a true part of the game. The change might be appealing to those people who simply enjoy cinematics for the higher quality of the cutscene graphics, but in terms of keeping players focused on the game, it’s possible that these moments interrupt the flow of the experience. We thought that if we could facilitate a seamless transition between gameplay and the in-game movies, people would be able to stay involved throughout the entire experience without interruption. Our solution was to keep the cutscenes in real time.

The action button system we implemented for Resident Evil 4 was very complementary to our use of real-time movies. By incorporating an action button into the cutscenes, we made it possible for players to interact with the in-game movies. In a traditional game scenario, players change from being active participants to bystanders as the cinematics begin and play out. The player might not pay close attention or might even put the controller down, and either way, that’s not what we want.

2. Improved Technology

In the current generation of consoles, the technical capacity of hardware has improved vastly over the last, and our technology itself has also increased to the extent that we can maximize the full potential of that hardware. Technologically speaking, this advancement has made it possible to express scenes in real time that would have previously only been possible in pre-rendered cutscenes, for example those that incorporate complex facial animation. Up until now, we didn’t have the processing ability or capacity to realize complex animation of the sort we have achieved in Resident Evil 4 — it was simply outside the hardware’s capabilities. We solved this issue through programming and by packaging data intelligently. The same solution was applied to areas that required a lot of special effects, such as projection lights and explosions.

Using real-time movies also made it easier for us to change elements of the story according to the game specs and design. For example, in a pre-rendered situation, if a character or enemy in a movie had to be somehow altered, all the time and energy used to create it would have gone to waste. However, by using real-time movies, we could just rewrite a new model onto the existing model data.

Learn Japanese using the power of love and violence in Nintendo’s Popeye no Eigo Asobi

We’ve been friends for a while now, right? And after all these Famicom articles, you’re probably thinking, “gee, that lady sure does know Japanese.” That’s not true. My Japanese can best be described as existent. I can sometimes take directions and pick out the odd word from a sentence. I can read some parts of instruction manuals, just enough that I can figure out what is a power-up and what increases your speedo. I was able to tell someone I don’t drink coffee, and I know the difference between a densetsu, a daibouken, and a monogatari.

So, no, I’m hardly fluent in the language. I don’t study as much as I should. Famicom games just rarely require a high level of comprehension.

So, for this Famicom Friday, we’re going to get a little vocabulary practice in using Popeye no Eigo Asobi or (and I’m using my actual language skills to translate this) “Popeye’s English Game”. Or play. Or pastime. Let’s go with my first translation.

Learn Japanese using the power of love and violence in Nintendo's Popeye no Eigo Asobi screenshot

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Lights of Dreams V: Path of Starfield

Hi everybody from,

Lately, Lights of Dreams V v15.47 was released without technical problem:

  • Now with all the 51 original lands from Lights of Dreams IV.
  • 1751 explorable planets available in this version.
  • Now with 1920X1080 screen resolution.
  • Now, all the pyramids may appear correctly.
  • The spiral clouds may be more far away from the center.
  • The sun may appear twice as far than before.
  • The time of day/night is longer.

Android Gaming Headlines: Tom Clancy’s The Division, Rocket League Mobile, PUBG Mobile India, and More

This has been a week of major PC and console franchises making the jump to mobile, or existing ports making waves.

Square Enix is going in hard with the Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier promotion, streaming the game live on Twitch and dishing lots of juicy deets on the gameplay. This is one to watch out for in 2021.

Then there’s a mobile The Division game, mobile ports of My Time at Portia and Frostpunk, and a whole new cross-platform Rocket League that will work across all platforms, mobile included.

For the best new Android games this week, check out the Saturday companion to this article.

Square Enix Streams Gameplay Footage from Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier

Square Enix surprised the world a few weeks ago by revealing that it’s working on a Final Fantasy battle royale game, the gravitational pull of the genre proving too powerful to resist. This week it broadcast a fair amount of gameplay footage on Twitch, and explained some of the features that will hopefully differentiate Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier from its numerous rivals.

Tom Clancy’s The Division Is Coming to Mobile

Another surprise. This week Ubisoft announced a range of different projects based on the popular Division series, including a novel, a Netflix series, a free-to-play game, and – pertinently for our purposes – a mobile title. We know almost nothing about it, but Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad might be a guide. We hope not, though.

My Time at Portia, the Acclaimed Stardew Valley-esque RPG, Is Coming to Android this Summer

If you’re looking for an elevator pitch, My Time at Portia is like Stardew Valley in 3D. It sees you rocking up at a place called Portia, meeting new friends, crafting, killing, and all that jazz. We don’t know exactly when My Time at Portia will be out on mobile, but we know it’s one to watch.

Frostpunk Is Coming to Mobile this Year with New New Features

Well well, this has been quite the week for major PC and console franchises announcing their mobile-wards intentions. Next up it’s Frostpunk, 11 bit studios’s highly acclaimed strategy survival game set in the late 19th century during a volcanic winter. Mobile publishing duties are being handled by NetEase, and this new portable version will boast some new features.

Donut County Is Less than Half Price on Android Right Now

It’s not. It was, when we wrote this headline, but it’s not any more. Pretty pointless, isn’t it, our including this headline when it is no longer applicable in any way. I could see why you might get a bit irate, presented as you have been with this otiose newsflash. However, Donut County is only $4.99 at full price, so you should still buy it.

Horizon Chase for Android Gets New Tracks and a New Car in Summer Vibes DLC

If you live in much of the northern hemisphere right now, you are not experiencing summer vibes. Summer has failed to advance beyond a depressingly high latitude this year, but you can make do with the Summer Vibes DLC, which has finally arrived in the mobile version of Horizon Chase.

Apple Vs Epic Court Documents Reveal a Second Rocket League Mobile Game in the Works

A mobile version of Rocket League has been sloshing around in the rumor mill for months, and it finally emerged a few weeks ago as the fully formed Rocket League Sideswipe. But it seems like the rumor phase isn’t over yet, after documents submitted in the high profile Apple vs Epic court case suggested that the next Rocket League iteration will be fully cross-platform and available on everything, including mobile.

NieR Reincarnation English Localization Is “Complete”, Global Pre-Registration Imminent

NieR Reincarnation has been cruising towards a global release for months, and it looks like it’s entering the final leg of its journey. According to the game’s highly apologetic director, localization for the highly anticipated RPG is complete, and the finishing touches are currently being applied. Look out for a pre-registration campaign in the very near future.

PUBG Mobile Is Returning to the Indian Play Store as PUBG Mobile India, Evidence Suggests

A few months ago, PUBG Mobile abruptly disappeared from the Google Play Store in India as a result of tensions between India and China, where publisher Tencent is based. The game has remained stubbornly unavailable in the subcontinent ever since, but it looks like the wait will soon be over as rumors surface of an India-only version of the game called PUBG Mobile India. Makes sense.

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