Resident Evil Revelations 2: Interview With Michiteru Okabe

This is a direct sequel to Revelations how are the games linked in terms of plot and mechanics, and in your opinion what separates the Revelations games from the core numbered Resident Evil titles ?

Michiteru Okabe: Resident Evil Revelations 2 (RER2) isn’t a direct sequel in terms of storyline, rather, it is a completely new game, which continues the key concepts of the first game, namely game design focused on realizing an engaging survival horror experience, and a story structure inspired by TV serial dramas. As a completely new title, players new to the series can enjoy it without having played Resident Evil Revelations 1 (RER1), although of course gamers who played RER1 and other Resident Evil titles will enjoy the many connections and homages to the series that we’ve included all the more.

Gameplay wise, the game follows the popular design of RER1, but with new additions and tweaks to the mechanics that ensure Revelations 2 feels like its own unique experience. For example, there are some new stealth-based gameplay elements, a character switching mechanic and more.

As for what separates the Revelations games from the main numbered series, I think the numbered titles are the ones that have the power to drive the whole series forward, and it’s their responsibility to take on new directions and challenges. We saw this with the development in the series from Resident Evil 3 to Resident Evil 4, for example. It’s this type of advancement that is key to propelling the series forward.

Conversely, it is the responsibility of the Revelations series and other spin-off titles to further complete and refine the franchise offerings, somewhat akin to placing an additional piece in a larger puzzle. In the case of Revelations 2, we are telling the untold story of events that occurred between Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, and I hope fans will enjoy checking out what happened in that time period in the series chronology.

Now that the Resident Evil cast is so vast, how much debate goes into picking the right stars (or should that be STARS?) for the right games and is it always a hot topic in the office?

To tell you the truth, choosing the star of Revelations 2 was a very natural and painless decision. There are certainly a large number of characters in the Resident Evil universe, but the team members working on Resident Evil seem to all be on the same wavelength, so to be honest the idea of who to go with as the main character in the next game is usually decided fairly quickly and consistently. Maybe not as dramatic an answer as you wanted, but that’s just how our team works! It’s like we can read each other’s minds!

Once we chose the main character for RER2, discussing how to represent that character in the game was the real hot topic.  We took a lot of time to write the story, with many rewrites needed until the director, Yasuhiro Anpo, was satisfied. As producer, I had my concerns about whether we would be able to stay on schedule, but in the end we succeeded in weaving a thrilling game play experience, brimming with exciting content for the fans.

What made you settle on Claire in particular for the lead role in Revelations 2?

As I just mentioned, the whole team agreed on who we wanted to have as the main character without any real objections. It’s Claire’s first time out in a long time, and she’s very popular with fans. Not only that, but since we were looking to set the game between Resident Evil 5 and 6, in terms of the series timeline she would have grown up from the student we last saw her as. These factors and the planned content for the game combined to make Claire the obvious choice. We really didn't consider an alternative, it had to be Claire.

Barry Burton is obviously a big fan favourite. Why did you decide to cast one of his daughters in a starring role for Resident Evil Revelations 2?

Moira is another one of those missing pieces that we felt we needed to add as part of the role of a Revelations title is to fill in the Resident Evil franchise puzzle. Utilising previous title plot points and settings to connect the current game to the threads of past titles is one of the fun things about a spin-off title, not just for players but for us as developers as well. Interestingly, amongst these threads, the character setting of Moira as Barry’s daughter actually appeared ever so briefly in a previous title. Anyone who recognizes the connection can proudly consider themselves a true, hardcore Resident Evil fan. Resident Evil Revelations 2 is packed with similar references and nods to the series’ past, which make it a must play title for any RE fan.

The Afflicted are not zombies how do they differ, and what makes the Afflicted a more dangerous enemy than regular zombies? How should we fight them when we’re playing?

Creating new and interesting characters is a key mission for every Resident Evil game, and RER2 is no exception. The Afflicted are as scary as they look and I think you’ll agree they look pretty scary. They are not as mindless as zombies, so they will actually be able to move quickly and attack the player with weapons, making them a genuine threat. Ammo is scarce though, so this isn’t to say you’re going to be gunning down hordes of them the game has a stealth aspect to it where it can often
be more advantageous to avoid getting drawn into a fight, and instead attempt to sneak up undetected and swiftly take them down, or slink past. Reserve your ammo and try to get around them, or carve out a safe path? Players will be able to choose the play style that suits them best.

Tell us about NGO Terra Save: who are they and what do they do?

After the Raccoon City Incident, Terra Save was formed to tackle the growing threat to the world posed by bioterrorism, and provide aid to victims of bioterrorist attacks and incidents of misuse of chemical agents. They also work to educate the public about these incidents, and blow the whistle on the companies and governments behind them. Terra Save were actually introduced in one of the Resident Evil CG feature movies, so if you’re interested in them you can check out more about them that way!

Revelations 2 is coming to PS4 what does this new generation of console let you do with Resident Evil that you couldn't previously, and are you enjoying the extra hardware power and features?

We always aim to bring the Resident Evil series to a new level of graphical fidelity with the release of each new generation of console hardware, so I found it great to develop for the PS4. Our teams are constantly taking on new challenges that will allow them to present the player with fresh gameplay experiences. As a result of our efforts we’ve worked hard to ensure that the power of the PS4 is utilised to produce higher-quality character models, backgrounds, effects and overall visuals running at a stable 60 frames per second in full 1080p HD. A smooth and stable frame rate may sound simple, but it’s an integral factor in escalating the immersion you experience with the game to new heights.

Were you surprised at the overwhelming praise for the original Revelations? Has its reception informed the design decisions for Revelations 2 in any way?

Regarding the design, absolutely the acclaim for the first title was essentially the main impetus for us to develop the second one. We naturally wanted to bring across all the most well-received aspects of the first game and build upon them to further improve and evolve the experience.

As for whether or not the praise of the first title was unexpected, when I played the work-in-progress version of the game during development it seemed to me that even at that early stage it was successfully executing its goal of returning to the series’ roots of survival horror. Even at that early unpolished stage of development, it was just like playing one of the scarier past titles in the series for me, so I somewhat expected that it would (hopefully!) be well received. I suppose it’s easy to say that in hindsight. [laughs]

Raid introduced some fun new concepts to Resident Evil what did you learn from the original’s Raid mode and can we expect these to be expanded upon in Revelations 2?

Raid mode really reconfirmed for us that you need to consider the gameplay life cycle of a game and include ways to allow players to keep enjoying the game continually. Even all this time after release, the first game still has events happening in Raid mode via the RE.net service (if you haven’t checked out RE.net yet, I’d encourage you to do so!).

In Resident Evil Revelations 2 we certainly want to live up to fans’ expectations, so while I can’t go into detail right now, I’d ask you to stay tuned for further information on Raid mode as we release it.

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