Interview of Kouji Oda
-Director of Resident Evil 0

When game play is highly regarded by people,
Our effort is truly worth while.
O: Kouji Oda
--: Interviewer (Unknown)

Partner zapping system

--: Resident Evil 0 was originally develop for Nintendo 64.

Yes, the plan itself was already started when Nintendo announced 64DD. But we thought it is better to release on Nintendo 64 because of 64DD's console specification and sales condition.
Then, we started to make the story and game. When we decide to release on Gamecube, Resident Evil 0 is already half finished. Of course we had to re-make all the graphics for Gamecube, but almost all other plans are not changed.
--: So, you already had partner zapping system idea for Nintendo 64?
Yes, we created partner zapping system for Nintendo 64 because of the console characteristic. In Nintendo 64, they use cartridge software instead of disc, so the loading time is short. When we were thinking about the plan, that made the best use of the console characteristics, we created the real time zapping system.
After that, we changed the console to Gamecube, but we still wanted to use that system, so we studied a long time. In Nintendo 64, zapping only takes a second, but in Gamecube, it has to load data.... that was a big challenge how to shorten the loading time by graphic frame unit. In the beginning, it was too long that I don't even want to tell you. But I think we did a good job to shorten the loading time that the users don't stress.

--: Did you have the idea of a partner zapping system for a long time before Resident Evil 0 development started?
No, we created this system for Resident Evil 0.
Every Resident Evil has something new, I think this shows the principal of giving the users the best game play in time to time.
--: Resident Evil 0 is the very beginning episode in Resident Evil world, all the mystery of the story will show?
I can't say anything yet. I have to say please play the game and see what is going to happen. Some mystery solved and maybe another mystery will be given.......
Of course, a lot of familiar characters in the game too.

Different strategy style

--: Is there any different between Rebecca and Billy?

Billy can move heavy stuff and Rebecca can get in tight space. I think it is easier to run away from the enemy by Rebecca, because her body is easier to go through tight space. Billy's health is a little tougher than Rebecca, Rebecca's health is 2/3 of Billy's.
To show character's speciality, I made a big difference on that point.
--: This time, the users can pick the play style like go alone or go together.
Yes, but even if you chose to go alone, other character's time will pass by. Each character has their own thought programmed, so if you set "attack" on partner character, they attack to enemy automatically.
I think a lot of users chose to go together. It is not fun just to go together, so we put something happening that only the users chose to go together, and the situation is change little by little the user moves Billy or Rebecca.
Also, we changed the enemy move from other Resident Evil series, because the user side fight by 2 characters, I think the enemy move will scare users because they move like unexpected from the users.
--: So, it makes the game difficulty change? by choosing which character is the main character?
I think it all depends on what kind of game play style you have. This time, this is the big point to make a variety of game strategy.
Which character is the main character or go with your partner character or not...... This was one of our big goals to how to make this whole partner zapping system work in different game play style.
--: Some places are easier to go alone and other places you have to go together.
It changes by what kind of weapon you chose for the character to be equipped with too.
In the strategy standpoint, it all depends on users play style to chose run away from hard to kill enemies or kill every enemy you have contact with.
--: Strategy route is not only one?
No, this time, it is not only one way to beat the game.
So, we had to solve a lot of unexpected problems. For example, in some places, if you leave the item on the floor, you have no way to come back and get it. Every time we found problems, we fixed them. But that was a really hard job to solve all the contradictions. It took us until the last minutes to fix every single problem.
I can say we went through same thing on save point setting and ink ribbon setting. First, we didn't consider much about save point, but in the test play, some test player had to go through a lot of dangerous point without saving the game.

--: This time, no item box at all?
We didn't adopt the item box system this time. So, the users need to think hard about which item you take to the next stage.
At some points, you might have to go back to get items, or it is one way to leave items on the place you always go by.
However, this time, you can control 2 characters, so it means you can carry simply twice as many items. This point shows different game play style too. In the test play, some test player separated one is weapon/attack character and partner is ammo carry character, or another test player made the partner is a green herb carrier. It was different with each person.


--: Compared to Resident Evil re-make, the quality of the graphics is increased in Resident Evil 0.

When I was thinking about how we are going to create all the graphics, it was after a while the game console was changed from Nintendo 64, Mr. Mikami showed me a prototype graphics for RE-make. They were truly dedicated to create real Resident Evil world without thinking about console specification, so it was just awesome.
I thought if they made this much high quality graphics, what am I going to do...... of course, Resident Evil 0 will be released after RE-make, so our graphics have to be better than RE-make. From that point, out hardship story started.

--: When Capcom announced the game, all the game magazines showed the train part. But actually, there is a lot more different stage behind.
Yes, we almost showed only train part because the game starts train part and we started development from the stage. To be honest, in that time, we had already made other stages but quality was not good enough , so we didn't show other parts.
In the beginning of development, the train didn't run and characters searched the inside of the stopped train, but we changed the plan to make the train run. In Nintendo 64, train just run short time but in Gamecube, we could make the train run long time.
We made the background animation looped and show the feeling of a running train, creator put a lot of craftsmanship and made a lot of detail. I want people to look closer at those points.
--: It was amazing background animation, especially move of the curtain on the window.
We changed train strategy flow chart several times, then some of the place the characters only go once, but graphic staff put strength on those parts too. They said "We can't put less spirit in it."
--: Same as RE-make, but the development staffs are really craftsman.
Yes, I think so, and all Resident Evil series staff are craftsman and enthusiasts. But it is the directors job to make them not overdo. This is the hard part... *laugh*
--: A lot of real time effects in Resident Evil 0.
To create real time effect on Gamecube, once you learn how to do, it is easy to create new ideas. Of course, those results came from a lot of effort by the effects staff but still, Gamecube is a good console to create new stuff.
--: How about new creatures?
I already planned to put a lot of prototype or test creature kind of enemies from beginning . Because the story should be the very beginning story.
Idea is normal animal or insects in the forest infected by virus and turn to giant.
--: It amazed me the realistic graphic.
It is same as background, modeling staff put unlimited craftsmanship in it.
They really worked hard, if I let them do whatever they want, maybe they created totally different creatures. *laugh* Sometimes, they make unexpected good one.
--: What kind of enemy design was rejected?
All the enemy are fictitious, but it can't be really far away from the real world. Usually, in the game industry world, people call the enemy a monster, but we call them creatures. In the Resident Evil world, creature is the best way to call it and suit the story. It have to be "Maybe somewhere in this world, that kind of creature is exist."
In those new creatures, I like Leech man. It moves so weird and creepy.
--: Looks hard to kill.
Even that creature, it is the users choice to fight or runaway, basically, Resident Evil is the "run away" game. Once you kill all the creatures, makes easier to comeback to that place, but if you can run away, you can save the ammo.
This time, I don't think the users run out of ammo in any kind of weapon. I didn't want to give users stress by controlling 2 characters but ether one can't attack like how users want. So, we put little more ammo than RE-make.

When game play is highly regarded by people,
Our effort is truly worth while.

--: Any extra game shows up after beat the game?
Of course, One is users can change the characters costume as usual. Extra costume is design staff made whatever they want in their free time. I can't say what kind but I hope the users enjoy it.

--: There was enough memory to create everything?
We fought to get more memory and capacity until the last minutes. We used everything in those 2 discs and especially, we have to keep 2 characters data all the time, because of partner zapping system. We calculate and calculate to reduce the unwanted data loading.
Which data go where in the disc, or when the game go to 2nd disc, how long to take partner zapping....... all programming staff examined every time game program changed.

--: by the way, this is the first time for you to create Resident Evil game?
No, when original Resident Evil was started, I was in the development team about a year. After that, I was in other game development and when Resident Evil 0 development started on Nintendo 64, they designated me as a director.
I wanted to do it and I thought it is the chance. I think this was a really good experience and I did everything I wanted.
In Resident Evil series, every game was created by a different director and each one of them created the game with their positive thought, so the game always fresh and sales good. Also Resident Evil 0 is original story and concluded.
When we started the game development on Nintendo 64, we examined how to make the users enjoy the game play, because we had limited graphical expression by console capacity, still even in the Gamecube, out thought of how to entertain the users by game play is existing.
When RE-make was on-sale, Mr. Mikami said almost same thing, such as "Our assumption to create the game on Gamecube is for the people who wants to play the game, play on the real game console."
We didn't put less strength for graphics, but when we know the people highly regarded the game by game play, all staff member's effort is truly worth while.

--: How long does it take to beat the game?
In the first play, about 10 to 15 hours I think. This time, maybe different on how to play the game. But when you get use to it, it will be fun to play. Zapping system makes people think "I should have done this on that."
--: Finally, long development is over, how do you feel about it?
For me, everyday was really substantial, so I didn't feel "Finally" so much *laugh*.
However, I have to apologies to the users for delayed schedule.
--: Please give a message to the users.
First, sorry to made you wait. I can present this Resident Evil 0 because of your grate support. Everything, A to Z is brand new, don't think anything, just please enjoy the game. Thanks!!

Interview from: N.O.M November special issue
Published date: Nov 21 2002
Published by: Nintendo

All text translated by doughboy.
Original Japanese text all rights reserved by Capcom and related publishers.
English version of text rights reserved by doughboy and written permission required to re-use text.
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