Interview of Shinji Mikami

Resident Evil 2 and 1.5
"Kamiya tried to show his way of the FEAR"

M: Shinji Mikami
Interviewer -Ayumi Saito-

--This time, you are the producer of Resident Evil 2

Yes, I only made the decision on the basic world of Resident Evil 2 in the beginning of the development and after that, I let Kamiya do what ever he wants.
The story is only one straight way (Doesn't have branches like Original Resident Evil) and made dramatic, or wants to show character's emotions. I think Resident Evil 2 shows that kind of things very well.

-- It seems like the quality of the game is improved but at the same time, the level of the fear is changed too.

In the original Resident Evil, I wanted to create "THE FEAR" inside of the game flow. I think people feel fear until they actually see the enemy, It feels like "Enemy is coming? already there??". And people amplify the fear inside of their feelings. That was what I planned. Resident Evil 2 is different, it is concentrate on more showy.
--So, this is the difference in the way of thinking between Mr. Mikami and Mr. Kamiya.

Yes, for example, do you remember the cut scene where Tyrant is dropped from the helicopter? In the game, you can see the 6 Tyrant capsules attached to the helicopter, I feel like "Why 6?? Just put one is enough." I don't show like that, but that is Kamiya's taste. If I'm the director of the game, I don't show a lot of Tyrant, I show only one. And I don't let them drop Tyrant from the helicopter. I will make character suddenly make contact with Tyrant and the users thinks "Who are you??" and Tyrant starts to attack character with no explanation, users get panic, this situation is realistic plus make the use to feel the fear of absurdity. Maybe my direction is not showy like Kamiya......
One idea I pushed so hard to put it in the game was for Tyrant to come in to the room by breaking the wall, but a lot of things didn't came up like I wanted it to. If I tell development team A to Z to create the game, then Resident Evil 2 is going to be no creators taste game. I think game should have creator's taste and that is to make every game different and fun to play.

--Didn't you feel left out? to not be in the center of the development team?

Yes... A LOT. In my opinion, producer's main job is calculate money. Not game development. I'm the kind of person to tell the producer "leave the game development to us and just count money." So, I didn't tell them a lot.
-- How much did you get involved in geme development?

There was a another version of Resident Evil 2, now people called the game Resident Evil 1.5, actually, in those days I nagged them a lot. and caused problem on development team to which one, me or Kamiya to listen. Then I told them just show me ROM once a month, but still my way and Kamiya's way is different. So, I told them to completely leave the development to them. I thought they had good material, after all just put those material in the pan and cook it, even if it taste a little bad, we can fix it in 3 months. Then, when I taste it, I was shocked by bad, BAD taste. I realized it tastes bad because not only the seasoning, something drastic making this bad taste. I had to tell them to start all over again, but still I didn't go inside of development team, I watched them from a little far away.

-- How do you feel about Resident Evil 2 becoming double million game?

Hummm... I feel like Resident Evil went to different world. Maybe if I let my daughter marry to somebody, I'll feel like this too. Still my daughter, but my part is done.
-- You think your daughter, Resident Evil Series is happy?

I think so, but sometimes, I wonder if this is right thing to do? Someday, I want to go back to development team and create a game from scratch.
-- You don't think you'll make Resident Evil 3?

I don't know. If I do, I will make the series finish on Resident Evil 3, if I made Resident Evil 2, I think I would have made it finished. The fear is a stimulation, when people get use to it, it is not scary anymore. A horror movie is the same way, first, people scared of everything but after that, everybody got use to orthodox horror and comedy horror started, finally horror movie went to "Brain dead" kind of brutal movie. I thought it is the end of horror movie history.
-- I know, that was not horror anymore.

Yes, people get use to the fears. But if you create the series every once in a while, after 4 or 5 years, new generation will start play. So, you shouldn't make a lot of series in a short time.

-- You think game creator is not like a artist?

We are entertainer, we have to entertain the users. It is important how many different ideas you have and change the mind quick "OK, people don't like this. How about that?"
A game creator needs to put all their strength in to the game, it is not money that counts, if they don't put everything in the game, they can't make a good game.
I didn't want to tell Resident Evil 2 development team a lot because of those reason, I didn't want to let younger creators to get spoiled by old idea. Resident Evil's presupposition is "THE FEAR" and Kamiya understood that, and tried to show his way of fear. The game is not good, if there is no taste of the creator in it.

Interview from Research on Biohazard 2 Final Edition
Published date Sep 1 1998
Published by Microdesign

All text translated by doughboy.
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