Interview of Yoshiki Okamoto

Guiding a series of biohazard
It is really popular episode that Mr. Okamoto rejected
original Resident Evil right before it is on sale.
His philosophy for the game development is guiding a series of Resident Evil.

Yoshiki Okamoto
-Former Capcom Development Department General Manager

--: Interviewer -Ayumi Saito

=Why Resident Evil was sucks game??=

-I hard you gave a lot of "advice" before the game went on sale.

Advice.... more like I just turn the table upside down. That was a heavy table , so I asked people for some help, like "Can you help me to turn this upside down?" *Laugh*
-- Is that so?

Before, I concentrate on arcade games, I didn't have to watch console games. But inside Capcom, they changed the organization, so, I asked them to show biohazard to me. And when I saw it, I didn't like it at all. Especially, the game had such a possibility to be a big game, it was like "You've came this far, but you are going to stop before last minutes?". So, I told them like "I don't like THIS, and THAT, change THIS" and I had a feeling it is going to be a big "Homerun game" so, I ask sales department to "Please delay the release date."

-- What kind of specific thing did you tell them to change? The part character aiming the gun?

Yes, before, they make the characters dimension divided 270 of 360 degree and it depends on how long the user press the button, the character changes the dimension. In this case, it makes a gap between the user feeling which direction they are facing and the character actually facing. One more thing was, now we get 3 ink-ribbons every time we find it, but before, it was only one. Especially, in the first play, users feel like there scared to lose their progress, so it is like always searching for ink-ribbons to save the game. I thought it would be better to change the game title to "Ink-ribbon search game" *Laugh*

-- It makes a lot of different even only the ink-ribbon.

In the arcade game,You can continue by one coin. When you are playing shooting game, they'll give you three more fighter airplane by one coin, like that.
Actually, I told them a lot more to change, some things happened, some not.
--What kind of things they couldn't make?

Big thing was controlling character. I wanted to make like "Rockman DASH" but we just couldn't make the character shoot the gun and back step. So, we had to use Resident Evil style control, I thought 9 out of 10 people will hated that style.
-- But people love the game.

I think we were just lucky. Because another part of the game was great, so people didn't complain about it. I still think possibility of the acceptance of the way control the character were 10%
-- You are austere.

It is my job. If biohazard didn't think about playability, it will make biohazard a sucks game.
For example, you making elephant by play dough, you made it so real part by part, but when you put that together, you realized head is too small, biohazard was like that.

--But sucks game is kind of hard word.

When I say "sucks game" I mean you can change little bit and make it grate game. People who have already worked with me a long time know what I mean, like arcade development team. But Console game development team didn't understand my real meaning so, I heard some of the younger team members were mad about it. But if I didn't think it will be a great game, I wouldn't say that.
-- So, Mr. Mikami was in the middle and kept a good atmosphere inside the teams?

Yes, He tried so hard. He always takes good care of his people.

=Resident Evil Directors Cut is a Real Resident Evil=

-- Fortunately, the users like the way to control characters, so RE2 is same way too?

It doesn't matter the users like it or not. We can't change the way anymore, because Resident Evil is a series game. I think people don't want check the instruction guide, every time they play the series game.
-- That is right.
Good thing about sequel is you can play without check the instruction guide, when we were developing Resident Evil 2, One of the staff came and ask me to change or not. I told them "NO".
They thought I gonna say something about it, even I didn't think I was going to change it.

O:I think Resident Evil Directors Cut should get more credit.
-- For what kind of part?

Because we put almost everything on the game, that we wanted to and what we wanted to change. So, I want for the users to play Resident Evil Directors Cut, not only Resident Evil 2.

=Unreleased Resident Evil 1.5=

-- There is a Resident Evil 1.5 between 1 and 2

It looked so good on screen, ONLY on screen.... When we developed original Resident Evil, we were only able to put 3 zombie at same time, but we had more understanding of the console characteristics, so we could put 7. Resident Evil had changed a lot in those days.
-- At the point of Resident Evil 1.5?

Yes, but Unfortunately, changed to different direction, and it was bad. So, I put main member of the development team and Mr. Sugiura together and let them talk. They had a meetings longtime, about several days.... I just didn't want to give Mikami a order to change it, because since I'm his boss, he just say "Yes sir".
But Mr. Sugiura and Mikami can talk frank and don't have to have pressure. Finally, Mikami came to me and told me how much he wants to change and how long development schedule will be delayed

-- If you see from the company business stand point, it will be bad to delay the schedule.
If you see the long turn business, losing the users trust is worst for company.

-- This time, the director changed from Mr. Mikami to Mr. Kamiya, How did you feel about it?

It is not important to change director, important is we can keep the same Resident Evil world or not. I didn't want to show the result on Resident Evil 2. If we do, we don't have things to do on Resident Evil 3.
-- How you think about the story goes?

It's like "007" series. There is a ultimate bad guy and the game characters catch the little piece of bad tails. Resident Evil or Resident Evil 2 is only a piece of the huge story.

-- You already had a idea from original Resident Evil?

NO *Laugh* When we started to plan 1.5, I told the development team "You guys think just make after story of original Resident Evil, and make another after story of Resident Evil 2, NO, that is WRONG." I told them we have to create whole world and show people the original one is this piece of story and 2 is another piece of story.
-- It is like Gundam series.

Yes, exactly. First, create whole world and never step out of it. So, it is OK to change the director.

-- You sounds like you are going to make a lot of Resident Evil series games.

Yes, but we are not going to change the world. If, we can make it until Resident Evil 5, and I don't know which one is going to make million sales, but people who played the big sales game feel like they want to play another Resident Evil, that is what I want.
The user to see not only small part of the world of Resident Evil, I want to show the whole world to the users.

Interview from: Research on Biohazard 2 Final Edition
Published date: Sep 1st 1998
Published by: MICRO DESIGN

All text translated by doughboy.
Original Japanese text all rights reserved by Capcom and related publishers.
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