The release of the upcoming Resident Evil 4 remake puts Capcom in an awkward position. Should they remake Resident Evil 5 next or should they consider other options?
Capcom loves a remake and for the past few years, the Resident Evil series has been their favorite cash cow – much to the delight of the company and horror fans everywhere. We’re not complaining either, the Resident Evil 1 remake is still the definitive survival horror experience, improving on the PS1 version in every conceivable way.
Then there’s the remake of Resident Evil 2, which was updated to not only play like a modern RE game but also managed to respect what made the original RE2 so beloved. It also proved, once and for all, that classic survival horror could work without fixed camera angles.
Resi remake gravy train
The success of 2019’s Resident Evil 2 led Capcom to fast-track production of a Resident Evil 3 remake. However, that game launched to mixed critical reception thanks to its short run time and chunks of missing content, including the clocktower area and the legendary Mercenaries Mode. Despite its flaws, 2020’s Resident Evil 3 was still a worthy remake in many ways, but once the game had been out a while, all eyes were on Capcom for what they could remake next.
At the end of 2022, we now know that Capcom has since greenlit a Resident Evil 4 remake and that game will be with us in March 2023. We’ve also played it and we can tell you, we like what we see so far. Although, news of a RE4 remake was met with concern by some longtime Resident Evil fans. Let’s not forget, that unlike RE1, 2 & 3, the fourth chapter in the series wasn’t a janky old PS1 game, it was a GameCube/PS2 game that has been ported to every system under the sun since it was released in 2004.
The HD remaster on PS4, Xbox One, and PC still holds up rather well to this day. This made some fans wonder if the game even needs a remake. Remaking it also risked ruining what many people consider to be one of the greatest games of all time. Then there was the action/horror balance to get right. The original RE4 was very action-heavy and lighthearted, whereas the recent RE remakes have been particularly horror focused and serious.
Return to Rockfort Island?
This all led to fans wondering if Capcom would be better off remaking Resident Evil: Code Veronica, a game that takes place between RE3 and RE4 and is just as important to the series’ lore as any other. Unlike the revamped RE4, RE: CV still feels a lot like the older entries and arguably needed a remake before RE4, the only question was if it deserved one.
However, there’s no denying that an RE4 remake would sell more copies, as RE4 is a much more recognizable title – and one that won multiple Game of the Year awards, unlike Code Veronica. So from a commercial point of view, it’s easy to see why Capcom chose to remake RE4 over Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Although, once the latest remake is here, the company has another choice to make. Do they remake Resident Evil 5? Or are some things better left dead and buried?
Resident Evil 5 originally launched on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, and along with the often maligned RE6, for all its faults, it still holds up well today – far more so than RE4 HD. The game doesn’t really need a remake – and in the eyes of many, doesn’t deserve one.
RE5 isn’t bad, it’s just also not exceptional. The game is also where the series’ decline began to set in, at least until Resident Evil 7: Biohazard came along and, like RE4 before it, breathed new life into the ailing franchise.
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Resident Evil’s race row
Remaking Resident Evil 5 also risks resurrecting a difficult PR nightmare from Capcom’s past regarding RE5’s setting, protagonist, and the enemies he faced. The original vision of RE5 has not aged well, and while Capcom worked to fix the issue in 2005 when RE5 was first released, a remake could dig up this controversy – and cause an even bigger storm than before. If Resident Evil 5 was to be remade, a lot of what made it what it was would need to be changed. This alone may be enough reason for them to leave RE5 in the past.
Capcom will undoubtedly be considering its next move and will be factoring in the above concern. Once again, remaking Code Veronica becomes an option, after all, Capcom is running out of Resident Evil games to remake, and RE: CV gives them another game to focus on while they ponder the viability of a RE5 remake. Let’s imagine they do remake RE5, what’s next, RE6? Would the company even bother with RE6 after the original is considered such a low point for the franchise? That also throws the likelihood of a RE5 remake into question – where do they go next?
Even if Capcom do remake RE5 and RE6, surely they’d need to stop there and not remake RE7 or 2021’s utterly superb Resident Evil: Village? Capcom needs to decide on a stopping point eventually. Even if they bypass RE5 and Code Veronica, they could always turn their attention back to Resident Evil 1. That game could be given the over-the-shoulder view, incorporate elements of RE: Zero, and be remade in the Resident Evil Engine.
Knowing where to stop
Could it be that Capcom will be finished remaking Resident Evil games after RE4? After all, Dino Crisis fans are crying out for that series to receive the same treatment. A remake of the first Dino Crisis, using the current Resident Evil Engine is a tantalizing prospect, especially after the success of games like The Callisto Protocol and the hype surrounding the upcoming Dead Space remake. A more sci-fi-focused survival horror game could tick all the right boxes, and deliver Capcom more of that sweet remake cheddar at the same time.
2025 will be the twentieth anniversary of Resident Evil 5, so we’d be amazed if Capcom doesn’t mark the occasion with something Kijuju related, be it a remake or anything else. Although, until then, this might be the last chance saloon for a Resident Evil: Code Veronica remake, so it will be interesting to see what Capcom’s next move is.
What’s certain is that while we love the Resident Evil remakes – as much as Capcom – there are only so many more they can make.
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