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Why we're worried about the Resident Evil 3 remake

In August 2018, before the release of the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 2 remake, IGN reported that Capcom was very interested in putting out more remakes in the future, "as a part of [Capcom's] strategy to utilize [their] library of IP." Just a few months after that, producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi told fans that Capcom was waiting to hear if there was a demand for a remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. 

Quicker than you can say "S.T.A.R.S.," the rumbles of a possible Nemesis remake grew to be even louder, with a purported information leak seemingly confirming that not only was development proceeding on Resident Evil 8, but that the Resident Evil 3 remake may already be in development. Awesome, right?

Well, maybe. While the idea of a Nemesis remake utilizing the assets of 2019's Resident Evil 2 could turn out to be pretty great, there are some reasons to feel concerned. Let's take a look at why we may have a few reservations and decide if Nemesis is better off left in the graveyard.

What if it's too short?

One of the criticisms of the original Resident Evil 3 is that it's main campaign is very short and much less elaborate than the preceding games in the series. In 1999, GameSpot's original review of the game noted, "If you were spoiled by the two-character system in the first game, and super-spoiled by the two-character, two-disc, four-scenario system of the second game, then you'll be disappointed when you find that there is only one character and one disc to play in RE3." In fact, some long plays of Nemesis clock in short of the four hour mark, even on Hard difficulty. 

On the flip side, some people have praised the relatively short runtime of the Resident Evil 2 remake. For example, USgamer noted that playing through the game's different scenarios should take less than 20 hours (even with extra scenarios and puzzles) but that people who play it "don't feel unsatisfied" by that brief runtime. So that begs the question: will the Nemesis remake attempt to pad out its runtime or stay true to the original, running the risk of annoying fans with a brief campaign? Or could Nemesis end up being, like the Resident Evil 2 remake, a lesson in quality over quantity?

It's hard to follow Mr. X

Mr. X was the breakout star of the Resident Evil 2 remake (in more ways that one; have you seen that guy bust through a wall? It's terrifying). Much of the dread from the original RE2 was amplified with the possibility that this big genetic monstrosity could show up at any time and put a beatdown on Leon or Claire. VG24/7 might have put it best when contrasting the original and remake versions of Mr. X. They describe the original as "an occasionally stalking threat," whereas the remake's Mr. X "is now such a committed killer, he makes the Terminator look like a stoned cyborg slacker." Only Shaggy has been known to be able to easily stand up to this pale undead juggernaut.

A lot of this approach to the imposing villain was clearly inspired by Nemesis' MO in the original Resident Evil 3, where the Nemesis encounters were far more frequent than the Mr. X battles in the original RE2 were. This gave players the feeling that the creature could be hiding around every corner. If the run-ins with Nemesis take on a similar nature to the RE2 remake's Mr. X encounters, then it may result in a feeling of déjà vu. Hopefully a remake of Nemesis can find ways to make its main baddie still feel fresh and not like a rotting carbon copy of Mr. X.

Will it have Resident Evil 6 levels of action?

Though the Resident Evil series began as moody survival horror series, focusing on inventory management and ammo conservation, it slowly morphed into a straight-up action series. In fact, the 5th and 6th entries in the franchise had more in common with the over-the-top Resident Evil movie series than it did the moody haunted house movie and game that inspired the original installment, Sweet HomeThe Resident Evil series' eventual disconnect from its survival roots and embrace of wild action sequences resulted in backlash from horror purists. 

However, this shift toward all-out action didn't start with the later entries; it actually began with Resident Evil 3. Whereas the first two games were more about close-quarters combat with one or two enemies, Nemesis would regularly have you facing down actual hordes. Among the more action-oriented features of Nemesis was the introduction of gunpowder, which could be scavenged and made into plentiful ammunition, and destructible fuel barrels, which would explode when shot, taking out wide swaths of enemies all at once.

While Nemesis wasn't quite as over-the-top as some of the later entries would become (the volcano fight in RE5 is kind of the pinnacle of that excess), one can only hope that the remake focuses on bettering the action elements that are already present. Expanding on them too much could turn the game into the exact kind of action-fest that fans grew tired of by Resident Evil 6.

Wouldn't Resident Evil 4 be the more logical choice?

Before this list starts to sound like a total bash-fest against Resident Evil 3, it should be mentioned that the original game is still quite loved and has its fans. Steven Burns of VideoGamer called Nemesis "one of the most overlooked games in the series" and prefers it over Resident Evil 2. Still, even his glowing retrospective admits, "People often say they can't really remember the game." 

Well, what's more memorable than the game that essentially rejuvenated the series, Resident Evil 4? That's the entry that introduced, among other innovations, the over-the-shoulder camera system that would be adopted for the Resident Evil 2 remake, replacing the tank controls of the original game. Certainly, it comes down to a matter of preference for most gamers, but Resident Evil 4 is one of the most critically adored entries in the series. With the gameplay for the RE2 remake bearing so many similarities to RE4, it seems like a no-brainer that this one would get the remake treatment next.

But maybe Capcom is dedicated to putting these out in chronological order, in which case we'd also have a Resident Evil: Code Veronica remake to look forward to before we ever get close to a next-gen version of Resident Evil 4.

"Live Selection" could become QTEs

Ah, good ol' quick time events. The true nemesis of survival horror. These moments of button-mashing became prominent in Resident Evil 4, eventually becoming a major point of contention in reviews for Resident Evil 5 and 6, to the point where parodies have been made of the series' overuse of QTEsCapcom eventually did away with QTEs entirely for Resident Evil 7.

However, well before QTEs seemingly overtook the RE experience, a similar mechanic appeared in the original version of Resident Evil 3. Called "Live Selections," these were timed decisions given to the player that would affect the outcome of the storyline. The Live Selection choices would occasionally backfire on the player, causing loss of health and even an upward curve in difficulty, depending on the route the Selection led to.

While they weren't quite like the Quick Time Events of future Resident Evil installments – press X to block this knife, mash R2 to jump over the lava! – the fact that Live Selections arguably led to the series' embrace of QTEs may be cause for concern. There may be a temptation to add in the more modern QTE mechanic for the Nemesis remake, but hopefully the series has learned its lesson and the interesting Live Selections won't be replaced with more button-mashing sequences.

Would too much Nemesis be a bad thing?

As noted by Games Radar, "Resident Evil 3 is undoubtedly defined by its iconic villain." There's no denying that Nemesis doesn't cut an imposing figure. It's a massive, deformed creature with one eye and a rocket launcher, for crying out loud. Whenever Nemesis appeared, gamers immediately beat feet as far from the beast as they could. Though its threat was a constant presence, it wasn't always visible on-screen, which led to mounting tension as you progressed further into RE3's story. In a game that's much more over the top in terms of sheer action, the titular villain is a reminder that less is more.

That's why it would be a shame if the Nemesis remake were to expand the character's presence. If Nemesis is made into a constant obstacle like the RE2 remake's Mr. X, then it may lose some of its edge. Or worse yet, a the remake could remove a lot of the monster's mystique by giving us unnecessary background on the creature. The film adaptation of Resident Evil, as well as its sequel, Apocalypse, made a mistake in giving Nemesis a sympathetic backstory. Hopefully the Nemesis remake won't do a similar thing in its efforts to expand the original's storyline.

Outsourced Resident Evil games haven't exactly been winners

Rumor has it that Capcom has outsourced the production of the Nemesis remake to another studio, which has yet to be named. That way, the main studio can presumably focus on development of Resident Evil 8. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, the Resident Evil series doesn't have the best track record when it comes to the quality of the titles that have been outsourced in the past. 

Take Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, for example. This third-person shooter was an alternate take on the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, told from the perspective of a team of soldiers dispatched by the Umbrella Corporation and tasked with ending the zombie infestation of Raccoon City.  Operation Raccoon City was developed by Slant Six Games, rather than Capcom, and reviews for this spin-off title weren't very kind, with Eurogamer's review saying it "is so bland it feels like a copy rather than a Capcom production."

Following the game's release, Slant Six producer Mike Kerr spoke with Eurogamer about how the game developed and their feelings toward the tepid reception, saying, "As with any new publisher, it always takes a project cycle to get the communication pathways down," suggesting a somewhat hands-off approach from Capcom. While this may not necessarily mean that any Resident Evil product developed without that personal Capcom touch will have similar issues, but it could be a reason for concern.