To coincide with the 20th anniversary of Resident Evil 2, the game's director Hideki Kamiya took to Twitter to reveal some cool tidbits about the game's turbulent development.
Resident Evil 2, which came out on 21st January 1998 for the PlayStation, wowed fans with its cinematic storytelling, multiple playable characters and cool graphics. According to Capcom, Resident Evil 2 has sold 4.96m copies. It was a massive hit.
But its development was not plain sailing. Kamiya, who was 25 when Capcom thrust him into the position of Resident Evil 2 game director, spoke about how he and his team scrapped a huge amount of work and, essentially, restarted development. This ditched game became Resident Evil 1.5, which fans have been working to restore ever since.
RE2 was the first game I got to direct, so it holds a special place in my memories. I was only 25 at the time and had very little experience, so I was so preoccupied with being a director I didn't really get to enjoy the job. (2/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
I also made many wrong decisions, and I'm sure you all know we even had to start from scratch at one point (the canned version later became known as Resident Evil 1.5). (3/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Fortunately, Mikami and the scenario writer Noboru Sugimura, as well as many other staff members, came to my rescue, so we were able to wrap up the project safely before unleashing it on the world. (4/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Sugimura was old enough to be my dad, and when he looked at RE 1.5 in the early stages of development, he was the one who advised me to start over, and he gave us all the courage to actually do so. (5/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
After that, he and I were pretty much cooped up in a meeting room for several weeks straight, yelling at each other from time to time (all the time?), and going out for drinks after work (and yelling some more) before finally wrapping up the script. (6/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
I had no sense or knowledge of script writing whatsoever, so I just used my youthful vigor to push through, and Sugimura was never afraid to come at me head-first, which was a huge help. (7/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
I learned a great many things from him, and I would go on to utilize his teachings when writing the scripts for DMC, Viewtiful Joe, and Okami as well. (8/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Unfortunately, Sugimura passed away just as I was working on Okami. To this day, I still wonder what he would've told me if he'd had a chance to play that game. (9/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Kamiya also discussed the English voice over recording for the game, including this juicy anecdote:
I have so many memories about RE2... It also marked the first time at Capcom for recording English VO overseas, so we were figuring stuff out as we went along. It was my first time going abroad for work. (10/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
I vividly remember on the first day we arrived at the studio in Canada, our interpreter suddenly said "I've got a stomachache so I'm going back to the hotel," so I basically had to direct the voice recording session with gestures and broken English... (11/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
During the session, I added Claire's line "Chris, I have to find you" without getting Sugimura's approval, and since he was already writing the story for Code: Veronica, he yelled at me because he had to change the script just because of that line. (12/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Then there's the revelation that Kamiya forced the game to come on two discs because he introduced the zapping system, which let you play each of the two playable characters in two different scenarios, thus showing events from the other character's perspective.
Because I was so young, I wasn't afraid to do anything, so I set some big goals for myself, recklessly introducing the "zapping system," which suddenly forced us to put the game on two discs instead of one in the final stage of development. (14/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Resident Evil 2 sounds like it was a particularly brutal development, with a crunch that forced Kamiya to drink and sleep in the office.
To escape from the stress of work, I started drinking brandy on the rocks every night, arriving at the office with a hangover the next day, and sleeping in an empty meeting room during lunch break. Ah, how young I was! (15/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Ultimately, Kamiya sounds proud of the work he and his team did on Resident Evil 2.
All of these memories are irreplaceable treasures to me. There is no greater honor for me than seeing how much all of you still love RE2 to this day. I'll keep working hard so I can bring you many more games of the same caliber! (16/16)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
In a Twitter encore, Kamiya remembered the day he was chosen to direct Resident Evil 2:
I remember the day I was chosen to be the director of RE2 very well. Not too long after development on RE1 finished, Mikami called me into a meeting room and asked me if I was interested in being the director for RE2. (1/6)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Why was Kamiya chosen to direct such a high profile release? He's not sure, but he does know this:
I still don't know why Mikami chose me of all people, but I do remember that, shortly after I entered the company, he invited me out for some drinks and told me this: (4/6)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
"You're the dark horse of the new recruits. You're either going to fail spectacularly, or you're going to be a huge success." (5/6)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
After that, I worked under Mikami for quite a while, and I must've caused him many a headache with my sassy attitude, but I'd like to think I met his expectations at least a little. (6/6)— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) January 24, 2018
Kamiya would go on to direct Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, Ōkami, and co-found Bayonetta maker Platinum, but Resident Evil 2 was where his illustrious career kicked off. Happy birthday!