'Resident Evil 4' Rumors Have Us Asking What Makes a Remake a Remake

There are reports of Capcom having a Resident Evil 4 remake in the works, so of course we sat down once again to discuss some of the ways the terms we use can set different expectations for a finished product. How much do you expect out of an "updated" game? Does a "remake" have to cross a certain amount of changes to be accepted as a remake? Does a video game "remaster" stray too far from the music and film lineage of that term? We consider these questions, catch up on the lastest in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and answer more listener questions on this week's Waypoint Radio. You can read an excerpt or listen to the full episode below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/g5x749/resident-evil-4-rumors-what-makes-a-remake-remaster-waypoint-radio

That mailbag message from the anonymous grocery worker was harsh but also… entirely voiced my feelings on what it’s like right now. I’m an Essential Retail Worker, night manager, and guys, it’s hell. It’s fucking terrifying. We’re to the point in the pandemic where people are getting fucking mean. The novelty has worn off, the shelves are still empty, and customers are becoming assholes to us.

I make 10.25$ an hour and man, I’m also super fucking sick of the dehumanization of “our heroes.” I guarantee you that every single one of us want to be able to quarantine, to have the option, to get that paid leave, to stay home.

I don’t want your thanks, I want your outrage. I’m thrilled (and reassured) that the words “coercive extraction of labor” were said on this podcast. Thank you. I should say that I literally use this Five Star Podcast to make the time go faster because even in a crowded store, there is a weird isolation to my work these days, and having familiar voices in my ears helps.


As someone who is playing Resi 4 right now: This game sure isn’t living up to it’s reputation. I reckon if it got the exact same treatment Resi 2 and 3 got then it would end up really jarring as a follow up to those. Unless they’re really committed to just making a hyper-realistic looking version of this kinda naff shooter and it’s knock-off metal gear plot, complete with newly recorded porno dialogue, it’s probably gonna have bigger changes compared to the last 2.

Like, one of the best things about both the resi 2 remake and resi 7(not played r3make yet) is the incredible detail in the environments, the way places feel like they were deisgned as places first before being turned into videogame levels. Resi 4 is mostly rooms that couldn’t possibly be anything other than a shooting sequence or a platform puzzle. There’s nothing to work with. So I guess if anything the way they handle this one will make it very clear what the underlying philosophy for these remakes is.

Honestly, I couldnt disagree more with thinking RE 4 doesn’t live up to it’s reputation. I played through the whole game for the first time last December and fucking loved all of the 19 odd hours I spent playing it, especially after trying to play it on and off for years before it finally clicked with me after playing RE2 Remake. Imagining what a Remake of it might look like hurts my brain a lot more than 2 or 3 because the 3rd person shooting in 4 holds up in 2020 so much better than fixed camera tank controls. Like it’s really hard for me to imagine what that game is if you add the ability to move and shoot at the same time because the perspective isn’t changing and the fundamentals are likely going to remain the same, making the changes all the more glaring, whereas with RE2 and 3’s Remakes the changes to the gameplay left a gulf so wide between them and the originals that comparing them is almost irrelevant.

Yeah the story and dialogue is completely ridiculous and terrible but, honestly, playing through RE3 Remake? It’s not any better there in 2020 than RE4’s dialogue is, generally. Resident Evil has always been camp nonsense so I don’t see what they’re going to do other than making it look and sound more modern and expensive.

There will probably be an option to use the old style tank controls, that seems like an easy crowd pleaser. But I don’t think the tank controls are inseperable from 4 since it isn’t a horror game. The vague advantages of tank controls as a way of building tension and making the player less capable don’t really apply when the third person aiming makes you entirely capable and there isn’t any tension to build. I’m way more interested in the potental level design changes, since the remakes so far have taken pride in expanding on the details of the old locations, which is one thing to do when you’re working with the detailed pre-rendered background of the police department entrance hall, and another thing when you’re given 7 different square rooms with holes in the floor that exist only as combat arenas. Like, do you try to come up with a fiction for the room so you can add detail without changing the layout, or just start over?

The story was definitely the more enjoyable part of what I played, but it’s a very different kind of camp and silly compared to, say, End of Zoe, the resi 7 dlc. Again, I’m interested to see what the underlying philosophy behind the remakes is, because I can easily see them changing the tone to better match what they’ve done with the other remakes and recent releases.