How 'Resident Evil 3' Remake Updated Its Iconic Villain for Modern Audiences
If Resident Evil 3 stands out from other entries in Capcom's best-selling survival horror franchise, it's for one hulking, intimidating reason: its main villain.
Nemesis, a humanoid bio-weapon created by the nefarious Umbrella Corporation, relentlessly stalks Jill Valentine, the game's main playable character, through the dimly lit streets of a city overrun with zombies due to a quick-spreading virus. To ensure the villain maintained his ominous prowess from the 1999 original, the team at Capcom knew they needed to dial in on what makes Nemesis such an iconic baddie in the new remake.
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"Nemesis is one of Resident Evil’s most formidable adversaries, and we wanted players to be on the edge of their seats when confronting, or running away, from him," Capcom producer Peter Fabiano tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Just as it did in 1999, the 2020 remake of Resident Evil 3 follows in the footsteps of another classic villain, the trenchcoat-wearing behemoth Mr. X, who hunts down players in both the 1998 and 2019 versions of Resident Evil 2. Mr. X is slower, more methodical and more quietly menacing. The differences between the two nightmares highlights the contrasting approach the developers took to the two games.
"Even with the originals, you see more action elements being added in the move from Resident Evil 2 to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis," Fabiano says. While RE3 ratchets up the adrenaline, RE2 relies on suspense to keep players on edge. "The 1999 version included a dodge mechanic and environmental objects that you could use to attack."
Nemesis doesn't just stalk you like Mr. X, he gets to you, often cutting you off from your necessary path. You can't escape him by running for your life, instead you'll need to use the dodge command to sneak past him to complete your goal of escaping the city.
"Timing is important and, when executed perfectly, players will find these moves to be advantageous," Fabiano says. "For more than just avoiding enemies."
Like its predecessor, Resident Evil 3 also employs a number of puzzles, forcing players to think, not just run, to survive, but its approach is somewhat different than Resident Evil 2. In many segments, you'll need to find a lock pick to open lockers and cases with ammo and other goods. The challenge in Resident Evil 2 is more subtle, as the puzzles aren't as straightforward as the ones in its successor and the way forward isn't always clear. In RE3, you won't need to find a combination to open a safe in order to keep the action moving.
"If you remember from the original Resident Evil, Jill is the 'master of unlocking' so it only made sense to show that off," Fabiano says. "It also worked like a streamlined key in order to get you through previously locked areas."
Resident Evil 3 is far more linear, meaning the player doesn't get a lot of freedom while they follow Valentine's blood-soaked journey into the depths of the Umbrella Corporation. It's a limited experience, but one that lets the developers control the horror. The main roadblock will be encountering Nemesis's giant whip, rocket launcher, and other weapons that are far deadlier.
"We want players to feel what Jill feels when she’s faced with this seemingly unstoppable bioweapon, balanced with the same belief that she can defeat him," says Fabiano.
Despite their differences, both RE2 and RE3 share key similarities in their moment-to-moment gameplay. Whether it be the creep of suspense or the jolt of adrenaline, you'll still be looking over your shoulder constantly no matter which game you're playing. Resident Evil 3 may be faster, but the horror built up in its predecessor is only broadened throughout the short campaign.
"At its core, Resident Evil 3 is still survival horror," Fabiano says. "We were careful to balance the game and ensure that it never felt like playing a hard-core shooter."
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