It appears the forthcoming remake of horror classic Resident Evil 2 won't draw much inspiration from Resident Evil 1.5 - an abandoned, early version of the game. While Capcom expected the original Resident Evil to perform well, the title's huge success came as a shock. Naturally, work quickly began on a sequel. The first version of the game followed two survivors - Leon Kennedy and Elza Walker - as they try to escape the zombie-infested Raccoon City with the add of other survivors.
This version - since dubbed Resident Evil 1.5 - differed in many ways from the released game. It featured a completely different design for the police station, included unique monsters like infected monkeys and spider/men hybrids and players had more firepower like grenades and assault rifles. Resident Evil 1.5 reached around 60 percent completion when the producer decided it was too dull; he ordered it scrapped, and restarted development while retaining a handful of elements, like Leon and some other gameplay elements. Despite the messy development, Resident Evil 2 arrived to great acclaim and is considered one of the best entries of the series.
While Resident Evil 1.5 was abandoned, the game has since attracted a cult fanbase and has become a fascinating curio for followers of the franchise. Those same fans hoped the Resident Evil 2 remake would incorporate some of the scrapped elements of 1.5, but according to a new interview with producer Tsuyoshi Kanda by VG247, the development team didn't draw much inspiration from it:
The simple answer is no - we really wanted to pay respect to the game that actually saw the light of day. I think it would definitely have been an interesting element - to incorporate the things that you saw in RE 1.5. It would’ve been interesting for fans to see that. At the end of the day, though, we wanted to pay tribute to the game that most players actually came into contact with and try out. Having said that, we did take the Elza costume and made that kind of as an easter egg present to the fans DLC. So that was something where we kind of said ‘alright, let’s take this’. So, please buy the digital deluxe version!
The fanbase for Resident Evil 1.5 has been fuelled over the years by various screenshots, video footage and interviews, and some fans have even created playable mods for the unreleased title online. The addition of scrapped character Elza Walker for the Deluxe Edition fuelled speculation of more overt Easter eggs within the Resident Evil 2 remake, but it seems that outside of a couple of respectful nods, there won't be much inspiration in the new version.
An HD remake of Resident Evil 2 was one of the most requested titles by fans over the years, and after being announced in 2015, development on the title went quiet. Footage from the game just debuted at E3 2018 to mostly positive reactions, and it appears to be a faithful recreation of the 1998 original, but with some new twists to keep players on their toes. Some fans were disappointed by the lack of fixed camera angles like the original Resident Evil 2, but while the developers are said to have experimented with that style, they ultimately settled on an over the shoulder perspective instead.
Resident Evil 2 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on January 25, 2019.