The Enduring Legacy Of Resident Evil 1.5
While the sweeping changes made to Resident Evil 1.5 were undoubtedly for the best, the legend of the game only grew. Unlike other titles that undergo changes during development Resident Evil 1.5 was highly visible, with many screenshots made available to games magazine of the era. Over time, more stills and gameplay footage would make its way online, causing fan sites to crop up around the prototype. The idea of a near complete Resident Evil game they’d likely never get to play became an irresistible talking point.
That only evolved when an early build of Resident Evil 1.5 was leaked online in 2013, leading to fan modders making their own versions of the game. Having the game reappear – albeit in very rough shape – after 15 years was a dream come true to many aficionados. It provided a fascinating alternate take on Resident Evil 2, with familiar locations and characters presented in a new context. While the various builds out there have been impressively stitched together by fans, they’re still far from complete and numerous bugs can spoil the experience.
Why Resident Evil 1.5 Should Be Made Available As DLC
Needless to say, neither Capcom nor the game’s creators had anything to do with these mods. Hideki Kayima flat out hates Resident Evil 1.5, finding it a complete failure, and isn’t really impressed by fan efforts to rebuild it. Mikami has been quoted as finding it ‘boring.’ In spite of their feelings, the game has retained its near-mystical status, and is comparable to something like the Justice League "Snyder Cut." The Resident Evil 2 remake has impressed even the most skeptical fans of the original title by remaining faithful, but at the same time reinventing familiar elements and characters and it's been selling super well.
It appears even Capcom can’t ignore the persistent legend of Resident Evil 1.5 with the remake containing various nods, like a bonus costume for Claire being Elza Walker’s outfit. It’s a ghost that continues to hover around it, and while some fans mourned the loss of fixed camera angles in the remake, Capcom has a traditional, almost complete Resident Evil game sitting in a drawer somewhere. Taking into account the game only reached an estimated 70% completion before being canned and would need a lot of additional work to make it releasable, it could be done. That said, it would be a case of Capcom locating the game's most complete build, assessing what needs to be fixed and added and if its worth the extra expense of designing and completing for the modern style of RE2.
Resident Evil 1.5 would make for perfect post-launch DLC, providing fans with a game they never thought they’d get to experience. The game was redesigned for valid reasons over 20 years, and its faults will only be amplified with time, but so long as players accept its release is meant as a fun novelty, it would certainly be embraced. Is that ever likely to happen? Realistically, probably not. Capcom has never given any indication they’d be willing to return to it, and its unlikely Mikami or Kayima would support the move. Still, it’s hard not to think such a step wouldn’t be an oddly perfect way to cap off the journey of the remake and nods to that era.