The cat’s out of the bag – a Resident Evil 4 remake is coming, and yet, Capcom’s efforts at remaking their venerable Resident Evil games can be best described as a mixed bag.
There is no denying that the RE Engine makes every remake look incredible and that each game is a technical marvel, but it is hard to ignore the scenarios being dumbed down and simplified.
Resident Evil 3, the remake of the 1999 classic, had noticeable cuts that went too far when compared to the remake of the second game. Whole areas getting cut or shrunken, puzzles removed and a few bosses getting axed has gotten many players worried that the Resident Evil 4 remake might face heavy edits, especially since it is one of the bigger and longer entries in the franchise.
Assuming that the Resident Evil 4 remake in 2023 manages to not lose anything, I began wondering how the core of Resident Evil 4 can be expanded upon. The original game is massive and infinitely enjoyable.
I myself must have completed almost every version multiple times. After so many replays, I have thought of a few additions that would enhance the Resident Evil 4 Remake and would make it less of a replacement to an already perfect game.
Resident Evil 3.5 Build Content
This is the big one. Resident Evil 4 had a wild development cycle that resulted in many alternate versions where one became the original Devil May Cry.
Among these various prototypes was a build of Resident Evil 4 (dubbed Resident Evil 3.5), where Leon gets infected and gets a monstrous arm. There are remnants of this in the final version, where players can use this arm as Krauser in the Mercenaries Mode.
Leon gets infected during the course of almost every build of Resident Evil 4. Even the final version has him getting a Las Plagas injection, but if you skip every cutscene, you’d never know it.
For whatever reason, this plot point never gets fully realized in the release version everyone got and it would make the remake very compelling if it re-explores this concept and expand upon it.
Being able to use that monster hand seems so irresistible and in the remake, it would distinguish itself from any other Resident Evil remake by virtue of allowing players to have some of the badguy’s qualities.
The thought of going toe-to-toe with Krauser and having both of them dueling with their monster arms would make this remake so unique and would be a welcome surprise.
The protagonist getting infected would be a concept further explored and recycled in Resident Evil VII and VIII. Ethan’s infection would not manifest as a cool monster claw, but rather be tied to mysteries in the plot and hallucinations that occur in his games.
These hallucinations were originally something that would happen to Leon in the 3.5 build of Resident Evil 4. Like in VIII, Leon would see dolls come to life and try to kill him and also a ghastly man with chains and a hook would stalk him.
The current trend for Resident Evil games is to include a stalker of some kind and who better to stalk Leon than the hook-man from the version fans can only dream about?
Repurposing the hook-man concept as some kind of persistent pursuer like Mr. X, Alcina, or Nemesis seems like a natural idea. There is a lot of room to expand and flesh out these abandoned concepts for a Resident Evil 4 remake that can offer something other than “better graphics”, and among them could the airship from 3.5.
There were several areas from 3.5 that were scrapped, with the airship being the most enigmatic and mysterious. There is not a lot of information of how Leon would have explored it or how it fit in the scenario, but the scant screenshots of this setting have always had a place in the longing hearts of Resident Evil 4 fans.
Bringing the airship back into Resident Evil 4 has no downsides whatsoever, so long as the boys at Capcom don’t cut any existing location. One of the best things about the first Resident Evil remake was that it didn’t delete content and anything that got cut was replaced with something better.
The airship would be a wonderful curveball to throw at players who think they know Resident Evil 4. It would be like the time players who thought they knew the original Resident Evil when they met Lisa Trevor for the first time. The shock of something new instantly puts the player in a state of unease.
Expanded Fishing Side Content
One of the joys in Resident Evil 4 was its unbelievable attention to detail and how it pushed the Gamecube to its absolute limit.
There were tons of little extras packed into the game like the shooting range side-game, collecting eggs from chickens, and treasure hunting or medallion shooting in the farm. None of these come close to the joy of fishing.
Resident Evil 4 let Leon get in touch with his inner redneck and hop in a tiny boat and go spear fishing in a lake. Patient and diligent players could catch two kinds of bass in this body of water and could sell them for some money to eat them for a sizable health recovery.
This was an amusing but fleeting bit of meta-game to Resident Evil 4 that could benefit a bit of expansion. A great man once said, “Any game that has a fishing mini-game can’t be all bad” and to prevent Resident Evil 4‘s remake from falling into the trap, it really needs a more involving fishing side-game.
If Leon could use more than just spears and actually have a fishing rod with various kinds of tackle, lures, sinkers and bait, then the Resident Evil 4 remake just might become the greatest remake of all time.
There could even be a puzzle tied to the fishing mechanics where the player must fish at least once in a play through in order to progress. Adding more than one body of water to fish in would also be appreciated.
There were a few caves in the original game that could become fishing holes with all kinds of different species – or even better: some fish could be infected and there could be an entire extra layer added to the fish where some may attack or mutate. The possibilities are endless.
Multi-player Mercenaries Mode with Extras
Supplemental arcade action modes for the post-game unlockables is a Resident Evil staple ever since the Battle Modes from Resident Evil 2 (1998). Recent iterations have taken the form of the grind-heavy Raid Modes from the two Revelations titles and the online asymmetrical multiplayer mode in Resistance from Resident Evil 3 (2020).
It is very likely that the Resident Evil 4 remake will also have its own iteration of some kind of action mode with online functionality and the original Mercenaries Mode is prime for expansion. In the original game, there were only four levels: Water World, Island, Castle and Village.
It’s easy to expect the Resident Evil 4 remake should not only maintain these classics, but also include levels based on prior Resident Evil games.
A level based on Heisenberg’s factory from RE VIII and the Baker homes would keep in line with Capcom’s penchant for recycling assets from prior entries. On top of these, stages recycling assets used for the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes would only serve to make a better value to this mode.
Making stages from prior entries like the Spencer mansion or Queen Zenobia are all well and good, but a Resident Evil 4 Remake must also include more characters for this ultimate Mercenaries Mode. Make Luis Sera playable, dust off Marvin’s model, let Mia and Ethan get in on the brawl.
There should be tons of goofy extras and modes for this supreme edition of the Mercenaries. A big head mode or competitive fishing mode that takes the expanded aforementioned fishing mechanics would be welcomed additions that would make all other bonus modes from past games seem redundant.
Let Leon use the Gold and Platinum Swords
At one point in Resident Evil 4, Leon has to switch the places of two key-items to progress; a golden sword and a platinum sword. The remakes of these games have had many instances of remixing or reimagining many of the puzzles to make the game stand on its own from their originals.
Coming from this, these two keys could become so much more if the boys at Capcom let some of that Devil May Cry spirit flow through Resident Evil 4 once again.
Instead of merely using these swords as keys, Leon could dual wield them to hack and slash some Ganados. It would be in line with the original’s absurd moments; like how Ramon has a massive automaton that chases Leon or the Temple of Doom-style mine cart chase.
On top of having a bit of fun with these swords, Leon should also have his knife abilities expanded so that they match his prowess in cutscenes. Leon displays almost superhuman skill with his knife; throwing it into Ramon’s hand with flawless accuracy, and had a wider range of combative maneuvers during the infamous QTE battle with Krauser.
The suggestion of using the swords and knives in this manner is partly a joke. The point is that a Resident Evil 4 remake should strive to be more than its predecessor. The original is still a beloved and widely played game today.
The game does not need to be “modernized” because Resident Evil 4 is already a very modern game. It effectively set the standard that all third-person action games follow to this day and even then – most pale in comparison.
One of the most charming aspects of Resident Evil 4 is that it swung between being scary/intense and being hilarious/ridiculous. Hopefully the remake will maintain this ethos while not cutting content and will expand upon the best qualities of what made the original such a masterpiece.
The Resident Evil 4 remake is launching on March 24th, 2023 for Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5. The game will also support PlayStation VR2.
This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.