The Making Of Resident Evil Revelations was an article published by Official Nintendo Magazine in January 2013, featuring an interview with the game's director, Kōshi Nakanishi. The article has since been deleted from their website, but can be found archived here.

Transcript Edit

Fans have been clamouring for a 'proper' Resident Evil game for years. They want one that goes back to the series' roots and focuses on slow-burning tension and atmosphere, rather than the frenetic action and explosion-heavy gunfights that litter Resident Evils 5 and 6. Resident Evil Revelations is that game.

Set initially on a ship filled with brine-encrusted mutants, it brings back those long-lost feelings of isolation and dread that left the main series after the fourth game. It's so impressive that many (including us) feel that it's actually better than the recent HD console offerings.

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"We never had the attitude that it was 'just a handheld game' compared to the console entries in the series," explains the game's director, Koshi Nakanishi, "so we didn't hold back in terms of volume and depth of content."

Nakanishi also held a similar belief that the mood of the Resident Evil series needed to return to the way it was back in the Raccoon City days. "Fear is the root and the core of the Resident Evil series," he tells us. "Speaking as a player, the original Resident Evil was the first title in which I saw the potential for games to be frightening. When we were first experimenting with the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS, we were very excited, as we saw the chance to produce a tense, scary experience with a realistic atmosphere that could make players feel like there could be something lurking around every corner."

One way the game achieves this is by restricting the player's view, rather than giving them the free will to check their surroundings, as has been the case in more recent offerings. The ship setting was key to this, with its narrow corridors making it impossible to see what horrors lay in store nearby.

"As you might imagine, we used the ship setting in order to create a constricted, scary environment," says Nakanishi. "Not only is the ship filled with narrow spaces, but it also really makes you feel helpless, as you are floating on the ocean with no means of escape. This seemed to us like the perfect setting for a survival horror game."

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Graphic Gore

One of the greatest triumphs in Resident Evil: Revelations is the incredible graphical detail, with many declaring it the best-looking game on 3DS by far. This was no easy task, with Nakanishi and his team deciding to try to port the engine from the HD games over to the 3DS, rather than create one from scratch and risk losing that trademark Resident Evil feel.

"Most of the hard work was in porting and downsizing our custom MT Framework engine, which is designed for HD consoles, to work on the Nintendo 3DS," confirms Nakanishi. "It was thanks to the tremendous efforts of our technical team that we were to able get console-quality graphics from portable hardware." Pats on the back all round.

When asked why Revelations looks so incredible compared to other 3DS games, Nakanishi puts it down to a strong team effort. "Graphical quality is one of the most important things in a Resident Evil game, and was a primary focus from the beginning of development," he says.

"I think we were so successful with the graphical aspect of this game because the team was always very aware of the fact that we were developing on different hardware than usual," he says. "Everyone made a lot of effort to optimise the game for the platform, from the technical aspects of porting MT Framework to the design of environments and enemies."

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Some clever tricks were also used to keep the game looking shiny and impressive while at the same time lightening the load on the 3DS's humble technical innards. "The design of the Ooze allows them to be impressive on Nintendo 3DS without the need for HD textures or computationally complex skeletal physics," explains Nakanishi.

"The Genesis scanning device enhances the exploration aspect of the game while also reducing the on-screen display complexity and therefore incurring no performance cost."

Of course, as with every game, not everything that was planned and designed made it into the final product. As a result, there were plenty of ideas that Nakanishi and his team intended to include in the game, but ultimately had to abandon due to some inevitable time and budget restrictions.

"We had a ton of great ideas and some, like the Genesis scanner, were used in the game, but quite a lot of them went unused," he tells us. "One such idea was a special weapon designed to be used underwater. This weapon would have been received from Chris at the end of Episode 8, but unfortunately the storyline changed during development and we had to cut it.

"Speaking of the storyline, we also made changes to the final scene of the game. In Episode 1, if you look out at the ocean you can see some land in the distance. This was originally going to be the setting of the finale."Jill would have found something from her past there, but now you have the ending we see in the finished game, which I won't spoil here, in case anyone reading this has yet to play the game."

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The Sound Of Violence

The episodic structure is one that gives Revelations a different pace from its console brethren and Nakanishi explains that it was common sense. "The game needed to be suitable for playing on portable hardware, with short chapters, and also had to feature a variety of gameplay styles. All of this combined to give us the idea of structuring the storyline and gameplay like a TV series, which in turn informed how we created the plot and characters. "Some of the characters in Revelations were rather different in personality than the kind we would usually include in the main numbered series. It was fun to create them, but in the end fan opinion on those characters was rather divided.

"The music was also designed a little differently from the main series, with emphasis on having an arresting main theme, just like a TV drama would have."

The music is not the only treat for the ears in Revelations - the creatures themselves emit the sort of bone-chilling sounds that can have you terrified before you've even seen anything. "Sound is, of course, a very important part of any horror game," Nakanishi confirms.

"One of our goals was for players to be able to tell which enemies were coming for them from their sound alone, which meant incorporating audio design from the very first stages of enemy concept design. Examples include the Ghiozzo's teeth and the Draghignazzo's barnacles."

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Ultimately, Revelations has been a success on the Nintendo 3DS, with the majority of players praising its incredible technical accomplishments and punchy, compelling gameplay. When asked about a sequel, though, Nakanishi remains cruelly tight-lipped, telling us that he doesn't "have any comments on our plans for sequels right now."

Since this interview, Resident Evil Revelations has been confirmed for Wii U and when asked about the Nintendo's new console, Nakashini was enthusiastic. "The Wii U certainly looks like it will enable creators to come up with all kinds of never-before-seen gameplay ideas. There are lots of things I'd like to try out on it.

"If I was to work on a game for the Wii U, I would definitely want to make something that couldn't be done on any other hardware. The GamePad's separate screen enables so many possibilities, and playing on a television screen would enable sharing the experience with others in a way that wasn't possible on the Nintendo 3DS. I feel it would let us create a very unique and fun Resident Evil game." We'll keep our fingers crossed...

Resident Evil Revelations concept art shows the depth of the planning process

Character Design
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Each character and their outfits were meticulously designed,with every detail explained in notes for the artist tasked with creating the polygonal models. Yes, some sick mind chose to kit Jessica in tights for her snow quest.

Equipment Design
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Each of the game's locations was also illustrated in excruciating detail, to help set the tone and give the designers an idea of the intended mood in each environment. This grand lobby is one of the best Resi settings in years.

Environment Design
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 Each of the game's locations was also illustrated in excruciating detail, to help set the tone and give the designers an idea of the intended mood in each environment. This grand lobby is one of the best Resi settings in years.

Monster Design
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Naturally, a Resident Evil game is nothing without hideous creatures, so each monster was given as much pre-planning attention as the game's main human characters.