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Resident Evil fixed camera was apparently not due to technical limitations

Published: 13:53, 20 January 2020
Capcom
Resident Evil remaster
Resident Evil remaster

Capcom's Resident Evil kicked off a craze for survival horrors in the later part of the '90s and one of the key elements to that success was the wonky fixed camera. While many just wrote it off as a result of technical limitations, Shinji Mikami said otherwise.

Resident Evil is the game that gave many '90s kids nightmares, fear of the dark and a proper buffet of different phobias. The shuffling and moaning zombies certainly played a significant part in fear and anxiety building but as you may know from the modern games, that is not always enough because they tend to be slow and shooting them in the head rather easy.

Shinji Mikami, lead game developer at the time, revealed that while creature design was creepy on its own, the choice to use fixed camera that switches the point of view from scene to scene was also an integral part of building the dread. 

Furthermore, the team originally considered 3D environments akin to those found in Doom at the time but gave up on the idea because players wouldn't be able to see their character and relate in that way. 

While one might consider this a PR way to avoid admitting to being technically restricted, Resident Evil instalments in the years to come proved Mikami's sentiment was on point.

Some of the least scary instalments had some spry characters and zombies, such as the infamous Operation Raccoon City. When Capcom and Resident Evil finally got their essence back together, it was indeed in 3D space but the clunky controls in combination with PoV and claustrophobic spaces had to be reinstated in order to make the creepy shamblies feel frightening again.

Capcom Resident Evil 3: Nemesis The fixed camera was employed in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis as well

Since Resident Evil 2 Remake and the upcoming Resident Evil 3 Remake are not big on mutant dogs, one has to lament the scene from the original game where they burst through the windows. The same scene that was spoiled in the magazine issue that reported Mikami's view on the camera choice.

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