In addition to releasing a new Resident Evil game every couple of years, Capcom seems intent on selling the older entries in the series over and over again. Last winter, Capcom released Resident Evil HD Remaster, a remake of a remake, which introduced updated controls and high definition graphics to the survival horror classic. Other Resident Evil titles that Capcom has refurbished include Resident Evil Zero and Resident Evil Code: Veronica.
However, for some reason, Capcom hasn't done anything with one of the most popular entries in the franchise, Resident Evil 2. When Resident Evil's first sequel hit in 1998, critics and fans alike praised Resident Evil 2's cinematic storytelling, its moody (and occasionally terrifying) setting, and the game's innovative branching narrative, in which a playthrough with one character directly affected the other's storyline. Resident Evil 2 was one of the PlayStation era's defining titles, and frankly, it's shocking that Capcom hasn't given the game the remaster treatment.
Thankfully, a group of fans have stepped up. Resident Evil 2: Reborn, from Italian developer Invader Games, is a completely unauthorized remake built on the Unreal 4 engine. The game, which should be available later this summer, adds updated graphics, lighting effects, and revamped gameplay to the 17-year-old classic.
As shown in Invader Games' two gameplay videos, Resident Evil 2's original, pre-determined (and movie-like) camera angles are gone, and the action now unfolds from the over-the-shoulder perspective popularized by Resident Evil 4. That should make the controls a lot smoother, but could undercut some of the game's biggest scares; Resident Evil 2's static camera made it impossible to peak around corners, and a lot of the game's tension came from not being able to see what was coming up next.
So far, Capcom hasn't said anything about Resident Evil 2: Reborn - it's not clear that the company even knows about the project. Invader Games claims that Resident Evil 2: Reborn is a not-for-profit project, and the game will be free when it's ready to download. Still, Capcom could shut the game down at any minute; that would be disappointing, but totally within the company's rights.
Resident Evil 2: Reborn is actually the second fan-made Resident Evil 2 remake that's surfaced this year. Videos of a similar project made by a programmer named Rod Lima hit the Internet last spring, recreating select scenes from Resident Evil 2 with assets from the Wii game, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. Unlike Resident Evil 2: Reborn, Lima's remake won't be made public. The developer claims he was only experimenting, and has no plans to make a full-on remaster.