PS5 Creators: How Resident Evil 4 harnesses PS5’s power

March 23, 2023
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Resident Evil 4, launching this Friday, March 24, is a remake of the acclaimed original. It preserves the essence of the 2005 survival horror while introducing modernized gameplay, a reimagined storyline, and vividly detailed graphics. 

We asked the game’s director Yasuhiro Ampo, sound director Hiroshi Tamura and art director Hirofumi Nakaoka how they leveraged PlayStation 5’s unique capabilities, including 3D audio, adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and stunning graphic fidelity to create the game on PS5.

PlayStation Blog: What were your first impressions when first learning about the power and capabilities of the PS5 from a developer perspective?

Yasuhiro Ampo (Director): The enhanced data reading speed allows the game to handle higher volumes of assets, while also generating richer graphics and reducing loading times. Immersive horror is one of the key elements for the Resident Evil series, so it’s extremely beneficial that players can remain uninterrupted during their gameplay even during scene transitions.

3D Audio creates realistic soundscapes in games and it’s an essential component that brings something new to evoke fear and horror. How did you leverage 3D audio in RE4 to conceive an even more terrifying audio experience?

Hiroshi Tamura (Sound Director): 3D audio was essential for shaping the audio for RE4. In moments of quiet tension, we dynamically 3D-layered sounds, such as the irregular cracking of wooden houses settling or other subtle noises over the bass produced by Ambisonics audio (a type of 3D audio format). In intense combat sequences, we made sure most sounds are outputted as object-based 3D audio, so that enemy or object noises can be heard behind the wall or the floor above. Our goal was to create an immersive experience by amplifying the suspense and building a three-dimensional soundscape. In addition, all the music in this game was produced and mixed in 7.1.4 channels.

Game controls in RE4 have also been refined and modernized. How did you leverage unique PS5 features such as adaptive triggers and haptic feedback in the game?

Yasuhiro Ampo (Director): We wanted players to share the sensation that the game’s main protagonist, Leon, was experiencing inside the game. For example, the DualSense controller will intricately vibrate and play sounds when Leon reloads a gun. The resistance of the adaptive trigger also changes depending on the weight of the gun.

Thanks to updated graphics, RE4 enhances the original game’s feeling of isolation and its haunting environments. How did PS5 help you achieve this?

Hirofumi Nakaoka (Art Director): While preserving the distinctiveness of each defining area – which is at the heart of the original Resident Evil 4 – we modernized each location to accommodate the PS5’s capabilities, so that players will feel the chilling isolation when exploring the secluded European village surrounded by a forest. We didn’t just want to make the environment darker to evoke fear, but we put an emphasis on shadows and silhouettes, rather than light, to capture the essence of horror. This requires a console that can output high-quality lighting. In addition to shadows, we also put a lot of work into capturing the dynamic nature of the environment, such as grass and trees moving with the wind or fog to depict stagnant air. These sorts of precise environmental details can only be unlocked with the power of the PS5.

What are some things you wanted to change, or did not want to change in this remake?

Yasuhiro Ampo (Director): I played the original Resident Evil 4 ahead of the remake’s development, and I felt that there was some room to freshen up the game’s controls, the story, and the characters, so they’re in-line with the level of current-gen games. So those are some aspects for which we made modern refinements. On the other hand, we only made small changes to the core gameplay elements of the original Resident Evil 4, such as aiming and shooting, resource management and weapon upgrades. These are still equally enjoyable today, so we just made slight refinements to expand on the gameplay while keeping the essence of the original game’s direction.

As a gamer, which PS5 feature makes you the most excited? Or what do you think makes the game experience more immersive?

Yasuhiro Ampo (Director): Personally, the DualSense controller. You can hear the radio coming through the controller’s speakers, you can feel the gun in your hands with the haptic feedback, and you can see how much health you have left because the controller lights up when you’re playing in the dark. They’re fun little features that add up to create a great gaming experience.

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