Not to be outdone by its more respected siblings, the handheld Resident Evil Gaiden is being remade by a group of independent developers.
Project Starlight, as the unofficial survival horror game is currently known, upgrades Resident Evil Gaiden (released on the Game Boy Color in 2001) by way of the Resident Evil 2 engine. Not only does this translate Gaiden’s pixel art to 3D polygons, but it also introduces more traditional gameplay elements where before concessions had to be made for Nintendo’s portable system. And from what we’ve seen so far, it does a good job mimicking that old-school, Resident Evil style.
Due to the drawbacks of its original platform—at least when compared to Sony’s PlayStation and Sega’s Dreamcast, both of which the Resident Evil franchise called home around that time—Resident Evil Gaiden made several changes to the series’ survival horror formula. Much of the game, for instance, is played from a top-down perspective, and scuffles with zombies play out in pseudo-rhythm-based, first-person encounters.
Capcom enlisted the help of now-defunct UK developers M4 to bring Resident Evil Gaiden to life under the supervision of series veterans like Shinji Mikami and Hiroki Kato, the latter of which was fresh off directing 2000’s Resident Evil Code: Veronica. The story, written by Kato, concerns franchise mainstays Leon Kennedy and Barry Burton investigating a zombie outbreak on a ship known as the Starlight, hence the remake project’s codename.
Although Resident Evil Gaiden is considered non-canon, with future games ignoring or outright negating aspects of its plot, some of Gaiden’s narrative beats were eventually repurposed for 2012’s Resident Evil: Revelations.
A previous attempt at remaking Resident Evil Gaiden by the same group behind Project Starlight fell through last year due to creative differences, but not before several 3D assets were produced. Here’s hoping this promising reboot, with its “coming eventually” release date, doesn’t meet the same fate.