While you certainly face mini-hordes from time to time, Resident Evil Village isn’t a game that just throws enemies at you willy-nilly. But that wasn’t always the case. Capcom’s latest behind-the-scenes video shows that some early builds apparently included an overwhelming number of foes, which is said to have caused some friction between the core development team and quality assurance.
“I remember having a really strong negative reaction,” Capcom quality assurance manager Shutaro Kobayashi said in the video, regarding his first serious assessment of Resident Evil Village. “The game’s content was completely divorced from what the development team thought they had made.”
Early feedback from playtesters highlighted the large groups of enemies and their overall aggressiveness as key low points. This, combined with a lack of ammo, made for combat that testers described as “uninteresting,” “frustrating,” “boring,” and “incredibly tiring to play.” Returning to the Capcom offices after a month away due to the breakout of the covid-19 pandemic, the developers knew they had their work cut out for them.
“The players shouldn’t mindlessly react to the game, but engage the game and even second guess themselves, then finally overcome their fears of the obstacles in front of them,” Resident Evil Village director Morimasa Sato said, explaining the core guidelines his team adopted. “We struggled a lot trying to tackle these concepts.”
From the start, folks at Capcom boiled down their original concept for Resident Evil Village into one phrase: “A struggle to survive.” But after receiving the negative feedback from playtesters and quality assurance, they eventually adopted a second creed: “Give them space.” This is reflected in the final game, where the beast-like lycans are few but often launch surprise attacks from rooftops and take awkward angles of approach to disorient you.
“Rather than make the players panic by just throwing aggressive monsters at them, we make them paranoid about if and how they’re going to be attacked, and worry about where the next enemy will be,” Sato added. “Then, when an enemy appears, it’s relentless. We consciously focused on improving the pacing. I think that’s when it started to click.”
The developers say these changes had to be made in a short timeframe, which raised some negative emotions about the feedback they received from playtesting. But, in the end, they all consider Resident Evil Village a better game for it. Everyone at a studio has a job to do, and if not for the quality assurance team’s insistence that Village wasn’t hitting its mark, we may have gotten a very different game.