Exclusive interview with Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Producer of RE4)
reH: When you were working on your first Biohazard game, did you have any idea that it would spawn this huge series featuring dozens of characters and a very elaborate storyline?
Kobayashi-san: When you develop a brand new game you always hope that it will successful enough to allow you to develop further titles and create a franchise. Sure, we had ideas about future storylines, but had to see how Resident Evil was accepted before we could implement them. Looking back we are extremely happy with how the series has progressed – at the beginning we never imagined there would be Resident Evil novels, comics, fan sites, a full range of merchandise and even a couple of films. But we will also never forget that none of this would have been possible without such a great following of loyal fans.
reH: What feature do you feel is the greatest success of the Biohazard series?
Kobayashi-san: It is the fact that the quality came out outstanding, as a result of each team staff’s passion and attention to the details. One example is the overriding sense of fear of the unknown; you are never sure what is through the next door or round the next corner – will it be a zombie, or a safe area where you can pause and let your heartbeat return to normal.
reH: What do you feel is the series’ greatest mistake?
Kobayashi-san: I would say that we took too long to develop the game, I am sure gamers would have wanted us to release the products earlier!
reH: Are you personally a fan of the series? i.e. do you play Biohazard games in your spare time? Do you have a favourite game?
Kobayashi-san: Yes I am a RE fan myself! I am really happy to be involved in this series. I play RE only for work recently. I also love playing the MGS series.
reH: Who’s your favourite character and why?
Kobayashi-san: Chris is my favourite character. I have a special fondness for him since he was the main character in the original RE game and also he is the character that I have played the most.
reH: If there was anything you could go back and change in the Biohazard series, a part of the story, a character, a setting, gameplay feature or even an entire game, what would it be?
Kobayashi-san: I would probably make some arrangements for stories and settings. I would like to unify the details that are a bit inconsistent in each title.
reH: Despite doing fairly well, Biohazard 4’s sales did not really reflect those of a game that averaged 9.8 out of 10. Why do you think that is?
Kobayashi-san: It may not be a super mega hit, but currently, I believe we have sold more than 700,000 copies in America, nearly 300,000 copies in Europe and more than 200,000 copies in Japan.
reH: When making Biohazard 4, there were several attempts at making a game that had the same type of atmosphere as the previous Biohazard games, but they were all scrapped. Why do you feel they were unsuccessful?
Kobayashi-san: I think they would have been successful to a certain level. However, as we needed a revolutionary success for RE4, they were scrapped.
reH: Did it get frustrating having to restart development for Biohazard 4 several times? Were you able to reuse content from its past versions?
Kobayashi-san: I would be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating, but when the team looks at the final version we know we were correct in our decision to make the changes. And yes, we were certainly able to use the technology we had worked on.
reH: We’ve heard a lot about the “fog version” of Biohazard 4 that was scrapped but there was another version that very little was revealed about at all. How did this version attempt to ‘revolutionise’ Biohazard’s gameplay?
Kobayashi-san: A version after “Fog” is known as the version with “Hooked Man”, which was also introduced at E3. The next was a version with “Zombie”, which we haven’t released to the public.
reH: During development did you ever have any doubts over the new style of gameplay used in Biohazard 4?
Kobayashi-san: I guess there was a small element of doubt, but we knew that if the series was to continue it needed to change so we stuck to our principles and are extremely pleased with the outcome.
reH: Given the number of survival horror games out there, is it becoming more difficult to think up ideas/designs/settings that haven’t already been done?
Kobayashi-san: When you are thinking about new designs and settings you are only limited by your imagination.
reH: What was your personal opinion of the Resident Evil movies? What about them did you particularly enjoy/dislike?
Kobayashi-san: Since the movie Resident Evil was created by people who were RE fans and based on their own studies and interpretations, some of the things in the movie are slightly different from our, the game creators’, perspective. However, I think it was very entertaining as a movie.
reH: Is there anything you want to share with the fanbase, a comment/advice/anecdote/correction/criticism?
Kobayashi-san: I believe RE4 is the masterpiece of all the series. Moreover, of all the other titles that were released, I have confidence that it is considered as the number 1 title of these years. For those people who still have not played, should try just for the heck of it.
I really think that this title is enjoyable and is worth a try.
Name: Hiroyuki Kobayashi
Birth-date: August 12, 1972
Wheels: Honda Accord Wagon (sport type).
What you know him for
He recently produced Resident Evil 4(GC) and his other projects include: Resident Evil (GC); Devil May Cry (PS2); Dino Crisis 3 (Xbox) and Dino Crisis 2 (PS).
How did he get involved in the game industry?
He has liked games ever since he was little. He wanted to make 3-D CG Movies.
As a programmer for the original Resident Evil
Where does he get his game creation ideas?
From movies, comic books, and other forms of entertainment. He also gets ideas from daily activities.
Metal Gear Solid (PS)
What is the most difficult part of being a producer?
Creating a high quality game that many people will like.
What is his proudest moment(s) at Capcom?
Working with talented game creators while producing high-quality games.
Longest time spent at the office:
About three days.
Watching movies, and going out.
Back to the Future, Terminator 2, Charlie’s Angels, and Austin Power’s 2 and Kill Bill.
This interview is © 2000-2005+ by Resident Evil Horror. Resident Evil Horror is © by DaMa. All rights reserved. Info for other webmasters: Don’t use this interview on your site without asking for my permission.