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Research article by George Trevor with additional research by Welsh and Ridley

Comprehensive research article on the Resident Evil 4 beta builds, the Castle/Fog version and the Hallucination/Hookman experimental gameplay, featuring exclusive development & scenario data directly sourced from Resident Evil 4 scenario creator Yasuhisa Kawamura, in interview exclusively for Crimson Head Elder. Collectively known as 'biohazard 3.5', the beta build & gameplay experiment are researched to an unprecedented level, presented here with exclusive developer commentary & content.

More than any other title in the series that went before, and after it, biohazard 4 has had by far the most tortuous and protracted development history. By the start of 2005, when the completed retail version was eventually released, three previous attempted builds, and one game-play experiment had come and gone, all discarded before producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi could finally give his satisfied approval to a beta build worthy to develop into the finished article.

The first attempted build, commissioned to potentially carry the biohazard 4 title was initiated as far back as 1998 as a PlayStation 2 exclusive, and at the helm Resident Evil 2 director Hideki Kamiya. The first public acknowledgement of this was at the end of 1999, at Capcom Gamers Day, in Las Vegas, with Shinji Mikami confirming in his producer profile that a Resident Evil sequel was in the works for PlayStation 2.                               Resident Evil Series to Haunt PlayStation 2

In early 2000 regular series writer Noboru Sugimura developed a scenario formulated from Kamiya's concept to create "cool" & "stylish" game-play. His attempts to incorporate this mission statement into the established world of biohazard concluded with the creation of a completely new titled series for Capcom, Devil May Cry, which can trace its roots back to this period:

シナリオ考案が始まったのは1年半ほど前。当時は、タイトルがまだ「バイオ4」だったので、メインテーマの“カッコ良さ”をバイオの世界観に盛り込む方向で進めました。

"About a year & a half ago the scenario was written. At that time it (Devil May Cry) was still biohazard 4. I took the project forward with a focus on the main theme of 'coolness', incorporating this into the world of biohazard."  Translated by George Trevor  Hideki Kamiya's Devil May Cry Column, 'Scenario Story'

「デビル メイ クライ」は当初、プレイステーション2用バイオ最新作として開発がスタートしました。

"Devil May Cry was initially conceived as the latest biohazard development for PlayStation 2."  Translated by George Trevor   Hideki Kamiya's Devil May Cry Column, 'New Bio'

And in exclusive interview with PROJECT UMBRELLA, biohazard 3.5 scenario creator & planner, Yasuhisa Kawamura, of Battle Angel Alita fame (Japanese Manga series known as Gunnm - ??), whilst explaining his team's origins, confirms this first version's journey towards a finalised retail product:

"So, the decision was made to promote the Gaiden team into the new BIOHAZARD 3 team & the staff size was significantly increased to work towards a launch on the PS1. This allowed us to release a biohazard game on a consistent schedule while providing Mr. Kamiya's team enough time to concentrate on the capabilities of the new platform. Mr. Kamiya's team was reorganized into the biohazard 4 team & was tasked with creating a top-notch game for the PS2. When BIOHAZARD 3 was finished, a large portion of that team, including myself, joined in to help. This biohazard 4 project eventually changed directions & finally saw completion as the game Devil May Cry 1. INTERVIEW & TRANSLATION BY NEWS BOT

The road to this first version becoming the seed of an entirely new title, not to be discarded altogether, as was to be the fate of the proceeding two attempts & Kawamura-san's game-play experiment, effectively began when Kamiya felt the playable character in this premier biohazard 3.5 incarnation, lacked heroism, and courageous presence when presented within a fixed camera perspective; the pre-rendered backgrounds that had traditionally provided the heart for biohazard's atmosphere & design were substituted for a new dynamic camera system. Sugimura-san and Kamiya-san had attempted to incorporate the 'cool' & 'stylish' themes contextually into biohazard's next instalment, but series creator Shinji Mikami was mindful that the new camera angles, and their narrative deviated too far from the survival horror roots that had so successfully to date defined the series, and he enthusiastically cajoled the entire development team to exploit this departure from the traditional style, by severing all ties with biohazard, in favour of a new and independent title (E3 2001 Interview with Shinji Mikami by IGN). Kamiya consequently changed the protagonists' name to Dante, placed him into a new narrative, based on a demonic world of heroes & monsters, and hence in August 2001, Devil May Cry was born (Hideki Kamiya's Devil May Cry Column, 'Scenario Story'). This article will not be concerning itself any further with that separate series distraction, beginning our focus at the latter part of 2001, and the proceeding Castle (Fog) version.

 

Concept art from the initial build of biohazard 4, revamped into Devil May Cry. 
It shows the main character in Lord Spencer?s bedroom.

The next version planned, to hopefully this time provide a beta build that would develop into a biohazard 4 that could go to retail, would have to focus more awareness on & appreciation for the closing events of the canon timeline, if that goal was now to be achieved.

The BIOHAZARD 2 prologue claims that the events from BIOHAZARD were only a mere fraction of Umbrella's great evil, but conversely biohazard 4 was always planned by Shinji Mikami to herald the death knell for Umbrella. Despite initial murmurings amongst some of the more sensationalist gamer press, biohazard 4 was never intended to be the end of the series as a whole, just the end for Umbrella. Mikami-san was surely mindful that Umbrella would need to be consigned to biohazard's history, if Capcom were to successfully progress the series forward, into a new generation for gamers who had moved on from pre-rendered backgrounds, and static camera angles.

Consequently, the next biohazard 4 era commenced it's narrative with the continuation of Leon's story; similarly to BIOHAZARD CODE: Veronica detailing the continuation of Claire's story.  Hence, the ending of BIOHAZARD 2, with Leon's last line mission statement dialogue is the point at which biohazard 4's narrative was to commence; the specific theme being Leon's determination to end the cancer that was Umbrella, and his BIOHAZARD 2 final words would be the first steps on the road to the corporation's end. (English dialogue: "Hey, it's up to us to take out Umbrella!" / Japanese subtitle translation: "Destroy Umbrella!")

In 2001, Hideki Kamiya, the director of BIOHAZARD 2, wrote about this, in his column on the official Devil May Cry website, in the storyboard section:

「バイオ2」のエンディングでもそうですが、続きを思わせるような、さりげない余韻を 残すのが僕は好きなんです。「ダンテとトリッシュ、二人でデビルハンターを続けてるみたいだけど、敵は誰なの? 二人の関係は?」なんて、いろいろ想像できて楽しいじゃないですか。でもバイオ2の時は、シナリオにないセリフをレコーディング現場で勝手に足して、クレ アは兄を探しに、レオンはアンブレラをぶっ潰しに行く事にしてしまったので、その後の「CODE:ベロニカ」のシナリオにも影響を及ぼし、フラグシップの 杉村先生にこっぴどく叱られました…。

"Although this was the ending of BIOHAZARD 2, I like to leave that casual lingering memory which is suggestive of continuation. It seems that devil hunting goes on with two people - Dante & Trish - but who is the enemy? What's their relationship? It would be more fun having to imagine various things, yeah? But since that dialogue didn't exist in the scenario, I added it during the recording session for BIOHAZARD 2 without permission, and I had Leon decide to crush Umbrella and Claire search for her brother, so it also affected the scenario of CODE:Veronica later on, and Mr. Sugimura of Flagship scolded me very harshly..."

DEVIL MAY CRY STORYBOARD LINK


BIOHAZARD 2 was written by the late Noboru Sugimura, who co-founded Flagship, a subsidiary of CAPCOM, on April 24 1997, along with Yoshiki Okamoto and others. Unfortunately, he died shortly after the release of the retail biohazard 4, on February 25, 2005, and the company closed down on June 1, 2007. From that point onwards the series took a different direction, with in-house writers sourced from film and television genres
replacing experienced professionals. This short-sighted approach heralded the release of Biohazard: Umbrella Chronicles, and signalled a downward spiral in product quality gathering pace.

Kamiya's extra dialogue would clearly have a significant influence on the scenario of CODE: Veronica, forcing Sugimura to begin the game with Claire desperately searching for Chris, and additionally affected the scenario of biohazard 4, by forcing Sugimura to commence the game with Leon's mission statement to destroy Umbrella.

BIOHAZARD 3: LAST ESCAPE was written by the aforementioned Yasuhisa Kawamura. Like Sugimura, he too worked on both the Castle (Fog), and Hallucination (Hookman)
biohazard 4 beta builds.

The character epilogues individually showcased upon the first eight game-play completions of  BIOHAZARD 3 give an insight into the events that proceeded Raccoon City's destruction, and thus offer valuable information when considering the context of biohazard 3.5's origins. There is one feature that remained constant, despite the many changes pervading the various beta builds that lead up to the released version of biohazard 4 ~ the leading protagonist, Leon S.Kennedy; and we can look to these epilogues to reveal his last known canon status. He appears in two of the eight epilogues, pictured above (Extracted by George Trevor). In Claire's epilogue, we see Leon appearing almost immediately after the events of BIOHAZARD 2, as Claire leaves for Europe, to look for elder brother Chris Redfield, leaving Leon & Sherry behind ~

 photo 7a_zps7dnke7n7.jpg  Extracted & English redesign by George Trevor. Translation by News Bot.

Precisely how long after Claire departs is unknown, but within a short space of time, (likely to be after Claire sends him the email during the early events of CODE: Veronica), Leon and Sherry are taken into custody, by U.S. armed forces:

 photo 8a_zpsodqp6h4p.jpg    Extracted & English redesign by Ridley & George Trevor. Translation by News Bot.

In interview with PROJECT UMBRELLA, BIOHAZARD 3 scenario writer Yasuhisa Kawamura explains this new organisation, that hold sway over Leon's immediate liberty ~

PU: In Leon's epilogue, he is in a discussion with an agent from the 'U.S. Intelligence Department'. Can you specify which actual United States agency this referred to ?

YK: This is an undisclosed organization whose primary mission is to gather information about bio-warfare weapons and to produce effective countermeasures. There is a very real threat of deadly biological weapons going out of control, and this is clearly evident not only from incidents involving Umbrella, but with other groups such as H.C.F. and Tricell.
The incident at Raccoon City played a large role in the creation of this unit, and Leon's extensive involvement led to his recruit. It's also important to note that this was also meant as a means for the U.S. government to keep a close eye on Leon and Sherry, who have learned too much about the existence of biological weapons and B.O.W.s. Sherry's position is more than a 'hostage' that ensures Leon's cooperation - she has a very important meaning not only to the U.S., but to the world... but that's all that I can reveal for now.
INTERVIEW & TRANSLATION BY NEWS BOT

PROJECT UMBRELLA conducted another interview with Kawmura several months later in which he explains further about the new organization ~

"First, the G-Virus was recovered by HUNK and Birkin was assassinated. As a result, Umbrella's entire objective was achieved. However there was accomplishment even in the United States. One was the opportunity of establishing a biological weapon countermeasure force. Although the soldiers trained until now were strong too, they weren't able to achieve results. Therefore the U.S. military planned a swift review of a military unit. This military organization hired Leon, and he'd be murdered if he didn't go along with it. He followed the U.S. government in order to ensure Sherry's safety. With that, the United States succeeded in training a strong specialist. It's like the movie G.I. JOE *laughs*."
INTERVIEW BY WELSH & TRANSLATION BY NEWS BOT

Our time-line of canon events that shed light on the origins of biohazard 3.5, brings us to BIOHAZARD CODE: Veronica, another game that CAPCOM outsourced to TOSE. Of  specific interest here, is the scene that sees Claire use a computer with internet access, to contact Leon via email. (Japanese subtitle translation: "I'll get in touch with Leon right away. I want him to tell Chris he's being watched.")

Moreover, Director Hiroki Katoh explains Leon's movements at this time, in the BIOHAZARD CODE: Veronica Kaitai Shinsho ~

DEVELOPMENT STAFF Q&A (p.287)

Q6: What was Leon doing when Claire sent the e-mail?

A6: Leon joined an underground anti-Umbrella organization. Since he was carrying out a certain duty while this tale was advancing, he wasn't able to come and rescue Claire (this scenario has been completed, but cannot be announced). For the moment, three people, Jill, Barry and Leon have joined underground organizations. However it's unknown whether Barry and Leon's organization is the same as Jill's organization.  PROJECT UMBRELLA TRANSLATION
 photo QA1_zps1wlwqox3.jpg

Almost certainly Katoh-san is referring here to the scenario of Biohazard Gaiden, since Devil May Cry was in development, and there are no other titles involving Leon at this time with a completed scenario.

Hiroki Katoh also wrote Wesker's Report, which contains a reference to Leon's, and Claire's BIOHAZARD 3 epilogues:

その後クレアは兄クリスを探すために単身ヨーロッパに渡り、レオンは反アンブレラを掲げる地下組織に入った。

"Afterwards, Claire went to Europe alone to look for her older brother Chris, and Leon joined a secret Anti-Umbrella organization."

Katoh-san is referring to the U.S. Government anti-B.O.W. unit that Leon joins. (He wrote the basis for Wesker's Report in a bar, after getting core members of the Biohazard team drunk, in order to loosen their tongues to glean some valuable insight into the characters that he was so lacking in)

Finally, a discussion centring on the origins at the heart of biohazard 3.5 cannot truly be complete without reference to a uniquely Japanese word - 'Mogaki'. This non-direct translatable Japanese word made a lasting appearance during Yasuhisa Kawamura's exclusive interview for Crimson Head Elder's Halloween Special (31.10.13) ~

"Shibata, the director, had a very clear concept which he described as 'seeking the horror'. He had the image of 'the horror of mogaki' ? or 'struggling'. It can be difficult to directly translate this 'mogaki' word into its exact meaning, but it is a situation in which you try to wriggle with your whole body in fear, but cannot escape. He seemed to want me to create not just physical mogaki, but rather a state where Leon couldn't resist mental or psychological pains & difficulties. A kind of mogaki that?s simultaneously mental & physical.

This 'mogaki' was used as the key concept within the production team frequently as the keyword created by Shibata. In fact, the word mogaki is sometimes displayed during the continuous pressing of buttons to escape from the enemies in actual biohazard 4 game. Unfortunately, it's not in the non-Japanese version, as the word doesn't translate directly into other languages." Yasuhisa Kawamura interview by George Trevor (full transcript at end of article)

On November 2, 2001, a new section appeared on the biohazard rebirth website, entitled 'Background Movie Test'. Director Shinji Mikami wrote ~

開発前の研究段階での
実験映像です。
4つの動画背景を
掲載しています。


"These are experimental movies from the planning stage before development. Four animated backgrounds have been published."

He also left the following cryptic message ~

これらの背景は
「バイオ」の世界観には忠実ですが、
今作の舞台を想定して作った訳ではありません。
したがって、今作のゲーム上では、
存在しないシチュエーションの背景も含まれています。
動画は全てループするように作られていますので、
プレイヤーの設定を連続再生にしてもらえば、
じっくり見る事ができます。


"These backgrounds are faithful to the world of biohazard, but that doesn't mean they were created with stages of this production in mind. Therefore, it also contains backgrounds of situations which do not exist in this game's production. All videos were edited to loop, so if you change the player settings to continuous playback you'll be able to have a good look."

実験動画背景画像 (1)

礼拝堂

業火に包まれた部屋です。

Translation:

Background Movie Test (1)

Chapel

This is a room engulfed in hell fire.

 

実験動画背景画像 (2)

鳥カゴのある部屋

窓から雷光が差し込みます。

Translation:

Background Movie Test (2)

Room with a bird cage

Lightning flashes through a window.

 

実験動画背景画像 (3)

螺旋階段

水が滴っています。

Translation:

Background Movie Test (3)

Spiral staircase

Dripping with water.

 

実験動画背景画像 (4)

崖を登る階段

暴風雨が吹き荒れています。

Translation:

Background Movie Test (4)

Stairs which go up a cliff

There's a rainstorm blowing violently.

BACKGROUND MOVIE TEST LINK

All but one of the above environmental experiments were taken further into the development of the next biohazard 4 build, the black sheep being the 'Room with a bird cage' (Background Movie Test 2). In the paragraphs, and main section below, observations of note have been made by Ridley & Welsh, regarding the consequent involvement of those animated test backgrounds that found their way, in varying degrees, into the next build - the Castle version. 

A comparison of the pre-rendered cliff-side stairs background, and the full polygon biohazard 3.5 Spencer castle, extracted by Welsh from the Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles Wii disc ~

                     

Having extracted the original biohazard 3.5 Spencer Castle, Welsh then made the observation that it also appears, forming part of a pre-rendered background, in biohazard rebirth, in the form of one of its paintings  ~

Image by George Trevor

    

Image by Welsh

Project Umbrella staff member & Crimson Head Elder resident Ridley confirms that paintings of the biohazard 3.5 castle reappear in biohazard rebirth because both games were being developed concurrently; Production Studio 4 designers worked on both games simultaneously, and included the painting as a link to the Oswell E. Spencer back-story. When studying the image you can see some characteristics of other biohazard 3.5 castle media related images in it, leading Welsh to make the further observation that there is close similarity with the exterior of the Salazar Castle, in the retail version of biohazard 4 ~

Image by George Trevor

Noboru Sugimura's castle from the previous DMC evolved version, by concept artist Makoto Tsuchibayashi ~

Painting of Spencer's Castle as it appears in Lost in Nightmares:

In conclusion, these experimental backgrounds were most likely for testing the GameCube's technical capabilities in purposeful preparation for the development of biohazard 4, constructed using the biohazard rebirth assets. It follows from this that the Chapel, for example, differs in some details in comparison to the Chapel showcased at the 2002 Tokyo Game Show Castle trailer - there being almost a year's worth of additional development leading up to this public showing. Furthermore, producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi has since confirmed in past interview, that development of biohazard 4 truly began at the end of 2001, and curiously, the background movie tests were published during that same period.

The second biohazard 4 build, although commonly referred to as the 'Fog' version, (biohazard 4 producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi has referred to it as both the 'Progenitor' & 'Fog' versions in interview with Horror video-game website RELY ON HORROR) can be more accurately entitled the 'Castle' version, as this is the moniker used by its creator & planner Yasuhisa Kawamura. Kawamura-san created the ideas and stages, and the scenario was written by the late Noboru Sugimura. The narrative was complete, and significant sections & background information can now, for the first time, be revealed publicly, with kind permission of Yasuhisa Kawamura, compiled from his previous two interviews with PROJECT UMBRELLA, and his exclusive Halloween interview with Crimson Head Elder.

Whilst the released footage is short, it does consist of much significant, iconic detail, that consequently throw up many questions, to be explored in the paragraphs below; including the nature of the invading fog creature, the source & extent of Leon's contamination, whether Leon has been infected with the trailer referenced Progenitor, or other viral agent, is the existence of any virus an established contagion of the castle, or was it recently brought there & if so by who, the significance of the airship, are there inhabitants within the Castle & if so for how long will Leon remain a lone explorer, and of course why was this build abandoned?

Past commentaries could only speculate upon answering those aforementioned lines of investigation because the build was unceremoniously canned (for reasons to be explained later in this section) before its narrative could be further explored publicly, but from the personal developer information now generously afforded the community, by Kawamura-san, considerable insight can now finally be revealed, below.

Directed by Hiroshi Shibata, the Castle version was showcased publicly for the first time at the Tokyo Game Show, in September, 2002:

Detailed footage analysis of the Castle version premier trailer:

The spiral staircase from background movie test (3), first seen at the biohazard rebirth website, during the tail end of 2001, now appears in real-time. The top & bottom of the staircase are blocked by debris:


The chapel from another background movie test (1) also makes an appearance in real-time. During the development of this build it may have been decided that the entire Chapel area would burn down at a particular game-play stage, or just as likely this was the development team's early experimentation with the GameCube's technical capability to perform sophisticated environmental effects, such as wind, water, and fire:

 

The Cradle of the Progenitor Virus / 始祖ウィルス発祥の地

The Japanese word here 発祥の地 (Hasshō no ji) means the place of one's birth. biohazard 3.5 was supposed to answer the questions that many had expected to be answered in biohazard 0; namely what exactly is the Progenitor virus? What is its origin? And who precisely is Lord Ozwell E. Spencer? Despite the later narrative line of Kijuju and the 'stairway to the sun' flower - the Sonnentreppe, this Castle version scenario had nothing to do with the African setting of BIOHAZARD 5. That this build did not concern itself with an African location is surprising considering the biohazard 0 file 'Marcus's Diary 1' which confidentially points to Africa. So irrespective of any foundations for the mother virus set down before it, the Castle version had a completely different setting in mind when revealing the origins of the Progenitor virus.

Ridley deconstructs the incestuous relationship & links between the various teams & stages of biohazard main titles in development simultaneously, in an attempt to shed some light on this African anomaly. When Kamiya's BIOHAZARD 3 build was canned, and his team consequently began work on their version of biohazard 4 (revamped into Devil May Cry), it was well into 1999. The initial scenario planning for biohazard 0 had already commenced in 1998, with the African setting already well established. With the DMC incarnation, Sugimura changed this location to the more precise Mallet Island. Then in April 2001, Sugimura confirms, he was recalled to edit biohazard 0's scenario, upon it being console upgraded from Nintendo 64 to GameCube. He consequently removed the African setting at this point (at the same time as writing the script for the cinematics, which weren't a feature of the N64 version), which is the reason behind Africa's reference in one of the in-game file images whilst being omitted from the actual script. The motivation for this being that he envisioned an alternative setting for the cradle of the virus, being deep underground Spencer's Castle. It is likely he had a change of heart at the later date, since he has also stated that in Code: Veronica Progenitor did originate in Africa, with the script finalised before the setting for his biohazard 4 version had been completed. There is no absolute certainty as to why he made these changes, first Africa, then Mallet Island, then a return to Africa again, but it does strongly suggest that the development team were motivated to pay homage to Sugimura's work during their BIOHAZARD 5 project, and they adhered to Sugimura's notes regarding Africa, since this also neatly fits into the 'Black Hawk Down' theme they wished to portray.

N.B. It will be further discussed in the later paragraphs of this section, that the 'cradle' theme ties directly in with another key word, consistently employed by the developers when setting out their build's mission plan - 'core'; as highlighted by Director Shibata-san, and reported in FAMITSU (see below), 'The core of Umbrella' is a key feature of Castle version's narrative.

Had this build progressed at least to a workable beta, one would presume a considerable theme to have been the relationship between this series iconic virus, and it's creator Oswell E. Spencer. The actual degree to which this relationship was explored in the Castle version's scenario will be examined after a paragraph briefly detailing the appearances of both creator, and his viral creation, leading up to Yasuhisa Kawamura's new narrative.

After the removal of 'Trevor's Notes' from the retail version of biohazard, having initially been game files written by Kenichi Iwao included on a demo build 'Biohazard Taiken Ban'/ バイオハザード 体験版? was available in limited numbers in the form of a promotional trial version, 15 minute limited, demo disc, Spencer curiously does not actually appear in the series in-game, until Biohazard Gun Survivor:

ラクーンシティ崩壊後レポート

1998年8月5日

U.B.C.S.調査隊員からの報告書1

5月11日に発生した生物兵器研究所、及びスペンサー卿の洋館におけるバイオハザードは、S.T.A.R.S.アルファチームのジル・バレンタイン、クリス・レッドフォードらが7月25日に施設を爆破する形で一応の終結を見た。

REPORT AFTER RACCOON CITY'S COLLAPSE
August 5, 1998
Report 1 from U.B.C.S. Surveillance Team Member
The biohazard that occurred in Lord Spencer's mansion and Bio Organic Weapons laboratory on May 11 tentatively concluded in the form of Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and other members of S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team blowing up the facility on July 25. 
PROJECT UMBRELLA TRANSLATION

The aforementioned prior correspondence between Sir Spencer and his ill fated architect, George Trevor (extracted from the Biohazard Taiken Ban disc by Mark Grass & Welsh, and translated by Welsh & Biotech), which lead up to the insidious aristocrat's first use of the mother virus, clearly illustrate Spencer's spiteful dishonesty and murderous intent, in pursuit of his ego-maniacal goal. TREVOR'S NOTES - PROJECT UMBRELLA TRANSLATION

And whilst together with Sir Spencer, the Progenitor virus is equally chronicled in the Japanese biohazard guides, it too peculiarly does not appear in-game during the first few main title instalments, until biohazard rebirth, when it becomes the catalyst for Umbrella's sinister experimentation with human test subjects, and for Lisa Trevor's pitiful, yet revolutionary legacy:

A FAMILY PHOTO AND NOTES (There's something written on the back of the photo.)

Progenitor Virus variants administered (Nov. 10, 1967)

Jessica TYPE-A administered

Tissue tore when cells were activated. Virus failed to establish itself. Disposed of.

Lisa TYPE-B administered

Tissue tore when cells were activated. Virus establishment successful. Some positive results in remodelled vessel. Probation continued.

PROJECT UMBRELLA TRANSLATION


The Progenitor virus would also make a staring role appearance in biohazard 0, but whilst like biohazard rebirth this would precede biohazard 4 in the canon narrative time-line, the retail release of this prequel would not be until after the development of the Castle build. However with Flagship at the helm of both, and Noboru Sugimura involved with the scenario of both (Castle version scenario writer / biohazard 0 scenario editor), there would be narrative consistency, with biohazard 0 planned to explain Progenitor's relationship & relevance to the t-virus, whilst biohazard 4 (here in the guise of the Castle build) was to detail it's origins, or in other words, to reveal 'the cradle of the Progenitor virus'; and if the place of its birth was to be featured, then presumably it's father would take centre stage...

It was suggested had the Castle build advanced to an approved beta, a considerable theme of its concluding stages would surely be the relationship between Progenitor, and it's creator. Had the very first incarnation of biohazard 3.5 continued in the biohazard mould, then that most certainly would have been the case, but with the 'Spencer' role now occupied in a 'Devil May Cry' parallel universe, his relative role in the build that now took on the biohazard mantle, would diminish considerably, possibly to the point of non-appearance, despite the scenario taking place within his own Castle! Kawamura-san confirmed as much in interview with Welsh for Project Umbrella, remarking that his omission may have been due to that relative role in the DMC deviation. And as for the question of Progenitor, and its potential role in a scenario centring on the place of its birth, Kawamura-san sheds light on this, exclusively to Crimson Head Elder:

CHE: What was the featured virus of your build, and was it brought into the Castle, or already present therein, and if brought in by an outside party, who was responsible?

YK: The fog - it is a new gaseous bio-weapon by HCF, which was a new biological weapon company, that Wesker belonged to. It was brought into the Castle by a HCF squad, who planned to seize UMBRELLA HQ - Spencer's castle... Incidentally, Wesker did not enter at this point.

So no staring role then for the mother virus? Kawamura-san does however exclusively reveal to us that it was a feature of his scenario, but specifically in terms of background narrative, of historical relevance to the game-play, rather than of direct significance to it:  

"According to the setting I created, the primal virus was a superhuman virus, found in an ancient fossilised human being, at an archaeological site, deep underground Spencer's castle. This virus could not be applied to modern humans, but then the t-virus was created during a process of adaptation. However, while the t-virus could cause mutation, mutated beings could not thrive as a species (they were sterile), so there was no effective means other than to grow biological weapon through cloning. There is also a t-virus like t-Veronica, improved for the purpose of making oneself super-human. So, in order to transcend the t-virus, Dr. William Birkin developed the G-virus..."

"Everything started from the castle owned by Ozwell Spencer, when the ruin was found and aristocrats started digging. They found the primal virus and Spencer began to have his ambitions."

 

Leon S. Kennedy / レオン・S・ケネディ

 photo 20b_zpscs2qdrkf.jpg

GameCube render of Leon during early stages of biohazard 4

The one remaining constant throughout all development beta scenarios leading up to and including the retail version of biohazard 4, is our protagonist, Leon S.Kennedy, returning from BIOHAZARD 2. The superior processing power of Nintendo's GameCube over a PlayStation 1, which had catered for Leon's previous design incarnation, would provide Kawamura and the development team with greater scope for their imaginations, and the ability to improve upon Leon's depth of character design.

The most significant improvement upon Leon's BIOHAZARD 2 model is to its actual three-dimensional presentation and detail. When the sequel to BIOHAZARD was released in early 1998 the consoles championing two-dimensional sprites had only just made way for the PlayStation generation that provided Leon's first design. This early foray into three dimensional character models was in its infancy, and thus of very limited design detail, with a very basic colour palette. Moreover, Kawamura, in his on-line introduction to the Castle version (see below) would enthuse that Leon & his environment would be full polygon, yet with the high detail of the past pre-rendered backgrounds that had been showcased in biohazard rebirth. Footage I have ripped from the 'Making of biohazard 4' documentary (included on the biohazard 4 Secret DVD), presents Leon's considerably improved three-dimensional Castle version model, animated in Maya (3D animation software):

             

 

Images by George Trevor

 

 

In conversations during the production of Welsh's Project Umbrella interview with Kawamura, it was confirmed that Leon's biohazard 4 hairstyle was inspired by John Connor's Terminator 2: Judgement Day ~

Leon's beta appearance is not as straight forward as it would become upon retail, as his health is in apparent considerable jeopardy. How he became engulfed in such a fate is explained during Yasuhisa Kawamura's interview with Crimson Head Elder, in the proceeding section.  


Invading / 浸食

The Japanese word  浸食 (Shinshoku) means 'erosion' or 'corrosion'. This is referring to the erosion of Leon's physical, and mental state, as the game progresses further, and his deterioration gathers pace. This tension inducing game-play mechanic, the continuing erosion of the player's health, was continued into biohazard 4 reatail version, employed by the ingestion of a plaga, and the consequent deathly countdown to its birth. The specific nature of what exactly invades Castle build Leon is unknown, but his continuing deterioration is symbolised by the invading foe, shown relentlessly stalking our protagonist. Four times in the space of relatively short actual game footage, of 56 seconds, it takes centre stage, suggesting that it may have provided both the degree of relentless pursuit, and the game-play's signature boss foe, that Nemesis brought to BIOHAZARD 3.

The physical biology of this invading fog enemy strongly suggests it to be a design ancestor of a more recent viral embodiment. Interestingly, Yashihisa Kawamura has confirmed to Crimson Head Elder, in our exclusive interview, that all was not as it seems, and the invading tentacles, may have been a precursor to the blurred lucidity of those that also pursued Leon, in the later developed Hallucination experiment ~

"The tentacles might be a hallucination and they might not be."

Whether the Castle version's mass of writhing black tentacles, that stalk Leon, represent hallucination induced symbolism of his mental erosion, or alternatively are an actual physical entity, its design bears strong resemblance to another virus personified B.O.W. - Uroborus virus, from the six year subsequent BIOHAZARD 5 ~                            

 

 

 

                   The invading fog                               Uroboros motion concept 

 

As to the precise nature of this build's signature enemy, we know little, aside from Yasuhisa's exclusive insight, but what is clear is that the design was its downfall, and another financial nail in the Castle version's coffin. Over six years after this build was developed, the technology required to develop the game-play motion of the design comparable Uroborus, presented such great obstacle to the developers of 2009's BIOHAZARD 5, that with this hindsight, it's clear the 'invading fog' was a design just too far ahead of its time. Moreover, when asked if  there were any elements specific to the new generation of consoles that could not have been achieved on earlier models, the BIOHAZARD 5 production director, and lead modeller were both unanimous in identifying one ~

"I would say, the presentation of the creature Uroboros.  The core element of this creature is the large amount of tentacles covering the body.  Maybe we could have hit on this idea in earlier days, but it would have been abandoned at review phase because it was impossible to recreate.  This depiction is not easy with any hardware, and it was quite challenging.  Initially, we had to reduce the number of tentacles by about 50% for the final Uroboros but our highly-motivated staff wanted to develop a creature like never before and persevered to create the birth of Uroboros in RE5... The development team nicknamed Uroboros 'wiggles'. The modelling was pure hell, and of all the enemies in '5', it was the greatest challenge as far as art and skill were concerned." BIOHAZARD 5 lead modeller Makoto Fukui

"The technology we used for Uroboros is so new that we're working on getting a patent for it." BIOHAZARD 5 production director Yasuhiro Anpo

Given this insight into the demanding design process that created Uroboros, over six years after Kawamura struggledwith his closely comparable representation of the Castle version virus, it's not surprising when he bemoans during a PROJECT UMBRELLA interview "Unfortunately, there were many obstacles that needed to be overcome and the cost of development was deemed too expensive."

                                                                                                                                        Uroborus virus final draft concept art

According to Kawamura-san, any resemblance is simply coincidental, and he confirms as much to Crimson Head Elder, during our Halloween Special interview ~

"I have no knowledge of Uroborus... The Uroborus virus was created for Biohazard 5."

But that's not to say that 'other soldiers in the biohazard 3.5 war' (see interview full transcript at end of article) did not provide the inspiration for Uroborus. The two viral agents certainly seem to have a similar biology, a conclusion potentially gleaned from Yasuhisa Kawamura's revelation concerning the finer details of the fog's genetics, in our Crimson Head Elder interview ~

"The 'Black Fog' is collection of viruses, gathered to form a bacteria sized entity, and they behave as if they have a unified, sole intelligence."


Contamination / 汚染

The Japanese word 汚染 (Osen) means 'contamination', but is often translated as 'infection'. Kawamura-san explains exclusively to Crimson Head Elder how this contamination befell Leon, so early on in the gameplay:

"... They ran into and battled with Leon's army, HCF troops were destroyed by the Black fog. Leon's army were also destroyed except for him, but Leon himself was also affected by the virus with just a little time left to live and then having to fight in what little time he had remaining."

So whilst it has now been exclusively revealed that Leon was infected with HCF's new gaseous bio-weapon, brought into Spencer's castle, by Wesker, little is known about the mutation genetics of this infection. I would strongly argue that there would be a form of consistency linking the development of Leon's contamination, and the invading fog that pursues, with its mass of Uroboros-esque tentacles. Consequently, when identifying potential clues for determining the features & characteristics of each stage of mutation, one can look to the disfigurements associated with the virus that HCF's bio-weapon may have provided inspiration for - Uroboros; specifically the physical symptoms displayed by both infections, in the same limb:

Any reference to the above concept art when considering the features of Leon's infection, can only be speculation, so I would prefer to focus back to what can be factually determined about his contamination & its symptoms. The point of focus for highlighting Leon's infection is his arm; he clearly displays discomfort towards it, and this reactions identify the arm as the source of his pain ~

 

 

Nothing further to identify the biology, origin and symptoms of Leon's contamination is evidenced in the available public footage from Castle version. But that's not to say that the subject of Leon's contamination, and the resulting mutation was not a fully developed narrative, complete with story arc, in this build. Biohazard series programmer & producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi draws upon this completeness of the game-play narrative, and the significance of Leon;s contamination within that game-play, in interview with EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) magazine:

EGM: You've said before that you went through three other versions of RE4 before you settled on this one. Can you tell us about those?

HK: Well, the first version was the story of Leon as he infiltrated the headquarters of the Umbrella corporation. The enemies were completely different from what you see now... (EGM #190 APRIL 2005)

     

Extracted by Mark Grass

EGM: Zombies and that sort of thing?

HK: That, and other monsters very close to that style. The twist was that there was some sort of hidden power locked inside Leon's left hand, and you'd discover what it was as you played through the game.

Furthermore, from personal developer information revealed by Yasuhisa Kawamura in exclusive interviews for Project Umbrella & Crimson Head Elder, with footage ripped by George Trevor of the consequent Hallucination version (see Hallucination biohazard 4 section below), coupled with past observations & extractions by other dedicated community members (see Hallucination version section below), and insight given by Leon's voice actor, considerably more is known regarding his contamination.

Turning briefly to that voice actor; chosen during the development of the Castle version, to début in the part of Leon S. Kennedy, Paul Mercier, has provided additional information concerning Leon's infection, and how it afflicted him during the game-play narrative. In September 2009, he gave two interviews, one with entertainment media company unWIRED TV, and the other with Brazilian Resident Evil website REVIL, in which the subject of Leon's character, as created for the Castle build, was discussed:

unWIRED TV interview with Paul Mercier (September 2009)

UWTV : How was your experience with Resident Evil 4?

PM : Agh... I can't hold on much longer so let me just tell you this right now. She (Kris Zimmerman) was the original one who cast the demo for Resident Evil 4. So I came in and worked with Gordon Hunt and... we... we worked on all sorts of things because the virus was allegedly to take Leon over. And... And it was going to come out of his arm and (noise) whip; his arm was gonna turn into a fifteen foot snake. And it was gonna be so painful; there was nothing to be lived through and it would eventually kill Leon! But... they didn't like that too much so they like, threw it out, but they kept me. So I'm like, "Cool. When's the next gig?"

REVIL interviews Paul Mercier - Past, Present & Future (September 2009)

REVIL : How did you get the opportunity to play Leon on Resident Evil 4?  Did you know the series before that?

PM : ... I can remember the first time I saw the words for Resident Evil, there were very few, and it was for the demo that Capcom was working on. Kris Zimmerman (voice director of the Metal Gear Solid series, among other games) had originally cast me, but by recording session time she had a conflict, so Gordon Hunt (also responsible for the voice direction of Uncharted: Drake?s Fortune and God of War II) directed. I had always wanted to work with him, so going in I was a little timid. But the atmosphere was totally creative, we were able to experiment and try out a lot of different imagery and all kinds of wild ideas. Also, the way he can relate to the point of view of an actor is great and, at times, he was simultaneously interpreting what the producers in Japan were saying trying to describe the world they were creating. When I received new pages from the localizer, Shinsaku Ohara, he related that they were very happy with what we were doing. So Leon really became a team effort. At that point in the character development, the virus had infected him. There wasn?t much of a story yet, so the focus became about what would happen to Leon if he started mutating. How would this affect his mind, his body, and how he could overcome what was taking him over. And if it did overtake him, then how would they create missions around that.

Turning our attention back to the Castle version footage, nothing further can be elicited in determining the origin, biology, and symptoms of Leon's contamination. Not even the premier trailer for the Hallucination build would provide further revelation (see 'Hallucination version' section below), and it would not be until the release of a biohazard 4 promotional DVD, and the inclusion thereon of game-play footage from Hallucination version, that the subject of Leon's infection would be visited again (see 'Hallucination biohazard 4' section below).



Possessed / 暴走

The Japanese word 暴走 (Bousou) means 'out of control', and can refer to the mental state of madness. This is directly referencing the new virus, which was intended to cause Leon to loose his mind. This was of course a signature feature of the experimental game-play that Yasuhisa Kawamura proceeded to build, after the Castle version was binned. In the Hallucination section below the relationship between Leon's possession during the Castle scenario, and the source for his Hallucinations in that later game-play build will be explored, and discussed directly with Kawamura-san.

The title logo and release date of '200X' appear after these subtitles.

Two months later, on November the 14th, Capcom's best & brightest developers, including biohazard 4 director Hiroshi Shibata, with Shinji Mikami at the helm, showcased simultaneously, five headline new titles, all exclusive to the GameCube, during a Capcom press conference. 

The Castle build incarnation of biohazard 4 was named among this extremely strong rosta, which Mikami specifically highlighted for being of particular strength through originality, evidenced by this group of five exclusives containing just the one sequel. Mikmai went further to explain he had wanted to steer clear from the unoriginal & ennui provoked by a video games market that over the previous few years had become over saturated with sequels. 

Japanese video game industry news site GAME Watch (part of IT news site Impress Watch) reported on this momentous press conference, and it is presented below with an exclusive Crimson Head Elder translation:

GAME Watch report by Minoru Funatsu:

カプコン、「biohazard4」など / CAPCOM (biohazard 4)

個性の強い大人向け作品を一挙に5タイトル発表 CAPCOM has announced at once five unique titles for mature gamers

2002年11月14日 発表 / Announced 14 November 2002


株式会社カプコンは比較的作家性の強い、個性的なニンテンドーゲームキューブ用作品5タイトルを一挙に発表した。制作はすべて「バイオハザード」シリーズや「Devil May Cry」などを制作してきた第四開発部。

CAPCOM has announced at once five unique & creative games for Nintendo GameCube. These works are all by Production Studio 4, which has developed the Biohazard series & Devil May Cry.

発 表会の冒頭、壇上に立った第四開発部部長の三上真司氏は「ここ数年、続編などが多くゲームが面白くないと感じていた。今回発表するタイトルは 『biohazard4』以外はすべてオリジナルです。普通に考えれば今の時代、オリジナルで勝負するのはバカげていると思われるかもしれない。でも、 我々のやってきたことはもともとベンチャービジネスで、純粋にクリエイタの作りたいものを作り、それをみんなに楽しんでもらいたいと思っている。そういっ た意味合いもあって今回の発表会を企画した」と挨拶。

At the beginning of the presentation Shinji Mikami, standing stage front, started his greeting speech:

"I have felt for some time that recent games were not interesting as many were sequels. The titles we will announce are all original, except Biohazard 4. Some may say this is ridiculous, if you think normally, to vie by means of original games today. But this has always been a venture business. We purely create what creators do & hope that everyone enjoys it. This presentation was planned with these things in mind."

こ の考え方は、「バイオハザード」シリーズをニンテンドーゲームキューブで発売していくと発表した時に語られた話と共通する。今回発表されたタイトルを見る と、いずれも制作者の想いがダイレクトに反映されているため、あくの強い作品が揃っている。それだけにユーザーを選ぶゲームになりそうな気もするが、いず れもワクワクするような魅力的な作品だ。こういった想いは今だからこそ大切だと思うのだが、なかなか貫くのは難しいところ。カプコンにはぜひともがんばっ て個性的で面白いゲームらしいゲームの制作を続けてもらいたいと思う。

This approach is similar to the one that greeted the arrival of the biohazard series to Nintendo GameCube. The games announced are very unique & reflect directly the intentions of their creators. They might therefore divide players, but they are all very fascinating. We do hope that CAPCOM keeps trying to produce unique and interesting games that are pure gaming.

「biohazard4」

一 番最初に紹介されたのが「biohazard4」。1分程度だが、ついに映像が公開された。「始祖ウィルス発祥の地」、「侵食」、「汚染」など気になる言 葉がちりばめられた映像はニンテンドーゲームキューブ版「biohazard」と比べてもなんの遜色もない圧倒的迫力だ。主役はレオン・S・ケネディ

biohazard 4
The first game announced was Biohazard 4. The trailer, around one minute long, was finally open to the public. Interspersed with intriguing words like 'the birth place of the ancestor virus', 'erosion', and 'pollution', the trailer is extraordinary powerful & looks stunning on Nintendo GameCube. The protagonist is Leon S. Kennedy.

だが、そのエンジンはフルモデルチェンジされており、フルポリゴンで描かれている。このフルポリゴンの映像がプリレンダームービーに匹敵する美しさで表現できるところまできたのだという。

ついにフルポリゴンで描かれるということだが、カメラはこれまでのように固定なのかどうかが気になるところ。この点についてディレクタの柴田 洋氏は「『バイオハザード コード:ベロニカ』程度のことは当然として、現状では好きなときにプレーヤーの視点でゲームを進めることができるようにしていくつもりでいる」とコメント してくれた。

もちろんこれは制作途上のことで、仕様変更になることもあるだろう。ただ、これまでにない「biohazard」を見せてくれそう な期待に溢れるコメントだ。制作者側としては固定カメラだけではなく、一人称視点での恐怖も同時に考慮しながらステージの構成や演出を考えなければなら ず、制作がかなり難しくなるはずだ。もちろん決定事項ではないが、楽しみなところだ。

The engine has been remodelled & works with full polygon. They say that this full polygon design has reached the level comparable to the beauty of pre-rendered backgrounds. We are now curious about whether the camera viewpoint is fixed. The director Shinji Mikami gave a commented on this:

"At present we are going to make it in a way that players can play from their own viewpoint any time they want to, at least as much as they can in Biohazard Code: Veronica".

Of course the game is in development & there may be changes to the specification. But the comment is promising as it suggests a Biohazard we have never seen before. It should be quite difficult for the developers to design stage structure & effects inducing horror from both a fixed viewpoint & a subjective viewpoint. Again this is not a definite decision, but we look forward to it.

柴 田氏は「biohazard4」について「これまでのシリーズに比べてとてつもない極限状態に追い込まれる。そこで、かっこいい男が死ぬほどもがくのがポ イント」と説明。この“恐怖”をコントローラを通してユーザーに体験して欲しいのだという。最後に「しがらみを捨てて新しいホラーゲームを作る」と意気込 みを語った。発売は“200X”ということで、まだまだ先のことであり制作もこれからだが、やはり強力に楽しみな一作だ。

Hiroshi Shibata spoke on Biohazard 4:

"The protagonist is driven into a situation as extreme as any of the previous series. The theme is of a cool guy struggling desperately. I'd like players to experience this horror".

Lastly he expressed his enthusiasm to create a new horror game without limits. We have to wait until its release in 200X. It is still a long way off. Development is yet to begin. But our expectations are definitely raised. 

エンジンを一新し、フルポリゴンで描かれるという新しいホラー「biohazard4」。公開された映像はまるでムービーのようだったが、すべてゲーム中の画像だという。とにかく圧倒的なグラフィックのクオリティだ

Biohazard 4 is a new horror experience, with its engine completely renewed & designed to use full polygon. The trailer unveiled was movie quality but it was all in-game footage. This is an extraordinary standard of graphics.

GAME Watch report by Minoru Funatsu with Crimson Head Elder translation

Immediately after the press presentation, Capcom's official biohazard 4 GameCube website went on-line, publishing further comment from its Director Hiroshi Shibata, who drew particular attention to the game's mature presentation, tense atmosphere, and superior graphics engine:

 

Welsh's translation from Capcom's official Japanese website ~

Considerable excitement began to generate throughout the industry's press, enthusing on the originality of these four new titles Mikami-san had been so eager to highlight, with particular focus not surprisingly directed towards the next generation design for the new Resident Evil sequel. As 2003 commended, further details from those released to the press at the end of 2002 were thin on the ground, but this didn't waiver the resolve of the press to showcase, and speculate upon such a potentially revolutionary instalment into an already legendary series. True to form, one of the first press features to carry coverage of this Castle version incarnation of biohazard 4, was by Japanese publication FAMITSU, presented below together with a Crimson Head Elder exclusive translation ~

               

             

               

The only piece of concept art published in the Famitsu preview, amongst a plethora of actual game footage screen captures; this grand scale, elegantly designed auditorium's architecture is of a distinct Romanesque style (an example of which is the Romanesque theatre pictured right), that would not be out of place as a location within the similarly designed Castle complex. Romanesque architecture  is an architectural style originating from Medieval Europe, and particularly characterized by frequently featured semi-circular arches, which are likewise in abundance, both in the design of the auditorium concept, and within the Castle locations. During my interview with Yasuhisa Kawamura, I took the opportunity to ask him about this concept artwork:

CHE: Here is a piece of concept art, from the Famitsu feature on the Castle version. As you can see it shows a large theatre stage and ornate auditorium. Were you involved with this design, I have further questions if so?

YK: I am not familiar with this.

So unfortunately, beyond our Crimson Head Elder exclusive translation below, nothing further is known as to the significance of this mysterious auditorium ~

                                                      English redesigns by George Trevor & translation by Lawrence Masakazu Yoneta                 

True to form the press outside of Japan, particularly in Europe, whilst as enthused, offered considerably less authentic, correct detail, instead merely providing sparse coverage (Nintendo Power #164 January 2003 & EDGE #119 January 2003), or features embellished with inaccurate detail (GamePRO, March 2003):






 photo Nintendo Power 164 Jan 2003 0000 COVER_zps8bt0veyx.jpg  FULL ISSUE PDF DOWNLOAD


EDGE #119 January 2003 (600 dpi scan)

  

The German GamePRO (March 2003) article whilst containing much correct detail (directly sourced from  Capcom's 2002 GameCube release press conference) was flawed from the start, reliant as it was on an infamous fake interview (which will not be credited with the recognition of a link), as the source for two discoveries. These inaccurate revelations include the erroneous claim that the partner zapping game-play mechanic employed in biohazard 0 would be making a return, and that a second playable character in the guise of an Umbrella employee, would an addition. To highlight both the correct & erroneous information an exclusive Crimson Head Elder translation is presented below ~                                                                                                       

Crimson Head Elder translation by George Trevor ~

 

Fan created & run Nintendo website NINTENDOJO made similar observations, went further, revealing some additional, fascinating insights ~ "Capcom has opted to do away with pre-rendered backgrounds, but promises to keep the same amazing textures and environments that have been seen throughout the series. You can even choose between third AND first person perspectives in what promises to be an immersive 3D environment... The story is set to be a climactic epic; a series culmination of sorts. That’s what the game’s director, Hiroshi Shibata, has said at least." Shibata-san was then quoted as follows ~

"Resident Evil 4 is the story of a man in deep struggle... This struggle has always been the main theme of the series, but in this game I want players to feel like they're struggling to survive the most brutal situation of their lives. The RE series has always been bound by something before, but the new full-model engine will free Resident Evil 4 of these bonds. I want to make a completely new horror game."

We have seen that the Castle version narrative was complete, but what of the actual game-play; what percentage completion was this? What scant material was publicly released, in the form of the 2002 Tokyo Game Show trailer, can be considered game-play content, rather than FMV cut-scene, as has been evidenced by Crimson Head Elder's exclusive translation of the GAME Watch TGS report ~

エンジンを一新し、フルポリゴンで描かれるという新しいホラー「biohazard4」。公開された映像はまるでムービーのようだったが、すべてゲーム中の画像だという。とにかく圧倒的なグラフィックのクオリティだ

Biohazard 4 is a new horror experience, with its engine completely renewed & designed to use full polygon. The trailer unveiled was movie quality but it was all in-game footage. This is an extraordinary standard of graphics.  GAME Watch report by Minoru Funatsu 

Various industry press reports put the completion percentage at between 40 & 50 per cent. Online video game magazine GAME FRONT.de talk about that their November 2002 article ~

Neue Infos zu Biohazard 4
20.11.02 - Wie Capcom in der aktuellen Famitsu Cube & Advance mitteilt, ist noch nicht entschieden, auf wie vielen DVDs Biohazard 4 ausgeliefert wird.
Der Entwicklungsstand liegt derzeit bei 40 %. Release: TBA

As reported by Capcom in the latest issue of Famitsu Cube + Advance, it is yet to be decided how many discs biohazard 4 will require. The level of development stands at 40%. Release: TBA  Translated by George Trevor

And another German report, this time featured in the March 2003 issue of GamePRO magazine, put the completion percentage at 50% (see issue translation above).

As highlighted by Director Shibata-san, and reported on in the FAMITSU feature 'The core of Umbrella' is clearly a key feature. The Japanese word for 'very heart/core ' refers here to the location from where Umbrella is controlled, its headquarters; though, not quite  in the literal sense. Yasuhisa Kawamura in his role as the scenario writer for BIOHAZARD 3 explains during his interview with PROJECT UMBRELLA ~

PU: Do you remember if the Paris Laboratory from the opening of BIOHAZARD CODE: Veronica was supposed to be Umbrella
Headquarters?

YK: The location of Umbrella Headquarters is unknown. I was prevented from deciding when I was involved in development. But I think it could've been Mallet Island. For the time being, headquarters' location is unknown. The USA branch developed the Tyrant & Hunter, and increased its voice of influence within Umbrella's organization. Each of the head office's European branches sensed impending danger and rushed the development of powerful new bio-weapons.                   

PU: Mallet Island was created for the biohazard 4 version of Devil May Cry. So, Umbrella HQ was originally intended to be Mallet Island, then the castle from Mr. Sugimura's version, then your version?

YK: My version was [the same as] Sugimura-sensei's version. I supported it. A branch office and laboratory near the head office developed the Hunter γ and Nemesis. After the incident of BIOHAZARD 3, it's expected that each American branch rapidly lost power, including the Chicago branch.
INTERVIEW BY WELSH & TRANSLATION BY NEWS BOT

We should take on board a less literal understanding of the singular connotations of the English translation of 'Headquaters'; as we've seen it crops up again, during Kawamura's Crimson Head Elder interview ~

"The fog is a new gaseous bio-weapon by HCF, which was a new biological weapon company, that Wesker belonged to. It was brought into the Castle by a HCF squad, who planned to seize UMBRELLA HQ - Spencer’s castle."

But one feature these two varying incarnations of the same concept almost certainly have in common, is their island location, whether it be DMC's Mallet island (pictured above), Spencer's castle setting for Umbrella's HQ, in Kawamura's scenario, or even the Castle version inspired Spencer residence from Lost in Nightmares. During Lost in Nightmares, Leon infiltrates the castle estate of Oswell E. Spencer, and with both castles in Demento & biohazard 4 DMC version having island locations, it is more than reasonable to conclude this had a similar placing - hence, the airship. From the hacked room list below, I would suggest that this slightly eccentric mode of transport, features too frequently to have been a mere FMV feature, for detailing the method that ferried Leon to Spencer's island estate ~

Room list :

00 - AIRSHIP

20 - airship_rouka / airship passage
41 - AIRSHIP_L_WING    
42 - AIRSHIP_R_WING    

Image by Welsh

 

  

    

With at least one large passage / corridor, and two separate wings - left & right provided for the Airship stage, it clearly offered opportunity for game-play exploration. Inserted at the beginning of the room list, and contextually most suitably fitting into the narrative at the start of Leon's biohazard 4 story, it would have served as a 'prelude' stage, similar to the Ecliptic Express section of biohazard 0, ferrying the player from the opening, short preparatory section which introduces game-play controls & features, to the larger, more challenging main section of game-play. The influence of Leon's contamination on the game-play would develop with increasing degree, as the player progressed through each stage of the game; hence Leon could only enjoy a virus free existence at the start of the gamer's experience, and from the opening scenes of the Castle trailer footage, it is clear that Leon's sanctuary from the invading fog & Wesker's HCF wielding troops, was a brief pre-infection exploration of an airship's gondola. This stage would have to be minimal due to the non-infection narrative, and the limited space offered by an airship's gondola, irrespective of how large a Zeppelin had been designed. 

01 - CURTAIN

   

02 - ATARI TEST ROOM
02 - HIT TEST ROOM : This most likely refers to various attacks which Leon can sustain. Most likely used for animation testing. (Dot50Cal)
03 - test      
04 - DON BEYA
04 - OUTSIDE ROOM

05 - BLOCK TEST      
06 - (unnamed)     


07 - ARASHI / STORM : Yasuhisa Kawamura confirmed during our interview that Oswell E. Spencer's castle is represented in both the Castle build and the Hallucination game-play, which had the previous version's stages carried over into it. This 'STORM' may very likely connect to the sheeting rain, and the violent lightening seen during the very early stages of both the Castle and Hallucination premier trailers.

   

08 - MORI-test / FOREST-test (unknown relevance other than testing environments)          


09 - SPIRAL STAIRCASE : Descending deep into the bowels of Spencer's castle, this is the early stage which first introduces the 'Black Fog' into the game-play. We now know, with Yasuhisa Kawamura's exclusive insight, that this stage sets the scene for Leon's exposure t
o the new gaseous bio-weapon, brought into Spencer's Castle, by the HCF squad, lead by Wesker.       

    

(UNNAMED)    

0b - CHAPEL 

   

Carried over into the retail product, is the Chapel as a separate building location, that houses the same design of chandelier (used by Leon to jump across to access the Salazar insignia light puzzle), and this Castle version stage with these grand light fittings is also inspiration for similar interior design within the Salazar Castle ~

  

0c - WATERWHEEL

   

The background silhouette of the airship clearly suggests that this is the docking bay, presumably leading to the entrance to Spencer's island protected castle.

0d - UNDER PASSAGE     

 

0e - YOKOYAMA / MOUNTAIN SIDE                                                                                                              YOKOHAMA / SIDE OF BEACH, PORT CITY

0f - NAKA NIWA

0f  - COURT YARD : This may relate to an area that has always intrigued me, seen briefly during the Castle version sequence with the sprawling, huge windowed passageway, characterised by the atmospherically wind blown curtains. The view from these iconic apertures overlooks a tantalisingly view-restricted courtyard. Alternatively this location may also relate to a clearly defined courtyard area, seen in Mark Grass's extracted map of Kawamura's Hallucination game-play, and seen from the Bathroom window that looks out towards a mysterious humanoid silhouette (to be further discussed below).

  

10 - DINING ROOM : Presumably the Spencer mansion-esque Dining room that features during the Hallucination game-play.

11 - WINE CELLAR      
12 - TOILET      
13 - FOOD CELLAR      
14 - NOMO OKI
14 - STORAGE ROOM

15 - EFFECT TEST      
16 - (UNNAMED)     
17 - DINING

18 - DOLL : Hallucination game-play location, populated by the possibly Sweet Home inspired, cackling mannequins.

19 - BATH ROOM : Hallucination game-play location, with an intriguing silhouette visible from the paned window. This figure is almost certainly not the Hookman, possessing none of his characteristics, either from the blue-tinted perspective, or those seen on the lucid state portrait, and devoid of any features that may suggest there is a link. The mysteriously never released to the public build, that proceeded Yasuhisa Kawamura's involvement, was defined by the return to Zombie enemies ("The next was a version with 'Zombie' which we haven?t released to the public." EGM interview with Hiroyuki Kobayashi), but there is no evidence Kawamura's project, that came before this, included these albeit series signature foes. Notwithstanding this, there is no certainty as to the absolute non-appearance of other, possibly un-dead, humanoid foes during the Hallucination game-play, as alluded to by Kawamura-san, to Crimson Head Elder ~ "In the process of resolving those problems, ideas from the other staff were adopted and the black fog, Leon?s monstrous arm, and the Hookman appeared in improvements & experiments. There were many experiments & proposals..."

1a - HAKUSEI ROUKA / TAXIDERMY CORRIDOR : Hallucination game-play location

1b - MONOOKI / STORAGE ROOM

1c - zikken / experiment                                                                                                                                                               

1d - TUTORIAL      
1e - YAMANOUCHI / INSIDE MOUNTAIN

1f - ki / tree, wood     
21 - Kensyuu / Training
22 - Kensyuu / Training                                                                                                                                                              

23 - MORI-DAY / FOREST-DAY      

24 - MORI-NIGHT / FOREST-NIGHT      
25 - castle_room      
26 - Kensyuu / Training    
27 - haikyo / ruins, abandoned building   
28 - iseki / ancient ruins, historic ruins

29 - base_1      
2a - base_2      
2b - town      
2c - Kensyuu2 / Training2  
2d - Kensyuu2 / Training 2     
2e - Kensyuu2 / Training 2
2f - OPENING ROOM      
30 - HALL 3F      
31 - MAIN HALL    

32 - ARMOR PASSAGE : Hallucination game-play location

33 - ELEVATOR      
34 - MINAMI GALLERY / SOUTH GALLERY      
35 - KITA GALLERY / NORTH GALLERY      
36 - GLASS PASSAGE      
37 - JUNBISHITU / PREPARATION ROOM

38 - DOLL 1 : Hallucination game-play location

39 - THE PAST PASSAGE      
3a - DOLL 2 :
Hallucination game-play location

3b - KAIDAN MAE / FRONT OF STAIRS, BEFORE THE STAIRS     
3c - KYUUTOUSITU / WATER SUPPLY, ROOM FOR BOILING WATER, OFFICE KITCHENETTE     
3d - OUSETU & NIWA / RECEPTION ROOM, GUEST ROOM & GARDEN

3e - LV2 ROOM      
3f - KITCHEN      
40 - HITO_ZUKA / PORTRAITS, THE 'COMMEMORATION OF PEOPLE'

44 - SOUND TEST

 

"...to express the 'horror' that Shibata, our director was searching for. The idea of hallucination – to be able to see into another plane of reality, was one of them." Yasuhisa Kawamura in interview with Crimson Head Elder (full interview at end of article)

After the Castle version was deemed financially & technically too challenging for the resources available, Capcom Production Studio 4 set to work on the next stages of a workable build, but this process failed to progress any further than the development of experimental game-play features, and a unique game-play mechanic. Commonly referred to as the 'Hookman version' (biohazard 4 producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi has referred to it as the 'Hooked Man' version in interview with RELY ON HORROR), a reference to the footage's signature enemy, that now replaced the invading fog as the main identified foe, the more accurate title, as named by its creator & planner Yasuhisa Kawamura, is the 'Hallucination version'; when footage of the Hallucination build was included on the biohazard 4 promotional DVD, 'biohazard 4 Secret DVD', it was entitled  ' 幻の「バイオハザード4 ' which directly translates as 'Hallucination biohazard 4'.

Kobayashi-san has also confirmed in Nintendo Power that there was little or no connection between this next era in the biohazard 3.5 timeline and the preseding Castle version ~

"We originally showed a video about Resident Evil 4 to get everyone excited in November 2002. That was the initial unveiling to the press in Japan. Afterwards, we decided to totally scratch all of that work and start over. Then we had a new video at E3. And guess what? We scratched that as well. The third time we tried remaking it, we didn't show it to anybody. We had a promotional video, but we had to scratch that as well. So this new style is actually the fourth time we have tried recreating it because we just could not get it to the level that we wanted."

However, I do not believe it was that straightforward, and this rather over-simplified view distorts the truth, which was far more fluid a process, that created comparative links between the Castle version, and the Hallucination game-play. During Kawamura's interview with Crimson Head Elder, I explored this relationship ~

CHE: Had the Castle version been completely cancelled before you then went on to develop the proceeding Hallucination version?

YK: Before answering, let me first define more accurately the context for which you use of the word 'version'. Usually, in the development of cinematic games, a game system is integrated into a world view & stories which are already defined, but this was  not the case for biohazard 4. Our priority was to build a 'game system & situation that induced fright & horror' first. Therefore, both the Hallucination and the Castle were essentially trial & error ideas that we thought of implementing – which ultimately didn’t appear in the final version, of course. In terms of the order in which things progressed, the Castle scenario came first – it was the most established - then the Hallucination element came second.

However, when the Hallucination was introduced into the narrative, the concept of the Castle, where Leon kept fighting while an illness was destroying him, was passed on. So although the Castle was replaced with the Hallucination, it remained in the game as an expression of Leon’s illness.

Also the mechanic where Leon could view a hallucinatory or spirit world and fight against its residents when the fog filled in the room, was considered then too. We had so many trials & errors in the development.

CHE: What is the building that Leon is exploring in the Hallucination game-play? Is it the same Castle we see in the Castle version?

YK: It was Spencer’s castle. Everything started from the castle owned by Ozwell Spencer, when the ruin was found, and aristocrats started digging. They found the primal virus and Spencer began to have his ambitions.

 

Series programmer & producer Kobayashi-san has highlighted the ambitious dynamic that considerably distinguishes the game-play design of Hallucionation, compared to the more traditional build it had now replaced, in interview with EGM ~

"The next major version [was] the one where Leon was inside a building with the dolls & the hook enemy. The idea here was to create a very otherworldly sort of game, one that was filled with flashbacks & camera shaking & odd colour effects; the sort where you never knew whether what you were seeing was real or just a hallucination. It took much more of a strong Resident Evil style approach to horror."

In stark contrast to the narrative complete Castle build, the footage that heralded Hallucination version's public arrival never made it beyond just that - isolated footage of experimental game-play elements, to be inserted into an as yet unknown completed narrative. This incompleteness has since been confirmed by scenario creator & planner Yasuhisa Kawamura, in interview with PROJECT UMBRELLA ~

PU : I've heard that you also wrote the Hookman version of biohazard 4. Can you elaborate on the outline of the scenario and how complete it was before the game was cancelled ?

YK : Hookman was merely an experiment and there was no true back-story. INTERVIEW & TRANSLATION BY NEWS BOT

 

In May, 2003 the new Hallucination version was premièred, during Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference, introduced to the awaiting auditorium with a welcome message from producer Shinki Mikami ~

"Hi, I'm Shinji Mikami. Recent rumours suggest that I have been fired, but I assure you I am still happily working at Capcom. Most unfortunately I am unable to attend E3 this year because I am so busy working hard on biohazard 4. Development of resident evil 4 exclusively for GameCube is proceeding very smoothly. So you should all be looking forward to it... And one more thing. resident evil 4 will be scary. Don't pee your pants!"

Amongst the packed audience of industry press, IGN staff excitedly enthused "Where the first offered static cameras and 2D backgrounds, this entirely original Resident Evil 4 title is now fully 3D... Character models are even more detailed than ever before, with breathtaking details such as hair and skin rendered deceptively well. The 3D environments show off awesome reflective surfaces...  And while the game's camera is extremely dynamic & fixed like other RE titles, the trailer shows instances where the camera pulls in closely behind Leon and pans with him in every direction he aims. So players will not only get a better shot at their zombie victims, but they'll also get a brightly lit view of their ghastly surroundings."

E3 2003 Resident Evil 4 First Look by IGN Staff

British magazine NGC was equally impressed, by both the upgrade to 3D environments & character models, and the exceptional real-time lighting. Reporting on the swathe of software showcased at the Tokyo Game Show, in September 2003, NGC (December 2003 - issue #87 cover right) choose to headline their coverage with Resident Evil 4. Unaware that it was comprised of no more than an isolated game-play experiment, NGC splashed coverage across their opening pages, and introduced it ahead of all else on show at TGS that year  ~

NGC #87 December 2003 600 dpi scans

 

EGM #173 December 2003 ~

 

NGC January 2004 (600 DPI scan)

 

 

Very little is publicly known about this experimental game-play. Devoid of a complete narrative scenario, the entire concept was merely development game-play, a design mechanic to frighten the player; also all the stages were simply copied over from the Castle version. Graphically, the game was far superior to the retail biohazard 4, but the developers were never able to overcome the limitations of the GameCube. Moreover, retail biohazard 4 contains many of the Hallucination's 2D object textures, in what appears to be lower resolution than the trailer. So whilst another community beloved beta BIOHAZARD 1.5 is a case of scrapped product due to poor production value, biohazard 3.5 is more a case of scrapped product due to excessive cost. During PROJECT UMBRELLA'S INTERVIEW, Kawamura-san explains ~

"I wanted to make biohazard 4 scarier, and suggested using a particular scene from the film The Lost Souls, where the main character, while washing her hands in a bathroom, suddenly finds herself in a derelict building with a killer on the loose."

 

 

"An arranged version of this idea eventually turned into Hookman. The idea went through several iterations as Mr. Sugimura and I carefully refined this world, which, I have to say, was very romantic."

And during our Crimson Head Elder interview, Kawamura-san explains considerably further ~

"Shinji Mikami, the producer, also stated Biohazard was a ‘horror game’, and often demanded a production that was revolutionary in the horror genre - the concept he used was that of 'full model change', right from the beginning of the biohazard 4 production. Mikami first wanted something like The Thing, where you could not tell who was the enemy and who was a friend. I suggested a system where the game was about 'fears & doubts', but recapturing that essence in a game structure proved very difficult, so it fell through.

With such trial & error I had some world views & concepts of game systems to test, and I thought they would be suitable to express the 'horror' that Shibata, our director was searching for. The idea of hallucination – to be able to see into another plane of reality, was one of them.

In the winter of 2002, I gathered the staff and showed a scene from a film. It was a scene from Lost Souls, by Janusz Kaminski where the room started corroding blue and a killer started emerging, while the main character was washing her hands at the sink. This scene, this hallucinatory vision from the character, and the way the room changed in real-time moved me very much emotionally. So I brought up the idea of attempting this in a game.

First, I suggested that the main character travelled into a hallucinatory world which was caused by something caught in his vision, a trigger of horror. The first thing I wanted to create was the structure that the world would transform into - a horror hallucination world in real-time when viewing pictures, and other points of interest, or letters, etc. These would become triggers, as a means of seeing the story with clarity – understanding the truth behind the scenario, or seeing another truth outside the ‘real world’ scenario."

The stand-out transient being outside the 'real world', as Kawamura-san puts it, featured as a signature enemy of this experimental game-play, is clearly the Hookman, and as such is the most commented upon symbolism of Leon's hallucination perspective, but there are others, of more subtle design. Kawamura's Lost Soul's inspired blue-tinted contamination of a natural world environment, triggers the wafting curtain, to form menacingly into a sinister visage ~

   

 

Detailed footage analysis of the Hallucination game-play trailer ~

 

An observation by Welsh, suggests that the stone steps shown in the development test screen (background movie test) entitled 'Stairs which go up a cliff', may lead directly to the Castle shown at the start of the trailer, joined by a stone bridge that appears in both screens ~

Images by George Trevor

 

Considering this astute observation, I note with interest the heavy rain that drenches the bridge in the trailer footage, and the description of the weather surrounding the comparable bridge in the test screen - 'There's a rainstorm blowing violently.'

This is not the only reappearance of this model, and it has been recycled in both retail biohazard 4... ~

... and and the heavily Hallucination version influenced RESIDENT EVIL 5 DLC, Lost in Nightmares ~

Images by George Trevor

Some additional observations by Welsh and Ridley, astutely identify a collection of textures & designs from the Hallucination build, that match with other biohazard retail titles, and original source paintings for those appearing in the Hallucination footage ~

The lower wall and bucket texture appear in the retail biohazard 4. The wash tower appears in biohazard rebirth ~

  

Image by Welsh

The doors appear in the retail biohazard 4, and the rug appears in the main hall from Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles ~


                                                                                            

 


This painting seen hung in at least two areas, appeared in Devil May Cry (possibly a leftover from the biohazard 4 era), and then again in biohazard rebirth ~

Image by George Trevor

Image by George Trevor

As yet unidentified painting, depicting the Fall of Granada period, like many of the paintings seen in this build, appears repeatedly.

This rug and wall texture from the Hallucination build screens above & below, also appear in the retail version of biohazard 4 ~

  

Extractions by Welsh

Extracted & image by Davide959 & Mr.Scratch

This painting of a man appears in Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles ~

Image by Welsh

A set of two paintings found in the Hallucination game-play's dining room also appear in the retail version of biohazard 4, and are taken from the larger work entitled 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' by Rembrandt ~

Image by George Trevor

 

 A further observation by Project Umbrella member Albert, identifies one of a group of paintings in the screen capture below; 'The Milkmaid' by Vermeer ~

Image by George Trevor

Casting an eye on Leon's arm will do nothing to further the investigation into any continuing contamination feature carried over from the previous Castle build, as it is shows no sign yet of infection. The further release of additional game-play footage did however develop the theme of Leon's infected arm (see 'Hallucination biohazard 4' section, below).

Screen captures of Leon's left arm (the one clearly causing him distress & anguish in the previous Castle version) from both the beginning and ending of the Hallucination version premier trailer, clearly show no sign of infection, which is further underlined by Leon suffering no other physical sign of contamination symptoms or side-effects. Despite Leon showing no physical signs of contamination, such as those highlighted throughout the Castle version build, and as we will come to see evident in the later released footage of this build (see Hallucination biohazard 4 section below), he is still evidently post-infection, due to the premier showcasing of his 'blue-tint' hallucination perspective. This was the first time Kawamura's Lost Souls concept was featured into the development as a real-time game-play mechanic, and as the haunting blue hue converts Leon's environment from quiet foreboding yet devoid of foe, to a quickening, attack based scenario, a chilling sound of chain on stone heralds the pursuing attack of a new signature enemy ~ 

There are further observations to be made concerning the Hallucination build footage from this premier trailer, and for these we need to look to another Capcom title, from 1989, on Famicom, never published outside Japan, and one of the forerunners in defining the survival horror genre - Sweet Home  スウィートホーム.

 

In interview, published in The True Story Behind BIO HAZARD, entitled 'Words from Producer on the Game BIO HAZARD', Mikami explained that he planned on using Sweet Home as a starting reference during his development of BIOHAZARD. The two were indeed based on the same game system and BIOHAZARD used significant signature features of Sweet Home, that were to provide iconic ingredients for Mikami's benchmark in survival horror. 

Crimson Head Elder translation of 'Words from Producer on the Game BIO HAZARD'

The Sweet Home's influence, as a major source for BIOHAZARD'S design, is detailed more comprehensively in BIOHAZARD 2 PROLOGUE OF TERRORS:

FULL SIZE HIGH RESOLUTION SCAN & DOWNLOAD LINK

Similarly, in interview during the development of the Hookman build, Shinji Mikami again made reference to the influence that this survival horror godfather has had over biohazard's design. No specific comparisons were made, but they are clear for all to see, and are collated below.

Hookman Doll v Sweet Home Doll ~

Image by Welsh

  Image by George Trevor

Like the Hookman enemy, these dolls were merely present as a game-play experiment, to frighten the gamer, and consequently very little is known about them in terms of their wider role, and significance within the game. In the absence of further developer insight, what we do know can only be deduced from the game-play. As with the Hookman enemy, the knights of armour, and the deer head trophy, the heralding of Leon's perspective change with the blue tinted game-play, triggers their change from inanimate object, to free moving creature. So they are presumably in the same group of features from this blue-tinted perspective, that evidence Leon's hallucination symptom.

Both doll incarnations are the only enemies in their respective game-play to taunt the player with a cackling laughter; the Hookman dolls, when they are animated into attack mode emit rather sinister and chilling high pitched laughter, very much in the spirit of the laugh that accompanies the Sweet Home evil doll's deathly welcome, which is delivered with a similarly creepy cackle "You will all die!! Hehe!"

Hookman Armour v Sweet Home Armor ~

 

In the proceeding section, which studies the Hallucination version's game-play in greater depth, it will be shown that there is one small, but remaining feature of this build, surviving all the way to the retail released biohazard 4 - the enemy knights of armour. The considerably different source for their ability to become animated will also discussed, but as to their inspiration, no matter what causes their respective motion, the knight armour enemies from both the Hallucination version, and biohazard 4 retail, can be traced directly back to the armor enemy of Sweet Home. As highlighted in the above scan from BIOHAZARD 2 PROLOGUE OF TERRORS, this was not the first time that Shinji Mikami had delved back into Sweet Home to find inspiration from the armor enemy during the development stage of a particular Biohazard title, seen with the design of BIOHAZARD's armour room puzzle.

Hookman portrait v Sweet Home Mirror ~

Image by George Trevor

Arguably more tenuous and speculative than the previous two comparisons, is the link between Sweet Home's Mirror enemy, and the Hookman; specifically the nature by which they materialise, presenting themselves as foes. Whilst the Hookman enemy originates from a portrait rather than a mirror, the mechanics by which his transformation from inanimate object to an enemy in motion take place, are clearly reflective, almost liquid esque, and also emphasise the similarity between this trapped Hookman who appears to free himself from his portrait prison, and Sweet Home's trapped spirit attacking from beyond his reflective cell. Irrespective of the lack of a very direct link, both foes are certainly of similar design. It is more than reasonable to suggest the developers behind the Hallucination build very much had in mind the Mirror enemy from Sweet Home, when constructing Hookman's design, particularly the mechanics with which he animates into the game-play to do battle ~

     

In January, 2005, those who pre-ordered the Japanese GameCube release of biohazard 4, received a promotional DVD entitled 'biohazard 4 Secret DVD'.  Amongst the standard fare of 'The making of biohazard 4', 'Producer's interview', and various trailers, can also, surprisingly be found, game-play footage of the Hookman version, entitled 'Hallucination biohazard 4' / ' 幻の「バイオハザード4 '

biohazard 4 Secret DVD release data

Ripped from the disc by George Trevor, this extensive coverage, whilst well known now publicly, is exclusively published below with an English translation (by Welsh), and some extracted texture observations ~


 

The rug in this corridor is re-used in the retail version of biohazard 4.

 

 

Distinctively placed either side of these ornately carved wooden doors are crown shields crossed with two swords, and decorated with three horse-head daggers, on either side. These are also found in the retail biohazard 4 in different resolutions and the axe appears in Biohazard Rebirth in the armour room.

Extracted by Welsh

Devil May Cry 4 high-resolution textures taken directly from the Hallucination version ~

   

Image by Welsh

The axe is a mock African tribal axe, but as discussed with refrence to Marcus' Diary 1, the African setting was not chosen until the planning stages of BIOHAZARD 5. The origin of these items is just a coincidence.

Welsh suggests that a variation of the shield also appears on the Salazar family crest ~

Extracted by Welsh

Extracted by The Chief

 

A mere ten seconds into this game-play footage, and Capcom let slip the first publicly revealed precise evidence of the physical mutation afflicting Leon. This screen capture would be made available to the community, some three years after the premier trailer for the Castle version, which showcased an infected Leon S. Kennedy, and just over a year & a half after the premier trailer for this Hallucination build clearly depicted an uncontaminated protagonist, or at the very least yet to suffer any physical abnormality from infection. Insightfully observed by Project Umbrella member Preston, particularly close inspection of Leon's left arm, previously apparently healthy during the début trailer footage of this build, reveals small, yet clear signs of infection, and mutation; an affliction not suffered by him in the premier trailer for this Hallucination version, whether his contamination had been carried over from the discarded Castle build, or not ~

 

'Hallucination biohazard 4' game-play footage                Hallucination version début trailer

Leon's left arm has clearly undergone a considerable mutation since he first began his exploration of the Hallucination build's environment, as showcased in the début trailer of this build. The unknown fastenings that have suddenly appeared around the arm of Leon's jacket, are far more robust than required to merely fasten back together the ripped garment, previously seen as undamaged, in the trailer footage of this same version. The significant level of physical abnormality, and sheer force of Leon's mutation has completely lacerated the entire length of the jacket's tough leather arm. What may be more than just leather strapping, possibly metallic clamps, evidence not just the presence of a contamination, but due to the fact that more than one, potentially metal clamps are required, suggest that the resulting mutation is of a considerable abnormality, and overpowering force. 

 

Image by Preston

This strapping is far more robust than would be necessary to merely fasten back together the ripped garment (previously seen as undamaged, in the début trailer of this build) after an injury or minor abnormality. I would deduce that   the degree (type & amount) of these fastening suggests the symptom of Leon's contamination is a considerable mutation. What may be more than just leather strapping, possibly metallic clamps, evidence not just the presence of a contamination, but due to the fact that more than one, and potentially metal clamps are required, also suggests that the resulting mutation is a significant abnormality of overpowering force. This degree, and the sheer force of physical mutation has completely lacerated the entire length of the jacket's tough leather arm.  Additionally, Project Umbrella member Preston has identified a discolouring to Leon's left had (circled above), resembling darkened lesions across the skin, further evidence of the mutation caused by a growing infection, gathering pace.

Extracted by Mark Grass

So it is clear, that whilst the development of the Hallucination version was more an isolated experiment of game-play mechanics, than a full blown build to completely replace the Castle version, it still carried over the theme of Leon's infection. Moreover, the infection ravaging through Leon's arm, as seen in the Castle build, would be consistently followed with Hallucination game-play footage clearly highlighting an infected arm. I pursued this continuing theme during my interview with Yasuhisa Kawamura, for Crimson Head Elder ~

"...the concept of the Castle, where Leon kept fighting while an illness was destroying him, was passed on. So although the Castle was replaced with the Hallucination, it remained in the game as an expression of Leon?s illness. Also the mechanic where Leon could view a hallucinatory or spirit world and fight against its residents when the fog filled in the room, was considered then too..."


I identified the painting texture above, re-used as part of the biohazard 4 build that was developed into Demento (known outside of Japan as Haunting Ground) ~

The above texture was also extracted and then enhanced by Welsh ~

   

Project Umbrella staff member & Crimson Head Elder resident Ridley was able with a keen, perceptive eye to identify this work as 'Crucifixion of Saint Peter' by Caravaggio.

Ridley has also identified the source picture in the above screen shot. It is entitled 'Saint Francis' by Francisco de Zurbaran.

Welsh has made the further observation, that the painting on the right, which appears in biohazard 4 retail, does so as a possible replacement for the 'St. Francis' painting ~

Image by Welsh          

A variation of the gallery in Hallucination version, and the library door that appears in Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles ~

 

The sealed doors are a game-play mechanic, that first appeared in Devil May Cry, inspired by the movie, The Haunting, and is a feature that developers can be over-reliant upon, as seen in Silent Hill Homecoming.

A collection of the dining room object textures from Biohazad Rebirth, and the retail biohazard 4, extracted by Welsh ~


Image by Welsh

The chandelier is re-used in the retail biohazard 4 ~

Extracted by Davide959 & Mr.Scratch

An example of a real-time environment change, a game-play mechanic created by Yasuhisa Kawamura, the inspiration for which he developed from watching the film Lost Souls, and Silent Hill 3 ~

  

 

During the Crimson Head Elder interview, Kawamura-san references the inevitable technical difficulties that this sophisticated game-play mechanic would provoke ~

"It was very interesting but was extremely difficult, as it meant effectively having two different worlds in one, operating simultaneously in real-time, which was a challenge given the memory restrictions & hardware specs in those days. In the process of resolving those problems, ideas from the other staff were adopted and the black fog, Leon?s monstrous arm and the Hookman appeared in improvements & experiments. There were many experiments & proposals, such as peeling skins off an enemy when attacking for example."

(One cannot help but think of a certain daughter of George Trevor!)

 

Image & extraction by George Trevor

Candles re-used in the retail version of biohazard 4~

Extracted by Davide959 & Mr.Scratch

As will be evidenced below, by Kawamura-san during his interview with us, it was never categorically decided if Hookman's inclusion into the build's game-play, was to signify 'possession', being of transient form, a figment of Leon's contaminated, hallucinating mind, or whether a true physical form. The overriding, main indication is of course the shift of perception from what appears to be lucid normality in the normal palette, to a potentially hallucinatory perception in the blue-tint palette, which occurs simultaneously to the Hookman's transformation from motionless portrait to attacking foe, suggesting that it is this shift that triggers these foes to animate.

There are also additional clues in the footage, ripped from the biohazard 4 Secret DVD, that may suggest which form Kawamura and Sugimora were leaning towards. The clearest indication, I would suggest, is shown upon conclusion of the confrontation with Leon, when physical lingering evidence of the Hookman's existence remains despite his demise, significantly after the blue-tint perspective, which heralds & signifies Leon's descent into any potential hallucination subsides, and all that is real & lucid returns. This observation, together with further scrutiny of Hallucination biohazard 4 footage, is illustrated in the commentary below.

The Hookman's grand entrance into this footage sees him emerge from what appears to be his personal portrait, thereafter stained with an unidentifiable, mysterious black substance ~

 

 
 

 

 

There is a definite distortion in place of the Hookman's portrait which has effectively animated into life. In his place this black, glistening blemish remains. Whether this 'substance' is actually a mere indentation, suggesting lasting damage to the remaining surface where once Hookman's image was depicted static, or an active material that has contaminated the remaining area, similar to ectoplasm, is inconclusive with this example alone. One should look to the biological, and environmental consequences of the other enemy demises, and also specifically at whether this mysterious texture remains after the transformation from blue-tint 'hallucination' perspective, to un-tinted lucid perspective. If it were to remain that would not only assist in identifying its form, but also add to the weight of evidence suggesting that there is more reality to the Hookman and other enemies than being mere hallucinations.

Firstly, regarding the other inanimate objects that then animate, most into an attack formation, upon Leon's cognitive shift into the blue-tint perspective, the results are inconsistent. The mounted deer's head is the first example of this 'Lost Souls' inspired phenomenon, and the only one of its kind not to attack. It's rather gory animation and immediate auto demise, as it falls to the foot of its mount, causes a featureless black stain to remain it its place, where previously mounted, whilst this hunting trophy itself vanishes without trace, on the floor below, leaving no evidence of its existence at the death scene. Similarly, the next inanimate object to become mobile with Leon's continued blue-tint perspective, the armour foe, disappears without trace upon self-destruction, leaving no indication of its past existence, comparable to the Hookman's shimmering black 'substance', the deer trophy's black stain, or otherwise. Furthermore, close scrutiny of the spiteful, insidious dolls provides equally little, as they too leave no remaining trace of any form after their explosive demise. But when one looks at the biological & environmental consequences of the Hookman's defeat, there is marked difference to it's 'Lost Souls' phenomenon peers, both during and after the blue-tint perspective. The texture left in the wake of Hookman's animated materialisation has been identified in the previous paragraph, and whilst it has now been shown is un-matched amongst the other blue-tint perspective animations, it can also be observed, that uniquely, after Leon's perspective shift back to lucid normality, it remains. Before that remaining texture is evidenced, an arduous battle ensues (scrutinised in the proceeding paragraph), that eventually culminates in the Hookman's demise, and a unique de-materialisation, as he dissolves into a dark gas type substance ~

                                                   

This is a unique demise physic to the other enemies.

Had this devolution into a black fog been the death mechanic for all blue-tint perspective animations, it would strongly suggest a common viral source of origin if all are more than mere hallucinations, or if not part of the lucid world, a common cause / symptom. However, despite this lack of a common relationship within their demise, their matching mobile existence triggered by perspective shift is clearly evidence enough of their common potential cause (if all are the resulting symptoms of a viral hallucination), whilst not definite proof of a common potential origin (if more than mere hallucinations, some may have been secondary infectants, others B.O.Ws, and the possibility of different viral parentage cannot be ignored).

Upon the Hookman's demise, Leon's perspective returns to complete lucid normality, and there is no trace left of either the Hookman, or the black fog that he materialised into on death. However significantly, there is remaining evidence of the Hookman's animation, which survives the shift back into lucid perspective, suggesting a more than mere transient form. It was discussed in the previous paragraph that if the 'substance' seen to cover the area vacated by the Hookman's evolution from static painting to animated foe were to remain, that would not only assist in identifying its form, but also add to the weight of evidence suggesting that there is more lucidity to the Hookman, and potentially other blue-tint perspective entities, than just mere transient forms of Leon's viral possessed imagination ~

 

Presumably a mere hallucination would have no lingering physical remnants in the lucid world? Having explored the blurred line between Hallucinations lucid and blue-tinted perspective, I was keen to pursue this line of questioning, when given the opportunity, during our Crimson Head Elder interview:

CHE: What, if anything, causes the mannequin dolls & the Hookman to animate, and then attack Leon? Are they merely non-moving hallucinations, or actually part of the lucid world? Are they B.O.Ws, or are they secondary infectants?

YK: They are mostly Leon's hallucinations. Some are hallucinations, but others could be B.O.Ws, or enemies in the 'real' world. However, they are far from lucid reality since Leon only sees them when he is delirious. So they die when Leon dies. You hear a story that a person develops a blister when he is hypnotised to believe that he's burnt. That was the kind of concept that we aimed to apply.

 

Turning our attention back to the unrivalled highlight of the Hallucination biohazard 4 footage, namely the formidable confrontation posed by the Hookman, the following observation, and then detailed commentary can be made: 

A book that appears in Biohazard Rebirth, Umbrella Chronicles, retail biohazard 4, Revelations, and Devil May Cry 4, seen

during the Hookman confrontation, is shown below, in high-resolution ~

    

Image & extraction by Welsh                                                                           Extracted by The Chieif

The Hookman is noticeably weakened by flashes of lightning in the dining room corridor ~

 

 

 

This footage clearly illustrates the lightning was necessary to defeat the Hookman, since his appearance becomes ever more grotesque with each voltage attack. Moreover, the game-play footage for this battle sequence appears to show the player purposely manoeuvring Leon into the the windowed corridor, in order to lure the pursuing Hookman into an area where his vulnerability to the lightening can be fully exploited. After the initial lightning attack temporarily disables, stunning the Hookman's movement, causing paralysis so as to almost floor him, he resumes the attack, only for a second burst of lighting to again stun, and force him to the ground. Once more he rises up, to continue the onslaught, but with markedly more facial injury ~

 

   

The last image in the above collection is the clearest illustration of the Hookman's facial features, and lead Welsh to observe a similarity with a Ganando texture, that may suggest this Hallucination build enemy managed to find his way, in limited fashion, into the retail biohazard 4 ~

Extracted by Welsh


The Hookman eventually, after considerable punishing lighting & parabellum attack, dissolves into the mysterious substance identified in the previous paragraph.

 

CONTROLS & ROOM LOCATIONS :

Extractions from the biohazard 4 Trial Edition / 
??????? disc provide further insight into the Hookman version, with an image detailing GameCube controls, and a small map showing all locations seen in the game-play footage:

  Image extracted by Mark Grass. English redesign by George Trevor. Translation by Welsh

Locations shown in the game-play footage that make up the entirety of the Hallucination version's known environment, are included in the build's map, extracted by Mark Grass, and presented below with his translations added by George Trevor ~

 

 

                        Room list : Armor passage          

             

 

                                 Room list : Doll           

                   

                               Room list : Dining                

             

                         Room list : Bath Room            

                              

    

Room list : Nakusei Rouka. Hakusei/Taxidermy Passage  

 

Room_List: Monooki. Monohki/Storage Room; Storeroom; Lumber Room

As an aside curiosity and nothing more I have included a feature by British magazine CUBE focusing on Leon's distorted consciousness, but apart from the slight sliver of speculative detail, it is merely a fan-fiction report ~

 

The Castle version was supposed to be an orthodox GameCube exclusive game, produced in the same quality as biohazard rebirth. Moreover, the lead artist who designed the biohazard rebirth backgrounds also worked on the biohazard 3.5 development. There was a completed narrative with BIOHAZARD 2 returning protagonist Leon S. Kennedy, now an agent for a secret government organisation, travelling to Europe in search of the source of the t-virus - Progenitor. That is the 'truth' Kawamura-san refers to. Leon becomes infected, encounters a mysterious girl deep in the castle, curiously together with a B.O.W. dog, and together they put an end to Umbrella by destroying its 'core' - birthplace.

"Leon infiltrates the castle of Oswell E. Spencer seeking the truth, while inside a laboratory located deep within, a young girl wakes up. Accompanied by a B.O.W. dog, the two start to make their way up the castle..." Yasuhisa Kawamura Project Umbrella interview with News Bot

There was no such full narrative behind the Hallucination trailer & game-play footage. 'Hallucination biohazard 4' was merely Yasuhisa Kawamura's experiment to frighten gamers. Graphically sophisticated, atmospherically beautiful, and deeply involving it may have been, but it was devoid of an actual story, aside from Leon having been infected, an inheritance from its Castle version predecessor. Hallucination's environment was designed using stages of Castle version (Spencer's castle), and many of its features found their way into retail biohazard 4, as object textures, albeit scaled down due to GameCube limitations.

Of course, Leon was always going to be a survivor of biohazard 3.5, being as he was an integral leading character in the complete biohazard series narrative, but of the mysterious girl he stumbled upon, deep within Spencer's castle, and her intriguing canine companion? Kobayashi-san in interview again with EGM remembers:

EGM: So no rescuing the president's daughter, or anything.

HK: Not at all, no, although there was a different woman around at that time-a girl who actually never got revealed to the public, now that I think about it.

                                                          

It has long been speculated by some sections of the fan community that these two biohazard 3.5 NPCs were soon to be re-located into another Capcom title, featuring as the main protagonists, in Demento. However, according to Kawamura-san in interview with Welsh, for Project Umbrella, biohazard 3.5 and Demento (Haunting Ground) are not directly related despite their settings having similar features:

"Demento is not related at all to biohazard 4... Demento was a different development department. We did not know what they would make."

They were, however, both written by Noboru Sugimura, and do at the very least share some textures, whilst unused concepts from biohazard 3.5 may have been re-imagined into the new Haunting Ground narrative, including the female protagonist and her canine companion:

  


Two themes that pervade both biohazard 3.5, and retail biohazard 4, are specifically showcased at the start of Castle build's public reveal - 'Possession' through 'Contamination'. Leon's state of consciousness, specifically his ability to recognise the lucid, from the hallucinatory, as a result of an invading outside agent (viral in Castle & Hallucination, and parasitic in retail biohazard 4), is explored and employed as a narrative plot point in all versions. The viral induced possession of biohazard 3.5 causes Leon to overcome clandestine enemies that are triggered into animated attack upon the shift in Leon's consciousness into a 'possessed' filter, whilst in retail biohazard 4, the Plaga induced contamination induces a deeper possession, to the point where Leon has not control whatsoever over his consciousness, and attacks his target, not because his consciousness remains sufficiently, albeit distorted, to assess it as an enemy (as with the Hallucination game-play), but due to the total possession he is under by the all controlling Plaga, that has contaminated him:

 

Image by George Trevor

The inclusion of real-time events & dialogue choices have often divided the community as to their relative benefits to the game-play experience, from the RPG-esque battle choices of BIOHAZARD 3, to Leon's glove-box shenanigans in Biohazard 6. biohazard 3.5 was no exception:

EGM: In earlier versions of the game, there were dialogue choices available to the player in some of the cut-scenes. Why did you remove them?

HK: It was mainly a matter of concentrating the player's attention on what we wanted them to see. The conversation choices never really changed the situation all that much, although there were some choices you could make in the middle of the game that change the experience. Hiroyuki Kobayashi in interview with EGM

Two further game-play mechanics of this nature, featured in Yasuhisa Kawamura's experimental Hallucination development, that conversely found their way into retail biohazard 4, include the battle selection with Hookman, and an almost direct match with the suits of armour. A comparison of the armour dodging section in Ashley's mini-game, from retail biohazard 4, to similar game-play footage in Hallucination's game-play, is shown below:

Image by Welsh

Whilst the knight armour, known as 'Armadura' in the retail version of biohazard 4, are able to move due to the conscious, yet hostless plaga inside, the danger posed to Leon in the Hallucination game-play, that manifests as motion armour too, is of an unknown quantity, the cause or source of this unnatural ability to move unknown. However, from Yasuhisa Kawamura's detailed commentary of his Lost Souls inspired experimental game-play mechanic, given exclusively to Crimson Head Elder, and also recognising the context of the other attacking foes, it's clear, that due to the blue-tint perceptive shift occurring together with the animation of these otherwise inanimate armour, the 'cause' of their movement is within Leon himself - their attack a symptom of Leon's contamination; they remain motionless prior to this perspective change that triggers other inanimate objects to animate, such as the dear head, dolls, and Hookman's portrait. This short section, within a secondary character's minimal mini-game, is the only example of an almost direct game-play match between Castle version & Hallucination game-play, and the final retail product. But there is of course more subtle, lingering connections, that go back to the biohazard 3.5 era:

Image by George Trevor

It has been shown that a smattering of biohazard 3.5 game-play mechanics were carried over to the retail version, whilst other features, such as dialogue choices, were removed. The signature battle of Hallucination's game-play, shows a controller event for shaking off the Hookman's attack, with strong resemblance to the very similar mechanic for shaking off the grip of a Ganado, in the retail version. Furthermore, whilst the earlier Hallucination game-play still used fixed camera angles while exploring environments, the battles already employed the over-the-shoulder view seen in the retail build, and aiming the pistol brought up the surviving feature of a laser sight:

Image by George Trevor

Image by George Trevor

In 2006, Survival Horror site The Horror Is alive featured a detailed article chronicling & detailing the various biohazard 4 Preview & Demo discs: resident evil 4 trial editions feature. During Dot50Cal's & Mark Grass's investigation, remaining code once activated allowed the player to manipulate time delay, and other 'hidden abilities', while simultaneously the surrounding environment shift into a familiar blue hue perspective, reminiscent of Yasuhisa Kawamura's Lost Souls inspired Hallucination experimental game-play mechanic.

The above research has shown that Leon's arm, in the previous builds & game-play experiments, would suffer a considerable mutation, which was strongly rumoured to bestow abnormal powers. The common assumption amongst those associated with THIA's resident evil 4 trial editions feature, and community observers alike, is that some of those abilities uncovered within the Resident Evil 4 Preview disc may have been the results of developer experimentation with the GameCube game engine, and were hence intended for biohazard 3.5.

One further element of retail biohazard 4 that can trace its routes back to this biohazard 3.5 era, is the Ganado. During the Crimson Head Elder interview Kawamura-san revealed for the first time:

"We had the prototype of Ganados while I was still there. Originally it was applied from the idea of 'doubts and fear', horror of who was who, like The Thing. It was called 'Doba man' because their faces would suddenly split and show the real identity. Doba is an imitative word describing a sudden movement. It was me who thought of what it was called, since the model was built first for Ganado, and I then I put a lot of my own thoughts into it, experimenting with the 'Doba man' as a project."

When asked how he felt about the cancellation of his Castle scenario, Kawamura-san gave, as ever, a particularly personal insight, to PROJECT UMBRELLA:

PU: How did you feel when BIO4 was scrapped in favour of the version written by Mr. Mikami?

YK: I felt very sorry. You can even say that I was ashamed. While I felt that I put in much effort, refining the idea to the best of my abilities, my mentor Mr. Mikami had to intervene in the end. Mr. Shibata, who was the director at the time, was very talented, but I felt that he was unable to exercise his full potential because my lack of skill was holding him back. I left the team right before Mr. Mikami intervened, and ended up enjoying the finished biohazard 4 game as just a fan. When I saw the quality of the finished product, I realized what an amazingly skilled person Shinji Mikami is. The experience I gained from this helps keep me going even to this day. It was an invaluable experience as a game designer.
Yasuhisa Kawamura Project Umbrella interview with News Bot

Kawamura-san can find solace in the short comings of the proceeding build, after his departure & free of his contributions, which was was felled too, not satisfying the retail standard; as confirmed by Biohazard series programmer & producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi, during interview with EGM magazine:

EGM: What was the problem with the third revision?

HK: Well, by this time, we knew that the one thing we wanted Resident Evil 4 to be was a revolutionary new experience. We saw that this version wasn't going to be a great leap forward, so we started over one more time. It was a very traditional Resident Evil sort of game.

However, from the consistent tone evident whenever the subject is broached during his conversations with Project Umbrella, Kawamura-san is clearly magnanimous:

"In the end, what ended up becoming biohazard 4 was the best idea out of all of them."

Notwithstanding the above, it is quite apparent from his aforementioned comments to Project Umbrella, and those below, from our Crimson Head Elder Halloween Special interview, that Yasuhisa Kawamura is both highly respectful & sincerely supportive of the successor to his creative efforts:

"Actually, although Mr. Sugiyama of FLAGSHIP had written a good scenario plot which I contributed to with the framework, it was not adopted in the released biohazard 4 at all. When FLAGSHIP & myself left the project, Mr. Mikami re-organised the team, made the game system & mechanics concrete, and then went on to re-write the whole scenario. Which was okay by me, as that was the right way for them to proceed."

And finally, in interview with Crimson Head Elder:

"This was my own setting and is no longer official, but the biohazard 4 I was involved with, was built with the FLAGSHIP world view. This is my feeling. The change of name to BIOHAZARD with capital letters may be the declaration that the game is no longer the same as previous biohazards. Naturally the staff in the production have been replaced and Mr. Mikami has left too. I do not think it is wrong. It's restarted. Hence what they are doing now is the right way."

Yasuhisa Kawamura interview with George Trevor, exclusively for Crimson Head Elder Crimson Head Elder Halloween Special 31.10.13

"Before answering the questions. I should point out that all the things said in this interview are my subjective views. I am confident that I remember things in detail, but one’s memory may not be the same as others. Please clearly specify that my answers here are drawn from my own personal experiences, my own views, and are merely personal opinion, focused on the facts. Since those facts are way back in the past, and there is only a small amount of information that can be properly verified, please do not take everything I say as the absolute truth. In a way, my recollections are like those of a war veterans. There are accomplices, supporters & spectators in a war, and they tell their stories from different angles. For example, even among the patriots who fought for the same country in a war, there is always a different way of seeing things & thinking, depending on their roles. I’m just a solder with some tasks, if I was to liken this to a war. You should accept what has been released/published officially if my stories differ to them. My recollections are just like the Dead Sea Scrolls."

CHE: It is an absolute privilege to have this opportunity with you, and may I say on behalf of many, many devoted fans, world-wide, who are extremely passionate about your work, how delighted we are to have this line of communication with you. It is particularly generous of you to afford us so much of you time, considering the huge development project you are currently undertaking. It is greatly appreciated, thank you. 

I would like to ask you today about the narrative plot points, and creative passions & influences behind your work with the 'biohazard 3.5' project, that saw you conceive the considerably atmospheric, thought provoking Castle build, and the almost ethereal feeling, haunting Hallucination game-play experiment. My own view is that both these windows into your biohazard world, evoke the same senses experienced when playing the first 3 titles, emotions that only the survival horror genre can illicit, to a degree that biohazard 4 retail gets nowhere near.

I am interested by the relationship between your Castle version, and the Hallucination game-play. Had the Castle build been completely cancelled before you then began to develop the proceeding Hallucination version?

YK: Before answering, let me first define more accurraely the context for which you use of the word 'version'. Usually, in the development of cinematic games, a game system is integrated into a world view & stories which are already defined, but this was  not the case for biohazard 4.

Our priority was to build a 'game system & situation that induced fright & horror' first. Therefore, both the Hallucinaton and the Catsle were essentially trial & error ideas that we thought of implementing – which ultimately didn’t appear in the final version, of course.

In terms of the order in which things progressed, the Castle scenario came first – it was the most established - then the Hallucination element came second.

However, when the Hallucination was introduced into the narrative, the concept of the Castle, where Leon kept fighting while an illness was destroying him, was passed on. So although the Castle was replaced with the Hallucination, it remained in the game as an expression of Leon’s illness.

Also the mechanic where Leon could view a hallucinatory or spirit world and fight against its residents when the fog filled in the room, was considered then too. We had so many trials and errors in the development.

Shibata the director had a very clear concept which he described as “seeking the horror”. He had the image of 'the horror of mogaki' – or ‘struggling’. It can be difficult to directly translate this 'mogaki' word into its exact meaning, but it is a situation in which you try to wriggle with your whole body in fear, but cannot escape. He seemed to want me to create not just physical mogaki, but rather a state where Leon couldn't resist mental or psychological pains & difficulties. A kind of mogaki that’s similtaneously mental & physical.

This 'mogaki' was used as the key concept within the production team frequently as the keyword created by Shibata. In fact, the word mogaki is sometimes displayed during the continuous pressing of buttons to escape from the enemies in actual biohazard 4 game. Unfortunately, it's not in the non-Japanese version, as the word doesn't translate directly into other languages.

Shinji Mikami, the producer, also stated Biohazard was a ‘horror game’, and often demanded a production that was revolutionary in the horror genre - the concept he used was that of 'full model change', right from the beginning of the biohazard 4 production. Mikami first wanted something like The Thing, where you could not tell who was the enemy and who was a friend. I suggested a system where the game was about 'fears & doubts', but recapturing that essence in a game structure proved very difficult, so it fell through.

With such trial & error I had some world views & concepts of game systems to test, and I thought they would be suitable to express the 'horror' that Shibata, our director was searching for. The idea of hallucination to be able to see into another plane of reality, was one of them.

In the winter of 2002, I gathered the staff and showed a scene from a film. It was a scene from Lost Souls, by Janusz Kaminski where the room started corroding blue and a killer started emerging, while the main character was washing her hands at the sink. This scene, this hallucinatory vision from the character, and the way the room changed in real-time moved me very much emotionally. So I brought up the idea of attempting this in a game.

First, I suggested that the main character travelled into a hallucinatory world which was caused by something caught in his vision, a trigger of horror. The first thing I wanted to create was the structure that the world would transform into - a horror hallucination world in real-time when viewing pictures, and other points of interest, or letters, etc. These would become triggers, as a means of seeing the story with clarity – understanding the truth behind the scenario, or seeing another truth outside the ‘real world’ scenario.

It was very interesting but was extremely difficult, as it meant effectively having two different worlds in one, operating simultaneously in real-time, which was a challenge given the memory restrictions & hardware specs in those days. In the process of resolving those problems, ideas from the other staff were adopted and the black fog, Leon’s monstrous arm, and the Hookman appeared in improvements & experiments.

There were many experiments & proposals, such as peeling skins off an enemy when attacking for example.

CHE: Was the virus infecting Leon in the Castle build exactly the same as the one featured in the Hallucination game-play?

YK: There is no point really in distinguishing the two. Once the game system is fixed, we can modify the scenario & setting even though they're already established. That is our method of production.

Actually, although Mr. Sugiyama of FLAGSHIP had written a good scenario plot which I contributed to with the framework, it was not adopted in the released biohazard 4 at all. When FLAGSHIP & myself left the project, Mr. Mikami re-organised the team, made the game system & mechanics concrete, and then went on to re-write the whole scenario. Which was okay by me, as that was the right way for them to proceed.

CHE: What was the featured virus of your build, and was it
brought into the Castle, or already present therein, and if brought in by an outside party, who was responsible?

YK: The fog - it is a new gaseous bio-weapon by HCF, which was a new biological weapon company, that Wesker belonged to. It was brought into the Castle by a HCF squad, who planned to seize UMBRELLA HQ - Spencer’s castle. They ran into, and battled with Leon’s army, HCF troops were destroyed by the black fog. Leon’s army were also destroyed except for him, but Leon himself was also affected by the virus, with just a little time left to live, and then having to fight in what little time he had remaining. Incidentally, Wesker did not enter at this point.

CHE: Is there a link between Leon's infection & the  pursuing tentacles? This creature looks similar to the Biohazard 5 virus Uroborus - is this mere coincidence?

YK: I have no knowledge of Uroborus. The 'Black Fog' is collection of viruses, gathered to form a bacteria sized entity, and they behave as if they have a unified, sole intelligence. The tentacles might be a hallucination, but also they might not be. The Uroborus virus was created for Biohazard 5.

According to the setting I created, the primal virus was a superhuman virus, found in an ancient fossilised human being, at an archaeological site, deep underground Spencer’s castle. This virus could not be applied to modern humans, but then the t-virus was created during a process of adaptation. However, while the t-virus could cause mutation, mutated beings could not thrive as a species (they were sterile), so there was no effective means other than to grow biological weapon through cloning.

There is also a t-virus like t-Veronica, improved for the purpose of making oneself super-human. So, in order to transcend the t-virus, Dr. William Birkin developed the G-virus. The concept of G-virus was so revolutionary, because a G-being would stabilise after mutation, then they could breed with other G-beings, from the same species. There is a possibility that Sherry was the only G-being in the world. Was Annette working on the vaccine for G-virus?

This was my own setting and is no longer official, but the biohazard 4 I was involved with, was built with the FLAGSHIP world view. This is my feeling. The change of name to BIOHAZARD with capital letters may be the declaration that the game is no longer the same as previous biohazards. Naturally the staff in the production have been replaced and Mr. Mikami has left too. I do not think it is wrong. It’s restarted. Hence what they are doing now is the right way.

CHE: Here is a piece of concept art, from the Famitsu feature on the Castle version. As you can see it shows a large theatre stage and ornate auditorium. Were you involved with this design, I have further questions if so ?

YK: I am not familiar with this.

CHE: What is the building that Leon is exploring in the Hallucination game-play? Is it the same Castle we see in the Castle version?

YK: It was Spencer’s castle. Everything started from the castle owned by Ozwell Spencer, when the ruin was found, and aristocrats started digging. They found the primal virus and Spencer began to have his amibitions.

CHE: What, if anything, causes the mannequin dolls & the Hookman to animate, and then attack Leon? Are they merely non-moving hallucinations, or actually part of the lucid world? Are they B.O.Ws, or are they secondary infectants?

YK: They are mostly Leon's hallucinations. Some are hallucinations, but others could be B.O.Ws, or enemies in the 'real' world. However, they are far from lucid reality since Leon only sees them when he is delirious. So they die when Leon dies. You hear a story that a person develops a blister when he is hypnotised to believe that he’s burnt. That was the kind of concept that we aimed to apply.

CHE: There was another attempted build after your Hallucination version which has been commonly referred to as the 'Zombie' version, but it was never revealed publicly, and details are scant. Are you in a position to give further detail on this?

YK: That was after I departed the team. We had the prototype of Ganados while I was still there. Originally it was applied from the idea of 'doubts and fear', horror of who was who, like The Thing. It was called 'Doba man' because their faces would suddenly split and show the real identity. Doba is an imitative word describing a sudden movement. It was me who thought of what it was called, since the model was built first for Ganado, and I then I put a lot of my own thoughts into it, experimenting with the 'Doba man' as a project.

CHE: Is there anything further you can tell us about your contributions to the 'biohazard 3.5' project? Perhaps other points of interest for our community, that I have neglected to ask?

YK: I have more stories to tell for my own part, so may I deviate and spend some time on other points, which involve different references, such as my own scheme, hobbies & preferences. On a future occasion, I could offer more stories including what I did not include this time. Although it is not relevant to your question, I do have new game projects but I do not have the complete funds & a publisher. There is no developer studio in Japan that is making Zombie games. I work like a mercenary, working at one studio, then leaving for another. Please contact me if there is anyone out there who wants me to make such a game genre. There is plenty of human resource out there to develop high-end games in Japan, but the main stream is social & puzzle games, and there are only a few games like biohazard. I really would like to create more horror games.

Yasuhisa Kawamura was in interview with George Trevor, exclusively for Crimson Head Elder. He devoted over 4 hours to his answers. Translation costs were consequently very high, so community donations are very much appreciated. Thank you.

Translations by Yuki & Lawrence Masakazu Yoneta

Japanese full transcript available on request to ~ [email protected]

All images captured & ripped by George Trevor, except where otherwise credited

All extractions by George Trevor except where otherwise credited

All translations by Welsh, except where otherwise credited

All English redesigns & image designs by George Trevor, except where otherwise credited

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