Resident Evil 2 Remake Changes: What’s New, What’s Different, What’s the Same?

The Resident Evil 2 Remake reveal at E3 2018 showed that we’re getting far more than a simple remaster. Instead, RE2 Remake seems to go beyond even the remake of Resident Evil for the GameCube in how far it changes the game in scope. When the Resident Evil 2 Remake was announced, fans were thrilled with just the thought of having the original game updated to use modern gameplay and graphics. Instead, we’re getting a whole new version of Resident Evil 2 with a firm foundation in the original, but with almost every aspect expanded and tweaked to make an entirely new game.

Every asset for RE2 Remake is being built from scratch, so to track every single change from the original to the new game would be an exercise in futility. What we want to do is take a look at the sources we have so far (trailers, gameplay demos) and show what major aspects of the game have changed when it comes to what path you’ll take through the game, how the layout of environments have changed, and what route the story seems to be taking this time. This is far from a comprehensive list, but we hope to put down what we know so far about the Resident Evil 2 Remake to paint a picture of what you can expect out of the starting moments of the new game.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Changes: How it Begins

Unfortunately, the gameplay demos we’ve seen so far don’t show the beginning of the game. All the gameplay of the RE2 Remake we’ve seen so far has been set in the beginning areas of the Raccoon City Police Department. However, the two reveal trailers show scenes from all over the game, some of which seem to be from around the time when Leon enters Raccoon City for the first time.

We know that the basic premise for Claire and Leon’s arrival is still basically the same. Leon is a new recruit for the RPD who is coming to Raccoon City to start his new job. What is a bit different about Leon’s story is that we do hear a line in the gameplay demo that indicates that Leon was warned to stay away from Raccoon City because of the outbreak. This actually explains why he’s dressed in riot gear when he arrives in town instead of a standard RPD uniform.

RE 2 Remake Streets

We haven’t seen much of Claire yet, but we do know that she still meets Leon sometime before he arrives at the RPD. It does seem like their original meeting at the diner doesn’t occur as the trailers show Leon’s first encounter with a zombie is in the back room of a convenience store or gas station. Leon still enters the RPD from the streets, but it’s likely that we’ll spend more time working our way there than in the original game.

Details on the differences between Claire and Leon’s scenarios haven’t been revealed yet, but it seems like they’ll diverge more than they did in the original. Also, it appears that their stories may be set in stone this time around, so there’s no Scenario A and B, just one version of their respective adventures. Also, it seems like current RE2 established canon of Claire A/Leon B might be out the window (if RE2 Remake‘s story takes any cues from the scenario system at all) since the gate Leon sees Claire at in the computer monitor at the end of the gameplay demo is the same one you use to enter the rear area of the RPD in Scenario B in the original RE2.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Changes: Characters

From the trailers and gameplay demos of the RE2 Remake, we can confirm that pretty much every character from the original game will return. If they haven’t been directly shown, then there are sound clips in the demos playing that clue us in on it. Leon and Claire have received a visual redesign that gives them a more realistic look while remaining faithful to the original. In the material, we’ve seen so far though we’ve only gotten really good looks at Leon, Claire, and Marvin. Even Sherry was a bit hard to make out in the trailer. It’s likely other returning characters will also be slightly altered, though Marvin’s remake design is extremely close to the original.

RE2 Leon Original vs Remake

While the characters we’ve seen so far seem to fulfill much of the same role as they did in the original game, we know that some of them are going to get a lot more screen time. Marvin Branagh, as we’ve seen from the footage released so far, has a much-expanded role in the game. Instead of giving Leon the Blue Keycard and then dying, he actually saves Leon’s life during their initial meeting, and he plays a support role in the early part of the game by letting you know what your objectives should be and giving you info about the RPD.

RE2 Marvin Original vs Remake

Another RPD officer with a slightly expanded role is Elliot Edward. In the original RE2, Elliot was the cop who accidentally shot down the helicopter in Scenario B while being attacked by zombies. In the remake, he meets another grisly end, but this time you meet him in the first floor east wing as he’s trying to outrun a horde of zombies. He has information on how to safely escape the police station, information you get via his notebook after you try to save him.

It’s likely we’ll run into new characters and get to see more of ones that played bit roles in the original game. From some clues we’ve seen in the gameplay demo, the insanity of Chief Irons will become even more apparent in the remake, and we’ll likely get to know characters like Annette Birkin, William Birkin, Ben Bertolucci, and others even better.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Changes: Weapons and Items

We haven’t gotten a chance to see much of your arsenal or inventory items yet. However, what we have seen seems to confirm that many of the familiar items and weapons will make a return, albeit in different places or slightly different forms.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Weapons Changes

We’ve only seen three weapons in action so far in the RE2 Remake.

Leon’s default weapon remains the same: the H&K VP70 9mm handgun. There are some changes to Leon’s handgun that might not be apparent at first glance, though. It no longer is called by its real-world name. Instead, it carries the same name it did in Resident Evil 4 which is Matilda. Its capacity has also been reduced from 18 to 12, likely for balancing reasons. Cosmetically it’s the same handgun as in the original, though.

RE2 Original vs Remake Leon Pistol

The shotgun can be found (at least in Leon’s scenario) in the Safety Deposit Room. This gun retains the same look as it did in the original game as well. The name for this weapon has also been changed. Instead of listing the semi-real name, Remington M1100-P, when you examine it, it’s referred to as the W-870. This is interesting because the original shotgun is actually based on a modified Remington 870, so really both the original and the remake get the real name wrong, the original by accident and the remake on purpose.

RE2 Original vs. Remake Shotgun

The third weapon we see in the demo is a series standby: the combat knife. In the original, you can use the combat knife indefinitely to weakly swipe at enemies. In the RE2 Remake though it has more utility. You can use it to solve at least one puzzle; you can swipe at enemies with it, and use it to force zombies off you when grabbed by tapping a button in a way reminiscent of the daggers in the Resident Evil remake.

We don’t know yet whether or not you’ll be able to upgrade weapons like you could in the original RE2 or not yet, or if the rest of your arms will remain the same. We do know that there is a gunpowder crafting system like the one found in Resident Evil 3 that is new to the game and that ammo will continue to be a scarce and precious resource. Another neat cosmetic change with weapons in RE2 is that any weapons that you’ve equipped to quick change will show up on Leon’s body during gameplay.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Item Changes

You can count on almost every item location being rearranged in the Resident Evil 2 Remake. Ammo, keys, and weapons might be familiar from the original, but the chances of you finding them in the same place are small. In addition to returning items, we’ve also seen some brand-new ones that add to the complexity of how you’ll interact with your environment.

As far as returning items go you can expect to see iconic ones like the Spade Key (and likely the rest of the card suit keys). Some new ones include the keycards used in the Safety Deposit Room, new medals used on the statue of a goddess in the RPD lobby, and little puzzles called portable safes that you can pick up in your inventory.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Changes: Locations

While we get to see a bit more of new places we may get to explore in Raccoon City, the only location that got any detailed footage in the trailers and gameplay demos is the RPD. The redesign of the RPD for Resident Evil 2 Remake is intimately familiar for fans of the original, but there is a ton added to the building which really enhances the feeling of it being a police station without detracting from the museum architecture that makes it such a unique location. One thing that’s tricky when looking at the new RPD is that the map of the original doesn’t exactly match up with the new one scale-wise. In the transition from pre-rendered backgrounds to 3D, some things have been widened to accommodate gameplay.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Location Changes: RPD Main Hall

RE2-Original-RPD-First-Floor-Labeled

Arguably the most iconic shot in Resident Evil 2 is the pan when you first enter the RPD lobby. To change this location too much would have nearly been blasphemy in fans’ eyes, but luckily the redesign is more of an enhancement to the original layout and aesthetic. The RPD main hall retains its vaulted ceilings and imposing lighting, as well as the Statue of a Maiden (now called the Goddess Statue) that you used the Unicorn Medal with to get the Spade Key in the original game.

Some of the changes to the RPD main hall actually make it an even more critical location in the game. For one, it’s been extended. Instead of terminating below the balcony that you would only be able to access from the hall via the emergency ladder, there are now two staircases at the north end of the room that lead to the east and west wings of the second floor. This should make traveling around the RPD less frustrating and prevent unnecessary backtracking. The door to the West Office is no longer open as soon as you reach the RPD. Instead, you now need to acquire the Spade Key to unlock it.

RE 2 RPD Main Hall Original vs Remake

The statue that serves as the centerpiece to the hall has been moved closer to the north end of the room. Instead of being in front of the desk as you enter the main hall, the statue is now behind it, flanked by the new staircases. The statue is still part of a puzzle in RE2 Remake, but solving it isn’t just a simple matter of putting the Unicorn Medal in a socket and being done with it. Instead, RE2 Remake takes a cue from Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 as Leon learns quickly after arriving at the RPD that there is a passage underneath the statue that leads under the building and eventually comes to the parking garage where you can presumably secure a means of escape. You’ll need three medals contained in three different statues throughout the RPD. The first one is very close, located in the Main Hall itself. The other two, though, are going to be a little more tricky to locate.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Location Changes: RPD First Floor East Wing

RE2-Remake-RPD-First-Floor-Mapped

During the gameplay demo, we got to see Leon’s first trip to the east wing of the first floor of the RPD. He’s overwhelmed by zombies pretty quickly, and he has to retreat back to the main hall, but we did get to see a bit of how the east wing looks and how it has been expanded.

One of the most significant changes is that the Watchman’s Room has been moved from the corridor leading to the basement stairs into the central east wing passage. On the map of the first floor when comparing it to the original game it looks like the East Office has shrunk, but it hasn’t. Instead, a hallway has been added to the east of the East Office, and the whole building has been extended in that direction. This allowed the team behind the RE2 Remake to fit in the new Watchman’s Room and a bathroom.

RE2 Remake East Wing First Floor

The Fire Escape is still roughly in the same position in the southeast corner of the RPD, but, we can see on the map, out of reach of where the demo took us, that a new flight of stairs has been added in the corridor east of the Press Room. It looks like in the remake that a door doesn’t block the corridor on the east side of the Press Room. Instead, it’s blocked by debris. I’m betting the way into that corridor that contains the interrogation rooms now is to either descend from the second floor or ascend from the basement. The original door to the press room also exists, but it boarded up in the remake.

There are a few more small changes to the east wing of the first floor as well. The Press Room now opens to the south and is accessible from the start of the game. The puzzle there seems to be removed as well. Another area that has been added, though it doesn’t look accessible from the first floor, is a boiler room that seems detached from the rest of the RPD. From what little we can tell from the map I would say that this will have to be accessed by descending from the second floor or roof via a staircase. The east wing also has some flooding, but the source wasn’t apparent in the demo.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Location Changes: RPD First Floor West Wing

The west wing of the RPD’s first floor is a bit more familiar in the remake, but it still has a lot of changes to its layout and contents. The area is no longer unlocked by using the Blue Card Key on the lobby computer. Instead, you must get the combat knife from Marvin when you return to the main hall after your retreat from the east wing. Then you can cut the tape sealing a box near the door to the reception area and retract the shutter preventing access to the west wing. Reception is much the same as it was in the original game. However, there does seem to be a small balcony area looking down on reception that wasn’t in the original game. We didn’t get a good look at it in the gameplay demos we saw, but it’s likely accessible via the second floor.

From reception, you enter the west wing main corridor just like in the original game. However, shortly after entering you’ll find that a T-intersection with a branch to the north that is new to the remake. It is blocked with debris, and the corridor beyond leads to a door leading into the West Office and a newly added room that seems to be attached to the Records Room (Filing Room in the original).

Continuing down the main corridor, you’ll find the Operations Room, which looks much the same as it did in the original. There are two changes here, though. One is that the rear entryway that originally led to the small room you could use the lighter to get one of the Red Jewels in the original is either blocked or locked. The other change is that the main corridor is blocked past the Operations Room, so you have to crawl out a small window on the eastern side of the room to reach the hallway that leads to the Darkroom and the staircase to the second floor.

RE2 Remake West Wing First Floor

The small room with the evidence lockers near the stairs to the second floor has been expanded quite a bit in the remake and is now called the Safety Deposit Room. It is no longer attached to the West Office. Instead, it has been lengthened and now sits on the northern wall between the Operations Room and the Darkroom. You no longer need a particular key to unlock it, either. Instead, it now contains a pseudo-puzzle where you can use keycards found around the RPD to open the electronically locked lockers here. In the gameplay demo, we see that using a keycard here is how Leon gets the shotgun.

The West Office is also accessible from the beginning of the game, and considering you don’t meet Marvin here as you do in the original, your first time in the location will be coming from the West Wing corridor, not the lobby. It looks like on the map that there is still a door leading from the West office into the lobby, but it seems to be locked or blocked somehow. From what we’ve seen the West Office looks much the same as it did in the original RE2. However, is a new combination lock puzzle you must solve in the remake to get into Leon’s desk and it looks like the zombie population is a bit higher here than it used to be.

The one room in the west wing of the first floor that stays almost the same as its counterpart in the original Resident Evil 2 is the Darkroom. No significant changes were shown in the gameplay demo, and you’re still able to develop film here. However, it seems like film might have more utility in the RE2 Remake as the photo shown in the demo looked to be a clue on how to solve a puzzle.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Location Changes: Second Floor West Wing

RE2-Original-RPD-Second-Floor-Labeled

The west wing of the second floor is where things start really changing. The first floor had mostly additions with a few complete changes to rooms, but the second floor and up look to have major revisions from the original Resident Evil 2. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of the second floor. In fact, from the demo, it looks like you’re forced to head to the third floor before you get a chance to explore much of the second floor.

The map we have of the second floor is a bit zoomed in, so you can’t actually see the area containing the stairs from the first floor west wing. In the original when you made it up these stairs, you would be able to head into the small room containing the three statues puzzle where you get the second Red Jewel. You could then head through the door past them and access the S.T.A.R.S. office. In the remake, your route will be completely different.

In the Resident Evil 2 Remake when you head up the stairs from the first floor west wing, you’ll find yourself at a landing which contains stairs that lead up to the third floor (more about that in a second). If you head down the corridor towards the S.T.A.R.S. office, you’ll find a new location, the Men’s Locker Room. Inside the lockers, you find some portable safes (a new type of puzzle) and a broken boiler venting steam blocking you from passing further into the locker room. It looks like our old friend the Valve Handle is needed to get past this one. Trying to go past the Men’s Locker Room further towards the S.T.A.R.S. Office you’ll find debris has blocked the corridor. The only way to proceed further in the game at this point is to head to the third floor west wing.

Shortly after you head to the third floor, though, you find a way back down into the revamped Library. The library has zombies inside, which is a change from the original game, and the demos we’ve seen didn’t spend much time there. It’s unknown as to whether the puzzle with the library shelves remains or not, but such a big room almost certainly hides a secret of some sort.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Location Changes: Second Floor East Wing

RE2-Remake-RPD-Second-Floor-Mapped

We didn’t get the opportunity to see any of the east wing of the second floor, but we got to see just a bit of the map of that side of the building. The Waiting Room seems to be roughly the same size and shape as it was in the original. However, the corridor containing Chief Iron’s tiger appears to have been shortened to accommodate a Private Collection Room. Whether this is an entirely new room or just a relocation of the Display Room seen in the original game is unknown.

However, just the small part of the east wing of the second floor we can see on the map from the demo makes it evident that some rearrangement of that part of the building has taken place. Whether it’s to the extent of the west wing, or if there are just minor changes is something we don’t know yet.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Location Changes: Third Floor West Wing

Unfortunately, we don’t have a map for the third floor of the RPD, but we can already tell that this is one of the areas of the station that’s received the most changes. In the original game, the third floor of the RPD is tiny. It exists mainly so you can crank down some steps to head into the even smaller fourth floor and place the Gold Cogwheel in the clock to receive the Blue Stone or Knight Plug. That’s basically all you have to ever do there in the original game.

In the RE2 Remake, the third floor has been completely revamped to be a much larger (and creepier area). This is where the RPD’s past as an art museum really stands out as it seems as though this area is primarily used for storage, some of which includes various art pieces (no doubt collected by Chief Irons). The demo didn’t spend much time here before having Leon cut down to the library and then back to the main hall, but it looks as though this floor is likely now at least as big as the first or second ones. We don’t know whether or not there is also a third floor east wing, but it’s a good bet that there is.

We also saw one of the puzzles you have to solve to get to one of the three statues containing the medals needed to open the underground passage in the main hall. It’s blocked in by a wall with C4 rigged to it. It seems like you’ll have to find the detonator before you can get to the statue and possibly other areas that may be beyond it.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Changes: What Else is New?

The above covers just about every significant change we could find in the Resident Evil 2 Remake material released so far. We’ve only seen a little bit of the RPD, and almost nothing of the labs, factory, sewers, or Raccoon City streets. If the changes we’ve seen in the RPD are any indicator, vast swaths of those areas will likely be expanded as well. This truly is a new game, with enough changes to keep longtime fans on their toes while still radiating that feeling of nostalgia.

Hopefully, we’ll see some of the cool elements of Resident Evil 1.5 make it into RE2 Remake. One of the pre-order bonus costumes for Claire is based on the motorcycle outfit worn by Elza Walker in RE 1.5, so who knows what other throwback material we’ll see.

We’ll continue to update this article as more material from the Resident Evil 2 Remake is released, so check back for more info in the future.