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- Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Capcom didn’t stray too far from the source material with the Resident Evil 2 remake, but it looks like they’re getting a bit more adventurous with the reimagining of RE3. This isn’t a bad thing, as Resident Evil 3 packed more locations and exposition into roughly the same amount of gameplay as its predecessor, and some parts can definitely use some expanding. After RE3, the next logical remake for Capcom to tackle is Code Veronica. However, what game will likely require more changes than RE2 and RE3 combined.
Twenty years to the day after it came out, I love Code Veronica. It’s the reason I wanted a Dreamcast. I remember my mom got it for me for my 12th birthday, but she didn’t get me a VMU. So, for the next week or so, I would play as far as I could until I died and then start the whole thing over again. Code Veronica holds a special place in my heart, and it’s one of my favorite Resident Evil games to this day.
That being said, Code Veronica is also where the series started leaning a bit too heavily into campiness to the point of being almost nonsensical at times. Sure, RE 1-3 had their fair share of cheesiness, but they always played it straight, and everything that happened made sense in the context of the game. Code Veronica, on the other hand, is far more theatrical in execution, especially with the additional scenes included in the Code Veronica X re-release.
Code Veronica‘s tone didn’t clash too heavily with the rest of the series when it released in 2000. However, with the remakes of RE2 and RE3 leaning towards a more serious and realistic tone, a remake of Code Veronica is going to require massive changes to fit into Capcom’s new vision for the series, some of which we’ll discuss below.
Resident Evil Code Veronica remake changes | Alfred and Alexia Ashford
Code Veronica is the first mainline Resident Evil game to have human antagonists take center stage, a trend that would continue with Dr. James Marcus in Resident Evil 0. While previous titles had Wesker, Birkin, and Chief Irons, their motivations were background more than anything. Wesker wasn’t so much against the STARS as he was for himself, as was Irons, and Birkin transformed into a mindless monster who only cared about reproducing. In Code Veronica, Alfred and Alexia Ashford are a far greater threat than the BOWs you face, and they’re a constant presence throughout the game.
In the original game, Alfred comes off a bit goofy. However, he and his sister Alexia’s backstory is quite sinister. In a Code Veronica remake, Capcom would be wise to play up the psychological aspects of the Ashford twins. All the ingredients are there to make these two incredibly creepy and intimidating, especially if the game delves further into their relationship with their father.
Resident Evil Code Veronica remake changes | Steve Burnside
Steve is probably the goofiest character in Resident Evil history. The issue with the character isn’t his goofiness, though. It’s the fact that the game doesn’t really drive home how absolutely horrible his life has been, and how his social skills have been stunted by his upbringing. Steve essentially grew up on Rockfort Island in Umbrella’s prison. His father, a former Umbrella employee, was caught selling company secrets, which lead to his mother’s death and he and his son’s incarceration on Rockfort Island.
We know life for prisoners on Rockfort Island was hard. Journals left behind tell us that they were used as guinea pigs for Alfred’s experiments. They were also forced to work on Alfred’s construction projects and likely received very little in the way of sustenance or medical care.
This obviously explains Steve’s awkwardness. He’s had no interaction with people in a safe, sane environment as an adult. Furthermore, he’s a 17-year-old, and Claire is an attractive woman, someone he wants to impress. Unfortunately, it comes off as cheesy in the original game, which caused a lot of players just to write Steve off as annoying. His story is actually one of the most tragic of all the characters throughout Resident Evil. If the remake adjusts its portrayal to reflect that, then his death later in the game would be all the more impactful.
Resident Evil Code Veronica remake changes | The timeline
Resident Evil Code Veronica started on December 27, 1998, only three months after Resident Evil 2. In that time, Claire has made her way to Europe, infiltrated an Umbrella facility in Paris, was captured and is transported to Rockfort Island somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. While that’s all somewhat plausible, I feel like Code Veronica would make more sense if the prologue covered the events between October and December 1998.
Showing what happened to Leon, Sherry, and Claire after RE2 would add some much-needed framing to Code Veronica‘s story. We know Claire is looking for Chris, but it’s a big leap to have the most horrific, terrible day of your life, then voluntarily put yourself in the position where it could happen again just three months later. No matter how brave Claire is, she’s not a trained soldier, and she didn’t face down the horrors of Raccoon City of her own volition, she was stuck there.
Giving Claire a catalyst that gives her the strength and desire to push on and head to Europe to find her brother at the beginning of Code Veronica would do a lot to build her character further. Additionally, it would be great to get some backstory on what Chris has been up to between his departure from Raccoon City and his arrival at the Antarctic Base in the second part of the game.
Resident Evil Code Veronica remake changes | Tone Wesker down or remove him entirely
Wesker is a fan-favorite character, but his presence in Code Veronica leads to the plot becoming overly convoluted. Especially in Code Veronica X, Wesker tends to negate the effectiveness of some of the horror elements. He’s superstrong, remains in control of his facilities, and fights the big bad, Alexia, to a draw near the end of the game in CVX.
While he fits the campy tone of the original game, he would interfere with the grittier, horror-centric tone of the remakes. If Capcom chooses to include him in a Code Veronica remake, he’d be more effectively used as a shadowy adversary. If he just jumps out with his glowing red eyes and karate, he’ll steal the spotlight again, and detract from the creepiness of Alfred/Alexia and the imposing environment.
Resident Evil Code Veronica remake changes | Show the Rockfort Island attack
The Resident Evil series did itself a major disservice by having Umbrella close in 2003. From RE4 on, the company(s) behind the dirty work are shadowy and often nameless. One of the things that makes the classic style RE games so scary is that the enemies you’re facing are, for the most part, indiscriminate. Like the zombies their products create, Umbrella doesn’t care who it hurts, and it’s untouchable during gameplay. The company is a monolithic force whose actions affect you tremendously, but they barely pay heed to the player characters. Even Nemesis is deployed more for battle data than anything, despite it taking a whole game to take him down.
If Capcom is going to keep Umbrella’s demise in 2003 canon, it needs to introduce the company(s) that take its place. The Hive-Host Capture Force from a rival company attacks Rockfort Island in an attempt to acquire the t-Veronica virus. This is what causes the t-Virus leak, which contaminates the island. However, we never actually get to see the HCF or learn much of anything about them. Wesker is a member of the special operations group, but we never learn anything further other than the HCF works with The Connections crime syndicate at some point in the early 2000s.
Whether it’s Tricell, WilPharma, or some as yet unnamed company, Capcom should establish the history of Umbrella’s successor. It’ll give more recent entries some much-needed lore to bounce off of, especially if Capcom decides to move the canon in a different direction or remake RE4-6.