Newt from Aliens inspired the Resident Evil 2 remake’s Sherry Birkin
If you’ve seen the recently-released Resident Evil 2 remake gameplay showing Claire Redfield’s playable section, you might have noticed Sherry is more than a little different compared to her incarnation in the original.
In the original Resident Evil 2, released in 1998, when Claire bumps into Sherry Birkin in the Raccoon City police station, the young girl calls out “help me!” as she’s chased by a zombie. Here’s how it looks (skip to the 10 minutes and 55 seconds mark in the video below):
In the Resident Evil 2 remake, however, Claire finds Sherry hiding behind some boxes. Sherry, clearly frightened by the events she has witnessed, slowly moves into the light.
“Do you need help?” Claire asks.
Sherry, who looks like she has survived some pretty intense stuff, replies: “You need help.”
It’s a very different scene, and a very different Sherry. The Sherry in the original game is a one-note young girl who acts as little more than a plot device. The Sherry in the Resident Evil 2 remake has more about here. This change, director Kazunori Kadoi told Eurogamer’s Aoife Wilson at gamescom, is entirely deliberate and indicative of Capcom’s approach to modernising Resident Evil 2.
“Taking Sherry as an example, she’s a character who in the original game was basically a little girl and very childish,” Kadoi said.
“We wanted to add depth to her. Because you’re looking at her in a more photorealistic environment, and the characters look more human and realistic, that naturally means we have to add more depth to them, because they’re a lot less cartoonish and two dimensional. Back in the day, the storytelling was revolutionary because horror games didn’t have stories. We have to meet fan expectations now with games designed for 2019.
“She definitely someone now who feels a bit more like she has her own personality. She’s thinking in her mind and she’s got her own motivations. We’re trying to take some of that stuff that was slightly unnatural and add depth to it.
“We are – as always – keeping our cards close to our chest about exactly who’s changed in what way, but that’s a great example of one way the storytelling has been modernised and brought up to date.”
Claire’s scene with Sherry in the Resident Evil 2 remake rekindles memories of Rebecca “Newt” Jorden from the Aliens movie. In that film, Newt has managed to survive the alien menace by moving in the shadows, under panels and in chutes well before Ripley and the marines find her.
“These people are here to protect you,” Ripley says. “They’re soldiers.
“It won’t make any difference,” Newt replies.
It turns out, Newt was indeed an inspiration for the new Shelly.
“Newt from Aliens was something of a reference point,” Kadoi revealed, “the first time you meet her and seeing, yeah, she’s seen some serious stuff!”
Capcom’s philosophy for the Resident Evil 2 remake is certainly to modernise what was a somewhat silly, goofy experience, with some lines of dialogue that were unintentionally funny.
Kadoi said Capcom has “tried to retain the flavour of the original as much as possible”, which means certain elements remain fantastical and unrealistic. For example, the giant alligator boss (“we considered removing it – but then we just thought, well, it wouldn’t be Resident Evil 2 without the giant alligator”) is in the game, but made more realistic.
“We did our best to make it more believable as much as possible,” Kadoi continued. “So, whether or not a giant alligator of that size could exist and has a place in this story is put aside. If there was one, how much weight should it have to its movements? Should it be able to jump this far across the room? We’re accepting it exists, so maybe it should be a bit more weighty and believable in that sense? When you make things a bit more believable, people can accept the leap of logic a bit more.”
And, as you’ll know from the gameplay, the dialogue has been rewritten.
“We don’t want any scenes where you’re not supposed to laugh but you do because of comedy written dialogue,” Kadoi explained.
“That’s not the intention – that’s spoiling the intended atmosphere. It doesn’t mean we’ve gone 100 per cent po-faced, seriousness. The game is still laced with some humour because people have come to expect that from Resident Evil. There are lighter moments, because in horror you always need to relieve the tension once in awhile, just to give yourself a breather, and humour’s a part of that.”
The remake has involved new looks for all of the main characters in Resident Evil 2. We know Leon’s new look, and Claire’s. The recent gameplay also gives us a look at the new Chief Irons (expect Irons to play a bigger part in the story this time around).
And, according to Kadoi, fan-favourite Ada Wong will look significantly different, too.
“It goes back to the same thing of, what would look natural to be wandering around in a photo-realistic environment in?” Kadoi said.
“I think wandering around in that dress just getting on with your job as a spy probably doesn’t look as realistic and believable as we want in this new game.
“Exactly what we’ve done with her design is something we’re tight-lipped on, but it’s safe to say we won’t betray your expectations.”