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RE4 Biohazard 3.5

Looking Back at the history and development of the game, specifically the Castle/Fog and Hookman version.

Leon running through a dilapidated mansion, seeing hallucinations, and fighting off a stalker type enemy is still a great idea.

Feb 2012, PU does an interview with Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, he wrote the "Hookman" version.


Kawamura on the outline of the scenario and how much of his version was completed before being scrapped:

Hookman was merely an experiment and there was no true back-story.

"I wanted to make biohazard 4 scarier and suggested using a particular scene from the film "The Lost Souls", where the main character (played by Winona Ryder), 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).

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... Unfortunately, there were many obstacles that needed to be overcome and the cost of development was deemed too expensive.

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

Kawamura on his feelings of his version being scrapped:

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.


It's no surprise to hear Kawamura talking about development costs being too high.

we know the sales of REmake on Gamecube had some degree of impact on this project.

let's take a look at an Sep 2013 interview with IGN and Shinji Mikami to see what he has to say.


Mikami on action titles bringing a funner experience than Survival Horror:

One thing that I’ve been observing… I’ve been looking at the survival horror genre for a long time. I don’t think it’s specifically because developers want to appeal to a wider audience. I think they just want to make their games more fun, and if they’re reaching more and more in that direction, they’re naturally going to go toward more action.

With Resident Evil 4, I intended to make more of an action game - 5 and 6 were outside of my responsibility, of course - but with Resident Evil 2 and 3, that wasn't necessarily the intention I started with.

However, further into the interview the topic of REmake sales comes to light:

The Resident Evil remake is actually one of my favorites of the series too. But it didn't sell very well. Maybe there weren't many people to accept that. Because of the reaction to the Resident Evil remake, I decided to work more action into Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 4 would have been a more scary, horror-focused game if the remake sold well.

My personal opinion is that had REmake launched on PS 2 we would not have had a prettier game but the sales figures would've been significantly higher. The Hook-Man build may have still transitioned to over shoulder but perhaps we would not have gotten the final product that we ended up with.

Mikami then wraps up the interview by talking about fun again:

With Resident Evil 1, 2, and 3, and all the rest of the series before Resident Evil 4, I was always saying to the staff, 'Scare the player is the number one thing. But for the first time, in Resident Evil 4, I told the team that fun gameplay is the most important thing.'

It definitely sounds like the disappointing sales of REmake were the leading factor to make RE 4 a [funner] action game.

Some interesting things of note, apologies for not sourcing this section but it has materials from reliable sources in the community such as Welsh and News Bot:

-in the final build of RE 4 Leon is still infected just like in the Castle/Fog and Hallucination versions. the key difference however is that he gained powers.

Leon was able to use his arm as a weapon, similar to Piers but it would extend into a Uroboros type tentacle, and he was also able to stop time.

-the DMC version of the game originally had Spencer's twin sons John and Tony which later became Dante and Virgil.

we only have one screenshot of this build:


some personal observations I have:

-the Armudura's concept from 4 look to be an asset carried over from the Hallucination version. the armored knights attack Leon with an axe.

-the blue lighting that appears during the hallucinations, we see Mikami implement this feature as a warning when Ruvik approaches Sebastian on the mansion grounds in Evil Within.

plenty of assets from 3.5 were carried over to the 2005 game Haunting ground.

-Leon saves a dog in the final build but in the 2005 game but initially he was to meet a girl with a dog that had powers in the dungeon of the castle. in Haunting Ground the protagonist befriends a White Shepherd dog that helps her throughout the game.

-the protagonist has to make her way through a castle, some of the outside environments, particularly the courtyard area are lifted directly from 3.5.

-the groundskeeper is stalker type enemy much like Hookman.

Hopefully cvxfreak's upcoming book will shed some light on all this.
Would have loved to have seen the story that 3.5 would have gone with.

I never understood why they scrapped the story along with the horror factor. They still could have made an action game and kept the original intended story elements.

RE4 did change the series forever and and made it more appealing to a wider audience and very successful, but I’m always grateful for Separate Ways for connecting the game to the rest of the series even more than the base game.

I’m also looking forward to cvxfreak’s book as well.


Like Sonny, I had always wished they didn't scrap the original plot point, though SW did bring RE4's story to light much better than the OG release. CV, especially CVX, had such a great cliffhanger ending. It was so uptempo for the series and the inevitable events were going to be climactic. Even the promotional material for 3.5 kept this going. To go from that to "6 years have past" was a bit offsetting.
I personally never liked the look of the "Hook Man". He just looks like a generic zombie, not a menacing stalker.

The hallucination angle has potential, and has already been introduced with the Mold.

I think what this version of 3.5 had going for it the most was tone and atmosphere, while the DMC version had the best enemy designs and potentially story.


Finger Lickerin' Good
I'm likely late as hell to the game, but I stumbled upon a fangame called Resident Evil Code: MADMAN recently, which aims to recreate 3.5 as closely as possible, and I havta say it's a really, really tense game. Playing it, you can see just how many concepts from 3.5 have been brought back to the series in different games.

Code: MADMAN just continues to prove to me that the Resident Evil fanbase is one of the best out there. How many other fandoms work so hard to bring the community what Capcom didn't? 1.5, 3.5 and RE1 GBC, now all we need is a release of RE0 N64.


I think one of the aspects I really liked about 3.5 is how it was going to directly follow up to CV's ending, I remember really being excited about that back then. Then I popped in RE4 and heard "Six years have passed." :ROFLMAO:
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