Sunday, April 11, 2010

Resident Evil 4: One-Page Analysis Exercise

When I'm motivated, I sometimes create random game design exercises in order to try to keep my mind sharp. Below I tried to boil down the fundamentals of Resident Evil 4 into a one-page analysis. Admittedly, I didn't do that great of a job. I relied more on analytical feel and instinct, although I didn't have a goal other than to "feel" what the underlying elements were keeping me immersed. I might try to do another iteration on this analysis and stay more focused on moment-to-moment player actions / mechanics.


Genre: Survival Horror

Number of Players: 1

Story and level progression: Linear

PRIMARY GENRE SUPPORT: The story, visual art, music, sound effects and writing provide the primary support and feeling of Survival Horror”

SECONDARY GENRE SUPPORT: The controls and camera serve to enhance the Survival Horror feeling without becoming an annoyance or a distraction

FAT FREE: Every element serves a specific purpose to the primary element / driving force which is Survival Horror


CONTROLS AND CAMERA: The controls and camera are precisely and purposely designed to enhance the scary factor. Primary examples include the following:

· Navigation is limited to walking or running forward and only walking backwards; NOTE: Walking backwards speed is faster than walking forward speed

· Fast turning allowed, but only in a 180 degree motion

· ALL control (player and camera) removed during reloading

· Player is not allowed to adjust the turning speed of the camera / gun aiming

· Camera is positioned over the right shoulder or in the “something is behind me” angle


Deafening Silence – This ever-present element greatly enhances the introduction of specific enemy and environment sounds; by default, the hero’s own footsteps are the primary sounds when traversing through an area

Enemy Animations – The detail in these deliver a large amount of scary factor; for example, after executing a headshot on an enemy, the enemy continues to walk forward for a few moments with interruption; another example: when an enemy decides to turn around, he waits a few beats and then turns around

Foreshadowing – Different levels of foreshadowing of future scary events done via Notes, story cutscenes

Level design flexibility – Level design allows for enemies to spawn seemingly out of nowhere or from pre-determined areas

Enemy Spawning - Usually enemies are spawned when a mini-objective is completed or a new area is reached. Keyword: Usually; consequently, the scary factor is increased even when enemies are NOT spawned.