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Resident Evil 4 Devs Talk About Improving Ashley for the Remake

by pfuwi
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The upcoming Resident Evil 4 looks like it’s going to be Capcom’s most faithful RE remake so far, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t making any changes. From its combat to new enemy types to tweaks in the story, it’s changing things up from the 2005 original in a variety of ways- which also includes Ashley Graham’s character.

The President of the United States’ daughter, Ashley plays a pivotal role in the game and is often by Leon’s side, but though her portrayal and implementation in gameplay annoyed a great many players in the original game, in the remake, Capcom is making a number of key changes, as revealed courtesy of Game Informer.

Some of the gameplay-related changes were recently detailed, including Ashley no longer having a health bar, players not being able to hide her in dumpsters during combat, and having a specific button for giving her simple commands. Meanwhile, environments in the game will also now feature more “tag-team obstacles”, for which you’ll need to have Ashley with you, allowing you to, say, send her through crawlspaces. This will also encourage players to go back to previous areas with Ashley in their company to access some of those previously inaccessible obstacles.

Another key change is that players can no longer command her to stop and then go back for her after clearing out an area of enemies, since Capcom wanted her to be in Leon’s company more than she was in the original.

“As a character, we wanted to have her by your side so she left an impression,” says Yasuhiro Ampo, one of the game’s two directors. “And as a game, having her hide while you went and fought in the original, that was fun in some ways. But having a character like Ashley and then having her basically disappear for a while felt like a waste. We wanted to avoid that in the remake.”

Fellow director Kazunori Kadoi added: “Making an A.I., you don’t want them getting in your way. But if you can just forget about them and they take care of themselves, then it doesn’t feel like you’re really protecting them. Finding a balance between those two is difficult.”

Meanwhile, from a story perspective, Capcom has made changes to Ashley’s characterization as well, making her “a little more serious”.

“Her character is a little more serious than the original,” said Ampo. “We put a lot of thought into how someone would realistically react when put in those situations. And in that context, we strengthened the reality of her interactions with Leon. That goes for the conversation she has with Leon as they travel.”

Kadoi added: “At one point, we even had it so that you could grab her hand and lead her, but [Ampo] thought it looked like they were too close and didn’t like it. So we didn’t end up doing that.”

Resident Evil 4 launches on March 24 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PC.

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