When Resident Evil Village’s Winters’ Expansion launches on Oct. 28, survival horror fans will have a chance to revisit the creepy Eastern European hamlet to experience a coda to Ethan Winters’ story as his daughter Rose. Capcom also plans to release a major update to Village’s replayable The Mercenaries mode, giving players control of baddies like Lady Alcina Dimitrescu and Karl Heisenberg, as well as veteran Resident Evil hero Chris Redfield. That’s much more variety than the current version of The Mercenaries has, which lets players battle the village’s hordes as ol’ whatshisface Ethan.
Polygon recently spoke with Resident Evil Village Winters’ Expansion game director Kento Kinoshita, who answered some of our most pressing questions about updates to The Mercenaries, and what players can expect when stepping into the heels of Lady D later this month. Read on for our full email Q&A with Kinoshita.
Polygon: Can you discuss your process for adapting characters like Lady Dimitrescu and Karl Heisenberg for The Mercenaries? Both seem quite different from the type of characters players have had control of in previous versions of the mode.
Kento Kinoshita: First off, we thought the new additions should be popular characters that fans would want to play as. We ran into some issues along the way, but our development team’s enthusiasm and problem-solving made it possible to add three incredibly popular characters. When adapting them for The Mercenaries, we made a conscious effort to give each one their own distinct feel. Chris is a hybrid character that combines long-range attacks (firearms) with close-combat (fists). Meanwhile, Heisenberg wields magnetic force to unleash close-range assaults. Finally, Lady Dimitrescu makes use of her large stature to perform devastating strikes that feel immensely powerful.
Will players actually have a 9-feet-tall vantage point when playing as Lady D? Or is she “shrunk down” to roughly match other characters’ height?
Lady Dimitrescu’s height brought up a lot of challenges during development, but in the end we were able to implement her with a giant stature, taller than any of the other characters. For The Mercenaries, it’s necessary that the player can control their character easily, and to make that possible we did adjust her height to a little under nine feet tall. At that height, the player just barely avoids bumping into the ceiling.
How did the idea to throw furniture as an attack for Lady D come about?
When considering actions that we could give to Lady Dimitrescu, we first went back and looked at everything she did in the story campaign. Most of Dimitrescu’s behavior in human form is either quite plain or wouldn’t feel great in terms of performing those actions as a player, but there’s that one scene where she throws an entire vanity that leaves such a lasting impression. That moment really stood out and looked like it would be so much fun to be able to do. In the design proposal, just the words “you can throw a vanity” garnered a lot of laughter and enthusiasm among the development team, so rather than sweat the details like “where does the furniture come from?” we just concentrated on making it a fun and interesting attack.
What elements from the fan response to Lady D did you want to incorporate into her appearance and abilities in The Mercenaries?
I touched upon this before in one of the previous questions, but even though we knew it would be difficult to implement such a tall stature, we decided it was too important not to. Also, we were able to express the two sides of her — the calm, dignified side, and the excitable, deranged side — with the Thrill Gauge system. Her three daughters were received very well by fans too, so we decided to include them as one of Lady Dimitrescu’s actions.
In the trailer for The Mercenaries: Additional Orders, Chris punches SIX enemies at once. Does Chris Redfield have superpowers? Can he secretly Hadouken?
Initially Chris Redfield’s punch had an attack radius that was more consistent with its visuals, but we received a lot of feedback that the punch would often miss enemies because of that. So, to make sure it felt good, and so you could land every punch that you know you should, we changed it to attack a large area in front of you! Chris is human, so he has no special powers, but this is The Chris Who Punched a Boulder we’re talking about. His fists are definitely capable enough. Additionally, we’ve given each character their own unique abilities. We included a wide range, including abilities that strengthen Chris’ fists, strengthen his firearm attacks, and more. We hope you enjoy the variety in each run that it provides.
Resident Evil Village’s The Mercenaries’ new playable characters all look very powerful. How did you balance them for the mode’s level of challenge?
A big part of The Mercenaries is the feeling of exhilaration, so to tie into that the new playable characters are all incredibly powerful. But, to rack up a high score, it’s necessary to chain combos and defeat enemies swiftly. We hope players try tackling the various challenges that arise when doing that with each of the characters.
Will players be able to purchase items from The Duke while playing as Lady D, Heisenberg, and Chris? If so, what kind of items will they have access to?
The new characters are also able to buy items and weapon upgrades from The Duke. Unlike Ethan, they aren’t able to purchase weapons, but they are able to acquire abilities, which makes playing even the same character feel new depending on what you’ve obtained.
What is your favorite new addition to Resident Evil Village’s The Mercenaries mode that people might not know about?
We added about 20 distinct unlockables, including new stages and abilities, while also adjusting the difficulty and frequency of these so there would be no loss in motivation when continuing to play. The LZ Answerer could be quite difficult to unlock in the original game, but with The Mercenaries Additional Orders, it’s possible to obtain it while using the newly added characters. If you weren’t able to unlock it before, why not give it another try?