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Resident Evil 2 remake: The Ghost Survivors mode coming as downloadable content

The free mode will hit on Feb. 15, Capcom revealed Monday.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
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Sean Keane
15 min read

The live action trailer for the Resident Evil 2 remake is a kind of remake itself.

Resident Evil YouTube/Screenshot by CNET

"This is not how I imagined my first day."

It's about to get a whole lot worse for rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy and a whole lot better for Resident Evil 2 fans who've been dying to go back to Raccoon City for some zombie killing.

The remake of the much-loved 1998 PlayStation classic hits shelves Jan. 25. and thankfully it lives up to the hype -- check out our review to learn more.

Capcom, the Japanese developer and publisher behind the game, released a live action trailer for the remake on Jan. 24 to get fans hyped.

It shows Leon and Claire Redfield investigating the RPD and confronting the zombie hordes before teaming up.

The new promo is sort of a remake itself, since it was made as homage to a 1998 live action trailer directed by the late zombie movie legend George Romero (best known for 1968's iconic Night of the Living Dead).

Check out the rest of the delicious details on the game below.

When did we first see the remake?

Sony surprised fans at its E3 2018 press conference by revealing two trailers for the Resident Evil 2 remake and some gameplay footage. The PlayStation maker also gave us something better: a confirmed release date. We'll see the game on Jan. 25 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

The first cinematic trailer starts off from the viewpoint of a rat (presumably one of the vermin that spreads the zombie-creating T-Virus throughout Raccoon City) as it watches a man being killed by one of the undead. The zombie is then shot by Leon, one of the game's two heroes.

In a nice nod to the original game's roots, the rat crawls past an original PlayStation prior to the gore.

The trailer then flashes to various familiar images including Claire (the game's other hero), a horrifying Licker, officer Marvin Branagh (offering advice on zombie killing), lost child Sherry Birkin and possibly the relentless Mr. X (who hunted the heroes in the original game).


The box art for the Resident Evil 2 remake was shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2018.


According to Capcom's press release, the "game has been completely rebuilt from the ground up for a deeper narrative experience. Using Capcom's proprietary RE Engine, Resident Evil 2 offers a fresh take on the classic survival horror saga with breathtakingly realistic visuals, heart-poundingly immersive audio, a new over-the-shoulder camera, and modernized controls on top of gameplay modes from the original game."

The company offered further details in a blog post.

"If you know the classic Raccoon City Police Department like the back of your hand, some parts of the station might look familiar, but don't let the similarities fool you. While many of the locations may look similar in design to the one in the original game, this museum-turned-police station is full of surprises for both seasoned veterans and newcomers alike," Kellen Haney, a Capcom social media specialist, said in the post.

"Various puzzles to solve and completely new areas to explore await those who dare to set foot inside the expansive building. With a new over-the-shoulder camera offering a different perspective on the cramped passageways and massive foyer, you'll need to keep your wits about you if you want to survive the nightmares that lurk around every corner."

The second trailer showcases the over-the shoulder camera as Leon faces off against the zombie hordes in the police department, aka the RPD.

The game was playable on the E3 show floor, with a demo that showed Leon's first steps into the RPD. The action seems like a cross between the beloved Resident Evil 4 and the generally disliked (but more modern) Resident Evil 6.

We see Leon exploring the police station's main hall and east wing, some nasty encounters with zombies and an unlucky fellow cop, as well as his first meeting with Marvin (who's more active than he was in the original game).

What we've seen since the initial reveal


Claire rides a 1998 Night Train Harley Davidson.


Capcom showcased Claire's new character model in some key art at its San Diego Comic-Con panel in July, revealing that she'll wear a jacket with the classic "Made in Heaven" slogan and logo.

She'll also ride a 1998 model Harley-Davidson Night Train into Raccoon City, with a license plate that reads "J2198," representing the original game's Japanese release -- Jan. 21, 1998. The remake arrives 21 years and four days later.

The first gameplay from Claire's campaign was shown at Gamescom 2018 in August, and revealed Sherry Birkin and greasy RPD Chief Brian Irons. 

We also saw a boss battle, with one of William Birkin's first forms. He looks much as he did in the original game, but his mutated left arm resembles the Uroboros monsters in Resident Evil 5.

One of the series' most mysterious characters, Ada Wong, made her first remake appearance in a trailer shown at Tokyo Game Show on Sept. 19.

She initially wears a practical cream trench coat and the less practical sunglasses at night, but the villainous Albert Wesker made those cool in the original game.

She saves Leon from a zombie dog, but gives him the cold shoulder immediately afterward as she refuses to tell him what's happened in Raccoon City.

"Get the hell out of here, before it's too late," she says.


Ada Wong returns.


Ada's traditional shadowy motivations are present throughout the trailer, but she's seen teaming up with Leon as they make their way into the sewer (which connected the RPD to the lab in the original game).

The TGS trailer also showcases Annette Birkin, William's fellow scientist wife and mother to Sherry, and more of Claire's campaign.

Capcom highlighted the unpleasant Lickers in a gameplay clip on Oct. 10. It sees Claire moving slowly and quietly to avoid the eyeless monsters, which look even more horrifying in modern graphics.

On Halloween, we found out that Leon and Claire's classic costumes for the original version of Resident Evil 2 would be available to unlock. Leon's outfit is pretty similar -- his tactical vest has a different design and his belt isn't quite as busy.

Claire's throwback look, however, is completely different than her new costume. It's much more revealing and highlights how impractical the original outfit was -- her cut-off jeans and bike shorts seem less than ideal when zombies could strike from any angle.


Claire's classic costume doesn't offer much protection from zombie bites, but is a cool throwback nonetheless.


Developers Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and Tsuyoshi Kanda said they considered cutting one of the original game's most iconic moments: the sewer encounter with the giant alligator.

"Trying to make a convincing scene where a human-sized character -- a guy with a knife -- is taking on an alligator... that's really silly," Hirabayashi told the Daily Star during Comic-Con.

"People don't remember it as silly because the whole game was groundbreaking at the time, but that moment was ridiculous. It was a difficult process for us, making that work today."


William Birkin isn't happy to see you.


In the same interview, they also noted that the game won't support VR.

"We're not thinking about VR support currently, given that the camera perspective and the over-the-shoulder choice would mean that VR is not the best way to present the game," said Kanda. "VR doesn't match the vision for us."

The pair previously confirmed that the infamously difficult extra modes of the original game, The 4th Survivor and The Tofu Survivor, will be returning


Leon and Claire pose on a rainy Raccoon City street in the Gamescom key art.


The former saw players taking on the role of Hunk, an operative of the evil pharmaceutical corporation Umbrella, as he tried to escape the city with limited ammo and hoards of monsters in his path. The latter re-used Hunk's scenario, but as a large chunk of bean curd armed only with a knife.

On Dec. 3, we found out via the Japanese Resident Evil account on Twitter that it's getting a PUBG Mobile crossover.

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"PUBG Mobile × Resident Evil RE: 2 collaboration is decided!" reads the translated tweet. "What kind of innovative play can be produced by combining the world's most popular mobile game and survival horror's monument, two super IPs?"

The video shows previously seen shots from the game in found footage, but gives no indication about the gameplay. It's likely the battle royale game (which is coming to PS4 on Dec. 7) is getting some sort of zombie mode.

The first major previews for the game came out on Dec. 4, with CNET's Sean Buckley highlighting the terrifying encounters with the Tyrant, a bioweapon sent to hunt the characters down. GameSpot, our sister site, echoed the sentiment

The previews also showcased sections where we play as Ada, finally seen in her iconic red dress.

Is there a demo to try?

Yes! Capcom released a playable "1-shot demo" to download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Jan. 11 and it'll remain available until Jan. 31. 

You'll have 30 minutes to complete puzzles and take down zombies in a section of the police station as Leon. If you end up as a meal for the undead within that time, you can try again until the time limit is reached. 

Completing the demo will unlock a previously unseen cinematic trailer that you can view as much as you like, but you won't be able to play the demo section again after the 30 minutes have passed. The full game is out two weeks after this demo becomes available anyway, so you can wait. Or play it again on a separate account -- we can confirm that this works on PS4.

Capcom also released a suitably intense trailer for the demo. 

The playable section isn't overly difficult, but gives a good sense of the game's intense atmosphere and how tough the zombies are. Fans of the original will be surprised at the changes made to the police station -- Capcom has done a nice job of mixing the old familiar sections with the new areas.

The new trailer gives us our first glimpse at the Umbrella lab, the game's final area, and one of William Birkin's later forms. We also see secret characters Hunk and Tofu for the first time.

Does Capcom have downloadable content plans?

Of course it does! The company revealed we'll be getting an extra mode for free very soon.

"The Ghost Survivors is coming as a free update to #RE2 starting Feb. 15. Explore "what if" stories of three unfortunate souls who never made it out of Raccoon City: The gun shop owner, the mayor's daughter, the soldier," the game's official account tweeted on Jan. 28.

The scenarios are called No Time to Mourn, Runaway and Forgotten Soldier.

It'll come out in multiple volumes, as noted in a Resetera post about a Japanese launch stream event. Gun store owner Robert Kendo, the mayor's daughter Katherine and an Umbrella Security Service (USS) member are coming as playable characters in the first.

It'll be an extra mode "with randomized elements, an in-game shop (not micro transactions, earn points in-game by performing well) and should be very replayable," according to the post. The mode will also feature at least one new enemy type not seen in Leon or Claire's story campaigns.

Also Feb. 15, Leon and Claire are getting retro-style outfits based on their polygonal looks from the original Resident Evil 2.

"Party like it's 1998 all over again with some (extremely) vintage retro costumes for Leon and Claire, free to all Resident Evil 2 owners... " it tweeted.

Do we know what actors are be in the game?

Leon and Claire are played by prolific video game voice actors Nick Apostolides and Stephanie Panisello, as noted by IMDB, and their updated faces are based on those of models Eduard Badaluta and Jordan Mcewen.

Ada's played by Jolene Andersen, Sherry by Eliza Pryor, Sid Carton is RPD chief Brian Irons, Karen Strassman portrays Annette Birkin and Terence J. Rotolo voices William Birkin.

Christopher Watson voices Marvin, whose look is based on that of music producer Patrick Levar.


Who's a good boy?


Do we know the PC spec requirements?

We sure do. According to the Steam preorder page, the minimum requirements are:

  • OS: Windows 7 , 8, 8.1, 10 (64-BIT Required) 1
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4460, 2.70GHz or AMD FX-6300 or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM 
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R7 260x with 2GB Video RAM 
  • DirectX: Version 11

Expect some pared-down visuals at that level. For the full visual experience, Capcom recommends:

  • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (64-BIT Required) 1
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-9590 or better 
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM 
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 with 3GB VRAM 
  • DirectX: Version 11

The zombies of Resident Evil 2 will be pleased to meet you and pleased to eat you.


How will it run on PS4 Pro and Xbox One?

Players on the souped-up consoles can enjoy 4K visuals, but only at 30 frames per second, Capcom's Mike Lunn told Comicbook.com. If they turn down the resolution, the game will run at 60 frames per second.

Lunn said developers aimed for a stable frame rate on both consoles, regardless of players' settings.

Are there different editions of the game?

Yes indeed. In addition to the standard edition, there's an impressive Collector's Edition (which Capcom revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2018).


This collector's edition is exclusive to GameStop and will be available only in the US, for $200, and Canada, for $240.


It includes the game, classic Resident Evil item box-style packaging, a 12-inch Leon figure, a 32-page art book, a 25-track digital soundtrack, a poster designed to look like the blueprints for the Raccoon City Police Department redesign and all the digital extras found in the deluxe edition.

This version of the collector's edition is exclusive to GameStop and will be available only in the US, where it's $200, and Canada, where it costs $240


The European collector's edition comes with even more stuff.

Capcom UK

The European collector's edition is similar, but also comes with a steelbook for the game, limited edition replica RPD keys (like those found in-game), a soundtrack CD and a "Made in Heaven" pin badge (based on the slogan on Claire's jacket).

In the UK, it's exclusively available from Game for £230 and is exclusive to GameStop in Ireland for €250.

Europe is also getting a steelbook edition with fewer bells and whistles, the official account tweeted Wednesday. It'll come with an Elza Walker outfit for Claire -- Elza was the original female protagonist before Resident Evil 2 was scrapped and restarted. (More on that below.)


The European steelbook edition comes an extra outfit for Claire.


There's also a deluxe edition, which is $70 on Amazon and contains digital extras (the standard edition is $60). These are also available in a digital equivalent -- seen on the PS4 and PC preorder pages:

  • Leon Costume: Arklay Sheriff
  • Leon Costume: Noir
  • Claire Costume: Military
  • Claire Costume: Noir
  • Claire Costume: Elza Walker
  • Deluxe Weapon: Samurai Edge - Albert Model
  • Deluxe Weapon: Samurai Edge - Chris Model
  • Deluxe Weapon: Samurai Edge - Jill Model
  • Resident Evil 2 / Biohazard Re:2 Wallpaper Pack
  • Original Ver. Soundtrack Swap

Just turn around and go home, Claire.


The Samurai Edge is a custom handgun used by members of RPD's Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS). Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield were the heroes of the first Resident Evil, while Albert Wesker was their treacherous captain -- his weapon was also usable in Resident Evil 7.

It would also seem that the Original Ver. Soundtrack Swap is an option to change back to the iconic music of the 1998 Resident Evil 2.

The basic digital preorder comes with Chris and Jill Samurai Edge weapons, as well as the wallpaper pack.


The typewriter keyboard is available on its own or with the game, but only in Japan.

Capcom Japan

Japanese fans can spend even more money to get a keyboard modeled after the in-game typewriters (traditionally used as the series' save points), as noted by GameSpot. On its own, the keyboard costs 75,000 yen (approximately $675). The working keyboard is compatible with your PC, Mac or tablet, and can be connected via bluetooth and USB.

The keyboard retails for 75,000 yen (approximately $675 USD) by itself, and is compatible with your PC, Mac or tablet. With a copy of the game and an ink ribbon prop, it costs 82,800 yen ($750).

The ultimate version costs 99,00 yen ($900) and includes the typewriter keyboard, four ribbons and the other items found in the US collector's edition of the game. There's no indication that the keyboard will be available outside Japan, and only the PS4 version is available as part of the packages.

What's so great about Resident Evil 2 anyway?

"Who are ya? What're ya doin' here?!"


The original Resident Evil 2 hit the Sony PlayStation in 1998.


If you remember Robert Kendo threatening Claire or Leon when they stumble into his gun store from Raccoon City's ruined streets, then you might recall that Resident Evil 2 -- the second entry in the long-running survival horror franchise known as Biohazard in Japan -- first hit the original PlayStation in 1998 and sold 4.96 million copies. (The franchise as a whole has sold 83 million units.)

It's still remembered fondly, and even changed the course of CNET staffer Dan Ackerman's life.

Since then, Resident Evil 2 has been rereleased or ported six times, with additional features like the Extreme Battle Mode, support for analogue controllers and slight graphical enhancements.

GameSpot gave the game 8.9 back in 1998, and the game carries an average rating of 89 on Metacritic.

Resident Evil 2 tosses players into the middle of Raccoon City as hordes of virus-infected zombies take over. The players must try to survive the madness by fleeing to the city's massive police station and escaping while uncovering the mystery of how it all went down.

It might not be clear now, but Resident Evil 2 was more ambitious and had more unlockable content than most games of the era.

Leon S Kennedy takes out a Licker -- one of the game's most memorable monsters -- in the original version of Resident Evil 2.

Leon S Kennedy takes out a Licker -- one of the game's most memorable monsters -- in the original version of Resident Evil 2.


Players could choose between biker Claire and rookie cop Leon. Each had a distinct path through the game's locations. And an unlockable second scenario offered an alternative story for each. In all, there were four different ways to play through the main game.  

Astoundingly, producer Shinji Mikami decided to cancel the original version of Resident Evil 2 when it was about 70 percent complete, citing general dissatisfaction from the development team. 

That version -- since dubbed Resident Evil 1.5 -- featured Elza Walker in place of Claire, a very different police station and a host of different enemies and bosses.

Resident Evil 1.5 never made it as far as release, but there are echoes of it in the remake. One of Claire's alternative costumes puts her in Elza's biker outfit, the Tyrant's new hat was seen in 1.5 concept art , the shutters in the remake's RPD are vision in footage of the scrapped game, to highlight a few.

Why bother with a remake?

The series has a history of excellent remakes and rereleases.


The remake's box art mirrors this key art for the original game.


The first Resident Evil was remade for the Nintendo GameCube ($529.99 at Amazon.com ) in 2002, and an HD remaster of that remake hit the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One ($449.98 at Amazon.com) and PC in 2015. It remains a visual masterpiece to this day.

Since Resident Evil 2 is more ambitious than its predecessor and the series has evolved hugely since 2002, a remake is a fascinating prospect.

We got a pseudo-remake in on-rails shooter Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, which came out on Wii in 2009 and included a streamlined retelling of Resident Evil 2 as one of its scenarios, with more-realistic graphics.

It's even got the tabletop treatment from Steamforged Games. Resident Evil 2: The Board Game got more than $1 million in pledges from its Kickstarter campaign, far exceeding its $200,400 goal, and started shipping in January 2019.

What should I play before the Resident Evil 2 remake?

Resident Evil 2 works as a standalone experience, but the remake of the original game is widely available and absolutely excellent.

You can play Resident Evil Director's Cut -- a slightly tweaked version of the original game -- on the PlayStation Classic. It's great, but dated, so you'd be better off playing the remastered version of the remake.

If you want to see how the series has evolved, 2005's Resident Evil 4 and last year's Resident Evil 7: biohazard are the big milestones.


Leon returns in Resident Evil 4, one of the best gaming experiences you can have.


Resident Evil 4 saw the viewpoint change from fixed camera angles to an over-the-shoulder style (like that of the RE2 Remake), and the gameplay became more action-oriented than survival horror. 

It's among the best games ever made, earning 9.6 from GameSpot and holding an average of 96 on Metacritic.

It also came out on just about everything after a nine-month stint as a Nintendo GameCube exclusive, hitting the PS2 ($196 at Amazon.com), PC, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard shifted things back toward survival horror, with a first-person perspective. It's terrifying, and the truly brave can play through the entire game in VR. It got an 8 from GameSpot and sits at 86 on Metacritic.

You can get it on the PS4, Xbox One and PC. In Japan, Nintendo Switch owners can stream it.


The Baker family can make Biohazard a truly terrifying journey.


What did we know about the Resident Evil 2 remake prior to the E3 reveal?

Virtually nothing. The 2015 announcement video saw Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, producer at Capcom's R&D Division 1, revealing the remake's existence in a shirt that read "WE DO IT!"

However, he also warned that we wouldn't be hearing anything about this project for a while... and he wasn't kidding.


Better get off the streets of Racoon City quickly, lest the zombies overwhelm you.


In January, the original Resident Evil 2 director, Hideki Kamiya, tweeted his faith in his counterpart on the remake.

"I heard that my friend is directing RE2 remake. Let's trust him & wait for a new information," he wrote. "I went drinking with him last year & told him 'Do as you like'. That's the way directors should do. I trust him & his team."

Thankfully, Kamiya's faith was well-placed.

First published, June 7, 2018, and regularly updated as we find out more.

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