Nemesis, the massive, bio-engineered monstrosity at the center of 1999's Resident Evil 3, was notoriously tough, especially compared to his zombie compatriots. He ran at you, for starters. He had a rocket launcher, and he knew how to use it. And he was unkillable for most of the game. You could stop him temporarily. But as you emptied clip after clip of ammo into Nemesis, you labored under inevitability, You would be seeing him again.
The new Resident Evil 3 (2020), a ground-up remake of the original, could nail everything else--the environments, the controls, the character designs of Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira—but if it didn't nail the design of Nemesis, the project would be pointless. And certainly, the developers knew the stakes.
"Nemesis is one of Resident Evil’s most formidable adversaries, and we wanted players to be on the edge of their seats when confronting or running away from him," said Resident Evil 3 (2020) producer Peter Fabiano in an interview with Complex.
The original Resident Evil 3 provided you with branching, selectable story choices; you could fight Nemesis, or flee to fight another day. The remake is more organic in this regard; it allows your gameplay to reflect your choices, instead of setting you on a specific path. But running away is by no means easy. And the new Nemesis has a number of abilities to discourage Jill's evasiveness.
Take speed, for example. Traditionally, zombies are slow, shambling ghouls. Even in more recent zombie games like The Last of Us (2013), where the Infected move quickly, you can still outrun them in a dead sprint. But there's a real feeling of hopelessness in Resident Evil 3 (2020) when you realize that not only can Nemesis run (as he did in the original game)--this time, he can run even faster than Jill. Plus, he has tentacles, which can grab Jill's legs and drag her closer to him, should she manage to escape. And if that fails, he can jump like the Incredible Hulk. He'll take a flying leap and appear in front of you, even when you think you've shaken him. Suffice to say, Jill needs to stay on her toes.
"I think the seemingly unstoppable nature of the enemies adds that extra level of fear and anxiousness," said Fabiano. "Pacing is very important in a survival horror game like Resident Evil 3. We want players to feel a sense of urgency and anxiety but also balance it out with a sense of calm or rest. We want players to feel what Jill feels when she’s faced with this seemingly unstoppable bioweapon, along with the belief that she can defeat him."
The team designed Nemesis via the RE Engine, Capcom's in-house development game engine. Used to build Resident Evil 7 (2017), Devil May Cry 5 (2019), and the remake of Resident Evil 2 (2019), the RE Engine piloted the latter game's innovation of "wet gore," based on the belief that players would be more repulsed by something that appeared moist, and thus, infected. Resident Evil 3 continues this approach.
"We wanted players to recognize Nemesis at first blush, but also modernize and update him to fit into the photorealistic graphics of the world we created," said Fabiano. "You’ll see Nemesis’ clothes get tattered and his appearance change as he takes damage and as you progress through the game. With the updated graphics, RE Engine, and other advancements in technology, there’re a lot more details we can show off in his appearance."
The remake of Resident Evil 3 is out now. It is available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. As of April 13, it has sold over two million copies in less than a week. And if you love these remakes of old classics, buckle up: a remake of Resident Evil 4, long considered the crown jewel of the franchise, is rumored to be in development.