As a major fan of Capcom’s long-standing survival horror franchise, Michele Giannone was part of the Resident Evil 2: Reborn project that got shut down a month after its public unveiling. Not discouraged by these turn of events, the co-founder of Invader Studios soon set about retooling the game and making it its own unique thing. Now called Daymare 1998, the game is obviously a love letter to Resident Evil, and despite it not having similar production values to Capcom’s own official survival horror franchise, has managed to capture the essence of what makes a good Resident Evil game. As part of this, I spoke to Daymare 1998‘s Creative Director (Michele Giannone) and got to ask him as to what other games set the tone for his take on survival horror. Enjoy!
This is going to sound like a harsh question, but it’s not. For anybody that sees this game on the market and looks at it as a poor man’s version of Resident Evil 2 remake… In a market where we already have Resident Evil 2, why would anybody want to play Daymare 1998?
You know, when you have a really good game, like Resident Evil 2, you want more. You just want more. And we can give to the people a good game with a really good price on PC. And you know the feelings of fear are really close to the Resident Evil 1 game. We also have a really good relationship with Capcom just because our team is also mentioned in the Resident Evil 2 remake game credits.
We started 4 or 5 years ago as a group of friends. We tried to do an unofficial remake of Resident Evil 2 in Unreal Engine 4 and we got incredible attention – a million views on YouTube. Worldwide attention, and Capcom called us on the phone. They congratulated us and said, “You did a really good job just to inform us if there is still attention on this kind of game but now we want to announce it for an official remake, but please come to Osaka and we can have a meeting and discuss future projects.” We flew to Osaka. We met them. We showed them what was a really early idea for this game. They showed us their most secret games, like for the time, Resident Evil 7 and the early stage of Resident Evil 2 remake. So it was really incredible just because they said, “Guys, you have a good idea, just go ahead and do your games and work on it.” So we still have a good relationship with them and for this reason they also mentioned us in their Resident Evil 2 remake credits. And for this reason, it’s really welcomed from the Capcom community, from all the survival-horror fans that have followed us with this game, and now they are waiting for this game and luckily we have a million views on Youtube for this game, we have a lot of attention from the media… And you know, with a good price, with few third-person survival-horror games… because as you know, there are a lot of first-person survival-horror games but there are few third-person survival horror games. So with Resident Evil 2 on the market, with people that liked it and who are looking for similar games, we could have a good chance to sell to them.
I personally think there’s a bit of charm associated with the game because it’s a low-budget indie game…
It kind of reminds me of Earth Defense Force as well as Deadly Premonition… I do think that there is a certain amount of charm that goes with these low-budget games that try to punch above their weight as it were. You mentioned earlier that you have a really nice relationship with Capcom. And assuming that Daymare 1998 does well… obviously you won’t have access to the mainline series of games, but do you think, or has there been any talk of you working on a Resident Evil spin-off game? Like a lost chapters or something?
We had great advice from Capcom and from Mr Aoyama who was the director of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. And Mr Nakai, a really well-known Capcom artist, helped us work on the concepts for Daymare 1998. So with Mr Aoyama and Mr Nakai, we already worked with former Capcom staff. We also worked with a well known voice actor in the original Resident Evil 2. And because we have a really good relationship with Capcom, we hope so. Just because they sometimes give spin-offs to studios that demonstrate that they have the skills and who have really good ideas, creativity as well as the right conditions. So after this release, we are totally open to it, and with Capcom educating us on Daymare 1998, it would be really amazing. We really hope to meet Capcom again and to work with them on a Resident Evil game. It would be really great.
The Resident Evil games have obviously been a big inspiration, but what other games have been an inspiration for you, and that have played a part in you making Daymare 1998 the game that it is?
I can reply to this question from two points of view. From the mood, that was Fear. The game is set in 1998 and we looked at the most important games of that era. So the first 3 Resident Evil games, Parasite Eve 2 was really great, but also Silent Hill 1 and Silent Hill 2.
But from a gameplay point of view, for sure Dead Space. That was really great series. And also The Evil Within. So these are the games that really inspired us to work on Daymare 1998 from a narrative, atmosphere, mechanics, and gameplay point of view.
When is the game due on consoles?
On consoles, we’re working on the porting. We expect to release within 2019 on the PS4 and XBox One.
Will it be boxed or digital?
Digital first, but we are speaking to our publisher on the physical as well. You know, a Collector’s Edition would be really cool to have…
Michele, you’ve been wonderful. Thank you so much!