Why Capcom changed Ashley in Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 centers on Leon’s mission to rescue Ashley Graham, the US President’s daughter. She has been kidnapped by a mysterious cult and held captive in a rural Spanish village where players must seek and survive. Once you find Ashley, you become both her protector and sometimes her partner. Her mechanics and interactions with Leon have undergone some major changes, so as part of our larger cover story, I asked directors Yasuhiro Ampo and Kazunori Kadoi to explain why.
By clicking the right analog stick, Leon can tell Ashley to stay close (and yell “come on!”) or keep a little distance (“spread out”). You can no longer order her to stop; she follows no matter what. This means you no longer have to drop them off in a safe spot to clear enemies in front of them like you did in the original RE4. Capcom wants Ashley to stay by Leon’s side because, realistically, she never wants to be left alone in such a dangerous environment.
“As a character, we wanted her alongside us so that she made an impression,” says Ampo. “And as a game it was kind of fun to hide while fighting in the original. Having a character like Ashley and then making her disappear for a while felt like a waste. We wanted to avoid that in the remake.”
Kadoi adds, “When you’re making an AI, you don’t want it to get 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. It is difficult to find a balance between these two.”
Ashley is also missing a health bar. Absorbing too many hits puts her in a downed state where players must revive her – if she gets hit while vulnerable it’s game over. She can still be picked up and carried away by enemies, which will also cause failure if they stray too far from Leon. Thankfully, Leon can stop this by either shooting the kidnapper or, in a new twist, hitting a point-blank execution by things like jabbing his knife into the enemy’s neck, freeing Ashley.
Though that means you have to keep a constant eye on Ashley, she repays by pulling her weight harder. Resident Evil 4 features more tag team-focused environmental obstacles, such as: B. Sending Ashley through crawlspaces to open doors from the inside. These co-op barriers can be found long before you save Ashley and give players a reason to revisit areas as they can now access them with Ashley’s help.
“We wanted the game to change when Ashley is with you,” says Ampo.
Perhaps the best benefit of Ashley’s newfound utility? She’s finally learned how to climb down ladders, which means Leon won’t spend much time waiting to catch her. Well, except for one occasion when you first meet her, but that’s more of a callback to the original.
Ashley gives Leon a grateful look after catching her for the first time.
Ashley’s personality has also been tweaked. Don’t expect her to act like a completely different person, but rather more believable and hopefully likable.
“Her character is a bit more serious than in the original,” says Ampo. We thought a lot about how someone would realistically react in such situations. And with that in mind, we’ve reinforced the reality of her interactions with Leon. So does the conversation she has with Leon while they travel.”
According to Ampo, the team redesigned parts of the original that were “very game-like” to convey more humanity. The directors even suggested an idea early in development to strengthen this stronger bond.
“We even had it once that you could take her hand and guide her, but this guy *points at Ampo* thought it seemed like they were too close and didn’t like it,” says Kadoi. “So we didn’t end up doing that.”
Resident Evil 4 will be released on March 24th for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. Be sure to click the banner below to visit our online coverage hub for more exclusive features and videos throughout the month.
https://www.gameinformer.com/2023/02/02/why-capcom-changed-ashley-in-resident-evil-4 Why Capcom changed Ashley in Resident Evil 4