Hurdles of Remaking a Lost Classic
In an interview on the official YouTube channel of Square Enix, Yoshinori Kitase renewed interest in Parasite Eve by stating that it would be a waste not to revisit the series. Even though nothing is in the works, those remarks has sparked hope among horror fans.
During the age of the PlayStation, Parasite Eve was a unique horror survival experience. This was thanks to including elements of JRPG along with an unforgettable artistic design. The idea of either a remake or reboot is welcomed by horror gamers. However it’s not a concept that could be easily done.
Unlike other remakes, the challenges of with the Parasite Eve series are more complex. This is a look back in the games history and the challenges of a possible remake.
An Intro to Parasite Eve
A sequel to the novel by Hideaki Sena, Parasite Eve follows Officer Aya Brea as she pursuits Melissa Pearce (who has been taken over by Mitochondria Eve). It was a unique take on the horror survival genre in both story and gameplay. The story mixed elements of horror with science fiction (with a lot of focus on biology). Its gameplay was a fusion of traditional horror survival with elements of JRPG.
The first Parasite Eve title was released for the PlayStation in 1998 followed by a sequel in 1999 to critical acclaim. The third and final game, The 3rd Birthday, would be released in 2010 for the PlayStation Portable. Unfortunately, it was universally panned by fans and critics.
To call it an alternative to Resident Evil would be misleading as it shared the same fanbase. Most of the hope for a reboot or remake has come from the Resident Evil community.
Challenges of a Remake
Despite this optimism along with the interest among Square Enix leadership, a remake will not be easy. Remakes of Resident Evil 2, 3 along with Final Fantasy VII had very little to overcome. Parasite Eve is a series that has been dormant since 2010 while never having a defining gameplay. Hence the big challenge is reworking the gameplay and being confident that it could sell.
Each one had a completely different story and gameplay, allowing a friction to grow among the fandom. Parasite Eve is a horror masterpiece with its story and gameplay elements. The second title is divisive among fans with its action heavy focus and a plot with little connection to the source material. Yet it’s universally accepted that the The 3rd Birthday was a complete mess in regards to having no connection to the original games and having a far more action focused gameplay.
Because of the mess of a storyline, the idea of a fourth game continuing the series is out of the question. Hence, a new title needs to be a remake of the first game and grow from that point. This comes to the issue regarding the lack of a defining gameplay. The first title tapped into SquareSoft rich history with the JRPG genre. The squeals did not share the same gameplay and instead took a more action approach.
Any remake will need to overhaul the gameplay while striking a balance between horror survival mechanics and JRPG elements. At the same time, this new gameplay mechanic needs to appeal to fans of both the first and second game. A hurdle that will present one of the biggest obstacles since its fan base does not want it to be another Resident Evil or Silent Hill experience.
The big question however for Square Enix is can this game sell. The demand of the fans are not the same as market data, which is absent with this series. Fans have a lot of demands, but that is not the same as a commitment to purchasing. The series being dormant for so long has also resulted in the absence of data to showcase its popularity.
This is not like what happened with the Resident Evil remakes. Fans have been asking for a Resident Evil 2 remake for decades until it was officially announced. However, that decision was based on the sales of the Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 0 HD. It’s also because of the financial success of Resident Evil 2 that fans are getting a remake of Nemesis. It’s because of the absence of this data that Square Enix may not want to invest in remaking Parasite Eve.
The Future of Eve
This is not to say that Square Enix should not bother remaking Parasite Eve. I enjoyed both games back in the days and still play them with my PlayStation 2. As a fan, I would love to see the first game remade for a new generation. This opinion is however based more on knowing that this will not be an easy task for Square Enix.
Despite the many hurdles presented, Square Enix should take on this challenge. Or at least partner with Capcom to bring the best of both worlds into one experience. Fans should also accept that to remake this classic will be a long shot.
If you want to learn more about the Parasite Eve series, I highly recommend this three part insight by Avalanche Review.
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