In just over a week Resident Evil 4 will finally launch on Nintendo Switch. This action-horror classic has had a long and successful life, and it’s been ported to just about every device under the sun. It’s hard to believe it was once announced as an exclusive, but it’s true! Capcom originally claimed Resident Evil 4 would be a GameCube exclusive. Inadequate GameCube sales made Capcom rethink that strategy, but it was still exclusive for about nine months. Before this, Microsoft had a real shot at securing it as an Xbox exclusive, but they dropped the ball.
Let’s take a little stroll through history! Resident Evil 4 went through many changes before it became the game we know today. An early, action-packed version was so different it was repurposed as a brand new game, and that’s how Devil May Cry was born. Other early builds ran on PlayStation 2, but director Shinji Mikami soon grew frustrated with the hardware. It was time for a change.
A fateful meeting
Microsoft learned that Capcom was looking for a new partner, so they set up a Christmas day meeting in the year 2000. What should have been a merry Christmas for the Xbox team was instead a major disappointment. Mikami had doubts about the Xbox hardware, which was still in development at the time. He also wanted to know about Microsoft’s vision, so he posed this question.
What is your philosophy? Sony says games are entertainment, something larger, fueled by the emotion engine. Nintendo says games are toys, created by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, perhaps the greatest game developer of all time. What do you feel?
Microsoft’s Japanese team reportedly had no good answer to this question, so Mikami left the meeting, and the possibility of Resident Evil 4 with him. Microsoft’s Kevin Bachus lamented this failure, as he believed he could have convinced Mikami. He saw Xbox as enabling games to become art, much like films. Unfortunately for Microsoft, he was too late at getting this message to Mikami.
Microsoft’s loss was Nintendo’s gain, at least for a little while. After a brief stint as a GameCube exclusive, Resident Evil 4 quickly made its way to PlayStation 2, and Capcom hasn’t stopped porting it ever since. You can learn a lot more about the development of Resident Evil 4 by watching the latest episode of Did You Know Gaming? below!