Speaking with IGN, The Evil Within director Shinji Mikami spoke about the survival horror genre and took a look back at the Resident Evil series. As it turns out, the poor sales of the amazing Resident Evil GameCube remake is what triggered Resident Evil 4 to implement more action elements.
"The Resident Evil remake is actually one of my favorites of the series too," Shinji stated. "But it didn't sell very well. Maybe there weren't many people ready to accept that. Because of the reaction to the Resident Evil remake, I decided to work more action into Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 4 would have been a more scary, horror-focused game if the remake had sold well.”
Resident Evil 4 went through a number of changes while in development, from being a pure horror title, to a version that was so action oriented that it would go on to become Devil May Cry.
As for the GameCube remake, it went on to sell over 1.35 million copies. Had Capcom ported the game to other consoles perhaps things would have gone differently. The GameCube version of Resident Evil 4 sold 1.6 million units, but would go on to sell over 7 million units total thanks to the versions on the PlayStation 2, Wii, and the HD re-release on PSN and XBLA.
"That all came out of the commercial failure of the Resident Evil remake, Shinji added. "And then of course Resident Evil 4 sold really well. I have kind of a lingering trauma there, because the Resident Evil remake didn't sell – much more than people would think.”