Season 3 - The Return Of The Crew
Season 3 of the podcast largely came about because of one major factor and that was Capcom's decision to take the original 2002 Game Cube remake of the original game and remaster it for the latest generation of consoles in glorious high-definition.
As expected this news was welcomed by a majority of the community although the gloss was somewhat spoiled when it was revealed Capcom had lost a majority of the original 3D assets and therefore the remaster was more of a paint job than a true HD reworking. Despite this, the result was still a success and it was wonderful to see groups of long-time fans being able to try out the game for the very first time. For us personally we'd been on hiatus for all of 2014 with no real plans to return as we'd covered all the core canonical titles and corresponding media, but it's amazing to see what a HD version of the greatest survival horror game of all time can do to get people interested again. Fortunately 2014 had been a largely quiet year for Resident Evil so we hadn't missed out on much that couldn't be caught up on.
In that time, George Trevor had started his own podcast over at Crimson-Head Elder and Batman and Neptune helped launch it by guesting on the pilot episode which featured Resident Evil Revelations voice actress Michelle Ruff. Since then the CHE podcast has grown in stature and become successful featuring different voice actors across the series each with their own interesting anecdotes and stories. For our own podcast we took the decision to drop the guest slot as external pressures were making it more difficult to organise recordings. Although we enjoyed having a different long-time community expert as a guest each week, accommodating different time zones and being able to get everyone together at the same time was just proving too difficult. Instead we significantly strengthened our line up by adding Rob 'Rombie' McGregor as a permanent panel member. Rombie is a true legend of the Resident Evil fan community with an almost unprecedented knowledge of the series and its inner workings. His history with the online RE fandom dates back to the late 1990's with 'A New Blood', 'Resident Evil Fan' and the central fansite hub 'RESitez'.
It felt apt to kick off Season 3 with our review of the new Remake HD remaster and Rombie was also invited to a special Capcom press event in London where he got to chat to the producers and play a preview build of Resident Evil Revelations 2. As rumours were abound that Alex Wesker was to be the primary villain of Revelations 2, we decided to focus Episode 26 on a breakdown of Lost In Nightmares, perhaps the greatest piece of DLC ever made. We'd long had requests (especially from a returning George Trevor) to feature a full episode on LIN and now was the right time to explore the possible motivations of Alex, the late Oswell E. Spencer and the secrets behind the Wesker Children.
In view of Revelations 2's weekly staggered release, Episode 27 was a bit experimental with the cast deciding to record a segment on each episode as they came out which was then spliced together to form a full show. It was very fun and interesting to do, commenting on each weekly release without knowing what was going to happen next. This was followed with another special one-off recording for Episode 28 which was 'Biohazard S.T.A.R.S.'; a feature-length reworking of the often calamitous 'Neptune's Biohazard Quiz.'
Episode 29 was a comprehensive review of the full retail release of Revelations 2 with Neptune returning to add his thoughts following his absence from the staggered release episode as he wanted to wait for the physical disc rather than buying each individual episode digitally. Reaction overall still seemed quite positive, although there were divides on the evolution of Claire Redfield and the ultimate resolution for Alex Wesker. Still, everyone agreed at least that Capcom looked to be heading back in the right direction. Episode 30 was a lore-based episode focusing on the mysterious Ada Wong. Despite being a very key cog in the franchise, Ada was a character we'd never really dedicated a lot of time to, so this was a full show looking at her motivations, goals and allegiances. To round things off we also featured a mini-review of Separate Ways from Resident Evil 4.
Episode 31 was a reaction to the community-dividing news that Capcom had officially announced a remake of Resident Evil 2. Many were overjoyed at the news, others quietly cautious and some deeply opposed to the idea. This podcast resulted in a fierce debate about the pros and cons of each argument. Episode 32 was a technical review of the very impressive Resident Evil Zero HD remaster and the soothing aftertaste to the bomb Capcom dropped on the community in the form of 'Umbrella Corps', a title that still pulls the strings behind the franchise even now. S.T.A.R.S._TyranT has only just been taken off suicide watch at the Resident Evil Podcast towers.
As 2016 was the 20th birthday of Resident Evil we decided to dedicate Episode 33 to a large retrospective of the entire franchise. Each panel member talked about their own personal history and memories of the series with a mini-recollection on each game and the subsequent era they arrived. We also celebrated our own birthday of 4 years of Resident Evil podcasting! The following episode was dedicated to the 2016 E3 bombshell of a first-person horror-focused Resident Evil 7 and the lovely and unexpected treat of the Beginning Hour playable demo. Anticipation and speculation were abound here and get ready for an unforgettable episode of Neptune's quiz. Who is Kevin Ford? What link does a certain car manufacturer have to the series? What about NASA? And just how prominent has Google Images been in all the time our quiz has been running?
Episode 35 was a review of Umbrella Corps and probably represented the only time our usually calm and composed panel erupted into all-out near civil war. Was the game really that bad and just how canonically important is it really? Finally Season 3 ended on a positive note with a review and run-down of the much-welcome Biohazard: The Stage. Please enjoy, because we surprisingly did.
Season 4 - The Podcast Reigns
The team moved quickly into season 4 with a continued celebration into the 2016 20th Anniversary celebrations, with everyone splitting up and taking on a different version of the original Resident Evil - the standard original, director's cut, Deadly Silence, and Sega Saturn versions all get covered and discussed. It was such a great time to revisit the original game, and we all discussed the various surprising parts we'd found and re-found as we took it all in.
The next podcast took a different tact, and looked at a part of the franchise lore as a whole - with the 39th episode covering all the shady companies and dealings throughout the franchise. Want to learn your Blue Umbrella from your Tricell, your WilPharma from U.S. Govt shady back dealings... this is the episode for you.
After looking at the troublemakers in the franchise, Episodes 39 and 40 are a double helping of Resident Evil 7 coverage. Firstly EP 39 looked into the immediate aftermath of the title and the entire teams first reactions to the finished product. Everyone then returned about a month later to record 40 and talk more in depth about the game as the dust settled and we'd had more time to digest everything. After the generally well enjoyed Resident Evil 7, the crew settled in for the next 3rd film in the CGI film franchise - the recent release of Resident Evil: Vendetta. Questions are asked, boundaries are challenged, and Rombie goes whole hog into film analysis mode.
For Episode 42, listener requests provide the focus after our successful Corporate podcast had the team looking at the history of the Raccoon City incident, and the city itself. The team looked at the various aspects going on, a timeline of events, and a discussion about the aftermath. With positive feedback, Episode 43 also continues down the listener requests and the team looks into the history of the B.O.W. programs and other weapons made during the course of the franchise, and going through discussion on the best and worst of the series.
Having not had enough from episodes 39 and 40, Resident Evil 7 is returned to yet another time with the releases of the free Chris Redfield DLC for the game - 'Not A Hero' - and the Gold Edition re-release of the game - combining a look at the now completed game package. After delays to everyone's surprise NAH turns out to be a better outcome than expected, but does it give proper time to re-evaluate the whole package in a different light?
For the 45th episode of the Podcast the team returned to the world of Resident Evil 2, with the team splitting up the scenarios between them. Breaking down the various possible canon ideas and looking at the game as a whole as we approach the remake of Resident Evil 2, is it even worth the point of being remade? The team isn't too sure, with mixed thoughts and Rombie trying to be the voice of reason. It was fitting timing to have done so as it's not long before we got our first look of the Resident Evil 2 remake, and so Episode 46 is devoted to an in-depth discussion surrounding the reveal and everyone's new thoughts on the remakes first reveal. Rombie still remains as positive thankfully.
Before reaching Episode 47, the team does their first special Podcast Presents.... an audio commentary on the original Paul W.S. Anderson film. It's not surprising to find a large number of the team aren't fans of the film in general, but everyone involved takes a proper look at the film on it's own merits and how it's linked and not linked to the franchise. STARS and Batman acknowledge the things they like, Rombie talks endless about weird things having followed the development of the film originally (and the failed George Romero attempt) and Neptune tells us all a story about Cerberus puppets.
However not yet sunk to the lowest of lows with the film commentary, the following full episode has the team discussing the origins of and the point of even playing Gun Survivor 2: Code Veronica. What is shocking is both the surprises and non-surprises surrounding the teams interests including that TheBatman played it once in 2003 and never again.
Finally Season 4 is rounded out by Episode 48... a long delayed and highly requested return for a second round of Biohazard STARS! The second attempt moves everyone into a more team based play, with the UK teams divided North and South, and New Zealander Rombie teamed up with frequent Australian guest TheSelfishGene. Its battle of the two Isle Teams Vs. Battle of The Colonies. Who will come out on top? Possibly Neptune's own daughter. Who can tell.
However as one last final treat on Xmas day, the team covers a audio and video bonus Podcast Presents covering Biohazard 4D Executioner. TheSelfishGene sits in place of Rombie for this event having actually attended the experience while living in Japan. Lots of in-depth info abounds on this very interesting event.