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How an expert military adviser helped shape the look of Resident Evil 7’s Chris Redfield

Ahead of tomorrow's DLC Not A Hero, the game director details how the studio captured the franchise icon for its critically-acclaimed PS4 horror

Hello, PS Blog readers. My name is Koji Nakanishi and I’m the director of Resident Evil 7 biohazard. With the Gold Edition and free “Not a Hero” DLC just around the corner, I thought I’d share some insights into how we approached designing series mainstay Chris Redfield for his appearance in Resident Evil 7.

1. Scanning a model, and using an expert military adviser to perfect Redfield’s outfit

With the advancement towards the PlayStation 4 console, we had an incredible amount of power at our disposal, and that also raised the bar for the kind of quality people would expect from the game. In order to achieve that kind of photorealistic quality while respecting Chris’ character, we decided to use a technique known as photogrammetry. This is a process where a real person is scanned as the basis for the character model.

Resident Evil 7

We started out by auditioning for models who had the look we wanted for Chris. For the process of auditioning a model, it was obviously important that his face look like Chris, but I also wanted someone who had a wild, tough look. He also needed to have a military bearing while wearing the outfit for the scan, as the way he holds himself is an important part of Chris.

Once we found the right person, we dressed them for the part in real military uniform. We’d previously used military gear as reference material or as the basis for texture assets, but it was the first time we’d ever actually shot footage of a real person wearing it, so we wanted to make sure we got it right. We actually hired an expert military adviser to help us out with the selection of uniform pieces and how to make them look right for the shoot.

2. Adjusting the model’s face to make it look like Chris

Chris’s face is based on the photogrammetry scans, but it isn’t used exactly as-is. Our designers made some adjustments to his facial details to ensure they were brought into line with what we envisage the characteristics of Chris to be.

Resident Evil 7

We converted the scanned photographic data to 3D model data, even down to the finest details on the outfit and accessories.

Resident Evil 7

Textures included not just colour information but detailed depth information obtained from the scans.

3. Making sure the outfit fitted the story’s plot points

For his body, there are also details which help identify Chris and what kind of character he is at this point in the timeline. For example, his uniform is missing the kind of patches or medals you might normally see to indicate rank or unit.

Resident Evil 7

This is the 3D model version of the face data. You can see that it captures everything down to the subtle textures of the model’s skin.

Combined with the black colour, it gives the impression that he works for a mysterious organisation with access to cutting-edge technology such as the visor-like gas mask he wears.

Even the design of the gun and protective gear Chris uses have been given a slightly near-future edge to them.

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7

4. The most realistic Chris Redfield yet

The Chris model we were able to create using this process is incredibly realistic with almost 40,000 polygons and over 250 joints in his face alone. Combined with the tools available to us in our proprietary new RE Engine, what we were able to do in terms of quality was light years ahead of anything we could have done with the previous hardware generations.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already played the game, I hope you take the chance to check out Resident Evil 7 biohazard Gold Edition this holiday season!

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MiseryPrincess 11 December, 2017 @ 18:27
2

The biggest difference is now he doesn’t have those ridiculously huge muscle arms!

#notmychris

Or to put it another way, how, when making a character in a game, do you NOT make them look like a moron like Chris Roidfield from RE5 while at the same time, ruining a once treasured franchise?

All that was needed was some common sense really but Capcom 2007-2014 happened. We are finally getting back on track but they have yet to prove this to me with Resident Evil 2 REmake. That Megaman news is very reassuring but I was never a fan of that anyway.

And I heard great things about RE VII but there was NO WAY I was touching a new numbered RE game regardless lol, I’ve avoided the series like the plague the past 9 years, why stop back in early 2017? But I will admit, I will check out the Gold Edition of REVII when its out because it did turn out pretty good (when compared to the last decade of the franchise anyway). :)

Resident evil 7 is more like the PlayStation 1 ones rather than the ones that followed. Got puzzles and keys and is genuinely scary especially in vr. Reminds me of resi 1 mostly. Like that one it’s a must buy. I loved 7.

Hello, Mr. Koji Nakanishi. Thank you for sharing some great infos about Chris’ design. The photogrammetry technique utilized is fantastic, enhancing a character to become the most realistic person I’ve ever seen in Capcom games. I do hope you’ll use this method for the next RE titles in the future. Speaking about character design, please allow me to point out something that I consider important for the fans. As you might have seen from the feedback all over the world, there was a lot of conflict about Chris’ appearance, so in my opinion, the process that might cause the problem is not the way you made the character but the model casting process instead. Please consider the following issues:

(i) Timeline of Resident Evil: According to the timeline in RE7, Chris is 44 years old veteran soldier. So the model cannot look younger than Chris in RE6 (39 years old). I know that that the model portraying Chris in RE7 looks like original Chris in RE1 but considering that almost 20 years has p...

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Hello, Mr. Koji Nakanishi. Thank you for sharing some great infos about Chris’ design. The photogrammetry technique utilized is fantastic, enhancing a character to become the most realistic person I’ve ever seen in Capcom games. I do hope you’ll use this method for the next RE titles in the future. Speaking about character design, please allow me to point out something that I consider important for the fans. As you might have seen from the feedback all over the world, there was a lot of conflict about Chris’ appearance, so in my opinion, the process that might cause the problem is not the way you made the character but the model casting process instead. Please consider the following issues:

(i) Timeline of Resident Evil: According to the timeline in RE7, Chris is 44 years old veteran soldier. So the model cannot look younger than Chris in RE6 (39 years old). I know that that the model portraying Chris in RE7 looks like original Chris in RE1 but considering that almost 20 years has passed since 1998. It doesn’t make any sense for someone to go back to the initial state as a young man especially for veteran soldier who has been experienced so many intense combats.

(ii) Consistency: I think Chris’ hair is dark brown not blonde. It might be a small issue but very sensitive to identify the character, making him recognizable from the fans. For example, imagine if Wesker were a black hair guy, it would be very weird.

Another issue is Chris’ body. Considering the progression of the story, Chris was almost beaten by Wesker in Code Veronica. So, it makes sense for him to build the muscle for advantage in combat. After the code veronica (1998), we see the muscle-looking Chris from Revelations (2005), 5 (2009), Marhawa Desire (2012), 6 (2012-2013), and Vendetta (around 2013-2017). He used this merit for surviving in countless situations. I can’t imagine Chris in RE7 would survive if he faced wesker again or being caught in the arm of Tyrant (Diego + Glenn) in Vendetta. That’s why I still don’t understand the change of his body in RE7.

I truly believe a guy that has the look of Chris in RE 5, 6, Vendetta (not exactly the same but more consistent and recognizable) and more importantly having muscle-looking can be found among foreigners (e.g., white Americans) even in Japan.

I appreciate your attempt and your hard work in making RE7, it was a great game and I really hope you consider my feedback about the character design to perfect the game.

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