Trivial Things? Facebook & Oculus’s Carmack Confirms Concerns About Resident Evil 4 VR Changes


 

I have no involvement with the effort, but it sounds pretty petty on both sides — Why change trivial things? Why be so upset about trivial things?”

-John Carmack

 

 

Houston: We Have Confirmation!

 

October 20th was the end of the embargo for the gaming news media. Bleeding Fool recently ran coverage on the Resident Evil 4 VR story based on my own reporting at the Happy Warrior.

 

We have received multiple reports, firstly from Eurogamer (thanks, guys), confirming all that my sources alleged and corroborated turned out to be true. Gone are the flirting, cheeky jokes, and any content that might appear vaguely misogynistic through squinting eyes. Achievements have been mangled, and as a bonus, we now can confirm that the extra game modes in previous releases do not appear in this version of the game.

 

In other words, we totally called it!

 

You guys haven’t seen much from me since that initial investigation piece because I wanted to get some official comments from Facebook, Armature Studios, and Capcom, as any good journalist should. However, every attempt -and there were many- to phone/contact/email the companies involved came to naught. After talking to a game reporter friend, I learned that Facebook ghosted everyone in gaming news media over the report. Only just today did Facebook finally respond to queries from the media.

 

In a statement to IGN from a Facebook spokesperson, they said, “Oculus Studios, Armature, and Capcom partnered closely to remaster Resident Evil 4 from the ground up for VR. This includes immersive environments and high-resolution graphics. It also includes select changes to in-game dialogue and animations that we believe will update Resident Evil 4 for a modern audience.”

 

 

It occurred to me after reading Blake J. Harris’s excellent book, “The History of the Future,” to attempt to get in contact with John Carmack. Carmack -the co-founder of ID Software and lead programmer for such classics as Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake- is a prominent voice at Oculus. He was one of the first to see Oculus founder Palmer J. Luckey’s vision and joined up as CTO, bringing with him his connections and the confidence of the gaming community. Without him, Oculus likely would never have taken off as it did.

 

Currently, Carmack is only the consulting CTO for Oculus after stepping back to work on other projects in 2019. But Carmack is still important to Oculus. His confidence in the project is the weathervane that lets VR fans know everything is going to be okay.

 

We shared the article with Carmack and asked about his opinion on the report on RE4VR’s revisionist changes. Here is his response:

 

“I have no involvement with the effort, but it sounds pretty petty on both sides — Why change trivial things? Why be so upset about trivial things?”

 

John Carmack on Doom, Quake & id Software: Our first game was basically a  clone of Super Mario Bros
John Carmack, The Legend

 

I want to clarify that this quote should not be used to allege things that we can only suppose. Interpret the comment how you will, but don’t pretend things are in it that aren’t.

 

It is fair to infer from this quote that there was a discussion at Oculus about these changes. The conversation became heated like so much in our culture these days. That Oculus and Facebook were aware these changes would be controversial. And there are people in Oculus that were against it and others for it. Questions like: how many on each side, or what those conversations looked like; we will likely never know the answers to them.

 

But again, this doesn’t mean Oculus thinks these concerns are trivial or that Carmack is blowing off these concerns. It seems to me Carmack’s comment is a Switzerland situation, trying to calm down the situation and express his annoyance with an issue he sees as less important. Few have sacrificed more to make Oculus a successful VR product; no way would he ever want to put that in jeopardy.

 

 


Avatar photo

Peter Pischke

Peter Pischke is an independent journalist and podcast host. He runs the Happy Warrior Substack, and can usually be found manning the Happy Warrior Podcast & YouTube Channel; providing commentary on Conservatarian politics and nerd-culture news and ideas. You can find him on Twitter: @happywarriorp or visit his website at pvpischke.com.

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON