This article originally appeared on VICE US.
The announcement of a Resident Evil 3 remake, combined with game of the year nostalgia over Resident Evil 2, got me thinking about Resident Evil again. When Resident Evil 2 came out, the star of the show was the tall, terrifying, and lumbering Mr. X. People turned him into Pennywise from IT, Thomas the Tank Engine, and even deleted him from the game entirely.
But what else were people up to? The mods that interest me the most involve people spending time on incredibly small details. So when I was digging through the mods for Resident Evil 2 and found one called “Less Moles on Leon,” I knew I’d hit the jackpot.
Less Moles on Leon, from modder UltraGamera, has a straightforward pitch:
“Removes a majority of moles on Leon's face. Also fades other blemishes and wrinkles but not by much. I've lighten his under eyes and given him a whiter smile.”
Here’s what the mod does to our boy Leon Kennedy:
Some of the comments responding to the mod echoed my own thoughts, such as “Why?” Others, like the person asking for a mod “that gets rid of the cleft on his chin,” less so.
In my experience, modders are very talkative. They want to explain the genesis of their creations, no matter how obscure or niche. This proved no different for modder UltraGamera, who was more than happy to speak with me about “Less Moles on Leon.”
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
VICE Games: The reason I was drawn to your mod was because it's so incredibly specific, so focused on a tiny detail. What inspired it?
UltraGamera: Initially, I was messing around with his textures, trying to lighten his under eyes and give him less wrinkles, since I feel Leon appears older than he should (at the age of 21). I was only experimenting at first; seeing what could work; what could make him appear more appealing. Then, I noticed [an] excessive amount of moles on his face, which became real distracting to me. I've always viewed Leon as being somewhat of a “dandy,” so I wanted him to appear near-flawless in ways.
VICE Games: What number of moles did you end up at? How'd you determine that?
UltraGamera: Well, I wasn't exactly counting. Ha! But if you'd like a visual presentation, here's Leon's default face textures.
VICE Games: Oh my god, these are fucking horrifying. Is this how it looks laid out in the game's file format, or how it appears when you bring it into a software program?
UltraGamera: It is terrifying. I'm still fairly new to modding and still have a lot to learn about engines, but this is how textures appear for a majority of games; features are arranged depending on the character model and other factors.
For Devil May Cry 5 (which runs on the same engine as Resident Evil 2 remake), some features are divided into separate files; so the eyes and teeth have their own textures. When working with RE2 remake's textures, you can't just drag and drop the original file into Photoshop; you first have to convert it to a format Photoshop supports, DDS. Once you're done in Photoshop, you convert it back to the game's file format.
VICE Games: That's gonna haunt my dreams. Anyway, what lead you do think of Leon as a dandy? Something specific to his character?
UltraGamera: Not so much the character itself, but the way fans have interpreted him through the years. He grows old and goes through many outbreaks, yet still retains a signature "model" look.
VICE Games: Oh, that makes sense. Do you think you're done modding Leon?
UltraGamera: Not at all. Modding is a fun hobby; there's always something which can be altered (with any game), whether it's cosmetic or gameplay. While I'll continue to make mods for my own use, at the time I won't be releasing anymore mods for either RE2 remake or DMC5.
Follow Patrick on Twitter. His email is email@example.com, and available privately on Signal (224-707-1561).