But the true secret to Nemesis’ success was the game direction itself. While Nemesis only appears in scripted sequences in the game, the player is made to feel like they are constantly being followed by the creature, like he could pop out at any moment, leading to some truly scary reappearances by the monster.
Nemesis encounters also brought another innovation to the series: a choice-based system in which players could decide whether to fight Nemesis when he reappeared or run to try to evade the creature. This fight-or-flight mechanic gave Nemesis a more sophisticated “choose your own adventure” quality than even Resident Evil 2‘s Zapping System had offered a year before.
These key additions anchored by the titular monster helped Resident Evil 3: Nemesis feel like a deeper sequel than perhaps it really was. After all, the project had originally been conceived as a smaller spin-off title and didn’t count on the direction of series veteran Hideki Kamiya, whose team had moved on to develop the first version of Resident Evil 4 that never saw the light of day.
As for the monster itself, Nemesis was inspired by the creepy T-1000, the villain of Terminator 2: Judgment Day who relentlessly chases John and Sarah Connor throughout the movie.
“I wanted to introduce a new kind of fear into the game, a persistent feeling of paranoia. The Nemesis brings that on in spades,” Shinji Mikami, producer of 1999’s Resident Evil 3, told Official PlayStation Magazine UK (via EGM) in 2000. “When it disappears after the first confrontation, you live in constant dread of the next attack. The idea is to make you feel like you’re being stalked.”