Friday the 13th Jason Couldn't Stop JTB in this Resident Evil 4 Speedrun

Alex McCumbers,

July 13, 2018 1:35 PM

Just in time for Friday the 13th, we chat with JTB about his Resident Evil 4 speedrun history after putting on an excellent run at SGDQ 2018.

Resident Evil 4 was a turning point for the franchise that shaped the horror genre in gaming and went on to inspire a lot of action games as well. While it’s later titles never hit the critical acclaim of RE4, Resident Evil 7 evolved the series in a similarly unexpected way, with the remake of Resident Evil 2 looking to combine the two styles. We’ve looked at Resident Evil 7 speedruns before and after seeing a phenomenal performance at SGDQ on RE4 on the hardest setting, we had to take a look into the mind of JTB. Be prepared for precision grenades, carefully timed sniper shots, and generally racing through an all-time classic, just in time for Friday the 13th.

As a bit of a background JTB played his speedrun on Professional mode, which makes the game way more challenging as even the basic enemies can quickly kill the player in just a couple hits. He’s also doing this on a new game, so no super weapons are available, making each shot that much more precious. It makes the tension of the run palpable, but JTB flies through like an expert.

We caught up with JTB shortly after his SGDQ presentation. He actually got started with a completely different title. “I've known about speedrunning for a long time, but never got into it until Binding of Isaac came out and I learned about people racing it on Speedruns Live.”

After seeing RE4 at AGDQ 2014, JTB had to get in on the action. “I happened to find an old run of a past retired runner, then spent a couple months learning the game by just copying his strats. I didn't like the new game+ category and was more interested in doing new game instead.”

While doing frequent runs, players will sometimes stumble on or try out a new technique that helps bring the run down further. We asked if JTB had developed any strategies himself.

“There have been strats I've developed myself in the past, when it was just me and a few other runners, but those are all outdated now. The only one that comes to mind that we still use is how we get through the waterhall in Chapter 3-1, using a incendiary grenade to help control enemies while Ashley uses the crank.”

“The game is largely a community effort, both runners and viewers themselves have contributed to how it's routed now.”

That sense of community is one of the highlights of becoming a speedrunner. Viewers on livestream platforms help push the adrenaline of a run or could notice something others might not have. Competing against other runners in a community has also been pivotal in driving records.

“As far as streaming goes, just about every RE4 runner supports each other in one way or another via Twitch, either by hosts or just hanging out. When it comes to running, a lot of NG Pro has come together through the community working on individual strats to make one complete run.”

“For example, the minecart skip in Chapter 4-3 that allows us to go out of bounds and skip the autoscroller (a level that can’t be sped up and is paced a particular way) was actually found by someone that doesn't even run the game, but just watches speedruns of it.”

We asked JTB what his favorite moment was when it comes to interacting with the various communities.

“I would say my favorite memory is the first time I did Resident Evil 4 at SGDQ 2015. The community was small at the time, but we had all banded together to promote my submission as much as possible and we worked hard on doing an entertaining run with great commentary. We all came to Minnesota from different parts of the US to showcase this game that we all loved and we received an incredibly positive reaction to it. It's one of those memories I'll hold onto for the rest of my life and share with my future kids/grandkids.”

Going to these events is also a great way to meet those who are a part of the online community. “It was also my first time I've experienced the speed running community in the real-world,” JTB tells us, “I made a lot of new friends that I still talk to now.”

Being that RE4 is a big part of his life, we asked if the game or being a speedrunner of it has influenced his everyday life in a meaningful way. “Running RE4 by itself hasn't made me grow, but overall streaming has made me more extroverted and helped me improve my communication skills and confidence a lot.”

For those looking to start a speedrun, JTB suggests one main common tip that’s often shared by runners. “Start with a game you love and don't mind playing over and over, even if it's not popular. You develop good habits that help you learn other games in time.”

JTB actually helped put on a panel at the event about how to get into speedrunning. We’ve been told by a few runners that those panels, which were a first for Games Done Quick events, were recorded with the intent to archive them. Hopefully those will be available for viewing soon. They have been able to get each speedrun up quickly, so these will likely take a backseat as they ensure each run has been represented. That aside, it was a hallmark year for the charity event as they raised over 2 million dollars for Doctors Beyond Borders.

We asked him about his thoughts of having panels at the marathon event. “I think they were a fantastic addition. It's easy to forget that not everyone at a GDQ is a speedrunner and could just there to experience the community. Panels let them interact with the community and learn more about it.”

He also told us that Discord is a great way to stay involved. “Join Discords for your speedrun, because there's nothing that runners like more than seeing new faces interested in their game.”

Resident Evil 4 as a speedrun seems like an antithesis of its design as the game is meant to be taken slow and with precision. JTB shows us that speedruns fit into the game wonderfully even at the higher difficulties. It’s a game that stands the test of the time for a lot of players and it’s a game that will surely be a point of positivity for JTB as he now has all of these wonderful moments around it. Even though many speedruns are one person fighting against a game in any way they can, there’s a lot of connections that can happen.

Find JTB streaming on Twitch.   

For further speedrun content that we've covered here on Twin Galaxies, check out a recent breakthrough in Super Mario 64 Any% or our interview with the guy who blazed through Getting Over It


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