10 Resident Evil Facts You Didn't Know
Sponsored by the Umbrella Corporation, the world's leading pharmaceutical conglomerate. In 1996, a bombshell was dropped on the PlayStation One in the form of Capcom's Resident Evil. Thanks to the slow-paced action horror title, the video game horror genre would never be the same. In this installment, we invite you to shamble through Raccoon City with us as we investigate ten facts about the Resident Evil video game series.
There Was a Resident Evil Themed Restaurant
Resident Evil may have become extremely popular in Western gaming culture, but there’s no forgetting that it was created in Japan. To commemorate the popularity of the series back in 2012, Capcom opened the “Biohazard Cafe and Grill”. Despite what crowds the cafe and grill would have the potential to bring, it was only scheduled to be open for a year. The interior of the restaurant featured nuggets of Resident Evil history, including everything from the classic typewriter to a full-scale replica of the monstrous Tyrant. Touches like S.T.A.R.S. emblems, weaponry from the games, and waitresses dressed like members of the special task force all added to the clever ambiance. Overall, there restaurant pulled in generally negative reviews with plenty of complaints geared towards food quality and overuse of the servers sexuality to pull from the stale, lifeless exhibits.
Nemesis Was Originally a Spin-Off
If not for a contract Capcom had with Sony that required three main installments on their consoles, the fan favorite third entry in the series, Nemesis, would have received a completely different treatment as a Dreamcast title. By the time Resident Evil 2 reached its considerably high level of fame, Capcom was ready to move on to the next project – the problem was they didn’t know where to focus their attention. At one time, three different Resident Evil projects were underway. Timelines didn’t allow the game, which was to feature Umbrella Operative HUNK, to be ready for a PSOne release and with the PS2 launch so close, the project was shelved. Not wanting to make fans wait for a PS2 title, Capcom went back to the drawing board, bringing back protagonist Jill Valentine and the Raccoon City setting for the series third canonical entry. Shortly after Nemesis, Capcom released Code Veronica on the Dreamcast – a game that felt like a spin-off as its tone and feel was a complete departure from the rest of the series.
Resident Evil Was Originally a First Person Shooter
Thanks to Survivor, Dead Aim, The Umbrella Chronicles, and The Darkside Chronicles, whether or not Resident Evil would work as a first-person shooter is not a question that needs asking. In fact, even in its earlier stages, Capcom had the inkling that the series would fit well into the genre. The first installment was initially conceptualized as a far cry from the game it is today. Series creator, Shinji Mikami, wanted Resident Evil to be a first-person shooter but eventually realized that, at the time, the genre wouldn’t be able to convey horror in the same way as the third-person genre. Evidently, Capcom was correct as all five of the franchises’ first-person shooters were lacking the scares.
Resident Evil’s Characters Were Originally a Little Comical
In the finished product, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are accompanied by Barry Burton and Albert Wesker. The original design for the game suggests something completely different was in mind. Originally partnering up with Chris and Jill in Spencer Mansion were Gelzer and Dewey. Goofy names aside, the characters were a complete disconnect from the game’s grim setting. Gelzer was an oversized brute with a cybernetic eye and Dewey was meant to be the game’s comic relief character, inspired by Eddie Murphy. Both characters were removed during development, with Gelzer being replaced by the gun-toting Barry Burton.
George A. Romero Penned Faithful Resident Evil Movie Script
Before Paul W. Anderson turned the Resident Evil series into a mess of action-packed, mindless movies, the father of modern zombie cinema, George A Romero, had written his own treatment. In Romero’s version compared to Anderson’s, there were fewer separations from the source material and the tone remained rather dark. The lead characters were still intact, though Chris was Jill’s boyfriend, and the setting remained inside the massive spooky mansion. Characters were added to increase on-screen deaths but the premise remained that members of S.T.A.R.S. were trapped in a mansion filled with all sorts of creatures.
Resident Evil Houses an Extensive Extended Universe
Thanks to the series’ popularity, Resident Evil is more than just a video game and movie franchise. Sure, the video game series spawned a collection of action figures and statues, but it’s the line of comic books and animated feature length films that expand upon the Resident Evil universe. A series of comic book magazines chronicling the heroes of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, novel adaptations of Resident Evil Zero through Code Veronica, and two animated films – Degeneration and Damnation – have all melded together to create an expansive universe within the game series alone.
Resident Evil Pulls Inspiration from Capcom’s Sweet Home
In 1989, Capcom brought a gory 8-bit horror-fest to the Nintendo Entertainment System. Sweet Home combined RPG gameplay with turn-based combat in a mansion filled with zombies and other deadly hazards. Seven years later, Capcom went back to the route of Survival Horror to pull plenty of inspiration to create Resident Evil. Though the gameplay varies quite a bit, the games share quite an abundance of similarities, right on down to door animations. Sweet Home features a similar inventory management system as Resident Evil and, in both games, gamers are forced to figure out puzzles in order to progress. Some say Resident Evil is the spiritual successor to Capcom’s own Sweet Home.
Sengoku Biohazard Became Onimusha
Amongst the many ideas Capcom had for a new Resident Evil during the “Nemesis crisis” was Sengoku Biohazard. Sengoku would be a complete departure from the events of Raccoon City, taking place in a Japanese-styled house filled with booby traps and puzzles. Instead of firearms, the protagonist would use a katana and ninjutsu. Not wanting to take such a complete leap away from what the Resident Evil series became known for, Capcom wanted the idea scrapped. Instead, the development team pulled another miracle and turned the idea into another successful series, Onimusha. Like Devil May Cry, another Resident Evil bi-product, Onimusha went on to be a critically successful series with fans pining for a new entry in the series quite often.
The Many Versions of Resident Evil 3.5
Much like Resident Evil 2, the development process for Resident Evil 4 had been working on an entirely different project than what was released to the public. Resident Evil 4, or what’s been popularly titled Resident Evil 3.5, had gone through four different builds before the final product was settled on. The first build was more stylized, from Resident Evil’s darker tones. This project eventually became Capcom’s slasher, Devil May Cry. The second and third builds followed Leon S. Kennedy seeking to eradicate another strain of Umbrella’s virus, with the third build featuring supernatural elements in the forms of hallucinations. The development team went back to zombies in the fourth build, but the project was decidedly too formulaic and was eventually scrapped.
Resident Evil 1.5
As with many projects, the Resident Evil series had gone through many transformations throughout development. One of the more noteable instances came during the development of Resident Evil 2. Due to issues with the games tension and pacing being drastically different from the first installment, Resident Evil 1.5 was scrapped entirely. Elza Walker, a random Racoon City college student, was replaced by Claire Redfield, sister of Resident Evil protagonist Chris. The male lead, rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy, remained the same, save for an overhaul of the character model.