It may not be October anymore, a.k.a the spookiest month of the year, but I don't care! I'm beyond excited for the remake of Resident Evil 2. Yes, it's a game I've played too many times that I've lost count, but this is different. This isn’t a mere port, or light enhancement. By all accounts, this game, based on trailers and info floating around out there, is going to be a completely new experience. That may be just Capcom overhyping it, but either way, it's working on me. Who knew this would beat out the remake of Final Fantasy VII, another PS1 classic. After all that was announced before this, Square Enix, you need to get your act together. At least Kingdom Hearts III is finally happening and just four days after this releases. Phew, I better get cracking on this game right away, otherwise, it's going to get left in the dust.
Anyway, Kingdom Hearts III aside, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the Resident Evil franchise, and what better way to drum up hype for Resident Evil 2 than with some cool facts you may not have known about. Most of them are about the first game because, well, there's a lot of information out there for the game. It was also brimming with ideas that had to get scrapped. So, while you wait for that sweet remake, here are some fun facts to help pass the time.
Did you know that Resident Evil is sort of a spiritual successor to Sweet Home? No, probably not, because Sweet Home was never released outside of its 1989 Famicom launch in Japan. It’s also based on a film of the same name.
It was a survival-horror RPG set in, you guessed it, a haunted mansion. It allowed players to take two characters into the dominion in order to solve puzzles and it also had Permadeath. However, the only thing really left of this idea is the mansion.
The first game was going to have messages on the walls scrawled in a red-like substance. You can see this intact in early trailers and Beta footage in early parts of the mansion.
Of course, this is a trope now common with Half-Life being the big standout as the “first” to do in-depth environmental storytelling. However, Resident Evil could have been the first since this game predates Half-Life by about two years. Would the world of video games have really been different? It's fun to imagine.
Another big redesign for the first game was that it was going to be a first-person shooter, or at least take place in first-person while being a survival game. Anyway, there's no footage of this next fact, but there is some blurry concept art.
Some of you might be thinking that they finally took this approach with Resident Evil VII, but there's been multiple games set in first-person since. The first was called Resident Evil Survivor, which released for the PS1 in 2000.
In some scrapped artwork for Resident Evil, you can see two missing characters from the S.T.A.R.S. team named Gelder and Dewey. Why were they dropped, though? It was probably due to time constraints.
While they were never implanted in a sequel, they did make it into another franchise as Dino Crisis’ Gail and Rick. It's not an exact one-to-one, but it's pretty close, so I'm going to count it.
This one seems pretty odd to me, but Japan's version of Resident Evil has no Japanese audio. It was recorded, but ultimately scrapped because the director, Shinji Mikami, didn't like how it turned out.
Instead, the English tracks were used for both Japan and North America. I guess it makes sense, since the game was trying to imitate Romero's films and B-Movies in general. Using bad, and I mean really bad, voice acting made the experience more authentic.
On Chris’ alternate costume jacket, it reads “Made in Heaven,” which is a reference to the final album of Queen of the same name. Also, Claire’s jacket looks similar and has the same reference. You can even see Chris’ jacket in his office in both the second and third games.
Claire's jacket in Code Veronica, while similar in color and design, instead reads “Let Me Live,” which is the third track on that album. Finally, Billy’s tattoo translates to “Mother Love” in Resident Evil Zero, which is the album's fourth track.
While there isn't much proof out there that Resident Evil was going to be a spiritual successor to Sweet Home, the visual style was always quite different. However, there is one element that can be seen in early Beta footage, and although it’s really blurry, it's still cool.
It was going to have multiple character parties as characters weren't just going to follow you around. Unlike Sweet Home, this would be actual co-op with a friend, but it wasn't an official mechanic until Resident Evil Outbreak.
Here's a small data entry, but a goody. The first game started being developed in 1993 and launched globally in 1996, which was long for that time period. Most games, the SNES, had a year or two at the most for development time.
Here's the biggest surprise though: Shinji Mikami worked on it by himself for the first six months before Capcom granted him a small team that slowly grew over the next three years! So yeah, this was his vision through and through.
The first game has been ported, retooled, remade, and re-released too many times to count and on nearly every console, too. However, there was one that Capcom missed out on: the Game Boy Color.
That said, they did indeed plan to port it to the system and you can even find and play the build of it that they finished. Even though it's kind of a blocky mess, you can certainly tell it's the first game.
Japan's version of Resident Evil: Director's Cut: DualShock Version, which is a mouthful, included a bonus disc and contained a bunch of data on the original build of Resident Evil 2, a.k.a Resident Evil 1.5.
Did you ever wonder how that footage got out there? Well, this is one of the reasons: Resident Evil 2 was delayed, so this was kind of a “make up” on Capcom's part. I wish more companies were as forward with this kind of information.
Speaking of Resident Evil 2, Shinji Mikami wanted it, or rather, the original build, to be the final game in the series. However, his co-creator, Tokuro Fujiwara, wanted to keep the series going and saw potential for not only multiple sequels, but spinoffs as well.
I think we know who wound up winning that argument. If Resident Evil had stopped after the second game, would someone have taken up the zombie survival mantle? It's another fun “what if” scenario to ponder.
Okay, let's add in a super obscure Easter egg from Resident Evil 2 to change up the pace a bit. As either Leon, or Claire, you can check Wesker’s desk in the police department. If you do this 50 times (better count), you'll get the Film D item.
Once you develop it in the station's dark room, you'll see a photo of Rebecca Chambers, the medic from the first game, in a basketball uniform. So uh, did Wesker have a thing for her? This is kind of weird.
Brad Vickers, the chopper pilot from the end of Resident Evil, can be seen as a zombie in the second game. If you, as Leon or Claire, make it to the police station without picking up any items, you'll see him wandering around close to the police station.
The odd, or more like sad, thing here is that he was alive and well in that ending. Brad was just sort of disposed of off screen as it were. I wonder if he'll be in the remake.
The Game Boy Color prototype of the first game wasn't the only scrapped game for a Nintendo portable as Resident Evil 2's opening first couple of screens was made on the Game Boy Advance.
However, it basically restarts once you make it to that basketball court with Leon. This was more of a tech demo than a real plan on Capcom's part. Even though it's pretty blurry, it is an impressive recreation on the handheld's hardware.
Since Onimusha: Warlords was just re-released, I thought this inclusion would be fitting. Sengoku Biohazard was going to be a Japanese take on the first game’s mansion scenario, but in a ninja house instead.
There's only artwork for this though, but it gets better. While we can't exactly see what this looked like, fans of Onimusha: Warlords may be interested to know that a good chunk of the game was indeed made on PS1 even after the Sengoku Biohazard name was dropped. You can see some footage here.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil: Code Veronica were actually planned as opposites. That is to say, Code Veronica was supposed to be the evolutionary next step in the franchise and was going to be the real “3” on Dreamcast, but a contract with Sony said Capcom had to release at least one more numbered title on the PS1.
That's why Nemesis feels like a rehash, because it was only supposed to be a spinoff. Looking back now, I think I actually preferred it over Code Veronica.
Capcom sure loves the name DASH. That's what Mega Man Legends was called in Japan: Rockman DASH. Before that, though, they were going to use it in a Resident Evil game. Biohazard DASH was a canceled concept for a spinoff that took place three years after the first game.
Instead of zombies, you’d fight plant-infected humans and creatures and the environments would have a similar aesthetic. There's pretty much no footage and it's unclear, based on the info out there, if this would have replaced the second game, or have been a reimagining.
Here's another big Capcom franchise that started off as a Resident Evil game. Did you know that Devil May Cry was a prototype for Resident Evil 4? This was probably in its earliest phases of development.
You can still see reminders of the series since Devil May Cry also uses pre-rendered backgrounds and camera cuts, which I always thought was odd for an action game. Now I know why!
I talked about this in my 30 Long Lost Hidden Things In Video Games article, but it’s something so cool that it bears repeating. There’s a helicopter scene toward the middle of the game where players can equip a sniper rifle.
If you look past the crash site, there will be a cutout of someone standing next to the wreckage. To this day, no one knows who that is yet, but the answer is probably in the credits (i.e. they’re among the hundreds of names that worked on the game).
Let's go through said changes right now! I can clearly still remember going through my friend's Game Informer magazine during High School Study Hall and looking at the weird Ghost Manor prototype.
Yes, Leon was back in a mansion and this time, he was fighting what looked like ghosts. Later on, Capcom added a Nemesis-like figure that would chase him around who was dubbed the “Hook Man,” which also looked cool. This article is pretty comprehensive and was a great read.
Another GameCube exclusive entry in the series was Resident Evil Zero, which was a prequel to the first game starring Rebecca Chambers, the aforementioned medic. It creates some lore problems, but let's put plot holes aside for now and talk about some trivia.
While Resident Evil 2 was ported to the Nintendo 64, that was the only one, even though Nintendo tried to nail down an exclusive. That's right, Resident Evil Zero began production on the N64. This is another fascinating read.
Okay, so if you're a fan of this series, you're probably aware of all the mainline games and spinoffs, right? There's a lot, so don't be ashamed if you've missed a few. Even the most hardcore may not know about the non-Resident Evil games though.
That is to say characters like Chris and Jill have appeared outside of their main franchise. They've been fighters in the Marvel vs. Capcom series and even RPG heroes in Project X Zone. That's how you know this series is big.
Do you remember Resident Evil Outbreak? It's kind of the series' most obscure spinoffs. It was a multiplayer focused game set during the events of Resident Evil 2, wherein zombies were infesting Raccoon City.
File this under “N” for no thanks. You could choose to play as a few different people from a cop to a waitress, all with their own set of skills, or you could play alone, but it was much easier online. Unfortunately it was still clunky in this regard, too. So, while two episodes were released, the third and final chapter was canceled.
And last, but not least, we have one of the strangest accessories ever released for a game. To coincide with Resident Evil VII's launch, Numskull created a candle. It was meant to be used during VR play to immerse players deeper into the experience.
Now, here I thought this was a one-time thing, but upon further inspection, I discovered that Numskull has a full line of video game scented candles. I guess this means they sell well? What a weird market.