Ask anyone what the most important horror game of all time is, and they will undoubtedly think of Resident Evil. Resident Evil is arguably one of the most influential and important video games of all time, and it helped launch a franchise that is still going strong to this day. Well, minus Resident Evil 6. We can all collectively forget about that.
It may seem like we know all there is to know about Resident Evil, as it is such a monumental piece of gaming history. But we're here to tell you otherwise.
10 It Was Greatly Inspired By Sweet Home
Every idea usually comes from somewhere, and the idea for Resident Evil came primarily from Sweet Home. Sweet Home was a horror game developed and published by Capcom in 1989.
Like Resident Evil, Sweet Home emphasizes survival horror over action, managing a limited inventory, health restoratives, and notes, and it too takes place in a secluded mansion. In fact, Resident Evil was originally designed as a remake of Sweet Home until it was taken in a new direction. However, the influences still hang heavy.
9 Shinji Mikami Was Reluctant
Shinji Mikami is now one of the biggest names in gaming, primarily for his work on the Resident Evil franchise. However, he was initially reluctant to work on the game. When the game was first envisioned, Sweet Home's director Tokuro Fujiwara entrusted Shinji Mikamo with overseeing the development of the remake.
However, Mikami was reluctant to take on the project, as, ironically, he despised being scared. However, it was this very fact that made him such a great choice, as he understood what made something scary and what didn't. He reluctantly agreed, and the rest is history.
8 Mikami Was Inspired By Zombie...But Not In A Good Way
While he hates being scared, it's obvious that Shinji Mikami is still a fan of horror. After he was appointed by Fujiwara to oversee Resident Evil, Mikami drew influence on his devout hatred of Lucio Fulci's Zombie.
Mikami did not like the movie and did not find it to be scary, believing that it was too focused on gore and visceral thrills than dread or atmosphere. He didn't want Resident Evil to be anything like Zombie, so he did the exact opposite; he focused on dread and atmosphere over gore and visceral thrills. We think it was the right decision.
7 Mikami Worked Alone For Six Months
Back in the day, development teams were incredibly small. So small, in fact, that Shinji Mikami worked alone for the first six months of the game's development! Mikami tirelessly worked on concept sketches, designing the iconic characters and their motivations, and writing the first forty pages of the game's script.
In short, Resident Evil is basically the brainchild of a single person, and that single person is none other than Shinji Mikami. We don't think he did a bad job, considering he hates being scared!
6 It Was Originally Going To Be Japanese Horror
One of the major differences between Sweet Home and Resident Evil is the genre. Sweet Home is a psychological Japanese horror, focusing on dread, atmosphere, and the supernatural. As this was going to be a remake of said game, Resident Evil was originally designed with the Japanese horror genre in mind.
However, Mikami later grew heavily influenced by the American zombie genre, headed primarily by the legendary George A. Romero, and decided to alter the game from supernatural Japanese horror to the more traditional zombie action genre we all know today.
5 It Was Originally Developed With a First Person View
Throughout a lengthy period of development, Resident Evil was designed as a first-person game. It wasn't until Mikami discovered Alone in the Dark that he decided to alter the camera from first-person to a fixed third-person perspective.
Alone in the Dark's camera system was revolutionary and highly influential in the development of subsequent horror games, and it inspired Mikami to drastically alter an already well-in-progress game. Mikami has since stated that Alone in the Dark was arguably the most important influence on the design of the game.
4 It Originally Featured Co-Op
If there's one thing we're learning here, it's that Resident Evil changed a lot from initial development to release. Another major change that Mikami made in development was to remove the co-operative gameplay mechanics.
The game was originally going to have a co-op element, as the characters were not going to be separated. However, Mikami later dropped this mechanic, as he believed that it wasn't good enough and that it took away from the overall experience. We think he made the right choice. We couldn't imagine Resident Evil being very scary if we could simply plow through it with a friend. *cough cough Resident Evil 5 cough cough*
3 Dewey And Gelzer
The characters of Resident Evil are iconic, yet we almost got a whole different cast—well, not entirely different, but pretty different! There existed two characters named Dewey and Gelzer, who were originally going to be in the game. Dewey was the comic relief, and Gelzer was an enormous cyborg. Yes, a cyborg.
For whatever reason, the development team decided to ax these characters, and they were respectively replaced by Rebecca and Barry. We know everyone loves Barry, but come on, who doesn't want to see a massive cyborg?
2 Japanese Voice Performances
In a weird turn of events, Resident Evil was originally released in Japan with English voices and Japanese captions. Pretty weird considering the game was developed in Japan, no? Well, it turns out that Capcom did record Japanese voice actors, but they were left on the cutting room floor due to, wait for it.... poor acting.
Yep, Mikami thought that the acting was inadequate and decided to use the English voices instead. The same English voices that have become infamous over the years for being utterly terrible. Yeah, they should have gone with the original Japanese voices. How much worse could they have been?
1 No One Thought It Would Be Successful
Resident Evil is now one of the most iconic franchises in gaming history, yet Capcom did not have faith in the original game. Tokuro Fujiwara, the director of Sweet Home, admitted that Resident Evil was a niche game and wasn't likely to breach the mainstream. Basically, he thought it was going to be Sweet Home all over again.
In fact, he thought that the game would only sell 200,000 copies, and both Mikami and Capcom agreed, not believing that a horror game could be successful. The game went on to sell nearly three million units, and the Resident Evil series has sold an accumulated 92 million units as of June 2019.