History of Resident Evil

The horror stories that have made up the iconic Resident Evil series

From Game Boy Color to iPhone, through Sega Saturn to Game.com, Resident Evil has built a reputation on almost every console released since 1996 (with the very notable exceptions of PSP, GBA and Xbox)

There has been 64 boxed game SKUs of Resident Evil, which between them have sold almost 46m units – it is Capcom’s most successful franchise. As part of MCV’s celebration of 15 years of Resident Evil, we take a look back at all the games that have made the Resident Evil canon, the spin-off genres and the games that never were.

The Main series

Resident Evil 0
Released: 2003
Formats: Gamecube, Wii
The prequel to the Resident Evil universe was originally a GameCube exclusive and later came out on Nintendo Wii. It told the story of Rebecca Chambers, the only surviving member of the STARS Bravo team, and featured partner zapping with a new male character, Billy Coen. It was the last true new entry in the Resident Evil series to feature the old style of gameplay.

Resident Evil
Released: 1996
Formats: PlayStation, PC, Sega Saturn, DS, Wii, Gamecube
The game that went on to define the survival horror genre for almost a decade. It was inspired by a 1989 NES game Sweet Home that was based in Japan. Expectations were low, but thethree PSone editions – including a Director’s Cut and a Dual Shock edition – sold a combined 5m units worldwide. Capcom decided to completey remake the game for GameCube with impressive new visuals and a few new storyline threads, and that edition has sold 1.35m copies worldwide.

Resident Evil 2
Released: 1998
Formats: PlayStation, GameCube, PC, Dreamcast, N64, PSN, Game.com
Regarded by the gaming press (such as Famitsu and Official PlayStation) as one of the greatest PSone games of all time, the iconic sequel sold some 5m units on the original PlayStation alone. However, development didn’t run smooth. Shinji Mikami and the studio team were almost 80 per cent finished with the game before deciding to delay the release a year and start again. Resident Evil 2 has also appeared on a wide number of platforms, including the all-but-forgotten Game.com.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Released: 2000
Formats: Dreamcast, GameCube, PS2, PC
The third Resident Evil didn’t enjoy the same critical plaudits as its predecessors, nor did it quite sell as much. But it still sold some 3.5m units and introduced gamers to a new enemy, the persistent Nemesis. The game’s main protagonists was returning heroine Jill Valentine.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Released: 2000
Formats: PS3, Xbox 360, Dreamcast, GameCube, PS2
Code Veronica was notable for not starting life on a PlayStation platform and for featuring 3D backdrops for the first time. It began as a Dreamcast exclusive and sold 1.14m copies. The eventual PS2 edition, Code Veronica X, sold 1.4m. The game was later re-released on GameCube, and now a brand new HD edition is coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It featured brother and sister, Claire and Chris Redfield, in the same game for the first time.

Resident Evil 4
Released: 2005
Formats: GameCube, PS2, PC, Wii, PS3, iPhone, Xbox 360
Originally a GameCube exclusive, Resident Evil 4 shook up the genre and was a critical smash hit, with a Metacritic score of 96. It has sold 5.7m units across Wii, GameCube and PS2 and has influenced big-name titles such as Gears of War. It is held in high esteem by fans and critics, and Capcom is re-releasing the title for Xbox 360 and PS3 next month, only this time in HD.

Resident Evil: Revelations
Released: TBC
Formats: 3DS
The 3DS exclusive sees the franchise mix the gameplay from classic Resident Evil games with the more action-orientated gunplay found in Resident Evil 4. It stars the protagonists from the first Resident Evil game (and indeed Resident Evil 5) Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield.

Resident Evil 5
Released: 2009
Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
On Xbox 360 and PS3 alone Resident Evil 5 has sold an impressive 5.6m games. It has been re-released for PlayStation 3 with Move support. The game ditched the dark and bleak worlds of forests and mansions in favour of sun-drenched Africa.


Resident Evil Survivor
Released: 2000
Formats: PlayStation
The very first Resident Evil spin-off featured a story that had very little to do with the main series (although it did feature a Tyrant factory and mentioned Leon S Kennedy). It spawned the biggest Resident Evil spin-off series so far, although the third Gun Survivor was actually a Dino Crisis game.

Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica
Released: 2001
Formats: PS2

Loosely based on the Resident Evil: Code Veronica storyline, again this was a first person light-gun game and saw the Survivor series arrive on PlayStation 2.

Resident Evil: Dead Aim
Released: 2003
Formats: PS2
Or Gun Survivor 4 as it was called in Japan. Dead Aim mixed up the light-gun series by introducing third person elements. It turned out to be the last game in the Gun Survivor series.

Resident Evil Gaiden
Released: 2001
Formats: Game Boy Color
This rather rubbish Game Boy Color game combined top down exploration with first person combat. It did feature recurring Resident Evil characters Leon S Kennedy and Barry Burton and took place on a boat.

Resident Evil Outbreak
Released: 2004
Formats: PS2
Resident Evil: Outbreak File #2
Released: 2005
Formats: PS2
Online co-op multiplayer shooter Outbreak sold 1.45m units worldwide, making it the most successful Resident Evil spin-off game so far. However, its sequel-cum-expansion File #2 didn’t perform as strongly.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Released: 2007
Formats: Wii
Umbrella Chronicles was an on-rails shooter, a bit like the Survivor series. The only difference this was based on the Resident Evil main series and acted as a sort of fast-paced recap of the story (it also plugged gaps in the narrative). Umbrella Chornicles dealt with Resident Evil 0, 1 and 3 and sold some 1.3m units worldwide.

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
Released: 2009
Formats: Wii
Following the surprise success of Umbrella Chronicles, Capcom gave Wii owners the chance to explore other games in the series, notably Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
Released: 2011
Formats 3DS
This 3DS action title combines the Mercenaries mini-games featured in Resident Evil 4 and 5. Capcom has already sold 400,000 units of the game.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Released: Winter 2011
Formats: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
The upcoming co-op action shooter is set during Resident Evil 2 and 3 and lets users play as the bad guys. Gamers can even kill one of the series’ main heroes, Leon S. Kennedy.

Resident Evil mobile games
There has been a string of Resident Evil games released for mobile devices including the iPhone and NGage. Games includes Confidential Mission, Genesis, Uprising and a game based on the CGi movie Degeneration. There’s even an iPhone version of Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil: Degeneration
Released: 2008
Formats: DVD, Blu-ray
Unlike the live-action movies, this CGI film is based on the games story (set between Resident Evil 4 and 5). A sequel – Damnation – is due next year.

Killed before the end

Resident Evil 1.5
The sequel to Resident Evil was originally due in 1997, but with the game almost 80 per cent complete Capcom decided to scrap it and start again. Fans often demand its release.

Resident Evil 0 – N64 Edition
Not so much killed off, more moved to GameCube. Resident Evil 0 was originally due on N64. It was delayed significantly before turning up on GameCube in 2003 with a few changes.

Resident Evil 3.5
Several versions of Resident Evil 4 were attempted before the final game arrived in 2005. One such version was a paranormal take on the franchise, featuring a hook-handed ghost. Another version was so radical that Capcom changed it into something entirely different, and called it Devil May Cry.

Resident Evil GBC
UK studio HotGen Studios was tasked with doing the impossible – squeezing the original Resident Evil onto Game Boy Colour. Could they do it? No.

Resident Evil Portable
At E3 2009 a logo flashed up for Resident Evil Portable – a title that was built with PSPgo in mind. Never officially cancelled, the game could still be coming, just not for PSPgo.

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