12 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Resident Evil series

Resident Evil is 20 years old. So MCV dug back into its 15 years of Resident Evil special from 2011 to reveal 12 interesting facts about the iconic horror series.

Before making Resident Evil, creator Shinji Mikami made Disney games. Including 1994’s Goof Troop, the official Aladdin game and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

2. Resident Evil was originally conceived as a remake of Capcom’s 1989 psychological horror game Sweet Home. Other inspirations included Alone in the Dark and The Shining.

3. Capcom was nervous about the first Resident Evil during the development process. When the original Resident Evil was launched, we obviously had no idea it would grow to be so popular,” recalls Hiroyuki Kobayashi who has worked on every numbered Resident Evil title.

But once we knew, the pressure was on us each time we released a new one, because it had to best the previous. But this determination led to the quality of Resident Evil franchise you know today. During the development we had both internal and external resistance as we were aiming for something that was very new and unconventional – but at the end of the day the team was sure it would be accepted by the gamers one way or another.”

4. Paul WS Anderson decided to create the Resident Evil movie series after disappearing into his Hollywood flat for three weeks and palying the first three Resident Evil games back-to-back.

I emerged, and this is a true story, with a rather long beard and wild staring, crazy, bloodshot eyes,” Anderson told us in 2011. What had happened is that I had played Resident Evil 1 ,2 and 3 back-to-back, and it took me three to four weeks to get through them all. That was it. I had become obsessed with them. I called my producing partner Jeremy Bolt and said we have to turn this into a movie.”

5. The Resident Evil movies may not be popular with critics or hardcore fans, but they’re hugely popular. They’ve generated a combined $915m on a overall budget of $250m. The next one is due in 2016.

It has stayed true to Resident Evil,” says director and franchise head Anderson. In all the sequences we have quoted from, the sets we have recreated, the costumes, the characters who have made an appearance, we have really tried to stay true to the spirit and the world of the video game, while also giving something fresh. I know that is something that upsets some hardcore fans, but I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say, and if we had really upset so many people and fucked it up so badly, we wouldn’t have done billions of dollars of business.”

6. And Capcom actually really like the movies I think the films extract the essence of Resident Evil very well,” says Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Films and games are very different forms of entertainment but Resident Evil films really do well to ooze out the Resident Evil atmosphere from the game to fit the cinema style.”

Capcom’s European head of Katsuhiko Ichii adds: Resident Evil is interesting as a film because it is unreality realistically told and is somehow, strangely as you smirk, believable.”

7. Capcom was deep in development into Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4 before deciding to stop and start all over again. The titles have become known as Resident Evil 1.5 and 3.5 in the fandom.

At the time of reviewing the products as a company we felt that the games just did not have the quality we wanted,” says Ichii.We then had the choice of just releasing them or virtually remaking them. We chose the latter.”

8. Fans then hacked the Resident Evil 5 leaderboards to demand Capcom release these unfinished Resident Evil games.

We probably have around five requests a week for us to release these prototype versions or 1.5 and 3.5 as they’re often called, the Resident Evil 5 leaderboards were even hacked with the message give us version 3.5”,” recalls Capcom European boss Stuart Turner. Some fans genuinely think we’re some evil Umbrella style organisation and have two totally finished games sat in a vault somewhere.”

9. The failed attempts at developing Resident Evil 4 went on to become other titles, including Devil May Cry.

We especially re-developed Resident Evil 4 over and over, we almost believed the day it got released would never come,” says Masachika Kawata, who has worked on numerous Resident Evil projects.However, the know-how we gained through the struggle has now been passed on to make Devil May Cry and other Resident Evil titles.”?

10. Other cancelled Resident Evil games includes Resident Evil 0 on the N64 (it was later rebuilt as a GameCube exclusive). Resident Evil on GameBoy Colour – which was looking impressive before it was cancelled. And Resident Evil Portable on PSP, which was announced during E3 but never shown.

11. Capcom use Resident Evil spin-off titles, like Gun Survivor, Operation Racoon City and Outbreak, as a way to test new ideas that might end up being used for the main ‘numbered’ Resident Evil games.

With the sort of quality we pursue, the Resident Evil main franchise is not something that we can mass produce but can only release it every few years,” says Ichii.

However, most people finish the game in the time given but they hunger for more. Our idea is then to provide titles outside the main franchise to perhaps talk about unmentioned or unfinished plots, while seeking for innovative ideas that could then go back to the main franchise. In other words, the main franchise gets to be what it is, as an amalgamated result of research and innovation of other Resident Evil titles.”

12. Over 66m Resident Evil games have been sold. It is Capcom’s most successful video game franchise.

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