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10 Facts Fans Need To Know About Resident Evil’s Development History

There’s plenty that went on behind the scenes of Resident Evil’s development over the years. Here are some things the average fan doesn’t know.

Resident Evil is one of the best documented series out there. That is to say fans have done a good job on preserving assets from Capcom’s mistakes like concept art, screenshots, and trailers. Unless otherwise notes these games can be found with said assets on Unseen64 as just one example. 

RELATED: The 10 Best Resident Evil Clones, Ranked

The goal today is to run through ten games in the franchise and go through how they all changed over time. Some of these projects started off wildly different than their end products. Some aspects are well-known to fans while some other tidbits are a bit more obscure so let’s dive deep for a related Halloween treat. 

10 Resident Evil

Resident Evil Concept Art

The first Resident Evil went through many phases. It was originally conceived as a spiritual remake of the Japan only NES game, Sweet Home, which was planned for the Super Nintendo. Development then shifted to the PS1 where early footage and or concept art shows off a co-op mode, cut characters Dewey and Gelzer, and a first-person perspective. Eventually it all came together as the game fans know and love today. 

9 Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 1.5 art and screenshots

Footage of the first game is blurry at best, but the prototype of Resident Evil 2 is better documented. It has now been dubbed as Resident Evil 1.5 wherein Claire was replaced by Elza Walker. While not related to Chris she was also a motorcycle enthusiast and a college student. In 2013 the prototype leaked online prompting fans to complete it more in a playable state. The demo is still out there and can run on emulators fairly well. 

8 Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3 promo art

After the success of Resident Evil 2, this prompted Capcom to green light a plethora of sequels. Resident Evil 3, as a number, was going to be directed by Hideki Kamiya and was planned to star HUNK on a cruiser. Also in the works was Code: Veronica on the Dreamcast and a gaiden adventure on the PS1. 

RELATED: Resident Evil: The 5 Scariest Monsters (& 5 Lamest), Ranked

Kamiya’s game was canceled, or more like it was being retooled into something else, so the Dreamcast game was then going to be Resident Evil 2’s true successor. That said it was decided to give the number to this gaiden project instead as it was hoped a number would help sell more copies. More of this can be found in a deep dive Polygon did.  

7 Resident Evil 0

Resident Evil 0 gameplay screenshots

Another project that was being worked on at the time of Resident Evil 3 and those others was an exclusive for the N64 dubbed Resident Evil 0. Most of the game’s concept stayed the same between this version and the eventual port to the GameCube. The big difference was the leap in graphics which utilized the remake of the first game’s engine. Why it was canceled or moved can be partially chalked up to the fiasco with the other projects at the time.  

6 Resident Evil Outbreak

Resident Evil Online gameplay screenshots

Resident Evil Online was the original name to Resident Evil Outbreak. It was planned to be a much larger game with more scenarios, characters to play as as well as more locations. Some things eventually made it into the sequel, but a lot still remains on the cutting room floor. On that note there were also plans to make a third game but it was never really shown off. 

5 Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 gameplay screenshots

After Kamiya’s version of Resident Evil 3 was canceled and the number went to the PS1 game, he was put in charge of Resident Evil 4 instead. While not canceled this time, it actually became Devil May Cry instead after some reworking. Resident Evil 4 basically had three more revisions after this with the final one being the end product. These include Leon being haunted by ghosts to being chased around by a hooked maniac. 

4 Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles promo art

This was actually going to play and look like Resident Evil 4. No gameplay or concept art was ever shown of this version though. It was eventually toned down in fear that the Wii audience wouldn’t get it. This quote from the producer’s, Masachika Kawata, interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu sums it up nicely. “By reducing enthusiast-only elements, players can purely enjoy the world.”

3 Resident Evil Revelations 

A gameplay screenshot of Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil Revelations was always planned on the 3DS but the initial trailer and concept pitch was different. In it Chris and Jill are shown turning on each other almost acting like one of them is infected.

RELATED: 5 Things We Miss From Early Resident Evil Games (& 5 We Don’t)

It’s a scene that could fit right in with The Thing. Wether it was going to follow a similar manner to that movie is unknown, but the game would have put both of them on a ship fighting off some kind of infected. 

2 Resident Evil VII

A gameplay screenshot of Resident Evil VII

This game started developing after Resident Evil 6 shipped. There is no art or footage of this version but apparently it was also action oriented like its predecessor. Due to poor feedback from Resident Evil 6, it was scrapped and retooled into something more haunting to escape that negative feedback. It was first shown off at E3 2015 not by the name Resident Evil VII but by KI7CHEN, which was a VR demo. 

1 Canceled Titles

Resident Evil GBC and Alien art and screenshots

There have been many games in the franchise that started off completely differently but then there were legitimately canceled games. There was going to be a PSP game but other than a logo not much is known about this project. There was a planned Game Boy Color port of the first game which exists online in a prototype fashion. The biggest loss might be a pitch Creative Assembly was going to make to Capcom. For those unaware, they worked on Alien: Isolation

NEXT: 10 Horror Games We’d Rather See Remade (Instead Of Resident Evil 4)


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