The release of the latest installation in the Resident Evil franchise is right around the corner on the 24th of January, and it’s bringing lots of changes. Going back to it’s more conventional “survival horror” roots, gamers will be experiencing this new world of fear from a first person perspective, as opposed to the “fixed camera” and over the shoulder perspective of previous main title games. But this isn’t Capcom’s first time taking the series in this direction…
1. Resident Evil was Originally Conceived as an FPS
When the game was first being planned, it was intended to be played from a “First Person Shooter” perspective but director Shinji Mikami decided to change it to the fixed camera perspective to help allude to a more “tense and frightening atmosphere”. Although the FPS point of view idea was brought back for a later game in the series. Four years after the release of RE1, gamers were able to pick up Resident Evil: Survivor, a “light gun” styled, FPS game where you play as a helicopter pilot who has crashed at a secret Umbrella facility and is fighting to escape. Survivor was not very well received, but this didn’t stop the game from spawning two sequels on the PS2. This idea was revisited on the Nintendo Wii with the release of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles.
2. Resident Evil was Inspired by a Japanese Survival Horror RPG on the NES
Game Director Shinji Mikami stated in an interview that his inspiration for the game came from another of Capcom’s titles, Sweet Home. Sweet Home was an RPG on the NES system which was a game about 5 playable characters who enter a haunted mansion in search of treasure. Each character had a specific skill set, which could be used in a variety of ways to help players escape with the treasure alive. This idea of different characters having different skills may have very well influenced the same traits of characters in the spin-off series, Resident Evil: Outbreak.
3. The Game was Originally Going to Feature Ghosts Instead of Zombies
Sweet Home had a lot of influence on the final build of Resident Evil, such as the mansion setting, the tense “door opening” loading screens, and the use of small notes to further the story. But one other massive game attribute which was changed was the inclusion of ghosts and other paranormal enemies instead of zombies. This would have been a completely different game from the shambling, zombie filled universe we know today. But what prompted the change to zombies?
4. The Zombies in the Game are Inspired by George Romero’s Zombie Films
George Romero is been the driving force behind the zombie craze that the world knows and loves today, with his films being lauded far and wide as the start of zombie horror. This appreciation for the undead is shared by the team behind Resident Evil as well, inspiring Mikami to switch from ghosts to zombies. Thanks George!
5. George Romero Directed a Live Action Trailer for RE2 and Wrote a Scipt for a Live Action Movie
Possibly due to his influence on the first game, Romero was hired to write and direct a live action trailer for the release of Resident Evil 2 (or Biohazard as it is known in Japan). He was also commissioned to write a script for a live action film. His script was centered around the events of the game and features Chris and Jill as characters with a love interest, but was rejected by Capcom. This eventually lead to the film series we know today starring Milla Jovovich.
6. Resident Evil was Massively Successful Upon Release
The series launched in a big way in 1996, successful topping best seller lists in 96 and 97. Many gaming publications have credited the series with bringing “Survival Horror” into the main stream as a gaming genre. This was followed up in 98 and 99 with the success of RE3: Nemesis. But just imagine how much more successful the series could have been if they had less hardware limitations….
7. The Original RE was Planned to have Split Screen Co-op
It was the intention of the development team to allow two players to explore simultaneously with split screen mechanics. One player would theoretically play as Chris, while the other played as Jill. This could possibly explain why Jill is given the lockpick set, and described as a “master of lockpicking”. Having different abilities for characters would make the game flow better as a co-op experience. This mechanic was later implemented into Resident Evil: Zero gamers could switch between playable characters Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen. Speaking of Re: Zero, they attempted to make a slight change to the series well known herb system.
8. Resident Evil: Zero had Plans to Include a new Pink Herb in the Game
Series veterans are all to familiar with Raccoon Cities special herbs which can be used to heal players wounds and cure them of poison. But RE: Zero had plans for a special “Pink Herb”. This idea was scrapped early on in development, and while it is possible to hack the game and add the herb in, it serves no purpose because it was never programmed. We may never know what secrets hide in that small pot…
9. The “Lost in Nightmares” DLC of RE:5 Hides a Special Easter Egg Which Throws Back to RE1
In the DLC “Lost in Nightmares” took players back in time, controlling Chris and Jill while they investigated the Spencer mansion. The easter egg is a throw back to the original game where if the player opens the front door to the mansion three times they will be treated to a “jump scare” of a vicious zombie dog trying to break in. In ‘Lost in Nightmares”, players who try to open the door three times will find the perspective has changed from over the shoulder, to a fixed camera perspective. This is the same style of gameplay that the first three Resident Evil game featured, and is a really fun way to honor the series roots.
10. Resident Evil 4 is Considered by Many to be the Pinnacle of the Series and has Spawned Multiple Remakes and Loads of Merchandise
RE4 was originally planned to be a Gamecube exclusive, but was massively popular, receiving multiple “Game of the Year” awards as well as eventually being ported to the PS2. This was just the beginning however, with RE4 being remastered and ported to 8 different consoles over the last 11 years, as well as having a mobile spin off ported to IOS and Android.
The Resident Evil series has had it’s ups and downs over the last 21 years (looking at you as a low point RE6) but with the latest rendition, the series looks to be bringing back the fear we all enjoy. So if you can’t wait to be terrified, and you enjoyed this article, then share it with your friends! And don’t forget to follow Bonus Level Gaming on Facebook for all the latest in gaming news, memes, cosplay, and more! Thanks for reading!