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BIOHAZARD 1.5 differed drastically from the released Resident Evil 2 in terms of plot and gameplay mechanics, enough for it to be dubbed with a different name by developers such as game Producer, Shinji Mikami.[1][2] Its plot followed the same basic outline as that of Resident Evil 2, and featured a zombie outbreak in Raccoon City two months after the events of the first game. Development of Resident Evil 2 began one month after the completion of its predecessor in early 1996,[3] and the first footage of the game was shown at the V Jump Festival '96 in July.[4]

Plot development

A basic outline for Resident Evil 2 was quickly envisioned at the end of the first game's development by Kenichi Iwao, scenario writer for the first game. Umbrella was to be closed down in the weeks following the events of the first game,[5] and its research staff imprisoned. This was part of a wider story arc which was to replace Umbrella with the US military as the series antagonist, Iwao already establishing in Albert Wesker's backstory as a US Army bioweapons researcher on loan from the company. Wesker was also to return at some point in the series, Iwao writing his character as "unconscious" following the Tyrant attack to allow the possibility of escape (this however was lost to the English version, which described him as being dead in Examines). Inside of BIO-HAZARD, a guidebook for the first game, included franchise lore in an in-universe setting, implying a second outbreak of the t-Virus.

In the initial months of development, a number of ideas were brought up as to how the sequel's plot should be structured. While it was agreed at the beginning that the game should be set in an urban environment, a subplot was discussed but soon after rejected where the cast were to visit the ruins of the mansion left by the explosion.

Production history

Resident Evil 1.5

One of the first early builds of Resident Evil 1.5 that featured Elza Walker. The zombies in this early version were less detailed, and the interior of the police station had a more modern design.

In early stages, Leon's character model had shorter hair, Elza was also not introduced at this stage. Concept art was released featuring Leon in casual wear, and later his R.P.D. uniform as well as introducing Elza Walker, the initial female protagonist.

In the initial stages of development, producer Mikami often had creative disagreements with Kamiya, and tried to influence the team with his own direction. He eventually stepped back to an overseeing role as producer, and only demanded to be shown the current build once a month.[2] Believing the game's assets to be good individually, but not yet satisfactory as a whole, Mikami expected that everything would coalesce in the three months leading up to the projected May 1997 release date.[2][6]

The development team sought to retain the level of fear from the original game, and thus introduced to the narrative two new characters who lacked experience with terrifying situations: Leon S. Kennedy, largely identical to his persona in the final build, and Elza Walker, a college student and motorcycle racer.[2][5][6][7]

Unlike the final version, the story paths of Leon and Elza did not cross, and each playable character had two support partners instead of just one.[7] Leon received help from fellow police officer Marvin Branagh and a researcher named Ada, while Elza was aided by Sherry Birkin and a man named John, who appeared in Resident Evil 2 as gun shop owner Robert Kendo.[7][8]

Footage of Resident Evil 1.5 (All Footage)
Resident Evil 114:19

Resident Evil 1.5 (All Footage)

Real-world influences had an impact on several character designs by artists Isao Ohishi and Ryoji Shimogama. For example, Ohishi based Leon on his bloodhound, and Annette Birkin was modeled after actress Jodie Foster.[8] The police department in which Resident Evil 1.5 began had a more modern and realistic design, and was smaller than the final building seen in Resident Evil 2.[5][7] There were more encounters with surviving policemen, such as Leon's superior officer named Roy.[7][8] The number of polygons used for enemy models was far lower than in the released version.[1] This allowed a greater amount of zombies to appear on the screen, a method of invoking fear in the player that recurred throughout Resident Evil 1.5.[1][2] Furthermore, the game employed dynamic music, and frequently applied alterations to the pre-rendered backgrounds in response to events during the gameplay.[5] The playable characters could be equipped with gear, such as protective clothes that enhanced their defense and enabled them to carry more items.[9][10] The characters' polygonal models were altered by costume changes and by damage received from enemies.[9]

The development was carried out by a 40-50 person group that would later be part of Capcom Production Studio 4.[1][11] Director and writer Hideki Kamiya led the team, which was composed of newer Capcom employees and over half of the staff from the original Resident Evil.[1][2][3] assumed that they had a goal set for November with three additional months to debug the game (aiming for a tentative May release), however the goal was not reached, resulting in a meeting which eventually led to the decision to scrap the game and rework it. Sugimura and Okamoto were among the people hired to help develop the game which eventually became Biohazard 2.


Professional screenwriter Noboru Sugimura was tasked with completely reworking the script after initially being consulted on a trial basis, and he suggested to the team that they should start over from scratch. Mikami and others agreed. Shortly thereafter, 1.5 was scrapped at a development stage of 60–80 percent.[1][3][7][12] Mikami later explained that the game would not have reached the desired quality in the aforementioned period, and especially frowned upon the gameplay and locations for being "dull and boring".[1][2][3]

The story of Resident Evil 1.5, with which Mikami planned to end the series, was criticized by supervisor Yoshiki Okamoto, who found it to be too conclusive to allow for future installments. Instead, Okamoto proposed the creation of a fictional universe that would turn Resident Evil into a metaseries – similar to the Gundam and James Bond franchises – in which self-contained stories with common elements could be told.[2] During a period in which the team made no progress rewriting the scenario, Okamoto was introduced to professional screenwriter Noboru Sugimura, who was enthusiastic about the first game's story.[13] Sugimura was initially consulted on a trial basis, but Okamoto was impressed by the ease with which the writer came up with solutions to the problems that plagued the script, and soon asked him to compose the entire scenario for Resident Evil 2.[1][13] One fundamental modification to the story was the reworking of Elza Walker into Claire Redfield, in order to introduce a connection to the plot of the first game.[3] To fulfill Capcom's sales plan of two million copies, director Kamiya tried to attract new customers with a more ostentatious and Hollywood-like story presentation.[14] As Okamoto did not want to simply enforce the new direction, he had Sugimura discuss the plot revisions with the development staff.[2]

The planners redesigned the game from the ground up to fit the changes, and the programmers and other remaining members of the team were sent to work on Resident Evil: Director's Cut, which was shipped with a playable preview disc of the new Resident Evil 2 version in order to promote the sequel and to apologize to the players for its belated release. It's worth noting that the preview contains various left over data from the possibly final stages of 1.5's development, content consisting of rooms, items, weapons, etc.[1][15]

Only a few assets from Resident Evil 1.5 could be recycled, as the principal locations in the final build were made to look more extravagant and artistic, based on photographs taken of the interiors of Western-style buildings in Japanese cities.[1] These environments were created with a software program called O2, and each background took two to three weeks to render. The maximum number of zombies displayed on the screen at one time was limited to seven, making it possible to use 450 polygons for the comparatively detailed models of Leon and Claire.[3] The protagonists, instead of being given visible wounds, were made to limp slowly upon receiving heavy damage.[1] Apart from the graphics, one of the most important new features was the "Zapping System", which was partly inspired by Back to the Future Part II, a time travel-themed film sequel that offers a different perspective on the story of the original film. The voice-overs by the all-Canadian cast of Resident Evil 2 were recorded before the actual cutscenes were completed, with each of the actors selected from a roster of ten people per role.[2] Thereafter, the full-motion videos (FMVs) were created by filming stop motion animations of action figures, which were then rendered to completed pictures with computer graphics (CG) tools.[16] Ada's cinematic model could not be finished in time. Making her the only main character not to appear in a pre-rendered cutscene.[2]

Several changes had to be made between the regional releases of Resident Evil 2. The North American version contains more violent "game over" screens, which were removed from the Japanese Biohazard 2. Resident Evil 2 was also made more difficult than its Japanese equivalent to prevent rentals from affecting U.S. sales.[3][16][17]

Leon was given an entirely new voice actor in the released version; his damage grunts were recycled to be used by Chris Redfield in the Dual Shock Ver.'s Extreme Battle mode. Ironically, his and Elza's damage grunts in 1.5 were originally Chris' and Jill's as place holders from the first Resident Evil.

Developer Comments

"--: It was like you got nervous? K: Maybe, but even I was calm, when I got in the bed , I started to worry. "How should I manage those plans?" "How will I direct the cut scene?" and I started mini-meeting inside of my head. *laugh* In Resident Evil 2 development, we had meetings twice a week with all 40 team members. In the meeting, everybody said "How's schedule going?" or "I'm ready to make this room but map is not done yet?" to me. And when I tried to sleep, that kind of questions and complaint came back and I started think about I have to do this, that and I couldn't sleep. So, I drunk strong alcohol straight and went to sleep.When I did that, I could sleep until morning. I did it everyday."

"--: Your health was OK? K: One day, I went to a restaurant with my friend and ate too much, then I felt like I was gonna throw up. I run to the rest room and throw up and I saw that it was full of the blood!!!! *laugh*"

"--: Oh.... no...... K: I couldn't believe it, but I threw up more and more blood..... I went to the doctor the next day and I went through a health examination... by gastroscope...... I never went back to the doctor to get result."

"--: You should go!! ........maybe, if it was serious, the hospital would call you and tell you...... I hope. K: Yeah, I thought so too. So, I'm just thinking it wasn't serious at all."


"M: There was a another version of Resident Evil 2, now people called the game Resident Evil 1.5, actually, in those days I nagged them a lot. and caused problem on development team to which one, me or Kamiya to listen. Then I told them just show me ROM once a month, but still my way and Kamiya's way is different. So, I told them to completely leave the development to them. I thought they had good material, after all just put those material in the pan and cook it, even if it taste a little bad, we can fix it in 3 months. Then, when I taste it, I was shocked by bad, BAD taste. I realized it tastes bad because not only the seasoning, something drastic making this bad taste. I had to tell them to start all over again, but still I didn't go inside of development team, I watched them from a little far away."



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 "Resident Evil 2: New In-Depth Interview!". Tips & Tricks (LFP, Inc.) (37). January 1998. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 (in Japanese) Research on Biohazard 2 final edition. Micro Design Publishing Inc. September 1, 1998. ISBN 9784944000777. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Hodgson, David (1997). Resident Evil 2 Survival Guide. Gamefan Books. pp. 106A–108A. 
  4. (in Japanese) Vジャン Vフェス'96ビデオ (Videotape). Shueisha Inc. October 21, 1996. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Resident Evil 2: The Horror Continues". GamePro (IDG Communications, Inc.) (101): 36–37. February 1997. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Horror Spreads in Resident Evil 2. Capcom Entertainment, Inc (November 25, 1996). Archived from the original on January 20, 1997.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Resident Evil Archives. BradyGames Publishing. November 9, 2005. pp. 218–220. ISBN 0-7440-0655-4. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 (in Japanese) Capcom Design Works. Enterbrain, Inc. August 1, 2001. pp. 22–30. ISBN 4-7577-0412-7. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Pardi, Daniel. Resident Evil 2 Strategy Guide: Resident Evil Facts. IGN. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved on August 13, 2010.
  10. "In der Mache: Resident Evil 2 – Das Böse kehrt zurück..." (in German). Das offizielle PlayStation Magazin (WEKA Computerzeitschriften-Verlag GmbH) (2/97). February 1997. "Noritaka Funamizu: Wir haben zum Beispiel verschiedene Anzüge für die Spielfiguren integriert. So gibt es einen feuerfesten Overall und einen speziellen Kampfanzug, der das Mitführen mehrerer großer Waffen erlaubt. / For example, we have implemented different suits for the playable characters. There is a fire-proof overall and special combat gear that allows you to carry multiple large weapons.". 
  11. Production Studio 4 (Japanese). Capcom Co., Ltd. Archived from the original on February 6, 2005.
  12. History of Resident Evil. GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc (November 2, 2004). Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Okamoto, Yoshiki (February 26, 2005). 訃報 (Japanese). Game Republic Inc. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved on August 13, 2010.
  14. (in Japanese) Devil May Cry Graphic Edition. Kadokawa Shoten. December 2001. ISBN 9784047070714. 
  15. (in Japanese) Bio Hazard Perfect Guide: Inside of Bio-Hazard. ASCII Corporation. March 1997. ISBN 4893666592. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "An Interview With Shinji Mikami". Resident Evil: The Official Comic Book Magazine (Image Comics, Inc.) (3). September 1998. 
  17. "An Interview With Shinji Mikami". Resident Evil: The Official Comic Book Magazine (Image Comics, Inc.) (1). March 1998. 
  18. biohazard france - Hideki Kamiya interview.
  19. biohazard france - Shinji Mikami interview.

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