At present, the area is cordoned off to the rest of the world by a U.S. government facility.
In the 1950s, what would become Raccoon City was a small rural town at the edge of Raccoon Forest. Modernisation began in the late 1960s immediately following the opening of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals, which had a lab based in the nearby mountains. The streets were electrified for a tram system, designed by engineer Michael Warren, who later became the town's mayor. In 1969, the Kite brothers opened up a short subway system. Umbrella influenced the city economy with the construction of its own chemical plant in the northern outskirts, and their funding of the subway allowed it to expand sevenfold in the 1980s.
The city suffered from the 1990-1991 recession, which was reversed by Mayor Warren's Bright Raccoon 21 Plan, a city revival project which was funded heavily by Umbrella. The Raccoon General Hospital was constructed in 1992 as part of this project, though another hospital in the mountains was closed the next year due to a scandal linked to the company. The Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) was established in 1996 by the Raccoon City Police Department (RPD) to counter the increasing crime that a traditional small town police force was unable to handle; this was also funded heavily by Umbrella.
Arklay Mountains incidentA series of bizarre cannibal homicides occurred in the forests of the Arklay Mountains north-west of the city, beginning in May 1998 and continued through the following months. Victims were mostly hikers and campers who ventured into the forest. The bodies found were mauled by unknown creatures (possibly by cerberus, zombies or other unidentified creatures). The RPD was at a loss to explain or stop the phenomenon, blaming it on cult activity. Afterwards, the road leading into the Arklay Mountains was cordoned off by the RPD, and civilians were warned not to go into the forest or mountains.
On July 23, 1998, S.T.A.R.S was deployed to the area to investigate the Raccoon Forest. The team was split into two, known as the Alpha team and the Bravo team. The Bravo team made a forced landing in the area due to mechanical problems, and the Alpha team was sent to rescue them. Of the twelve S.T.A.R.S. members and R.P.D backup pilot sent to the Arklay Mountains, only five returned alive, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers, and Brad Vickers. They reported about the discovery of a mansion which the Umbrella Corporation used to conduct illegal biological weaponry experiments with the mutagenic "Tyrant virus" (t-Virus). The grounds were crawling with the results of that research, including zombies who were researchers of Umbrella that died and became reanimated flesh eating corpses. The outbreak was caused by Dr. James Marcus, the creator of the t-Virus. Marcus wanted revenge after he was betrayed by Oswell E. Spencer, one of the founders of Umbrella, along with Marcus and Edward Ashford. However, the mansion and all evidence had been destroyed from a self-destruct system, and due to Umbrella's influence on the city and the corrupt Chief of Police Brian Irons, who was under Umbrella's pay-roll, the survivors' claims were dismissed and no formal investigations were undertaken. Chief Irons formally disbanded S.T.A.R.S., which was replaced by the Raccoon S.W.A.T.
Another viral outbreak involving the t-Virus occurred two months later on Tuesday September 22, 1998 (exactly 61 days after the mansion incident that had occurred on the outskirts of the city), when Umbrella entered the laboratory beneath Raccoon City and attempted to retrieve a sample of the powerful G-Virus from William Birkin, one of its more reclusive researchers. After he was shot multiple times, Birkin was left mortally injured and, knowing its regenerative capabilities, injected himself with a sample of the G-Virus that Umbrella successfully retrieved. Unfortunately, its mutagenic properties overtook his humanity and transformed him into an unstoppable mutant killing machine. He destroyed the paramilitary team Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S) who had stolen the G-Virus from him, and in the process, vials containing the t-Virus were dropped, releasing it into the sewers. The t-Virus was then carried by rats throughout the city, leading to a full-scale outbreak. By September 24, the city was in total chaos, with most people having been infected and subsequently overtaken by the virus that soon fashioned them into undead zombies. In response, the RPD mobilized as many personnel and resources as possible and sent them throughout the entire city to combat the undead and other seemingly impossible situations. Officer Kevin Ryman and seven civilians who resided in J's Bar, namely Mark Wilkins, David King, Jim Chapman, George Hamilton, Alyssa Ashcroft, Yoko Suzuki, and Cindy Lennox, were forced to evacuate.
Recognizing an "incident", Umbrella executives called for an evacuation of the city, placing high priorities on key, essential members. By dawn of September 25, the United States Army was called in to evacuate civilians and began setting up barricades around the city's perimeter, effectively enforcing a quarantine of the city and preventing people from entering. However, helicopters were still free to come and go. The Army was ordered to only maintain the perimeter, and was not authorized to enter the city and assist the RPD and the Raccoon Fire Department (RFD). Firefighters, including Gill and Danny, were sent to put out the fires of the Apple Inn Hotel as well as the entire city, and to search for civilians. Two civilians, Regan Mallet and her daughter Lucy, escaped Raccoon City by going through the city's forests, due to the main routes being blocked by the Army.
To avoid mass panic, the rest of the nation was told that radioactive waste had been leaked throughout Raccoon City, forcing a quarantine. The RPD tried and failed to contain (and eliminate) the hordes of zombies created by the t-Virus, using barricades, heavy force, and in some dire instances, explosives to destroy entire streets.
Matters were not helped by the actions of Police Chief Brian Irons, who descended into mania and attempted to trap officers and civilians within the police station, scattering weapons and ammunition around the building and cutting off all communications to the outside. Soon, the police station was besieged on September 26. The officers then made a last attempt to destroy the zombies in the streets near the Johnson National Bank on September 27, but failed when their roadblocks were overrun by hordes of zombies. The survivors within the R.P.D's main precinct on Ennerdale Street held off the zombies for days until only three living officers remained: Chief Brian Irons, Marvin Branagh, an unnamed police officer, and a news reporter, Ben Bertolucci. Meanwhile, the hospital staff including doctors Issac, Ethan, Howard, and nurses Cathy, and Elena of the Raccoon General Hospital tried to cure the infected patients, but they turned into zombies and killed almost the entire staff. Visitors of the Raccoon Zoo were attacked by the infected animals that escaped and trapped Zoo Keepers Patrick, Lloyd and Zoo Watchman, Austin Taylor. Insects and Alligators from the sewers came in contact with the virus and grew big. Mayor Michael Warren escaped from the city, abandoning his daughter. Umbrella also sent in Lt. Mikhail Viktor and several of his Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S) platoons for search-and-rescue missions on the 26th and 27th, which ended disastrously for the survivors. The supervisors of these squads such as Nikolai Zinoviev were also secretly tasked with gathering field data about Umbrella's bio-weapons as well as destroying any incriminating evidence. Nikolai killed various U.B.C.S members including Tyrell Patrick and Ex-Umbrella Researcher, Greg Mueller. Two Delta Force units deployed into Raccoon City to secure the G-Virus and other key Umbrella chemicals were quickly annihilated by a pack of rogue Hunter βs and a team of T-103s, respectively. By September 28, only a handful of U.B.C.S mercenaries were left alive, and would later help former S.T.A.R.S member Jill Valentine to escape. Umbrella sent Nemesis T-Type to kill S.T.A.R.S members. Brad Vickers was killed, and Jill Valentine was infected with the t-Virus; she was later cured by U.B.C.S member Carlos Oliveira. Nemesis was defeated and Jill and Carlos were rescued on October 1 by Barry Burton after he came back from taking his family to Canada.
By September 29, most of the city's populace had been annihilated by the monsters and bio-weapons released from Umbrella's laboratories, or had succumbed to the t-Virus and become zombies.
The Army barricades surrounding the city had begun to fail in some places, allowing unwary visitors such as Leon Scott Kennedy and Claire Redfield to enter the city, and allowing some of the city's few survivors to escape. The Mayor's daughter was killed by Chief Irons. William Birkin killed both Brian Irons, Ben Bertolucci and infected his daughter Sherry with the G-Virus and she was cured thanks to her mother, Annette. Albert Wesker sent Ada Wong who successfully collected the G-Virus. Leon and Claire defeated William Birkin and the lab underneath Raccoon City was destroyed by a self-destruct system. Before evacuating Linda, an Umbrella Researcher and Rodriguez, a U.S.S member went to get AT1521, a cure for the t-Virus while Kevin Ryman and the other survivors took some Daylight samples just in case for the infected that may have escaped the quarantined city.
On the night of September 30, Raccoon City was in ruins and overrun with mutated monstrosities. Almost all the city's officers and firefighters were killed, and most of its populace had been turned into zombies or other hideous creatures. A U.S. Army Special Forces unit sent into the city had also been massacred by Umbrella's B.O.W.s, and the U.S. government was faced with the escalating threat of the t-Virus and the possibility of Umbrella recovering the G-Virus. Confronted with the rapidly deteriorating situation and the realization that Raccoon City was beyond saving, a Congressional Special Committee under the thumb of government official Derek C. Simmons (and seating Senator Ron Davis) concluded that the "Sterilization Operation" was the best course of action and brought it to the President for approval. This order went forward on the evening of September 30 despite attempts by Umbrella agents to delay the voting.
The city was destroyed by an experimental thermobaric weapon at dawn on Thursday, October 1. The official report on the missile strike was heavily classified to avoid implicating the U.S. government, as hoped (though the press and public believed the missile was nuclear). It was simply passed off that there was a dangerous virus leak in the city, and that the U.S military had to destroy the city to prevent it spreading. The official death toll was over 100,000. The President resigned after this event, faced with public outrage at his decision to destroy the city.
What was left of Raccoon City and the surrounding area was searched and categorized thoroughly for any possible survivors and biohazard threats by the U.S. government in early October 1998. There were small traces of active "t" organisms found. No known survivors were found within the city limits or the surrounding areas. The ruins of Raccoon City were declared a possible biohazard threat and became a highly classified, restricted area that only the U.S. government could enter.
The area that used to be Raccoon City is gated off from the rest of the world, and the government built a classified research and testing facility. All that is known about this facility is that it was used for experiments and testing and it keeps a close watch for any trespassers or biohazard threats.
Of the 100,000 in the city at the time of such events, a handful of survivors managed to escape from the doomed city, some cutting it closer than others. The currently known survivors are: Jill Valentine (S.T.A.R.S member); Carlos Oliveira and Arnold (U.B.C.S members); Leon S. Kennedy, Kevin Ryman, Rita, and Harry (Police Officers); Claire Redfield (Chris's sister); Ada Wong (agent for one of umbrella's rival corporations); Sherry Birkin (William Birkin's daughter); Gill and Danny (Fire Fighters); HUNK and Rodriguez (USS members); Linda and Yoko Suzuki (Umbrella Researchers); George Hamilton (Doctor); Jim Chapman (Subway Employee); Alyssa Ashcroft (News Reporter); Cindy Lennox (Waitress); Mark Wilkins (Security Guard); David King (Plumber); Michael Warren (Mayor of Raccoon City); and Regan Mallet and her daughter Lucy.
Raccoon City's destruction served as a warning to the world of the dangers of viral experimentation, and as a result new guidelines and safety precautions were put into place to prevent another such disaster from occurring. Global distrust in pharmaceutical companies grew due to the Umbrella Corporations illicit practices becoming public knowledge. Companies such as WilPharma Corporation and TRICELL came under intense scrutiny and were picketed by human rights organizations, whilst the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) was formed by former members of Raccoon's S.T.A.R.S unit to combat the rise in bio-terrorism that followed Umbrella's downfall. Despite the measures, the city of Harvardville nearly became a third Raccoon City (the second Raccoon City was Sheena Island) following a t-Virus outbreak at the city's airport and at a WilPharma facility built within the city limits. However, the crisis was averted and the outbreak was quickly contained.
Ex-Umbrella employees, the former President in office at that time, the military and Raccoon survivors are said to be the only people who know that the t-Virus ultimately caused Raccoon's destruction. In Resident Evil Outbreak, after Raccoon City is quarantined, a news report states that the city is suffering from a radioactive waste leak, a cover-up story. After the President allowed the city to be nuked, many accused Umbrella of starting the incident. When most of the world blamed Umbrella, the company fell. It was clearly confirmed that the radioactive waste story wasn't true and that somehow Umbrella was responsible, which led survivors and family members of dead citizens to start demanding the government release the truth for Raccoon's sterilization. Curtis Miller, whose wife and daughter died in Raccoon City, threatened WilPharma to release the truth so corporations like itself would fall before similar destruction occurred again. He injected the G-Virus into himself and became a monster, exposing the truth of the reasons Umbrella destroyed Raccoon. Only his sister, Angela Miller, discovered the truth. TRICELL took over WilPharma and conducted the same research and no one would ultimately know what really happened to Raccoon City.
In 2013, Adam Benford, President of the United States, decided to publicly reveal the truth behind Raccoon City's destruction in the hopes of curbing the recent global bioterrorist attacks, but was himself infected and turned into a zombie before he could.
The population of Raccoon City was over 100,000. Figures regarding proportions of gender, age and ethnicity are unknown.
The vernacular language is English, although people of different ethnicity are found within the city but do not speak their respective native language(s).
The economy of Raccoon City was largely dominated by the Umbrella Corporation and it can be assumed that most of the city's citizens were fairly affluent. The city's G.D.P remains unknown. Its police force and fire department were well-funded, with the police department possessing its own special task force. Also, there are plenty of small to medium-scale business within the city, and most of these are owned by its residents. Most of these businesses are located in Downtown.
Approximately 40% of the city's inhabitants were believed to be directly employed with Umbrella Corporation, working in its many legal businesses (pharmaceuticals, computing), however only a select few knew of its illegal activities in bio-engineering.The corporation generously financed most of the city's infrastructure, including the tram and subway system under the "Bright 21st Century Project" in a bid to improve public relations. 
The precise location of Raccoon City within the U.S has never been clarified, other than that it is somewhere in the midwest.
The Marble river is the largest, and from which the city drew most of its drinking water. The Circular river ran through the city proper, dividing it into west and east. A dam was also built along one of the nearby rivers.
There are several noteworthy districts;
- Downtown - generally defined as north of Ennerdale Street. Consisted of mixed residential/commercial buildings. Points of interest included Central Station, Raccoon City Hall, St. Michael's Clock Tower, Raccoon Zoo and Raccoon General Hospital.
- Uptown - generally defined as south of Ennerdale street. Consisted of largely commercial buildings. Landmarks included the Raccoon City Police Department (R.P.D), Raccoon High and Folsolm Street, the center of entertainment for the city.
- Cedar District - running alongside the Circular River and to the east, largely industrial. Notable landmarks included Raccoon University and the Waste Disposal Plant.
- Suburbs - lay to the north and east of the city proper, surrounded by dense forest.
The city was roughly based on a grid system, with the main thoroughfares including:
- Ennerdale Street - a main road going from east to west, separating the C.B.D into "uptown" and "downtown". The Raccoon Police Department's main precinct is on this road.
- Central Street - location of Central Station.
- Raccoon Street - location of St. Michael's Clock Tower.
- Mission Street - location of Raccoon Hospital.
For a full list of the streets in Raccoon City, see here.
The city had an extensively developed tram and subway system, designed by the Kite Brothers in 1969. The tram system serves largely uptown and the Cider district, with Raccoon Station acting as the central hub. The subway system was known to have six stops, although before the outbreak was at risk of closing due to decreasing passenger numbers.
Raccoon City was connected by train to its nearest neighbor Stoneville, a small town to the east.
Raccoon City was believed to be run under an elected municipal government.
Mayor Michael Warren, elected in 1987, served for eleven years. Warren was the engineer responsible for the establishment of the cable car transportation system and also made contributions to the city's electrical system. In his campaign to modernize the city, he made a deal with the Umbrella Corporation, which provided funding for several of Warren's projects, including public utilities, welfare work, and law enforcement.
Unfortunately, dependence on Umbrella's funding meant the city council could be easily swayed to the company's demands. By early 1994, the city was effectively under corporate control.
- See also: Sterilization Operation
Raccoon City has been destroyed differently throughout the series.
In Resident Evil Outbreak, three conventional cruise-missiles are seen striking the city. A photograph in the epilogue shows a large, shallow crater dwarfing the other three. This large crater may suggest that the city was destroyed by three cruise missiles and a thermobaric missile.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles shows the missile hitting the city, but in other scenes it shows three conventional weapons.
- At the beginning of Resident Evil 2, the player comes across a store named Arukas. Spelled backwards, it reads Sakura, a reference to the Capcom series Street Fighter.
- In the English manual for the GameCube version of Resident Evil 2, Raccoon City was stated to originally be a small hamlet before Umbrella got involved. However, the manual was not written by the series writers.
- In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Jill comes across Eagle's Pet Shop. Eagle is a reference to the Street Fighter character. There are also many signs above doors with a royal symbol surrounding the name, CAPCOM.
- In Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, during the "Death's Door" scenario, a road sign can be seen as Ada exits the back of the Apple Inn that reads, "Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba" with arrows pointing in respective directions. As Raccoon City is located in the Midwest, it's unknown why the sign exists. It is also to be noted that Cuba is an island, meaning it cannot be accessed via road.
- In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis one can see a sign reading: "Biohazard 4", on the street outside the restaurant.
- In the American TV show "Robot Chicken", it showed Raccoon City in a skit whereas Mario Kart characters have to take detours to undesirable cities, and Yoshi ended up going to Raccoon City, where he was devoured by zombies.
- In the comic book "I feel Sick", created by Jhonen Vasquez, the main character is on a date with a young man who mentions that he was in Raccoon City. The young man then turns out to be a zombie, and begins eating the waiter.
- In the arcade mode of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the ending for Marvel Comics character Rocket Raccoon shows the character paying a visit to Raccoon City after hearing about it through Chris Redfield. Unaware of the truth, he is shown to be fighting his way through hordes of zombies.
- In the deleted scenes from Resident Evil: Apocalypse, former news anchor Terri Morales has been demoted to weather. On the weather map it shows Raccoon City approximately where Allentown, PA is located. Other cities on the map include Trenton, NJ, Selinsgrove, PA, and Hazleton, PA. But, as Pennsylvania is technically a Mid-Atlantic Seaboard state, the generic identification of it as a Midwestern city (combined with its very name) would seem to imply that Raccoon City is a thinly-disguised analog of Chicago, Illinois. The latter supposedly deriving its name from a Native American term meaning "the skunk place!"
- A magazine article about Raccoon City in the Annabelle ship is found in the table in floor 2F, stating, "16 years after the nightmare of Raccoon City and the survivors are still suffering."
- ↑ Official Guide Book, p.192.
- ↑ Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 (2004), file: "Old pamphlet".
- ↑ Archives, p.297.
- ↑ Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 (2004), file: "Kurt's notebook".
- ↑ The dogs escape during this Month.
- ↑ Resident Evil Zero.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Resident Evil 2.
- ↑ Resident Evil Outbreak, Outbreak.
- ↑ Resident Evil Outbreak, Outbreak ending.
- ↑ Resident Evil Outbreak, "Outbreak" SCENE 02.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Resident Evil Outbreak (2003), scene: "Epilogue".
- ↑ Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999), scene: "Unfortunate Event".
- ↑ Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999), file: "City Guide".
- ↑ Resident Evil 2 (N64, 2000), file: "City pamphlet".
- ↑ Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Ending.
- ↑ Remain Hopeful (Kevin).
- ↑ Up and Away With Linda.