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Elements of Resident Evil 5 changed over the course of its four-year development.
The original concept from 2005 up to 2007 presented Chris alone in Africa fighting a hoards of enemies from all kinds. By arriving in Kijuju, Chris was forced to get rid of an Uroboros creature as Excella and Irving watch the fight. A night stage involving a fight with group of lickers in a village was removed.
As can be seen in the below panels, one of the ideas for the game ending was to have Chris and Sheva commandeer an aircraft and fire missiles at Wesker. At least one series of storyboard panels also featured Sheva shooting Wesker in the head with a handgun.
- Lost in Nightmares
Dummied audio indicated that there was going to be a conversation between Jill and Chris, where Jill teased Chris about the latter flirting with a younger co-worker. In addition, the teaser for the DLC storyline had scenes that were not included in the final version, such as Chris checking up on Jill shortly after Wesker's ambush and their going back to back, as well as a scene where Jill nearly fell off a balcony before being caught by Chris. The latter scene was later reused in part as part of the teaser for Resident Evil: Revelations.
- Desperate Escape
There was dummied dialogue between Jill and Josh Stone, with the former questioning the latter about his relationship with Sheva Alomar, with the latter stating that Sheva's "more like a sister" to him.
- Chris Redfield
Initially, Chris was the only playable character in the main game. Later on, Sheva was scripted to tag along as an NPC partner, and then as a playable partner. His muscles also increased in size between the 2005 trailer and its 2007 remake.
- Sheva Alomar
Originally, Sheva Alomar was not a BSAA operative but an member of a local Kijujuan militia. She would later meet Chris at some point in the game and re-appear several other times. At some point during the game, Sheva was going to get kidnapped by Excella and her men. In the release version, Sheva is instead Chris' partner, and accompanies him throughout his mission.
- Jill Valentine
At one point in the development, Chris and Sheva were to find Jill Valentine in her capsule in the TRICELL facility. This was rejected in favour of having Jill serve Albert Wesker as a brainwashed puppet. This early idea is hinted in the 2007 trailer of the game, showing Jill opens up her eyes in what appears to be a capsule at the end of the trailer. There was also audio for Jill that was cut.
- Excella Gionne
Excella's appearance is very different from her final appearance. She wears a pink skirt and shirt with a belt, and has her hair down. Excella was not intended to be the CEO of Tricell as the time; the CEO was an unnamed man and she was his secretary (and would witness the CEO being gunned down by Wesker from behind). Also during the development, Excella would have been involved in capturing Sheva, and was also intended to be killed by a Tyrant, which would impale her chest.
- Barry Burton
At some point, TRICELL would release ten to fifteen El Gigantes into Kijuju as Chris and a BSAA team try to escape the city. Jill and Barry appear as NPCs in this boss fight. Barry Burton was initially planned to appear at several other points too, backing up Chris and or Jill.
- Ricardo Irving
uPl86Irving: Was originally planned to be playable at some point (assumed to have been part of The Mercenaries) but was unused / cut.
- Albert Wesker
Although largely having the same role as in the final game, Wesker underwent several changes: Namely, he would have acted as a subordinate towards the CEO of Tricell (who at the time was a separate character from Excella Gionne as noted above). Eventually, Wesker would gun down the CEO from behind in cold blood as Chris watches. He also would have merely had Jill used for research instead of brainwashing her into acting as an unwilling accomplice in his plans. How he was going to be defeated was also different. In one storyboard scene, Sheva Alomar would have shot him in the head with a handgun. In another sequence, Wesker would have been caught in an inferno, with Chris and Sheva, commandeering an aircraft, firing missiles at him with Wesker looking shocked. It should also be noted that Wesker was in human form during both those times, implying that Wesker would not have infected himself with Uroboros at all when fighting them. Like Jill, there was also some audio from Wesker that was cut.
- Enemies such as Zombies were going to make an appearance in the game, as seen in the conceptual 2005 Trailer, and according to The Art of Resident Evil 5 (book), they were confirmed to be quick t-Virus type zombies. They were also featured in an early tech demo of the game.
- Uroboros was to be a common enemy type, even fought at the start of the game.
- Zombie group attacks with Majinis were planned.
- The agitator majini original spoke in English.
- Group El-Gigantes fight was planned and involved teaming up with the BSAA to take them down.
- A Tyrant was going to make an appearance.
- Considering some concept art images, there were supposed to be zombie-like creatures hiding in the sand, appearing only in desert levels (which were scrapped too).
Several stages were altered through the development of the game from 2005-2008, In the 2008 Presentation there were several differences:
- The Stairway of the Sun would include Kipepeo enemies.
- The helicopter crash site would be playable and not a cutscene with a set of Quick Time Events.
- There would be a night stage with Majinis to fight (presumably evolved into the Ndesu boss fight stage).
- The area with Tricell tents would include a set of enemies such as Majinis and Adjule.
- The Merchant
uEm91Marchant: A Merchant similar to the one in Resident Evil 4 was going to make an appearance in the game, according to the official art book of Resident Evil 5, and you would be able to steal ammo/weapons from him too, that idea however was dropped early in development.
An early conceptual unused model of him can be found in the files, named "Marchant". It has a flat orange texture and non-detailed model, with the Kanji for merchant (商Shō?) being imprinted on the front. the model looks like it is based on Chris' early model.
In the final version, the merchant is replaced with a buy/sell system called the "Item Management" screen.
- In Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition, there are unused voice lines (usable if you hack-play with Jill/Wesker and a Reunion character) in which Wesker and Jill can call out and voice command the DLC Characters by their names, the DLC Characters from The Mercenaries Reunion can also call Jill and Wesker. Indicating that they were to be included at some point but were ultimately removed.
- There are several unused lines cut from Lost in Nightmares.