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Resident Evil

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Summary
Plot
Gameplay
Development
Marketing
Reception
Credits
Gallery
Translation errors
Further notes

Resident Evil was created by a team of staff members who would later become part of Capcom Production Studio 4.[1] The inspiration for Resident Evil was the earlier Capcom horror game Sweet Home. Shinji Mikami was initially commissioned to make a game set in a haunted mansion like Sweet Home,[2] which Resident Evil was originally intended to be a remake of.[3] The game was initially conceived as a first-person shooter, but soon the gameplay system inspired by Alone in the Dark was adopted instead. According to Mikami, "technically it wasn’t good enough."[4] The game's engine was a modified form of the engine designed for the SNES game Goof Troop, which Mikami worked on as a game designer.[5]

Several locations, concepts, items and enemies cut from the early versions of the game were later re-introduced in the 2002 remake. A 1995 development version featured the characters Dewey and Gelzer, which were later replaced by Rebecca and Barry, respectively (a redesigned Dewey also appeared in Resident Evil Outbreak).

Prototypes

Prior to official release, several alpha / prototype versions of the game were made available at trade expos and for internal circulation at Capcom. "Hidden Palace" would publicly release the disc images for two of these early prototypes in 2011.[6]

August 4th, 1995

Let's Try- "Resident Evil" (August 4th, 1995 Alpha)19:17

Let's Try- "Resident Evil" (August 4th, 1995 Alpha)

Video featuring gameplay footage of the August 4th, 1995 prototype, exploring every available room and detailing differences from the final version.

The first prototype - dated August 4, 1995 - was originally intended for display at the "V-Jump Festival" in Japan. This version of the game plays much like a tech demo, with restricted access to many of the rooms in the mansion and an arrangement of enemies and props much different than the final product (For example: Kenneth's body can be found in the Exhibition room, as opposed to his final resting place in the Tea room). Furthermore, it lacks Jill as a playable character, or the inventory system present in future revisions to the game (weapons including the knife, handgun, and shotgun are cycled through by pressing the circle button). The demo ends when the player attempts to leave the mansion through the Shed, where they are attacked by Yawn in a cutscene before the demo ends.

Despite the early and unfinished nature of this version, it appears as if many of the design elements present in the final product have already been decided on by this point. Despite a lack of interactive objects / puzzles, there are still signs that the puzzles present in the final game were already thought of (as indicated by a hole in the wall in the Dining hall where the Shield Key is meant to be retrieved, as well as a visibly broken banister on the upper floor where the statue would later be pushed off in order to retrieve the Blue Jewel). Barry will come to rescue you from The Ceiling Trap upon retrieving the Shotgun, as the puzzle involving the Broken Shotgun is not implemented yet.

October 4th, 1995

This prototype (billed as a "Sample" on the title screen) is more fully-featured than the previous version, though still not complete by any means. The most important addition is the inclusion of Chris' complete story script, as well as a very early work-in-progress for Jill's. The inventory system is now implemented, as well as many of the puzzles in the game.

January 31st, 1996

Another "Sample" version of the game, this version is nearly identical to the final release version. Including the voice acting and video footage, as well as the complete stories for both Chris and Jill, the main difference between this version and the final product is the inclusion of debugging features (as well as a handful of unspecified bugs).

English localization

Chris

A scene from the uncut intro sequence, showing Chris smoking a cigarette

The original PlayStation version of Resident Evil featured several considerable changes between its original Japanese release and its English-language counterparts. The North American and European versions of the intro were heavily cut from the one featured in the Japanese releases. Shots of mangled corpses, a "Cerberus" zombie dog being shot, and Joseph's death were edited out, as well as scenes featuring the character Chris Redfield smoking a cigarette. Despite these tweaks, the game was ultimately released on the PlayStation as one of the first games to receive the mature rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.[7]

In the game itself, the auto-aiming function was disabled and the numbers of ink ribbons found by the player were reduced. Capcom also planned to eliminate the "fourth dimensional" item boxes for the North American version (meaning that any item the player stored in one item box could not be retrieved in another), but they were restored for the released version of the game in North America.[2]

The Japanese releases all contain English voice acting with Japanese captions and text. Japanese voice acting for the game was also recorded, but was left unused.[8][9] According to Mikami, the Japanese voice acting was removed from the game as he found the quality of the performances to be unsatisfactory.[10] The Japanese PlayStation version, Bio Hazard, also features a vocal ending theme performed by Fumitaka Fuchigami that was not in any other versions of the game.

Title change

The game was originally called Bio Hazard in Japan. However, it was decided to change the name in North America and Europe after Chris Kramer, the Director of Communications at Capcom, pointed out that it would be impossible to trademark "Biohazard" in the United States. Among others, another game and a band already were using the name. Capcom therefore decided to run a contest within its company to find a new name. They eventually settled on Resident Evil, since the game takes place in a mansion.[11] Interviewed by GamesRadar, Chris Kramer said:

"I thought it was super-cheesy; can’t remember what I felt was a better alternative, probably something stupid about zombies – but the rest of the marketing crew loved it and were ultimately able to convince Capcom Japan and Mikami-san that the name fit."[11]

Sources

  1. Production Studio 4 (Japanese). Capcom Co., Ltd. Archived from the original on February 6, 2005.
  2. 2.0 2.1 (in Japanese) The True Story Behind Bio Hazard. 
  3. Time Machine: Sweet Home, Computer and Video Games
  4. The History of Resident Evil: The Beginning -- PlayStation Universe
  5. Tim Rogers (August 31, 2012). I love Final Fantasy VII: Now Watch Me Pretend I Hate It.. Kotaku. Retrieved on OCtober 19, 2012.
  6. Hidden Palace - News / 15th Anniversary of Resident Evil
  7. gamespot.com video: "15 Most Influential Video Games of All Time"
  8. Bio Hazard: Complete disc, bundled with Bio Hazard: Director's Cut Dual Shock Ver.
  9. Bio Hazard Symphony Op. 91, Disc 2 Track 9
  10. "We also recorded Japanese voices (for the game), not just English ones. They were discarded because they were really lame." (英語だけでなくじつは日本語のボイズ収録も行なった。 カッコ悪かったのでボツに。 Eigo dake de naku jitsu wa nihongo no boisu shūroku mo okonatta. Kakkowarukatta node botsu ni.?), The True Story Behind BIO HAZARD, page 157.
  11. 11.0 11.1 GR Asks: Why was Biohazard renamed Resident Evil? | GamesRadar. GamesRadar (April 8, 2009). Retrieved on February 2, 2010.

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