Resident Evil, known as Biohazard (バイオハザード, Baiohazādo?) in Japan, is a media franchise owned by the video game company Capcom. It was created by Shinji Mikami as a survival horror game series that was initiated with the eponymous PlayStation title Resident Evil in 1996. Since then, the game series has branched out to include action games, and has sold 46 million units as of September 2011.
The Resident Evil media franchise has been expanded to comic books, novels and novelizations, sound dramas, live-action and computer-generated feature films, and a variety of collectibles, such as action figures and strategy guides.
The survival horror video game Resident Evil made its debut on the PlayStation in 1996, and was later ported to the Sega Saturn. It was a critical and commercial success, leading to the production of two sequels, Resident Evil 2 in 1998 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in 1999, both for the PlayStation. A port of Resident Evil 2 was released for the Nintendo 64. In addition, ports of all three were released for Windows. The fourth game in the series, Resident Evil Code: Veronica, was developed for the Sega Dreamcast and released in 2000, followed by ports of 2 and 3. Resident Evil Code: Veronica was later re-released for Dreamcast in Japan in an updated form as Code: Veronica Complete, which included slight changes, many of which revolved around story cutscenes. This updated version was later ported to PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube under the title Code: Veronica X.
Despite earlier announcements that the next game in the series would be released for the PlayStation 2, which resulted in the creation of an unrelated game titled Devil May Cry, series' creator and producer Shinji Mikami decided to make the series exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube. The next three games in the series—a remake of the original Resident Evil and the prequel Resident Evil Zero, both released in 2002, as well as Resident Evil 4—were all released initially as GameCube exclusives. Resident Evil 4 was later released for Windows, PS2 and Wii. In addition, the GameCube received ports of the previous Resident Evil sequels. Despite this exclusivity agreement between Capcom and Nintendo, Capcom released several Resident Evil titles for the PS2 that were not considered direct sequels.
A trilogy of GunCon-compatible light gun games known as the Gun Survivor series featured first person game play. The first, Resident Evil Survivor, was released in 2000 for the PlayStation and PC, but received mediocre reviews. The subsequent games, Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica and Resident Evil: Dead Aim, fared somewhat better. Dead Aim is actually the fourth Gun Survivor game in Japan, with Gun Survivor 3 being the Dino Crisis spin-off Dino Stalker. In a similar vein, the Chronicles series features first person game play, albeit on an on-rails path. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was released in 2007 for the Wii, with a follow up, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles released in 2009.
Resident Evil Outbreak is an online game for the PS2, released in 2003, depicting a series of episodic storylines in Raccoon City set during the same time period as Resident Evil 2 and 3. It was the first in the series and the first survival horror title to feature cooperative gameplay and online multiplayer support. It was followed by a sequel, Resident Evil Outbreak File #2. Raccoon City is a fictional metropolis located in the Arklay Mountains of North America that succumbed to the deadly T-Virus outbreak and was consequently destroyed via a nuclear missile attack issued by the United States government. The town served a critical junction for the series' progression as one of the main catalysts to Umbrella's downfall as well as the entry point for some of the series' most notable characters.
Resident Evil Gaiden is an action-adventure game for the Game Boy Color featuring an RPG-style combat system. There have also been several downloadable mobile games based on the Resident Evil series in Japan. Some of these mobile games have been released in North America and Europe through T-Mobile.
In March 2011, Capcom revealed the third-person shooter Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, which is developed by Slant Six Games for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows and released in March 2012. A survival horror game for the Nintendo 3DS, Resident Evil: Revelations, was released in February 2012.
At the Sony press conference during the E3 2009 trade show, it was announced that a game titled Resident Evil Portable would be released for the PlayStation Portable. Resident Evil 5 producer Jun Takeuchi said that he considered a "completely new system" for Resident Evil 6, but later ruled out his involvement with the game. In March 2009, co-producer Masachika Kawata stated that the new installment was not decided upon, but that it could take Capcom four to eight years to develop. A more recent report on EGMNOW.com quotes sources familiar with the project who indicate that the series will soon return to its roots and be "brutally scary." Resident Evil 6 has been confirmed by Capcom, and the release date has been set for the 20th of November 2012.
In addition to video games, the plot of Resident Evil has been introduced as officially licensed material for films, comic books, and novels.
Main article: Resident Evil (film series)Five live action films have been released under the title of Resident Evil. These films do not follow the games' premise but do include game characters Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Nemesis, Chris Redfield, Carlos Olivera, and Albert Wesker, and were all written and produced by Paul W.S. Anderson. The series' main protagonist is Alice, an original character created for these films. Despite a negative reaction from critics, the live action film series has made over $600 million worldwide. They are, to date, the only video game adaptations to increase the amount of money made by each successive film. The series holds the record for the "Most Live-Action Film Adaptations of a Videogame" in the 2012 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, which also described it as "the most successful movie series to be based on a videogame."
- Resident Evil (2002; dir. Paul W. S. Anderson)
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004; dir. Alexander Witt)
- Resident Evil: Extinction (2007; dir. Russell Mulcahy)
- Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010; dir. Paul W. S. Anderson)
- Resident Evil: Retribution (2012; dir. Paul W. S. Anderson)
In addition, there is a stand-alone short film.
The earliest Resident Evil novel was a novella titled Biohazard: The Beginning by Hiroyuki Ariga. It was published in 1997 as a portion of the book The True Story of Biohazard, which was given away as a pre-order bonus with the Saturn version of Biohazard. The story serves as a prelude to the events of the original Resident Evil, in which Chris investigates the disappearance of his missing friend, Billy Rabbitson.
S. D. Perry has written novelizations of the first five games, as well as two original novels taking place between games. Her seven titles are:
- The Umbrella Conspiracy, a novelization of the first game.
- Caliban Cove, an original novel set after the first game.
- 'City of the Dead, a novelization of Resident Evil 2.
- Underworld, another original novel set after Resident Evil 2
- Nemesis, a novelization of the third installment of the franchise.
- Code: Veronica, a novelization of the homonymous game.
- Zero Hour, a novelization of the prequel game.
The novels often took liberties with the plot of the games by exploring events occurring outside and beyond the games. This often meant that the games would later contradict the novels by taking the story to a different direction. One notable addition from the novels is the original character Trent, who often served as a mysterious behind-the-scenes string-puller who aided the main characters. Perry's novels were translated and released in Japan with new cover arts by Wolfina. Perry's novels, particularly The Umbrella Conspiracy, also alluded to events in Biohazard: The Beginning, such as the disappearance of Billy Rabbitson and Brian Irons' bid to run for Mayor.
There was also a trilogy of original Biohazard novels in Japan. Hokkai no Yōjū (北海の妖獣?, lit. "The Strange Beast of the North Sea") was published in 1998 and was written by Kyū Asakura and the staff of Flagship. Two additional novels were published in 2002, To the Liberty by Suien Kimura and Rose Blank by Tadashi Aizawa. While no official English translation of these novels has been published yet, the last two books were translated into German and published in 2006.
Novelizations of the three films, titled Genesis, Apocalypse, and Extinction were written by Keith R. A. DeCandido. The Genesis novel was published over two years after the respective film while the Extinction novel was released in late July 2007, two months before the film's release. There was also a Japanese novelization of the first film, unrelated to DeCandido's version, written by Osamu Makino.Makino also wrote two novels on the game "Resident Evil:The Umbrella Chronicles".The books are a two-part direct novelization of the game and have been published in Japanese and German only. The first novel which was titled "Biohazard:The Umbrella Chronicles Side A" for japanese version and "Resident Evil:The Umbrella Chronicles 1" for german version was released on December 22,2007.The second novel which was titled "Biohazard:The Umbrella Chronicles Side B" for the japanese version and "Resident Evil:The Umbrella Chronicles 2" for german version was published in January 2008.
In 1997, Marvel Comics published a single-issue prologue comic based on the original Resident Evil, released through a promotional giveaway alongside the original PlayStation game.
In 1998, Wildstorm began producing a monthly comic book series based on the first two games titled Resident Evil: The Official Comic Magazine, which lasted five issues. The first four issues were published by Image, while the fifth and final issue was published by Wildstorm themselves. Each issue was a compilation of short stories that were both adaptations of events from the games, as well as related side-stories. Like the Perry novels, the comics also explored events occurring beyond Resident Evil 2 (the latest game during the series' publication) and thus were contradicted by later games.
Wildstorm also published a four-issue miniseries titled Resident Evil: Fire & Ice, which depicted the ordeal of Charlie Team, a third STARS team created specifically for the comic. In 2009, Wildstorm reprinted Fire & Ice in a graphic novel collection.
In Hong Kong, there has been officially licensed Biohazard manhua adaptations of Biohazard 3 and Code: Veronica by Lee Chung Hing. The latter was translated into English and published by Wildstorm as a series of four graphic novel collections.
In 2009, Wildstorm began publishing a comic book prequel to Resident Evil 5, simply titled Resident Evil, which centers around two original members of the BSAA named Mina Gere and Holiday Sugarman. Written by Ricardo Sanchez and illustrated by Kevin Sharpe and Jim Clark, the first issue was published on March 11, 2009. On November 11, 2009, the third issue was released and the fourth was released March 24, 2010. The sixth and final book was finally published in February 2011.
Over the years, various toy companies have acquired the Resident Evil license and each producing their own unique line of Resident Evil action figures or models. These include, but not limited to, Toy Biz, Palisade Toys and Moby Dick (in Japan only). NECA and Hot Toys currently holds a license. Originally the company was only producing figures based on Resident Evil 4, but extended the line to include characters from previous installments. Tokyo Marui also produced replicas of the guns used in the Resident Evil series in the form of gas blow-back airsoft guns. Some models included the STARS Beretta featured in Resident Evil 3, and the Desert Eagle in a limited edition that came with other memorabilia in a wooden case, along with the Gold Lugers from Code: Veronica and the "Samurai Edge" pistol from the Resident Evil remake. The Resident Evil airsoft guns were recently named #6 on a list of 10 "Rarest Resident Evil Collectibles", a list that covered the highest paid Resident Evil merchandise on eBay. Other merchandise includes an energy drink called "T-Virus Antidote". The most recently released merchandise is a set of three action figures: Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar, and the Executioner Majini, a mini-boss in Resident Evil 5.
Resident Evil Archives is a reference guide of the Resident Evil series written by staff members of Capcom. It was translated into English and published by BradyGuides. The guide describes and summarizes all of the key events that occur in Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, and Code: Veronica. Along with the main plot analysis, it also contains character relationship charts, artwork, item descriptions and file transcripts for all five games. While one of the few video game-based reference guides that was translated into English, the translation was criticized by fans for inconsistencies with the original Japanese version, as well as inconsistencies in the official translations provided by the games themselves.
|Resident Evil||(PS1) 89.95%||(PS1) 91|
|Resident Evil 2||(PS1) 92.57%||(PS1) 89|
|Resident Evil 3: Nemesis||(PS1) 88.48%||(DC) 79|
|Resident Evil Code: Veronica||(DC) 93.63%||(PS2) 84
|Resident Evil Zero||(GC) 84.15%
|Resident Evil 4||(PS2) 95.77%||(PS2) 96|
|Resident Evil 5||(PS3) 87.11%||(PC) 86|
|Resident Evil: Revelations||(3DS) 83.94%||(3DS) 82|
|Resident Evil 6||(PC) -||(PC) -|
Using horror elements, puzzle solving, and a lot of action, most of the games in the main Resident Evil series have been released to positive reviews. Resident Evil was called "The Greatest Game series of all time." by multiple gaming magazines after the fourth game was released. Many of the games, most notably Resident Evil , Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4, have been bestowed with multiple Game of the Year honors and frequently placed on lists of the best games ever made. A common criticism of the series is its odd placement of puzzles. When speaking of Code: Veronica, one critic wrote that the game is "still largely a puzzle-driven (as opposed to plot driven) experience." Capcom has been commended, however, for making an attempt to phase out and better integrate the puzzles, with IGN writing that the puzzles of Resident Evil 4 are "not so obscure that they can't be figured out, and indeed many of them are downright clever."[8