Resident Evil

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Resident Evil
Resident Evil logo.png
The original logo of the series
Genres Survival horror
Action
Developers Capcom
Publishers Capcom
Creators Shinji Mikami
Composers Biohazard Orchestra
Platforms Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Sega Saturn, Wii, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Platform of origin PlayStation
First release Resident Evil
March 22, 1996
Latest release Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD Edition
February 27, 2014

Resident Evil (バイオハザード Baiohazādo?, literally "Biohazard") is a horror fiction media franchise created by Shinji Mikami and owned by the video game company Capcom. The franchise focuses around a series of survival horror video games, but has since branched out into comic books, novels and novelizations, sound dramas, a non-canonical series of live-action films and animated sequels to the games, and a variety of associated merchandise, such as action figures. The overarching plot of the series focuses on multiple characters and their roles in recurring outbreaks of zombies and other monsters, initially due to the release of the T-virus, a biological weapon created by the fictional Umbrella Corporation.

The eponymous first game in the series was released in 1996 as a survival horror video game, but the franchise has since grown to encompass other video game genres. The series is a mix of action and horror film-inspired plotlines, exploration and puzzle solving, but from Resident Evil 4 onwards, the main series took a more action-oriented approach with fewer puzzles and greater emphasis on gunplay and weapons upgrading. As of 2012, the video game series has sold 50 million units worldwide. It has become Capcom's biggest ever franchise in terms of sales and marked the start of the "survival horror" genre, which was already influenced by earlier efforts such as Sweet Home (also by Capcom) and the Alone in the Dark series.

History[edit]

Timeline of release years

1996 —
Resident Evil

1997 —
Resident Evil: Director's Cut

1998 —
Resident Evil 2

1999 —
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

2000 —
Resident Evil Survivor

Resident Evil Code: Veronica

2001 —
Resident Evil Code: Veronica X

Resident Evil Gaiden

Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica

2002 —
Resident Evil (GameCube remake)

Resident Evil Zero

2003 —
Resident Evil: Dead Aim

Resident Evil Outbreak

2004 —
Resident Evil Outbreak File #2

2005 —
Resident Evil 4

2006 —
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence

2007 —
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

2008 —
2009 —
Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

2010 —
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition

2011 —
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

2012 —
Resident Evil: Revelations

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Resident Evil 6

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,[1] 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 the PlayStation 2 and 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 GameCube.[2] 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, PlayStation 2 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 PlayStation 2 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.[3] The subsequent games, Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica and Resident Evil: Dead Aim, fared somewhat better.[4] 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 PlayStation 2, 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.[5][6] It was followed by a sequel, Resident Evil Outbreak File #2. Raccoon City is a 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. At the Sony press conference during the E3 2009, it was announced that Resident Evil Portable would be released for the PlayStation Portable,[7][8][9] described as an all-new title being developed with "the PSP Go in mind" and "totally different for a Resident Evil game". However, as of 2012, no further announcements have been made, and the game is considered to have been cancelled.[10][11]

In March 2011, Capcom revealed the third-person shooter Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, which was 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.[12] In October of the same year, the next numbered entry in the main series, Resident Evil 6, was released to mixed reviews,[13] but enthusiastic pre-order sales.[14]

HD Collections released HD ports of Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles.

In 2013, producer Masachika Kawata said the Resident Evil franchise would return to focus on elements of horror and suspense over action, adding, "Survival horror as a genre is never going to be on the same level, financially, as shooters and much more popular, mainstream games. At the same time, I think we need to have confidence to put money behind these projects, and it doesn't mean we can't focus on what we need to do as a survival horror game to meet fan's needs."[15]

Additional media[edit]

In addition to video games, the plot of Resident Evil has been introduced as officially licensed material for films, comic books and novels.

Films[edit]

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 Oliviera, Leon S. Kennedy, Ada Wong and Albert Wesker, and were all written and produced by Paul W. S. Anderson. The series' 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.[16] They are, to date, the only video game adaptations to increase the amount of money made by each successful film.[17] The series holds the record for the "Most Live-Action Film Adaptations of a Video Game" in the 2012 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, which also described it as "the most successful movie series to be based on a video game."[6]

Two CGI movies have been produced based on the video game series rather than the film franchise, starring Leon S. Kennedy, Claire Redfield and Ada Wong, as well as original characters new to the canon.

In addition, there is a stand-alone short film, Biohazard 4D-Executer (2000).

The official Resident Evil Facebook account recommended Strike to Burn Productions' fan film Resident Evil: Red Falls: "We love seeing all sorts of Resident Evil creations which our fans make, this 50 minute fan film is one of the most impressive!" [22] Resident Evil: Red Falls takes place between Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.

Novels[edit]

The earliest Resident Evil novel was Hiroyuki Ariga's novella Biohazard: The Beginning 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 novels would later be contradicted by the games and, on a few occasions, themselves.[23] 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.[24] 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. A reprinting of Perry's novels with new cover artwork began in 2012 to coincide with the release of Resident Evil: Retribution and its respective novelization.

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 four of the five films; Genesis, Apocalypse, Extinction and Retribution, were written by Keith R. A. DeCandido, while Retribution was written by John Shirley, though Afterlife did not receive a novelization. The Genesis novel was published over two years after that film's release 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 based 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 in Japan and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles 1 in Germany was released on December 22, 2007. The second novel which was titled Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles Side B in Japan and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles 2 in Germany was published in January 2008.[citation needed]

Comics[edit]

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 trade paperback collection.[25]

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.[26]

Merchandise[edit]

Resident Evil theme restaurant

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.[27] These include, but not limited to, Toy Biz, Palisades Toys, NECA and Hot Toys.

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. Other merchandise includes an energy drink called "T-Virus Antidote".

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 BradyGames. 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.

Resident Evil theme restaurant Biohazard Cafe & Grill S.T.A.R.S. opened in Tokyo in 2012.[28] Halloween Horror Nights 2013, held at Universal Orlando, featured a haunted house titled Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City, based on Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.[29]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of March 3, 2011.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Resident Evil (GC) 89.75%[30]
(PS) 87.23%[31]
(PC) 80.00%[32]
(SAT) 76.50%[33]
(Wii) 73.43%[34]
(NDS) 71.26%[35]
(GC) 91[36]
(PS) 91[37]
(Wii) 76[38]
(NDS) 71[39]
Resident Evil 2 (PS) 93.13%[40]
(N64) 86.93%[41]
(DC) 79.75%[42]
(PC) 79.59%[43]
(GC) 63.30%[44]
(PS) 89[45]
(N64) 89[46]
(DC) 77[47]
(GC) 59[48]
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PS) 88.21%[49]
(DC) 81.11%[50]
(PC) 74.15%[51]
(GC) 63.71%[52]
(DC) 79[53]
(PC) 71[54]
(GC) 62[55]
Resident Evil Code: Veronica (DC) 93.79%[56]
(PS2) 82.39%[57]
(X360) 69.89%[58]
(GC) 64.32%[59]
(PS3) 63.38%[60]
(PS2) 84[61]
(X360) 67[62]
(PS3) 65[63]
(GC) 62[64]
Resident Evil Zero (GC) 84.18%[65]
(Wii) 61.60%[66]
(GC) 83[67]
(Wii) 62[68]
Resident Evil 4 (PS2) 95.85%[69]
(GC) 95.83%[70]
(Wii) 91.59%[71]
(X360) 86.97%[72]
(PS3) 85.18%[73]
(PC) 74.24%[74]
(PS2) 96[75]
(GC) 96[76]
(Wii) 91[77]
(X360) 84[78]
(PS3) 84[79]
(PC) 76[80]
Resident Evil 5 (PS3) 86.62%[81]
(X360) 86.32%[82]
(PC) 86.29%[83]
(PC) 86[84]
(PS3) 84[85]
(X360) 83[86]
Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS) 83.50%[87]
(WIIU) 78.75%[88]
(PC) 78.00%[89]
(X360) 74.70%[90]
(PS3) 72.86%[91]
(3DS) 82[92]
(WIIU) 80[93]
(PC) 77[94]
(X360) 75[95]
(PS3) 75[96]
Resident Evil 6 (PS3) 73.55%[97]
(PC) 69.67%[98]
(X360) 69.03%[99]
(PS3) 74[100]
(PC) 69[101]
(X360) 67[102]
Resident Evil cosplay group at Lucca Comics & Games 2012 in Italy

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. Some 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 often placed on lists of the best video games ever made.

In 2012, Complex ranked Resident Evil at number 22 on the list of the best video game franchises.[103] That same year, G4tv called it "one of the most successful series in gaming history."[104] The game series has sold 50 million units as of June 2012.[105]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]