‘Resident Evil’ Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Resident Evil, a survival horror franchise created by the company Capcom, celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday.

The first of this ongoing series was released on March 22, 1996, originally titled Biohazard in Japan. According to Kotaku, the change in name came from a marketing plan by Capcom in late 1994. One of its representatives, Chris Kramer, explained that bringing the name Biohazard to the United States would be next to impossible. Other games and products in the U.S. held the name Biohazard already, presenting a need for Capcom Japan to change the title for registering purposes.

As a result, Capcom decided to hold a contest for its company to replace the name. Eventually, the name Resident Evil was born. The name originated from the fact that the first game’s setting took place in a mansion, making it a humorous choice. It was almost overlooked due to its cheesy sound, but won the approval of the company in the end. Twenty years later, the Resident Evil series remains one of the most popular titles on both current and last generation consoles.

With 20 years under its belt, Resident Evil has introduced gamers and movie buffs alike to many characters. Two of its most iconic protagonists, Claire and Chris Redfield, appear throughout multiple games in the franchise’s life to continue the story of corporate deception and virus outbreak. Other characters include Agent Leon Kennedy, antagonist Albert Wesker, and spy Ada Wong, just to name a few. It is unclear what direction Capcom intends to take as it continues the franchise, though an interview with Hideyuki Kobayashi suggests that the company will continue to develop games with different paths in mind.

Resident Evil 4
(Image Courtesy of Capcom)

The interview with Hideyuki Kobayashi is but one of a few ways that Capcom celebrated the 20th anniversary of Resident Evil. The developer talks about his experience with helping to create the monsters of the Resident Evil games. Resident Evil 4, the first title that includes accuracy shooting, was a unique experience in the franchise. “But Resident Evil was a completely different game. It brought accurate shooting gameplay to the Resident Evil universe and started a new style that would continue with 5 and 6. That was definitely a big change for Resident Evil,” says Kobayashi.

Since October of last year, Capcom has teased a new Resident Evil that is currently being worked on. What type of game it will be is still a toss in the air, though press release with publisher Capcom suggests that the developers are aware of fans and some of their beliefs that the Resident Evil franchise has fallen off from its survival horror roots.

Capcom’s latest Resident Evil project, Umbrella Corps, is scheduled for release in May of this year. Evidenced by its gameplay, this spin-off game will be focused around more of a multiplayer element instead of a single player experience.

To further celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Resident Evil, Capcom is having a huge sale on its games. PC and Xbox users are being given discounts on multiple titles that have come out over time. It has not been confirmed that Sony will be given this sale, though users were able to purchase some of the included games at the beginning of March through a different sale. Additionally, it has been confirmed that Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6 will be coming to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

This would be a perfect time for fans old and new to experience the events of Resident Evil‘s deep and intense story. Capcom hopes that releases like these will keep the franchise alive for another 20 years.

Are you excited for the release of an updated Resident Evil experience?

[Image via Capcom]