In honor of Resident Evil’s 25th anniversary next week, and to further increase the hype of the upcoming Resident Evil Village, I will be reviewing the seventh main installment of the series, Resident Evil: Biohazard. But before I do, I will discuss the history of the series as a whole and how it’s managed to remain relevant as long as it has.
Resident Evil is a franchise that needs no introduction, but I will give it one anyway. It is one of the most influential video game franchises of all time, and as of 2020, has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The first entry in the series, simply titled Resident Evil, was released in Japan on March 22nd, 1996 and in the U.S. on the 30th. Known as Biohazard in Japan, the first game was originally supposed to be a remake of the 1989 horror video game Sweet Home. until developer Capcom lost the rights to the game, forcing the development team to start from scratch. Despite being two different games, the original Resident Evil retained Sweet Home’s setting of a spooky, abandoned mansion, and other elements. Basically, if Sweet Home had never existed, neither would Resident Evil. Without Resident Evil, the video game world wouldn’t be the same, as one of Resident Evil 4’s earlier iterations became the first entry to another Capcom favorite, Devil May Cry. Furthermore, Resident Evil has influenced other video game franchises, most notably the Bioshock and Dead Space series.
Since its release nearly twenty-five years ago, the first Resident Evil has been notorious for its awful voice acting and poorly aged game mechanics. Despite this, the game was an unexpected success, birthing a multimedia franchise that consists of comic books, merchandise, CGI movies, an American film franchise, and yes, games. Its game catalog includes seven (soon to be eight) main entries and even more spinoff titles and remakes. Resident Evil games have been on just about every console imaginable: Playstation, Xbox, Wii, even the iPhone at one point. While originally a horror-orientated video game series, the overwhelming success of 2005’s Resident Evil 4 caused the series to become more action-based, which many longtime fans did not approve of. However, the release of Resident Evil: Biohazard (2017) saw the series return to its horror roots, pleasing many longtime fans and drawing in newcomers. Many fans wish to forget the more action-focused entries never existed. However, it’s possible that the series would’ve died out years ago if they hadn’t switched things up. The video game industry is constantly changing, and for your series to survive as long as Resident Evil has, you have to be willing to take risks. Even when the series tried to please all kinds of fans with Resident Evil 6 (2012), it was met with mixed receptions. Even so, the series has remained relevant for as long as it has because it has constantly been evolving over the years and introducing new characters and settings.Continue reading