The Japanese release's voice acting was originally in Japanese, however, before release the developers decided the voices didn't work and went with English voice acting with Japanese subtitles.
Many of the game's backdrops were inspired by the Overlook Hotel, the fictional setting from the 1980 horror film The Shining.
The opening FMV was heavily censored outside of Japan. Lots of gore including flesh wounds, corpses and blood splatter were removed.
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The game's environmental graphics are all pre-rendered while the characters and objects the player can interact with are real-time 3D models. This explains the distinct appearance between both the game's objects and the backgrounds.
Choosing between Jill and Chris is designed as the game's difficulty setting. Jill's mission is considered "Easy Mode" whil Chris' mission is considered "Hard Mode."
The Sony PlayStation was selected as the leading platform for development as the team felt the technical specifications of the console were most appropriate for the game's use of polygons.
The original Japanese release of Resident Evil has an auto-aiming function which was disabled for the English release.
Capcom originally wanted each item box not to be interconnected with one another, meaning any items stored in an item box by the player could only be retreived from that specific box. This feature was ultimately removed from the final release but was later included as an unlockable difficulty setting in the 2002 Nintendo GameCube remake of the same name.
Development began in 1993 and took three years to develop.
Development of Resident Evil originally started as a remake of Sweet Home for the Nintendo Famicom, also created by Tokuro Fujiwara, but later became its own game as development progressed.
Shinji Mikami was later commissioned by Tokuro Fujiwara to help develop the game as Mikami "understood what's frightening." Mikami however was reluctant to work on the game as he apparently hated being scared.
Shinji Mikami worked on the game all on his own for the first six months of development, creating concept sketches, designing characters, and writing over 40 pages of script.
Shinji Mikami drew much inspiration of the game's concept from the 1979 film Zombi 2, known elsewhere as Zombie or Zombi.
The game originally had a co-operative mode that allowed two players to play simultaneously. This feature was removed before the game's first prototype was revealed in 1995.
The development team peaked to 80 people near the end of development.
The original Japanese title, Biohazard had to be changed for an American and European release as it was impossible to trademark the name. The name Resident Evil was chosen since the game takes place inside a mansion. Capcom Communications director Chris Kramer thought the name "was super-cheesy; I 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."
Resident Evil is frequently credited as the game that launched the Survival Horror genre in video games, primarily due to its commercial success worldwide. The game is often cited as the beginning of the "Golden Age of Survival Horror games" which ran from 1996 to 2004.
Contrary to popular belief, the character on the cover isn't Chris Redfield, actually it's Richard Aiken, the man you encounter before the first battle with Yawn.
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Prior to it becoming its own game during development, Resident Evil was first conceived as a 3D first-person take on Sweet Home. Development was later changed and became a 3rd-person game because Shinji Mikami could not technically acheive what he wanted with a first-person perspective, due to the Playstation's hardware limitations.
The design for the fixed-view camera system was inspired by the game Alone in the Dark, released in 1992 when Shinji Mikami discovered that game for himself. Mikami later commented: "If it wasn't for Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil would have had a first-person view instead."
Shinji Mikami almost did not adopt the fixed-view camera system for the game saying that such a design would make the player feel "detached." He eventually chose to use this system for the game as it allowed higher detail for the game's pre-rendered backdrops.
Two unused characters were conceived for the game: Dewey, an African-American man who was intended to perform a comic relief role for the game, and a cyborg "strongman" character named Gelzer. These two characters were later replaced by Rebecca Chambers and Barry Burton.
The game was primarily developed on Silicon Graphics hardware using the software program Soft Image.
All of the live-action video sequences were filmed in Japan.
The game was originally being developed with a core audience in mind, believing that only a dedicated group of fans would play and appreciate the game. Capcom was very much surprised when the game became a worldwide hit as well as landing overwhelmingly positive reviews with magazines, critics and the general public.
When watching the cast of characters during the introduction movie, Chris Redfield simply stands facing forward while a montage of scenes from the opening movie are shown, unlike the others who actually do something on camera. This is due to the fact that in the original version, Chris was seen lighting a cigarette and taking a puff. Sony's American branch wouldn't allow the scene of Chris smoking, so the scene was edited.
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Barry: Jill, here's a lockpick. It might come in handy if you, the master of unlocking, take it with you.
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Barry: It's a weapon! It's really powerful, especially against living things.
Barry: That was too close; you were almost a Jill sandwich.
Final entry of keeper's diary: Itchy. Tasty.
Wesker: Stop it! Don't open that door!
Rebecca: Look at those monsters!
Barry: I hope this is not Chris' blood.
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Connection to Other Media
One puzzle involves playing a song on the grand piano. The composition is Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata."
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