Resident Evil is a 2002 horror game developed by Production Studio 4 for GameCube.
Following the release of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in late 1999 and the decision to redevelop BIOHAZARD 4 as Devil May Cry, Production Studio 4 was temporarily without any Resident Evil games in-development, while games such as Resident Evil 0 and Resident Evil CODE:Veronica were being developed by studios largely unfamiliar with the franchise. Studio 4 Executive Producer Shinji Mikami ordered two new Resident Evil games be made to fill this void: a new Resident Evil 4, and a remake of the 1996 original game, the latter of which he would run more directly as a producer. As the game had already been made before, development time could be sped up by simply copying the archived notes for the original game. Development began sometime around October/November with Hiroki Katou as director, though he would be replaced with Mikami himself at the end of December.
Programming was led by the software lead engineer, Hideki Motozuka. When their department was set up in late 2000 they were immediately concerned about how to develop a game for the GameCube, whether it would require as many as three discs to store the whole game. The team size in early 2001 remained small, at only four people. The team's focus was split between learning the ins-and-outs of GameCube programming and the engineering of computer graphic animation. To correct this issue, Mikami sought help from Nintendo programmers in teaching the engineers. The size of the team changed repeatedly over the year, losing one early in the year along with the addition of others, reaching eleven people by the Summer. Motozuka recalls in an interview his team's excitability during this year, wanting to make the bonus red Hunter three times stronger than the others, making the mother Neptune as large as the water tank itself and such. Motozuka instead focused on effects during mid-2001, particularly blood effects such as squirting and pools that spawn after an enemy dies. These led to some disagreements with Mikami due to Motozuka's overuse of blood, but relations were otherwise fine.
Towards the end of 2001, game development became serious as enemy motion and the game's traps had to be added. Director Shinji Mikami was used by the motion capture crew to represent white-shirted zombies. Until November the game was developed exactly the same as the 1996 Resident Evil. At this point, Mikami became concerned when reviewing ROMs that it would be effectively the same game with better graphics, and insisted to all department heads that changes be made to make the game appear new, such as adding new enemy designs or creating new areas.
Pre-rendered background design was led by the art director, Naoki Katakai. Katakai had to comply with a rule imposed by Mikami to focus on provoking fear rather than beauty, and was accused of stubbornness due to a slow realization of Mikami's intent. Art under Katakai was to aim to be as close to realistic as possible on the GameCube, but with the possibility of employing more absurd designs if the realism made it boring. To the end of achieving realism, Katakai made sure the developers' incorporated particle effects to give the impression of dust in the air, as well as a good distinction between qualities of light, such as a bright light shining into an unlit room. This also led to objections from Mikami, who would demand re-designs if the amount of light or darkness did not fit his vision for the feel of the room. Due to the stringent method of both Katakai's and Mikami's directing styles, the art design team were seriously concerned development would pass the deadline.
As the cast, sans Lisa Trevor, were established characters, the design phase was quicker paced than in other games. Focus moved instead on how to enhance the realism in their designs without betraying their recognition. As face models in the gaming industry had become more and more realistic in recent years, it was decided that they acquire permission to use the faces of actors, rather than copy the face of a famous person without permission which may incur a lawsuit. Auditions took place for body models as well.
The creature and character designs were led by Kenichiro Yoshimura, with motion capture for the character and zombie wire-frames being led by Shimako Sato. Tetsuya Matsui stood in for Chris Redfield for motion capture, while the model itself had its arm muscles increased several times to get to a believable scale. According to Shinji Mikami, Matsui's action film background made him perfect for Chris' animations.
Hanai Takahashi stood in for Jill Valentine, with Canadian actress Julia Voth being used as the face model. Yoshimura had several disagreements with Mikami on Jill's body shape. Yoshimura's designs for Jill added a harness under her breasts, which he explained would secure her shoulder pads. Yoshimura also intended for Jill's chest to look convincingly like she was wearing a bra underneath her uniform. The uniform was originally intended to be all in black to better fit the special operations nature of S.T.A.R.S. It was later decided to return the uniform to blue as in the original game, though some licensed action figures produced by NECA would use the black design.Yoshimura's explanation for the change back to blue is that the black made her simply too sexy. Further issues developed regarding Jill's outfit when the developers insisted her default outfit from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis be included. A meeting was held on what color her underwear would be due to the inevitability of upskirt shots in parts of the game, going from white, to black, to light blue and finally back to black; annoyed by the character designers' interest in Jill, Mikami had Katakai's team change several backgrounds to avoid upskirt shots.
For Barry Burton, Daigaku Sekine was used. It took longer for Barry's body model to be cast as Yoshimura had trouble finding someone he could imagine looking like Barry. As Sekine and Matsui's wire models were similar, Yoshimura decided to make Barry fatter to properly distinguish the two. For Albert Wesker, Junichi Kawamoto was cast as the body. Wesker's uniform was originally a black version of Chris' before a unique design was complete. As with Jill, the black color was intended to convey the special ops nature of S.T.A.R.S. Wesker's face design deviated from the face model, as Yoshimura wanted to make him more sinister. This resulted in a face which, without the sunglasses, Yoshimura felt resembled a reptile.
For Rebecca Chambers, Sumie Kaneshiro was picked as the body, with another unknown actress as the face. The face design was significantly altered as well, but Yoshimura was under considerable pressure to keep Rebecca's design close to her design in Resident Evil 0. Consequently, her earrings and bandana, featured in the 1996 game, were omitted. Other developers disapproved of Rebecca's more somber redesign, as they saw her mannerisms in the original as the only true depiction of her.
Creature design was handled by a team of artists and CG modelers under the control of Masaki Yamanaka, who himself discussed matters with Mikami. To take advantage of the higher graphical capabilities of the GameCube over PlayStation, creature designs were kept to a mantra of "realism to a point", with designs intended to make the viewer uncomfortable but not "gross-out" horror.
When it came to Zombie designs, realism was a major aspect of their design. As most were human beings who mutated into Zombies in an accident, there had to be variety in appearance as well assigns of their past life and gore effects to show their experiences in the outbreak. Everything from the sickly skin tone of each model to the design of their clothing was carefully designed.[excerpt 1] Blood-stained clothing and gore was created based on photographic research, which was conducted on fellow developers, Mikami included, who wore clothing similar to the Zombies and then dabbed with paints to simulate blood stains. The gore for this research was acquired by purchasing meats at a market. In the game itself, ideas were presented on having exposed organs that may drop out from a Zombie's body, though it was rejected.[excerpt 2] Yamanaka had the Zombies all display milky white eyes, which he found more morbid and thoughtless than giving them darker eyes, which he thought would make them seem more like huntsmen. Further describing the difference, he said he wanted his intent for the Zombie to appear to be looking at the player as a food source rather than as prey.[excerpt 3] Concerned that the Zombies had been overexposed in the series by this point, the Yamanaka talked with Mikami over reimagining them. To give a fresh take on the Zombie, it was decided they could be knocked out instead of killed, and awaken to be far more powerful; this idea became the Crimson Head.
The Neptune was given far more exposure in the remake than it did in the original game. Yamanaka worked with Katakai's art team to create a new environment, the Aqua Ring, for the Neptunes to live and allow them to be a genuine danger, as well as confusing fans of the original game.
Yamanaka discussed with Mikami on how to best the original game's depiction of the Tyrant fight in the lab. In that game, players quickly learnt to keep running around the room in a circle, shoot the Tyrant from afar and continue running. He also felt there were similar problems with the helipad fight, and wanted the Tyrant to be more aggressive towards the partner character, forcing the player to risk their lives to protect them.
Adding an entirely new element, Yamanaka was asked by Mikami to incorporate a new boss enemy. The two looked back into rejected content for the original game, and decided the new enemy would be related to George Trevor, the architect of the mansion. Rather than have Trevor himself in the game, the basic idea instead was of a woman in chains, wearing a mask made from human faces. This became Lisa Trevor, and a new subplot for the game was created to tie her into the story.
Shusaku Uchiyama was the lead composer and arranger for this game, with further compositions by Misao Senbongi and Makoto Tomozawa. Uchiyama separated composition into three forms: re-compositions of the 1996 score that stay true to the original; reimaginings of the score that become their own things, and entirely new compositions. To create an unsettling feeling in certain parts of the game, the department distorted their music so seem unnatural, while the save room theme was purposely made relaxing as a contrast. Uchiyama felt the music should accompany the player, noting in an interview that video games forget to incorporate typical sounds such as wind and insects.
Production of sound effects was led by Atsushi Mori, outsourced to Soundelux. Mori would fly over to Hollywood over 2001 to get updates. It was Mori's wish that there would be a range of sounds produced by enemies, each identifiable their own and include idle sounds so the player would know exactly what kind of enemy was around the corner. Hunters were given idle sound effects consisting of low tone breathing and footsteps, with higher-pitched shrieks when spotting the player. Recalling that Chimeras are human-fly hybrids with maggots growing on them, it was decided their sounds would be equally unappealing. Zombies took up considerable recording time, and Mori accumulated around a thousand Zombie audio samples to be shared around the ten Zombie types in the game. Mori also wanted each Zombie type to have a sound to themselves like a unique voice, but stressed to Soundelux's impromptu voice actors they not sound too aggressive or comical.
The 1996 game suffered from poor voice direction due to the staff wanting actors to speak clearly for the benefit of themselves and Japanese players. Having realised this, Mikami placed native English speaker Shinsaku Ohara in charge of voice direction, as he would notice unnatural speech.
Cutscene production was led by various teams. Shimako Sato was director alongside Mikami, and envisioned the cutscenes storyboarded by Futoshi Nagata. Hidé Gondoh served as cinematographer and was responsible for getting the right camera angles. Toshiya Kotani meanwhile was the lead engineer, responsible for programming the cutscenes, both with the game's engine and pre-rendered.
Kotani was added to the time in January 2001 while he was still working on Devil May Cry, and put in charge of engineering for the cutscenes. He estimated that for the game, real-time movies could be produced by a team of thirteen people consisting of himself; two motion capture editors and ten animators. Some 70 minutes of cutscene was planned at the time, which was burdensome for Kotani's relatively small team, and work had to be outsourced to Links DigiWorks, based in Tokyo. Cutscene development was split between these two teams, with Sato and Mikami both as cutscene directors. Ultimately, however, this led to differences in style becoming too apparent, and the cutscenes were scrapped and re-developed, with the professional cinematographer Hidé Gondoh hired to ensure quality, though the scrapping resulted in a three-month extension to the team's deadline. Kotani notes in interviews Gondoh's reliance on light as a medium, while Mikami notes a preference for top-down shots of the characters rather than eye-to-eye.
During this production, directing duties were shared by both Mikami and Sato, each doing half of the scenes. This led to a noticeable difference in styles, as Sato's cutscenes used blood and other effects while Mikami's were more sterile. Mikami was the director for Kenneth's Film cutscene, which was later edited to include a blood splash. To keep with Wesker's inhuman character, he walks in cutscenes in an inorganic fashion.
As the game was intended at first to be more an upgrade of the original than a reimagining, Mikami felt the Iwao script was perfectly serviceable and could be polished later, rather than hiring Flagship head Noboru Sugimura to handle the game. Translations were handled by Shinsaku Ohara, creating more natural dialogue for the actors to read. A fan of the original game's more campy translation, he was initially reluctant to change too much.
- Along with Resident Evil 0, the game came out for the Nintendo Wii on June 23, 2009 as part of the Resident Evil Archives. As with Resident Evil 4 Wii edition game, the game was outfitted with Wii pointer controls.
For the 2015 HD remaster, several new features were added:
- A Very Easy mode was made available. This can be seen in the S.T.A.R.S. candidate personality test at the start of any new game, with a third option being available.
- A new (Alternate) analog control scheme was added, based on 2D or Modern Controls from later games.
- A 16:9 camera perspective was implemented.
- BSAA costumes for both Jill and Chris were added and can be selected from the start.
- Wesker's Report and Wesker's Report II were remastered and added as unlockables in the game. (Japanese release only)
- Excerpt from official website monster page: "ゾンビはバイオにおけるモンスターの基本形です。存在そのものが死への恐怖を象徴しています。肌の色1つをとっても、微妙な色合いが出るまで、考えられる色を全て試してから決めました。服の布を本物らしく表現するのにも、時間をかけました。"
- Excerpt from official website monster page: "これはゾンビの別タイプです。 生（なま）っぽさを出すために、気持ち悪くする事だけを指示していたら、内臓が飛び出したバージョンも作られたりしましたが、さすがにボツにしました。"
- Excerpt from official website monster page: "バイオのモンスターのポイントは、存在自体から発する恐怖です。ゲーム的に強いから怖いのではなく、近寄られるだけで嫌な感じ、戦う前に反射的に逃げてしまうような、生理的な怖さです。そこを追求した場合、どうしても嫌悪感が出てしまうので、倫理的なバランスを保つ事が、重要になってきます。安易に内臓を出したりしては、恐怖を感じる前に、ゲーム自体を嫌悪してしまうので、地道な部分から、恐怖を構築しなければいけません。具体的にゾンビを例にして説明します。ゾンビの黒眼を消しているのは、表情から意志だけを残し、思考を消したかったからです。黒眼を付けると、眼に焦点が生じるので、意志より先に、視覚で獲物を認識する過程が見えてしまいます。相手を獲物（生物）としてではなく、エサ（物体）としてあいまいにしか捉えられない死人の眼。獲物を倒す事を思考するのではない、食うという原始的な意志。表情の中にそれだけしかない事が、動物とか人間とは違う、別の存在である事を表現し、生理的な怖さを出します。それによって、単純な嫌悪感ではない気持ち悪さを出し、存在自体の恐怖を生み出しているのです。"
- 『バイオハザード』シリーズがゲームキューブに独占供給！生みの親であるカプコン・三上真司氏がその意図を語る！ (Japanese). dengekionline. Retrieved on 2020-01-01.
- SurvivHor except - interview with Hideki Motozuka.
- SurvivHor - "Making of Resident Evil" with Naoki Katakai.
- 人物造形 (Japanese). Capcom. Archived from the original on 2002-06-12. Retrieved on 2019-08-15.
- Interview of Shinji Mikami and Hiroyuki Kobayashi 2: Characters and New Enemies. biohazardfrance. Retrieved on 2020-01-04.
- SurvivHor - "Making of Resident Evil" with Kenichiro Yoshimura.
- (4) モンスター造形 (Japanese). Capcom. Archived from the original on 2003-12-13-. Retrieved on 2019-08-15.
- SurvivHor archived interview with Masaki Yamanaka.
- SurvivHor archived interview with Susaku Uchiyama.
- SurvivHor archived interview with Atsushi Mori.
- SurvivHor archived interview with Toshiya Kotani.
- SurvivHor archived interview with Shinji Mikami and Hiroyuki Kobayashi.
- Interview of Shinji Mikami and Hiroyuki Kobayashi 3: Cut scenes and gimmicks. biohazardfrance. Retrieved on 2020-01-04.