Resident Evil 2, known as Biohazard 2 (バイオハザード2,Baiohazādo Tsū?) in Japan, is a survival horror video game originally released for the PlayStation in 1998. Developed by Capcom as the second installment in the Resident Evil series, its story takes place two months after the events of the first game, Resident Evil. It is set in Raccoon City, a Midwestern American mountain community whose residents have been transformed into zombies by the t-Virus, a biological weapon developed by the pharmaceutical company Umbrella. In their escape from the city, the two protagonists, Leon S. Kennedy, and Claire Redfield encounter other survivors and are confronted by William Birkin, the mutated creator of the even more powerful G-virus, a variation of the t-Virus.
The gameplay of Resident Evil 2 focuses on exploration, puzzle solving and combat, and features typical survival horror elements such as limited saves and ammunition. The game's main difference from its predecessor is the "Zapping System", which provides each playable character with unique storylines and obstacles. Developed by a team of 40 to 50 people over the course of one year and nine months, Resident Evil 2 was directed by Hideki Kamiya and produced by Shinji Mikami. The initial version of the game, commonly referred to as BIOHAZARD 1.5, differed drastically from the released product and was scrapped at a development stage of 60–80 percent, after being deemed "dull and boring" by the producer. The resulting redesign introduced different settings and a more cinematic story presentation, supported by a soundtrack that employs "desperation" as an underlying theme.
Resident Evil 2 received critical acclaim, with praise for its atmosphere, setting, graphics, audio, scenarios, and overall gameplay, as well as its improvements over the original game, but with some criticism towards its controls, voice acting and certain gameplay elements. It has appeared on a number of lists of the best video games ever made. The game has become a million-seller and is the franchise's most successful title on a single platform. Years after its first release, Resident Evil 2 was included in several lists of the 100 best games. Following its initial success on the PlayStation, it was ported to Microsoft Windows, the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast and Nintendo GameCube, and was released as a modified 2.5D version for the Game.com handheld. The story of Resident Evil 2 was retold and built upon in several later games and has been adapted into a variety of licensed works. A remake of the game was released on 25 January 2019.