Early in development, the game was intended to be titled "BIOHAZARD GUN SURVIVOR: Behind The Mask" as a working title as seen in an early trailer of the game and evident by a leftover texture in the game files, eventually the name was changed to "Biohazard Gun Survivor / Resident Evil Survivor" without the extra subtitle. BIOHAZARD SURVIVOR appeared at the Autumn 1999 Tokyo Game Show, with limited visible alteration being made beyond that version. The game disk, itself, records changes being made as late as mid-December.
Production Studio 3 always had the light gun in mind when developing the game, and expected players to use Namco's GunCon controller. However, the Columbine Massacre of April 1999 led to last-minute alterations. The American media perceived violent video games as the cause of the massacre, and that children could in some way learn how to handle firearms from playing games. To avoid sparking controversy, Capcom USA removed support for the GunCon in the American version, requiring players to use the standard controller instead.
To save money and time, the graphics department copied over data from Resident Evil 2, such as the Zombie, Zombie dog and Plant 43 models and skins. Due to the game's first-person nature, however, these creatures appear noticeably more stiff and block-like.
Storywriting was outsourced to Capcom's creative subsidiary, Flagship. Noboru Sugimura and Naoyuki Sakai came up with the story, which fleshed out the philosophy of Umbrella, such as Oswell E. Spencer's eugenics ideals.