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What Resident Evil Wiki is not
In the Resident Evil franchise, there are numerous spin-offs and promotional materials that provide insight into the series' expansive storyline, without interfering with the main series.
What does "canon" mean and how is it used?Edit
"Canon" is derived from a Latin word used by a number of Christian denominations to describe either a rule (Christian religious law, "Canon Law") or a term to describe the officially-recognised religious texts ("Biblical canon"). Since the 20th century, the term "canon" has widely come to describe which material is true to a fictional universe. By extension, the rule of 'canon' also applies to separating this official material from fan-fiction featuring the same characters, and separating official material recognised by the license-holders from officially-licensed material made by external writers.
In the Star Trek franchise, for instance, canon has a complex format. All live-action television shows and films are in the official, recognised canon even if certain story elements conflict. Licensed novels such as those done by S.D. Perry are not part of this canon, and while ideas may be collected for official works (for instance, when Perry's idea of a rogue Section 31 computer became the central plot to Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery) the novels are not automatically made canon. The Star Trek Tech Manuals, story bibles written by the series writers, are officially non-canon despite their source of information, but are otherwise accepted as canon exempting parts that are contradicted later. The animated "Star Trek: The Animated Series" was made non-canon by deathbed request of producer Gene Roddenberry, but had and continued to be used as a source of information elsewhere in the series. It was however only when StarTrek.com confirmed "TAS" to be part of the official canon that elements of the series not mentioned in the other shows were accepted.
In the Resident Evil franchise, canon is much more complex, owing to Capcom taking different attitudes towards licensing over the years. Until around Resident Evil 4, Capcom's official policy was that non-game media was not part of their official canon. Consequently, the six drama albums albums published by Capcom are officially non-canon, along with the novellas "BIOHAZARD THE BEGINNING" and "BIOHAZARD Wicked North Sea", and the film short, "BIOHAZARD 4D Executer". The Resident Evil Wiki accepts elements from "Doomed Raccoon City", "Wicked North Sea", "4D Executer", "Little Runaway Sherry" and "Female Spy Ada Lives" due to their relationship with Capcom's creative writing studio, Flagship, and the use of elements from these stories in games such as Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil Outbreak.
Other licensed works released, performed or published before this period are: the Marvel and WildStorm Comics, the King's Foundation and Tinhangse manhuas, the S.D. Perry novels, the Paul W.S. Anderson live-action films and their respective novelisations, and the 2000 play, "BIOROID". These are all officially licensed works and were given creative freedom by Capcom, allowing them to come up with ideas which would radically deviate from Capcom's own vision.
In the years following Resident Evil 4's release, Capcom's attitude towards its official canon has changed, and it is tighter in how it controls licensing and is beginning to recognise newer works as part of their canon. As such, the "Prelude to the Fall", "Marhawa Desire" and "Heavenly Island" mangas are part of the official canon, as are the films "Degeneration", "Damnation" and "Vendetta", and the plays "THE STAGE", "THE MUSICAL" and "THE EXPERIENCE".
From here on "canon" will be used synonymous with the most official level and interpretation based on rules above.
Sources containing canonEdit
Gun Survivor and Outbreak seriesEdit
These two series are spin-offs created as expansions upon the main series that provide insight into the universe without directly involving main series characters such as Chris Redfield; Jill Valentine; Leon S. Kennedy or Claire Redfield.
- The events of Resident Evil: Survivor are referenced in the opening monologue to Resident Evil Zero, where it is described by the narrator as "the second Raccoon City" in reference to its destruction at the end of the game.
- The boss enemy from Resident Evil Outbreak File #2, the Tyrant R, appears in the Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles stage Death's Door. Also, Nikolai Zinoviev, the antagonist of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, makes a brief appearance in Resident Evil Outbreak. Daylight, the cure for the T-virus in Outbreak, was taken out of the city by one of the J's Bar survivors, as mentioned in Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire. Also, a newspaper article written by Alyssa Ashcroft appears in Resident Evil VII. Rita Phillips is mentioned in a file and her nameplate is visible in Resident Evil 2 (2019 game).
- Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica's events have no relevance to the main series. It may be considered canon insofar as its events are merely a nightmare of Claire's from her experience on Rockfort Island. However, files within the game are canon.
- Dino Stalker, the third title in the Gun Survivor series, is not a part of the Resident Evil/Biohazard saga.
- Resident Evil: Dead Aim, the fourth title, is mentioned in a Capcom book titled "INSIDE OF BIOHAZARD THE DARKSIDE CHRONICLES".
The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles games are considered semi-canon. This is because the scenario re-tellings are merely summations of the full stories that took place. A canon-friendly reason for this could be that The Umbrella Chronicles is Wesker's summation of events, and The Darkside Chronicles, Leon's.
The extra, original scenarios (e.g. "Dark Legacy") are to be viewed as completely-canon, and are:
- Nightmare 1 / Nightmare 2
- Rebirth 1 / Rebirth 2
- Dark Legacy
- Death's Door
- Umbrella's End (Takes place in 2003)
The majority of the stages are retellings of previous games; they follow the same basic plot, but contain alterations to allow cooperative support. The stages which retell previous events in The Umbrella Chronicles are:
- Train Derailment (Resident Evil Zero)
- Mansion Incident (Resident Evil)
- Fourth Survivor (Resident Evil 2: The 4th Survivor)
- Raccoon's Destruction (Resident Evil 3: Nemesis)
These scenarios are summaries of their respective games (apart from "The Fourth Survivor", which is just an adaptation infused with dialogue for entertainment reasons). Non-canon dialogue is also present in other re-tellings for this same reason.
Resident Evil Gaiden was created by a European company, M4 Ltd., in partnership with Capcom. Its plot points have been ignored and contradicted by successive titles (e.g. Resident Evil: Revelations 2), and the game is widely considered non-canon, though Capcom have not offered any official comment on its status.
The unreleased Resident Evil Portable would have been regarded as canon unless otherwise stated.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a non-canon title, as it is merely a Mercenaries spin-off and has no connection to the storyline of the series.
Resident Evil 4: Mobile Edition was released for the iPhone/iPad. Its story makes significant departures from that of its console counterparts, largely for the purposes of working around the limitations of the less powerful hardware.
Revelations series Edit
CGI Movie Series Edit
The following series is considered to be part of the main canon.
- BIOHAZARD 4D-EXECUTER (2000): Released in Japan and set in Raccoon City during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3 in 1998, it was written by Flagship whom are known for writing for early installments in the Resident Evil franchise. Its events, however, were not referenced in future material, nor contradicted. Thus, it is to be considered canon unless stated otherwise. It is worth noting, however, that the film is not mentioned in a timeline shown in "INSIDE OF BIOHAZARD THE DARKSIDE CHRONICLES", which mentions the events of the film Degeneration.
- Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008): This movie is set after Resident Evil 4, before Resident Evil Revelations and Resident Evil 5.
- Resident Evil: Damnation (2012): This movie is set after Resident Evil 5 and before Resident Evil 6, about the same time with Revelations 2.
- Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017): This movie is set after Resident Evil 6 and before Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
Game files and scriptEdit
Although the Resident Evil Wiki archives the English-language versions of game files, it should be noted that these are not always trustworthy. Being translations of Japanese text, they may prove to be inaccurate in some areas. To combat this, each file should be translated to provide a more trustworthy source of canon. A list of mistakes can be found.
The canonicity of promotional material can generally be separated into who authored it - Capcom Japan or Capcom USA. This is because the Capcom Japan material is written directly by the game's scenario writers and crew, and so have intimate knowledge of the storyline. The Capcom USA division, on the other hand, simply uses what information they have available to advertise the game.
The Biohazard Archive is a Famitsu encyclopedia which uses summarised content from earlier Famitsu guidebooks. All are proof-read by Capcom before release as part of the Famitsu-Capcom deal. An English translation was made by BradyGames. Although sourcing information as being from the English version is acceptable, it should be noted that the BradyGames translations were not always precise and, in some cases, lazily made. An example of this is an instance of the UBCS being the acronym of "Umbrella Resident Evil Countermeasure Service". Another is the listing of Rebecca Chambers as deceased in the Resident Evil 3: Nemesis interrelationsips chart (p.60) instead of alive, evidently made by copy-pasting from the other Bravo Team members, who are all deceased. A list of further errors can be found here.
Novels and graphic novels Edit
The Japanese-only novel BIO HAZARD The Wicked North Sea is the only novel in the Capcom canon, featuring an original story that takes place before the original Resident Evil.
There are three Japanese graphic novels/comics, known as manga that are canon:
- BIOHAZARD UMBRELLA CHRONICLES: Prelude to the Fall (2007): Set before the events of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles's Umbrella's End scenario, follows Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine.
- Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire (2012-2013/2014-2015): Serves as a prequel to Resident Evil 6.
- BIOHAZARD heavenly island (2015-2017): Serves as a sequel to Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Resident Evil 6.
There have been four stage plays representing the Resident Evil franchise: BIOROID YEAR 0; BIOHAZARD THE STAGE, MUSICAL BIOHAZARD ~ Voice of Gaia ~ and BIOHAZARD THE EXPERIENCE. The latter are canon, while the former is a licensed parody. THE STAGE takes place sometime before Marhawa Desire then Resident Evil 6 and stars Chris Redfield, Piers Nivans and Rebecca Chambers.
Main Series alternating plot pathsEdit
In the original three games (Resident Evil; Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis), the game's plot depends on the scenario chosen and/or how game itself is played. There are many different turns the game stories can take, and the accepted canon is a mixture of the events from all outcomes.
Neither of the two Resident Evil scenarios represent the actual canon; the real story is an unseen third scenario which contains elements of both. The canon can only be deciphered through other games' confirmations.
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis writer Yasuhisa Kawamura confirmed it was Jill who destroyed the Tyrant.
- Resident Evil 2 confirmed both Rebecca and Barry survived.
- BIOHAZARD THE STAGE puts Rebecca in the west storeroom at the time of Chris' arrival in the Mansion.
Resident Evil 2Edit
Like Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 also relies on other games to confirm the true canon, which is an a mixture of Leon A/Claire B and Claire A/Leon B events.
- A flashback in Resident Evil: Degeneration confirms Claire fought G-Birkin's first form, as depicted in "Claire B".
- Sherry is confirmed in Resident Evil 6 to have been infected with the G-Virus, as depicted in "Claire A".
- Ada is confirmed to have been attacked and knocked out by the T-00 in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. 2000's Wesker's Report supported the alternative scene of her falling into the pit, but this was evidently retconned.
Resident Evil 3: NemesisEdit
In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the canon is that Nikolai takes the last helicopter. Barry Burton then rescues Jill and Carlos from Raccoon City before its destruction. In the Raccoon's Destruction stage of The Umbrella Chronicles, this plot point is not referenced. Nikolai's absence also eliminated the need for Barry. Nonetheless, Carlos is not the pilot of the rescue helicopter in the ending cutscene.
Generally speaking, the canonicity of deleted content is nullified when it is removed from the game. This is shown in a number of ways. Gelzer - a character intended for the original Resident Evil - was completely removed from the story-line much the same as Elza Walker (an early incarnation of Claire), leaving them out of the canon. If a creature is removed from the only game it was to appear in, its canonicity is also nullified; this doesn't mean that it can't be salvaged by another crew, however.
When it comes to the Outbreak characters, Capcom wanted to release as much of their development content as they could, reaching ten scenarios out of the eighteen they had in development in mid-2002. Characters like Miguel, who can be found in the coding with a Gameshark, were intended to be used in scenarios that never made it into the "File #2" expansion pack. They cannot be denounced as non-canon in this case as, even though "File #3" was ultimately not green-lit, they were intended to be used later.
Resident Evil 3 Beta OpeningEdit
For Last Escape, a set of unused images that were supposed to be used for the opening monologue introduction scene were left-over in a promotional video disc of the game. The images show a prologue to the events of RE3; notably, one of them depicts the surviving STARS disembarking from their chopper on the roof of the RPD, shortly after the Mansion Incident. Jill, Chris, Barry, Rebecca and Brad are depicted. Another picture depicts Jill arguing with the police chief Brian Irons. Eventually, in the released game, Barry saves Jill and Carlos at the end, and according to The Stage, Revelations 2 and Vendetta, Rebecca and Barry are indeed alive and their status is finally confirmed.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon CityEdit
This game is a non-canon entry in the series which serves as a provider of "what-if" scenarios. One of these is, of course, the "Kill Leon" ending, which is (it should be noted) an optional course of events at the end of the U.S.S. storyline. The game serves as an intermediary between the games and the Anderson films - a sort of bridgehead to get the movie fans interested in the games; the scenario of the original characters in SPEC OPS DLC follows the original game's storyline, per se, however it is heavily altered - and many nods to the films can be seen, such as Nemesis having cyborg vision.
- ↑ Project Umbrella: Inside of Biohazard: The Darkside Chronicles article
- ↑ http://projectumbrella.net/articles/INSIDE-BIOHAZARD-DARKSIDE-CHRONICLES#BACKSTAGEOFBHDC
- ↑ A radio broadcast in Revelations 2 indicated the event of the attack at Svetlana Belikova palace.
- ↑ Famitsu interview with Yasuhisa Kawamura (2000).