The Quarter Century Evolution of Resident Evil

Apollo Brown, Reporter

Resident Evil, a game series that has lasted for 25 years, reinvented horror with its initial release, and it continues to terrify us through all subsequent installments of games, movies, and now a miniseries garnering more and more fans.

Capcom released the games first and based on the popularity of them, they started to release animated movies and mini-series. 

The original game series simply titled “Resident Evil” (or “Biohazard” in Japan where Capcom is from) is about the Raccoon Police Department’s Special Tactics and Rescue Services, or S.T.A.R.S, who are tasked with investigating a series of strange murders in Spencer mansion. 

Upon arrival Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, and Barry Burton, three of the team members who enter together, split up to search the mansion. When looking around Valentine runs into a zombie and is justifiably terrified.

From this point on, the players are tasked to escape the mansion and kill all the zombies, sharks, and other monsters you find along the way. 

Two years later, in 1998, Capcom released “Resident Evil 2”, where we are first introduced to Leon Scott Kennedy and Claire Redfield. We play as either character, two different stories, and we have to survive the zombie outbreak in Raccoon City. Kennedy and Redfield, who are now accompanied by a girl named Sherry, make it out of the area moments before the U.S. Government nukes the city.

In 2012, Capcom released Resident Evil 6, where we have four playable characters, Division of Security Operations (DSO) agent Leon Kennedy, Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) agent Chris Redfield, spy Ada Wong, and mercenary Jake Muller, as they team up to stop yet another zombie outbreak. They all face different challenges, but in the end, the C-Virus is eradicated and the world is saved. 

In the most recent game, Resident Evil Village, which Capcom released in May of this year, we see the return of Ethan Winters, the protagonist of Resident Evil: Biohazard, Resident Evil 7, and his wife Mia Winter living somewhere in Europe with their daughter Rose. 

One night, Chris Redfield and the BSAA intrude on the Winters’ home, and Chris kills “Mia”, who is later revealed to be the main antagonist Mother Miranda. Chris then takes Ethan and Rose. This is the start of Ethan’s longest journey, in which he fights Lycans (undead werewolves), four lords, Alcina Dimitrescu, Donna Beneviento, Salvator Moreau, and Karl Heisenberg, of the village and Mother Miranda to save his daughter. 

Due to the popularity in games, there are actually a total of 11 Resident Evil movies–seven of them are live-action featuring actress Milla Jovovich as the lead Alice. Four are an animated franchise. 

In 2017, Capcom released the animated Resident Evil: Vendetta, which is the last of the animated movies. In this movie, we see the return of Leon along with Chris Redfield, (Claire’s older brother and reason she was in Raccoon City), and Dr. Rebecca Chamber, who was in the original Resident Evil game.    

Following the popularity of the video games and the movies, Capcom’s latest release was a Netflix exclusive called Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness in July of this year.   

The four-episode series follows Leon Scott Kennedy and Claire Redfield. We follow Leon as he and fellow government agents named Jason, Shenmai, and Patrick try to figure out who hacked into top-secret files in a Shanghai research facility. 

Meanwhile, Claire tries to find dirt about the US government’s reasoning for trying to get a foothold in a country called Penamstan. Spoiler alert, Defense Secretary Wilson wants to start a war with China, a neighboring country to Penamstan.  

Resident Evil is a series that has touched many and continues to release great games and movies. Each game or movie reaches millions around the world and brings more fans into the tight-knit community that the series already has.