Gaming has come a long, long way over the last three decades.
Among many other qualities, maturity and self-awareness are two of the most important that the industry has acquired since its inception, making the medium not only more appealing to a wider audience but respected among its peers. Such swift evolution (relatively speaking), however, means history is still very much in living memory and many franchises kickstarted back in the 80s and 90s remain with us today.
Resident Evil is one of those and it goes without saying that Capcom’s beloved survival horror series was chock-full of cheese when it first debuted in 1996. Similar to many of its contemporaries, live-action cinematics were used in favor of in-engine cutscenes to introduce the original game’s premise and it goes without saying that the end result was hammy, to say the least.
As Looper explains:
When players in the U.S. and Europe specifically first booted up Resident Evil and started a new save file, they were met with a gruesome black-and-white cutscene establishing the game’s central cast and characters. That video wasn’t the original introduction to the game, however, but an edited version of a longer cutscene that preceded the game as it was released in Japan.
The shorter black-and-white intro to the Western releases was just one of multiple ways the game was censored in its localizations abroad. The full slate of changes made to the original Japanese intro include multiple instances of cut footage of blood and gore and a series of newspaper clippings describing a number of dead bodies in lieu of showing them outright. The shift from color to black-and-white, too, was done to seemingly de-intensify the overall amount of violence as well.
This version that Looper describes, uploaded by Project Ravenlight on YouTube, has been upscaled to 4K and 60 frames per second and details the events immediately preceding the S.T.A.R.S. team’s infiltration of Spencer Mansion. Don’t ask us why Chris Redfield has red hair; we don’t have an answer for you. It’s worth noting, of course, that the entire sequence would ultimately be removed entirely for 2002’s remake and subsequent rereleases, likely explaining why so many people were never aware of its existence. As we said, the medium has come a long way.
As for the future of Resident Evil, an eighth mainline installment, Village, is due to arrive on May 7th for current and last-gen consoles as well as PC. And you can remind yourself of how much the IP has evolved by checking out the latest gameplay trailer over here.