Why is Resident Evil called Biohazard in Japan?

Resident Evil: The Series inspired by the popular Capcom game franchise is the new Netflix production hitting the streaming catalog this Thursday, July 14th. But you know there’s another name for resident evil in Japan. In the Land of the Rising Sun, the chain is called Biohazard.

Since the first game’s release in 1996 for the PSOne, Resident Evil has become one of Capcom’s biggest hits, as well as the benchmark for zombie and horror games and products. And of course, in these 25-plus years on the road, the franchise has a lot of history and curiosity, starting with its original name in Japan and still known as “Biohazard” today. it is.

But why is this name change associated with the release of the game outside of Japan? Check out the game now on the reasons behind this decision.

It all started on the Super Nintendo.

Sweet Home NES. Released is a horror RPG.

Resident Evil 3 began in 1993 as a Super Nintendo remake of an older horror role-playing game called Sweet Home, released in 1989 in Japan for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Shinji Mikami, who previously worked on successful SNES games such as Aladdin and Goof Troupe, was hired to remake the game, which takes place in a haunted mansion similar to the one in Sweet Home. Bit version, especially in the graphics department.

For the first few months, Mikami worked on projects by developing concept designs, designing characters and writing scripts. Seeing that the project was somewhat larger and more ambitious, Capcom decided to move development of the game to the PlayStation, releasing in Japan in December 1994.

The project migrated to PlayStation

PSOne on the Biohazard prototype

Capcom and Nintendo had a major partnership at the time, the PlayStation not only used CD media but also offered more powerful hardware, which offered more space than traditional cartridges, allowing the team to be larger and more complex.

Along with the transition to a more powerful platform, the project has undergone many changes, making the previously hellish setting even more realistic. Thus, the prototype of the game was created, featuring first-person action and the psychological and supernatural horror genre.

The prototype inherited many elements from Sweet Home, such as the setting in the mansion, inventory management with specific items, puzzles, focus on survival, and other details.

Game cover released in Japan

But during development, Mikami looked to other sources of inspiration, such as the classic films The Shining and George Romero’s films such as Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. However, Mikami’s major breakthrough was the game Alone in the Dark, which influenced the switch from a first-person perspective to a third-person cinematic camera system.

He transformed the Japanese horror genre into an American genre with zombies, influenced by Romero’s films. In the year In 1995, Capcom presented a demo of the project at the We Jump festival in Japan under the name “Biohazard”, which means “biological hazard” or “biological pollution hazard”, which can cause serious harm to living organisms. In the game – or in the game, there are various monsters that want to cut the player.

In addition to the name, the demo revealed the motifs, characters, and monsters in the official release on March 22, 1996.

In English environment

Western sports coverage

Everything was going well for the game’s launch, but as Capcom prepared for its Western release, it ran into a small problem: the name. Biohazard has already been registered as a Mega Drive game, Bio-hazard Battle, in addition to a heavy metal band using the name in the United States.

To solve the problem, Capcom of the United States held an internal competition with employees to come up with a new name and find the name. Domestic Evil, Resident Evil, loosely translated) was chosen because the game takes place in a mansion inhabited by zombies.

Not everyone agreed with the name, but Capcom Japan and Shinji Mikami agreed that the title was appropriate, as it was Chris Kramer, director of communications at Capcom, who got the name “Super Cheesy” at the time, so it was approved. Make a western release under the new name.

Resident Evil on PSOne

In addition to the name, the international version of the game introduced some censorship, such as opening scenes with real actors (now in black and white and in color and without blood) and some more brutal in-game killings.

At the request of North American Capcom, the Western version is considered more difficult than the Japanese version, so the game will “sell more and sell more”.

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