Resident Evil 2 isn’t just one of Capcom’s most successful games ever (behind only Resident Evil 5 as the best-selling instalment in the venerable survival horror franchise), but like many titles in the franchise, has more than its fair share of interesting facts. Most of us probably know that the original incarnation of the game, colloquially dubbed ‘Resident Evil 1.5’ by fans, was scrapped around 60-70 percent complete back in early 1997—and if you don’t, read up on it here.
Beyond that however, and as we anticipate the recently-confirmed remake of the 1998 classic horror romp, there’s a few lesser-known facts about Capcom’s seminal zombie-slaying hit that are probably worth considering,
Here’s 10 things you probably didn’t know about Resident Evil 2.
– – – – – – – – – – –
George A. Romero directed a Japanese commercial for Resident Evil 2 in Japan
The godfather of zombies himself has a few links to the Resident Evil series, chief among includes the fact he was originally due to pen the script for the movie back in the early 2000s. While that didn’t pan out, he previously worked with Capcom on a short TV advert for Biohazard 2 in Japan, which succinctly captured the atmosphere and setting of the sequel and its zombie-infested streets. Starring Brad Renfro as Leon and Adrienne Frants as Claire, the commercial featured some brilliant scenes of zombie mayhem, complete with burning cars, wrecked halls and of course, copious amounts of brain-hungry undead. Sadly, the ad wasn’t shown in the west, although it remains a great gem from the series’ past and a firm indicator that Romero would have been the perfect director for a Resident Evil movie. In fact, Romero’s work in this 30-second commercial encapsulates more love for the series than any of the god awful movies from Paul Anderson.
Mr. X was originally armed…and dangerous
Mr. X was already a formidable opponent in the final version of the game, able to smash Leon and Claire to a pulp with his meaty fists. However, at first Capcom didn’t think that was quite enough, as they initially had plans to arm the tower Tyrant with a machine-gun of all things, echoing a move they would later see through with Nemesis and his blood-stained Rocket Launcher. Needless to say, having a Tyrant running around with an automatic weapon would have been sofa-soiling worthy, and thank god they decided against it in the end. Still, who’s to say they won’t incorporate this in the remake? Gulp….
Robert Kendo’s voice was changed for the final cut, and he originally didn’t fire a shot
Gun shop owner Robert Kendo’s role was cut significantly from his original incarnation in RE1.5, although Capcom still made some minor alterations to his character in the final stages of development. Those of you who have the demo that shipped with Resident Evil: Director’s Cut may have noticed that Kendo’s voice sounded a lot different to the final version; the demo edition was more natural and higher in tone, whereas Kendo’s final incarnation was deepened significantly, almost to the point where it doesn’t sound quite right when compared to the original. Compare the two, and we think you’ll agree he sounded better in the demo, especially when delivering certain dialogue. In addition, the ill-fated gunshop owner didn’t fire a single round when attacked by zombies in the demo, unlike in the final version.
Resident Evil 2 was the best-selling game in the series until Resident Evil 5
The average game may have you believe that the game-changing Resident Evil 4 stomped over any previous series entry in terms of sales, but that wasn’t the case. Yes, Resi 4 sold like hotcakes, but Resident Evil 2 was far away the biggest-selling game in the venerable franchise until Resident Evil 5 came along. To date, RE2 on PlayStation has sold almost five million units; considering this doesn’t take into account the various ports and re-released Dual Shock Edition, that’s some impressive numbers. By contrast, Resident Evil 5 and assorted DLC has moved 6.9 million copies across PS3 and Xbox 360.
The game was planned for release on SEGA Saturn
Capcom initially had plans to ship Resident Evil 2 for SEGA’s ill-fated Saturn console, but given the system’s commercial failure at the time, the game was ultimately scrapped. It wouldn’t have been the first time the series was released on the platform, however. Capcom launched the original Resident Evil for Saturn in 1997, featuring new costumes, a new enemy (a re-skinned Hunter), a second Tyrant battle and a Battle Mode, which included a zombified version of Albert Wesker. No footage of the Saturn version of Resident Evil 2 was ever released, and it’s unlikely it made it very far into development.
The Licker scene was censored in the final release
Remember that iconic scene where the Licker makes itself known? Well, originally, the scene was slightly gorier than the final version that shipped in early ‘98. After stumbling across the headless corpse of a police officer, you make your way around the corner as per usual, until you notice the trickle of blood from the ceiling. However, before you look up at your adversary, the severed head of the poor cop drops down at your feet, which alerts you to the Licker’s presence above. It’s an odd choice, as there’s still plenty of dismemberment and decapitation to be had by blasting zombies with Shotguns and Grenade Launchers, but for whatever reason, Capcom left it on the cutting room floor.
The secret viewpoint in front of the R.P.D.
One of Resi 2’s biggest secrets is a hidden viewpoint outside of the entrance to the R.P.D. Specifically, it involves killing the zombies in the courtyard and heading towards the gate of the police department, which triggers a secret viewpoint where you can see outside of the gate. Fans of the series will know that this is the same gate that Jill Valentine used to access the building in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. You can’t open the gate, and it doesn’t always shift perspective, which allows you to see a couple of roaming zombies on the other side. You can’t really do anything here, aside from dispatch the moaning corpses if you see fit. Interestingly, back in the late 90s there was a rumor circulating that Rebecca Chambers, a member of the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team and partner to Chris Redfield in the original game, was hidden behind the gate, although nothing ever came of this particular murmur. Give it a try next time you play.
The mysterious hole in the wall
Another scene that was cut from the final version of the game, Resident Evil 2 originally spooked players with a mysterious hole in the wall of the factory area, where Leon would later discover parts to his Shotgun. You can investigate the hole, which is splattered with bloodstains, although the only screenshot available has Japanese text, so it’s unknown what info you obtain by examining it. While seemingly innocuous, it’s still an interesting scene and one that would have surely creeped players out had it remained in the game. Quite why Capcom opted to remove it is anyone’s guess.
Resident Evil 2 spawned its very own controller for PlayStation
Believe it or not, Resident Evil’s popularity in the late 90s was so huge that companies did just about anything to milk the success. Enter AsciiWare and its customised PlayStation ‘Resident Evil’ control pad, which was designed for Resident Evil: Director’s Cut and Resident Evil 2. Kitted out in a black paint job, the pad was designed in part to look like a firearm, featuring a specialised trigger section and custom-marked buttons with ‘Run’ and ‘Ready’ for Square and R1, respectively. It supposedly gave the user greater control over your characters to heighten the Resident Evil experience, although we bought the pad many moons ago and didn’t really feel much difference. Still, it’s a nice piece of Resi history.
Albert Wesker was originally due to appear as part of the final boss
Back in 1996, during the concept stage of Resident Evil 2 and even before Resident Evil 1.5 was canceled, Capcom’s artists conceived a rather interesting design for a final boss. Known as Golgotha/Super Golgotha, the bizarre-looking beast was going to replace William Birkin as the final boss of the game, although the idea was rejected and elements of the creature eventually became the ‘G’ enemy battled in the final version. The most interesting part? Developer notes reveal that Albert Wesker, the blonde baddie of the original game, was featured in the design; specifically, his face appears on the end of Super Golgotha’s tail. Quite how Capcom would have explained this is anyone’s guess, although at the time we presume the developer hadn’t decided to bring him back with superpowers as depicted in Resident Evil CODE: Veronica. Sadly, the creature never got past the concept art stage, so we’ll never see him in action.