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GR Asks: Why was Biohazard renamed Resident Evil?

Welcome to GR Asks, our weekly Q&A with the games industry that answers questions submitted by YOU. Is there something game-related you’ve never seen addressed? Message GRAsks and we may just get it answered!

GR Asks: Why was Japanese series Biohazard renamed Resident Evil when it was released elsewhere?

Answered by: Chris Kramer, Senior Director of Communications and Community at Capcom US

 

“In late 1994, Capcom Entertainment in the US was starting to ramp up marketing plans for the game that would eventually become known as Resident Evil in the US. Capcom Japan had let us know that the name of the game was going to be ‘Biohazard’ in Japan, but I pointed out to the person who ran marketing at the time that it would be next to impossible for Capcom to register the name in the US.

“As an example, I pointed out that a crappy DOS-based game had just come out in the US called ‘Biohazard’ (not to mention the New York hardcore band of the same name) and that we’d never be able to secure the mark. As a result, the head of marketing held a company-wide contest to come up with a new name for the game.”

 

“After combing through a huge list of entries, the marketing group decided that ‘Resident Evil’ was the best, as it was a clever pun – the first game was set in a mansion, get it? I voted against the name – I thought it was super-cheesy; can’t remember what I felt was a better alternative, probably something stupid about zombies – but the rest of the marketing crew loved it and were ultimately able to convince Capcom Japan and Mikami-san that the name fit. The person who actually came up with the name was a designer in Capcom Digital Studios, Capcom’s first US-based development group.”

Thanks, Chris!


Above: The original Biohazard ad, in all its awful glory


Above: The US commercial for RE2. Everyone’s gonna die!

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Apr 8, 2009

43 comments

  • RaIdEn - April 13, 2009 9:08 p.m.

    i have a question. why do some people hate videogames so much?
  • SwampRock - April 10, 2009 7:04 p.m.

    RE1 scared the shiz out of me when i watched my dad play it as a little kid, now I have to laugh.
  • StupidTownColonStupidStateColon - April 10, 2009 5:52 p.m.

    What wonderful song choice for the Japan Biohazard ad. A freind and me joked about having the name Resident Evil while we were playing co-op on the jeep level.
  • NadaNuff - April 10, 2009 5:32 a.m.

    There was a Genesis shooter named Biohazard. I remember playing it, thought it was the true reason for the name switch.
  • somerandomchap - April 10, 2009 1:17 a.m.

    they should of named it "oh geez, zombies!!" way better name for a game made in the 90s
  • Hobojedi - April 10, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    Now what happened to these awesome Japanese game commercials and crappy American game commercials? Looks like it's the opposite now.
  • CarbonFire - April 10, 2009 12:41 a.m.

    well reyalejandro13 i havnt playd those games but for some fun u can fone a german
  • bron1417 - April 9, 2009 10:11 p.m.

    well thats interesting.
  • skelt - April 9, 2009 9:29 p.m.

    Don't judge a game by it's name
  • reyalejandro13 - April 9, 2009 5:58 p.m.

    I've got a question: I remembera really long time ago, One of my friends said he had the next pokemon games on Game Boy Color called Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Jade. However, when I saw him playing them, I was like "Thats not Pokemon, what the hell is this?" I had completely forgotten until now, and if it isn't too much trouble, could someone please enlighten me on them?
  • CH3BURASHKA - April 9, 2009 6:54 a.m.

    ELpork and Jacob, you're both retards. Also, after watching the GT retrospectives which didn't mention the reason behind the names, I wondered why they had two different names. reCaptcha: vista commissions (a conspiracy's a-brewin')
  • McSpermie - April 9, 2009 5:37 a.m.

    that was some useful information, thanks GR :D
  • Cra-Z-Jake - April 9, 2009 3:19 a.m.

    I love you.
  • phoenix_wings - April 8, 2009 11:45 p.m.

    LOL--all of the dialogue follows suit with the kooky name and the live-action scenes. I always liked the really deep voiced announcer that said Resident Evil when you pressed start. Resident Evil though, I thought that it might have been something to do with the mansion.
  • Z-man427 - April 8, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    i've always thought Resident Evil was kind of a cooky name. but in rying to think of better names, i couldn't come up with one
  • TrIp13G - April 8, 2009 8:30 p.m.

    Guys, please. No more arguing in this inaugural feature.
  • Jacob816 - April 8, 2009 7:49 p.m.

    @ELpork Did it ever occur to you that I have that avatar out of irony? Besides, who really gives a shit anyway. Some other asshole was going to say 'first' anyway, at least I gave a reason.
  • LordRevan111 - April 22, 2009 10:08 p.m.

    I love the happy music in the Japanese commercial
  • Yellowhat17 - April 19, 2009 6:43 p.m.

    BY now, Resident Evil doesn't even sound that cheesy, and sounds kind of "epic" to me. Maybe it's just because of the epicness of the series?
  • bar1scorpio - April 14, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    The opening of the original commercial song sounds like they're trying to sell you a new BEER. "It's been a hard day of shooting zombies in the head, so relax with a cold BioHazard beer! Only the finest Hops, Barley, and Green Herb go into our secret recipe."

Showing 1-20 of 43 comments

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