GR Asks: Why was Biohazard renamed Resident Evil?

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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 bandof 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

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.