Resident Evil, known in Japan as Biohazard, is a media franchise owned by the video game company Capcom. It was created by Shinji Mikami as a survival horror video game series that was initiated with Resident Evil in 1996. Since then, the game series has branched out to include action games, and has sold 50 million units as of 30 June 2012.
The franchise has been expanded to comic books, novels and novelizations, sound dramas, a series of live-action and animated feature films, and a variety of associated merchandise, such as action figures.
The survival horror video game Resident Evil made its debut on the PlayStation in 1996, and was later ported to the Sega Saturn. It was a critical and commercial success, leading to the production of two sequels, Resident Evil 2 in 1998 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in 1999, both for the PlayStation. A port of Resident Evil 2 was released for the Nintendo 64. In addition, ports of all three were released for Windows. The fourth game in the series, Resident Evil Code: Veronica, was developed for the Sega Dreamcast and released in 2000, followed by ports of 2 and 3. Resident Evil Code: Veronica was later re-released for Dreamcast in Japan in an updated form as Code: Veronica Complete, which included slight changes, many of which revolved around story cutscenes. This updated version was later ported to PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube under the title Code: Veronica X.
Despite earlier announcements that the next game in the series would be released for the PlayStation 2, which resulted in the creation of an unrelated game titled Devil May Cry, series' creator and producer Shinji Mikami decided to make the series exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube. The next three games in the series—a remake of the original Resident Evil and the prequel Resident Evil Zero, both released in 2002, as well as Resident Evil 4—were all released initially as GameCube exclusives. Resident Evil 4 was later released for Windows, PS2 and Wii. In addition, the GameCube received ports of the previous Resident Evil sequels. Despite this exclusivity agreement between Capcom and Nintendo, Capcom released several Resident Evil titles for the PS2 that were not considered direct sequels.