Capcom has revealed their iconic Resident Evil franchise has sold 90 million units worldwide. The original Resident Evil – known as Biohazard in Japan - started life as a remake of Capcom’s own Sweet Home, a 1989 survival horror game set in a haunted mansion. Resident Evil would evolve into a separate game but still carried over a lot of Sweet Home’s mechanics such as a limited inventory, puzzles and the story unfolding through journal entries. Capcom had modest expectations for how well the game would sell, but it would become an unexpected bestseller.
The sales of Resident Evil brought Capcom out of financial difficulties so a sequel was quickly green lit. Resident Evil 2 went through a troubled development, which saw one version of the game being canceled halfway through, but it became an even bigger success and solidified survival horror as a genre. The series has evolved in interesting - and bizarre - ways ever since. Resident Evil 4 found the series move in a more action-focused direction, while Resident Evil VII: Biohazard stripped it down to its horror roots again. The franchise has been featured on just about every platform imaginable in the last two decades, from the Game Boy Color to the Nintendo Switch.
The recent remake of Resident Evil 2 sold 3 million units in its first week, in addition to receiving near-universal critical praise. Now Capcom (via Reset Era) has revealed that Resident Evil has officially become its bestselling franchise, having surpassed 90 million copies sold since 1996. That’s a seriously impressive figure, and with renewed interest in the series, it’s not hard to imagine it will pass 100 million units in the new few years.
Resident Evil wasn’t the first survival horror game, but it proved to a landmark for the genre. Its success paved the way for other horror franchises like Silent Hill and Dead Space. While not exactly a survival horror game, Capcom’s own Devil May Cry started life as Resident Evil 4 but evolved into a different title during development. The series also spawned a long-running movie series, with Milla Jovovich taking the lead for six Resident Evil movies, with 2017’s The Final Chapter bringing that version of the series to a close.
It didn’t take long for a movie reboot to be announced though, with Johannes Roberts recently signing on to direct. A Resident Evil TV series is also in development at Netflix. A remake of Resident Evil 3 is expected to be the next entry in the video game series, with Resident Evil 8 coming later and reportedly taking place on an abandoned Umbrella island. The game is also said to feature an hallucination mechanic that will have players questioning what’s real and what isn't.