Ever wondered why they called it Biohazard in Japan and Resident Evil in the US? Games Radar asked that very question that I'm sure a lot of you guys out there want to know as well. The answer comes from Chris Kramer, senior director of communications and community at Capcom US, who even reveals that he found Resident Evil super-cheesy.
I was still in my pre-teens when I had my first encounter with Biohazard. Loved playing it, even tried finishing it without a memory card! Couldn't understand a darn thing, though. So needless to say, I failed big time on the Japanese version. It was later that I got my first Resident Evil.
I went like, "Biohazard sounds cooler. But oh well, the residents are evil anyway." Then I dismissed asking why and simply thought it was like the Balrog-Vega-M.Bison confusion in Street Fighter II, which was also from Capcom too.
Many, many years later, I work for QJ and only then do I find out why. Capcom Japan had already decided to go with Biohazard in 1994. Unfortunately, registering that name in the US would be "next to impossible," said Kramer. "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."
It was then that an unnamed designer in Capcom Digital Studios came up with Resident Evil, which the best of the marketing group liked because the game was set in a house. "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."
And so, after years of playing and watching it evolve, the game still carries its mansion-set ancestor's name. It's not as politically correct anymore as the Japanese name, but I've come to love it anyway.
News on the latest Biohazard / Resident Evil title: