What would you say is the worst part about new Resident Evil games? The increasingly convoluted storyline? The emphasis on action over scares? The increased focus on multiplayer that eliminates a lot of those scares that we covet oh so much?
Would it surprise you then to know that multiplayer had always been a part of the Resident Evil plan?
Nestled away in an old box in the garage sat a copy of Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. A friend of mine pulled it out and dusted it off, showing me a little piece of gaming history. It was a Pokemon issue, showcasing just how Pokecrazy people were getting over little fighting animals with superpowers. There was also a preview for The Legend of Zelda: Gaiden (now The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask) and even a few Sega Dreamcast advertisements.
When I found a review of Resident Evil: Nemesis, I absolutely had to read it. They gave it a good review (rightfully so) but something else caught my attention. It was a little blurb, an aside to the main story.
Resident Evil One for Two?
Strange but true: Early press releases for the original Resident Evil claimed it would be a two-player game. So where’d the multiplayer mode go? “I originally planned to have a ‘partner’ character always act together with a player character,” RE series producer Shinji Mikami told us. “The partner’s role was to do various actions and responses to the enemies, traps, and puzzles, but the plan was scrapped due to hardware limitations.”
So there you have it. I wasn’t exactly connected enough (or old enough) to receive any of these press releases when they were current. I didn’t get into the series until Resident Evil 2 made its way to the Nintendo 64, anyway. That was also advertised in the magazine, along with some nightmare-inducing imagery. However I have little doubt to the magazine’s claims.
It’s almost hard to believe that if the Playstation were a little more powerful, Resident Evil would have been a two-player affair. That the idea of bringing in a second player for puzzles and attacks is not all that modern at all.
One wonders if the series still would have been as successful.