For gamers who grew up with Sony’s original PlayStation, Capcom’s Resident Evil was one of the standout games that not only defined a console generation but helped to establish an entirely new genre – survival horror. 26 years later, with more than 125 million games sold life-to-date and numerous films and TV series, the franchise is as popular as ever. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, fanship of Resident Evil among US gamers is nearly tied with Zelda, and the franchise is not far behind other huge properties like Minecraft, Pokémon, and GTA.
The 2019 release of Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 remake recently passed 10 million units sold worldwide, a Resident Evil 4 remake is planned for release next year, and the newest in the franchise, Resident Evil Village, sold over 6 million copies to help contribute to a record fiscal year for the Japanese publisher. In fact, things have gone so well, that Capcom has reinvested in its own staff, raising the base pay for its employees by 30%.
Resident Evil’s success has translated to other entertainment as well. The franchise was one of the first video game IPs to see success at the box office dating back to the 2002 film starring Milla Jovovich and was cited in 2012 as a Guinness World Record holder for most live adaptations of a video game. Collectively, the various Resident Evil movies have grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide.
Most recently, a new live-action series streaming on Netflix has dethroned Stranger Things season 4 to take the top slot on the platform despite a lukewarm reaction to the show from some diehard Resident Evil fans. Critics were split as well, with The Guardian calling it a “mindlessly fantastic eight hours” and RogerEbert.com labeling it “another failed Umbrella experiment.”
Regardless of differences in opinion, it’s likely we’ll be seeing more Resident Evil shows or films even if the newest Netflix series doesn’t get a second season. In the meantime, Capcom has been adapting its games to be playable in VR, and although not yet announced, development on Resident Evil 9 is likely well underway with a rumored release target of 2024 or 2025.
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