Capcom has a created a number of multi-million dollar franchises in its close to four decades of existence, with examples including but not limited to Devil May Cry, Mega Man, and Street Fighter. However, its single most successful franchise is Resident Evil, which started out with a third-person shooter called Biohazard in its native Japan but was renamed for its U.S. release when the Director of Communications pointed out that Biohazard would be impossible to trademark in the United States. (1)
Besides the number of its sales, there are other reasons that Resident Evil should be considered special. For example, it is considered to be one of the games that started the survival horror genre, along with both Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark. Furthermore, it combined action with both exploration and puzzle-solving in a way that its predecessors had not, thus providing it with part of the foundation for its success. Given these facts, it is no coincidence that the Resident Evil franchise has spread to encompass not just games but also books, comics, movies, and merchandise.
What Are the Resident Evil Games?
There have been an enormous number of Resident Evil games released on a wide range of platforms, including but not limited to PC, consoles, and handhelds:
The original 6
There have been six main installments in the Resident Evil series. The series started with Resident Evil in 1996, which was followed by Resident Evil 2 in 1998 and Resident Evil 3 in 1999. These games focused on the efforts of the Umbrella Corporation to create powerful but pliant monsters with a biological super-weapon, which instead turned most of their victims into super-aggressive zombies. Afterwards, Resident Evil 4 came out in 2005, Resident Evil 5 came out in 2009, and Resident Evil 6 came out in 2012. Unlike their predecessors, these installments focused on antagonists other than the defunct Umbrella Corporation, but retained the same protagonists, the same premise, the same setting, as well as the same timeline. Despite the lackluster performance of Resident Evil 6 because of a host of serious issues, Resident Evil 7 is scheduled for release in 2017.
In contrast to the main installments, the Resident Evil: Survivor games resemble light gun shooters more than other survival horror genres. There have been three games, Resident Evil: Survivor, Resident Evil: Survivor 2, and Resident Evil: Dead Aim, released in 2000, 2001, and 2003, with no installments since that time. As a result, it seems probable that Resident Evil: Dead Aim will be the last of the Resident Evil: Survivor games.
The Chronicles series is another of the sub-series that have been spun off of the main installments. In total, it has had two installments, with one being Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles in 2007 and the other being Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles in 2009. It too deviates from the main installments’ tried and true formula, being on-rails shooters rather than third-person shooters.
There have been other Resident Evil games released as well. For example, Resident Evil: Outbreak and Resident Evil: Outbreak File #2 came out in 2003 and 2004. Similarly, there have been a number of Resident Evil games released for mobile devices, which are notable for belonging to different genres and even different settings.
What Are the Resident Evil Movies?
For people who are familiar with Resident Evil but have never heard of the Resident Evil games, chances are good that they came by their knowledge through the Resident Evil movies, which are the most famous component of the Resident Evil franchise other than the Resident Evil Games. In total, there have been five movies released in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2012, focusing on an original character who has never appeared in the games as well as an original plot that shares no more than superficial similarities with the source material. Despite poor receptions from both critics and fans, the Resident Evil movies have nonetheless managed to find commercial success, so much so that Resident Evil is the game franchise with the greatest number of live-action adaptations. In fact, a sixth and final movie called Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is scheduled for release in 2017, though if it shares in the same success as its predecessors, it seems possible that the series will see a reboot sometime in the future.
What Are the Other Components of the Resident Evil Franchise?
Unsurprisingly, more Resident Evil products have been released in a number of mediums. For example, there have been three animated movies released so far with a fourth animated movie scheduled for release in 2017. Furthermore, there have been a number of books based on the games as well as the films, with some being novelizations of their source materials while others are original works in their own right. Finally, it should be noted that there has been an incredible amount of Resident Evil merchandise, with examples ranging from action figures and airsoft guns to an energy drink called the T-Virus Antidote, which is a reference to the Umbrella Corporation’s biological super-weapon.
What Is the Resident Evil Franchise Worth?
Coming up with a value for the Resident Evil franchise is a challenge, not least because Capcom has released insufficient information. For example, it has revealed that the Resident Evil franchise has had a total of 68 million sales, but that has little meaning without more information such as the sales numbers, the size of the development budgets, as well as other relevant factors. (2) However, even assuming that the games were sold at an unrealistically low average prices such as $10 and $20, this means that the Resident Evil games have brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, which cannot match the biggest game franchises out there but remain nonetheless respectable in their own right.
In contrast, there is much more information available about the Resident Evil movies. (3) For example, the first Resident Evil movie earned $103,200,000 box office, which is more than three times its production budget, while the second Resident Evil movie earned $125,168,734, which is more than two times its production budget. Although the information for the Resident Evil movies are incomplete, there is enough to say that they have earned more than $650,000 in profit, which is a remarkable amount even for non-game movies.
Summed up, it seems probable that the Resident Evil franchise has a value that can be measured somewhere between the low billions of dollars and the high hundreds of millions of dollars, which is based on what it has earned so far as well as its future earnings potential, as shown by the sheer number of Resident Evil products that will be coming out in 2017.