The game we know as Resident Evil 3 was supposed to be a bit of non-canonical fun, until the arrival of new hardware forced Capcom to reassess its development plans.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis scenario writer Yasuhisa Kawamura Project Umbrella the arrival of the PlayStation 2 derailed Capcom’s plans for Resident Evil 3.
The publisher had multiple Resident Evil projects on the go, including a team under Hideki Kamiya working on what was planned to be the next core Resident Evil game.
“The game was loosely set on a luxury cruise liner and had a general plot where HUNK was attempting to bring back a sample of the G-Virus,” Kawamura said of Kamiya’s project.
In mid 1998, Kamiya’s crew realised their project would be finished far too late for a PSOne release – and didn’t have time to upgrade to the PS2. It had to be shelved.
“Code: Veronica was a Dreamcast exclusive game, the scenario for ZERO was just getting started, and Mr Kamiya’s team was forced to go back to the drawing board to design for the PlayStation 2. This meant that fans on the PlayStation would have to wait several years for the next sequel, a scenario that Capcom wanted to avoid,” Kawamura remembered.
Capcom turned to a relatively inexperienced team under director Kazuhiro Aoyama, which was busy making a “gaiden”, or spin-off project. Development general manager Yohsiki Okamoto announced that the spin-off would be reworked as the third canonical entry, while Kamiya’s team moved onto Resident Evil 4 on the PS2.
“With the sudden promotion of the ‘Gaiden’ game, I was forced to expand the scale of the content. The story was initially supposed to just be an escape chronicle from an infected Raccoon City, but after discussions with the producer and director, it was decided that instead of introducing a new character, Jill Valentine will play the role of the main character,” Kawamura said.
“It was also decided that Raccoon City would be wiped from existence. You can say that in a sense, the launch of the PlayStation 2 ended up taking the lives of one hundred thousand Raccoon City citizens.”
Kawamura joined the Resident Evil 4 when resident Evil 3: Nemesis shipped, where he was responsible for a prototype scenario which was eventually shelved, and then recycled for Devil May Cry. He left Capcom before development on Resident Evil 4 wrapped, and currently works as a freelance designer and scenario writer.