Game Retrospective: Resident Evil — CODE: Veronica

On the 3rd of February 2000, Resident Evil — Code: Veronica was first released for the Sega Dreamcast in Japan. The game would launch in North America at the end of the month, with a European release following a few months later.

Developed by Capcom Production Studio #4, Resident Evil — Code: Veronica was the series first entry to debut on a console other than the Sony PlayStation. Resident Evil series creator, Shinji Mikami, took on the role of producer while Hiroki Kato, who had worked on the original Resident Evil as its systems planner, stepped up as director.

Many of the game’s developers have since stated that they consider CODE: Veronica to be the true sequel to Resident Evil 2

Taking place three months after the events of Resident Evil 2, the game follows Claire Redfield who finds herself imprisoned on an island facility after raiding an Umbrella complex in Paris while searching for her brother, the Racoon City police department STARS team member, Chris Redfield. Claire, along with fellow detainee Steve Burnside, attempts to flee the island amid a T-virus outbreak. Later sections of the game see events unfold from Chris Redfield’s perspective as he searches for Claire, and also sees the reappearance of series protagonist, Albert Wesker. Rather than continuing to use the pre-rendered backgrounds of prior entries in the series, Resident Evil — Code: Veronica utilises the power of the Dreamcast hardware to feature full-3D environments with a dynamic camera system.

Resident Evil — Code: Veronica began production following an unsuccessful attempt at porting the incredibly popular Resident Evil 2 to Sega Saturn. Capcom, along with Nex Entertainment (who had previously brought the first Resident Evil to the Saturn) discovered that such a port would not be possible without severely compromising the quality of the original and shelved the project. Both companies soon after began developing ideas for a brand new entry for Sega’s upcoming new console, the Dreamcast.

Claire Redfield’s brother Chris, last seen during the events of the first Resident Evil game, returns as a playable character for the latter half of the game

During this time, a spin-off to the series starring STARS member, Jill Valentine, was also in development at Capcom. Although the upcoming Dreamcast title was envisioned by the team to be a sequel to Resident Evil 2, at some point throughout development, these two titles would swap roles. The Jill Valentine-starring spin-off would become the mainline numbered entry, Resident Evil 3, while the Dreamcast release would instead acquire the subtitle ‘Code: Veronica’. While some reports have suggested this was the result of Sony intervention, to keep the numbered trilogy exclusively on the PlayStation, series producer, Shinji Mikami, has since stated that the team simply had the intention to keep numbered entries on Sony’s machine all along.

The game’s script and artwork were handled by the company, Flagship, a subsidiary of Capcom that had been established in 1997 as a means of employing the talents of professional screenplay writers for the games industry. Resident Evil — Code: Veronica’s writing team consisted of five people all led by Flagship co-founder, and Resident Evil 2 writer, Noboru Sugimura. Early on the team knew they wanted to explore the history and back-story to Umbrella Pharmaceuticals. Initial ideas for the game centred on Jill Valentine’s mission in Europe, rather than on Claire. Artist Satoshi Hakai, who had worked on games including Streets of Rage 2 and Virtua Fighter 2, led Resident Evil — Code: Veronica’s concept art and would later help develop many of the creature designs for Resident Evil 0 which would release two years later.

Some reports have suggested that Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 2 was to feature in CODE: Veronica but was later remodelled into the new character Steve Burnside

Upon release, Resident Evil — Code: Veronica’s impressive visuals and compelling story received much praise from critics. The game was viewed by many as one of the best titles for the Dreamcast, a game which showcased the system’s capabilities. Resident Evil — Code: Veronica would go on to sell 1.14 million copies which, while strong for a Dreamcast release, was poor when compared to the series previous PlayStation entries, due primarily to the smaller user base of the Dreamcast console.

In response, Capcom soon ported the game to the Sony PlayStation 2 as Resident Evil — Code: Veronica X in 2001, an extended version of the original which including minor additions, such as new cinematic sequences. This version of the game would later release on the Nintendo GameCube in 2003.

Following the success of the 2019 Resident Evil 2 remake, as well as the now upcoming Resident Evil 3 remake, many fans have called upon Capcom to similarly revisit Resident Evil — Code: Veronica. Some have established petitions while others have even produced speculative artwork and concepts for such a release. The actress who portrayed Claire Redfield in the Resident Evil 2 remake, Stephanie Panisello, announced during an October 2019 playthrough of RE2 on Twitch, that she would readily reprise the character should Capcom decide to revisit Resident Evil — Code: Veronica.

🕹Are you a fan of Resident Evil — Code: Veronica?

🕹Did you enjoy the re-released, extended version, Resident Evil — Code: Veronica X?

🕹Would you welcome a full remake similar to Resident Evil 2 and 3?

Twitter: @wleigh85