The Resident Evil 2 prototype, officially referred to as "Resident Evil 1.5", is the original version of Resident Evil 2.
The game was developed between April 1996 and February 1997, and was ultimately canceled when production on the retail version of Resident Evil 2 began.
Leon Scott Kennedy - A rookie police officer who began working at the Raccoon City Police Department only days before the outbreak in Raccoon City. He explores the precinct for survivors and an escape route. He is the main male protagonist of the game.
Elza Walker - A young motorcycle racer who comes to the city to enroll in Raccoon University. After witnessing the outbreak, she flees to the Raccoon City Police Department and crashes her bike into the lobby. She is the main female protagonist of the game.
Marvin Branagh - A police officer at the Raccoon City Police Department. He accompanies Leon in finding a way out of the city. He is Leon's partner character.
Ada Wong - A mysterious woman who Leon helps escape the flaming wreckage of a crashed police van. She seems to know a way out of the city. She is Leon's partner character.
John - A man Elza meets in the basement of the Raccoon City Police Department, taking refuge in one of the prison cells. He helps Elza secure an escape route. He is Elza's partner character.
Sherry Birkin - A young girl hiding in the Raccoon City Police Department's auto shop. She is frightened by Leon, but finds comfort in Elza's kindness. She is Elza's partner character.
Brian Irons - The chief of police at the Raccoon City Police Department. He oversaw the S.T.A.R.S. teams and thinks highly of rookie officer Leon.
William Birkin - An Umbrella researcher who has been infected with a mysterious new virus. He is Sherry's father.
Annette Birkin - A fellow Umbrella researcher who appears to be unstable. She is William's wife and Sherry's mother.
Leon, a rookie cop and a few surviving members of the Raccoon City Police Dept are trying to hold off the zombies to wait for rescue. Chief Irons sends leon to the roof to watch out for helicopters. As he is standing on the roof he witnesses a woman crash a motorcycle into the front door. He becomes worried that the building is now going to fill with zombies, so he goes to tell the chief what just happened. He eventually meets Marvin, a high ranking officer at the RPD who they then split up to find help. Leon finds a burning police transport van outside the RPD with a woman trapped. He puts the fire out and frees her. After doing so, she reveals herself to be named Ada Wong. They then go into the station together, but she goes with Marvin. Leon then goes back to see the chief, however the chief is missing and the office filled with zombies. He heads to the carpark to look for more ways to escape, and he witnesses a little girl climb into a manhole and he is not able to get to her because of a large container on top of it. He then enters the parking garage and meets with Ada again. While talking to her, he asks her where marvin was, but she says he ran off. He bunch of large apes break out of a crashed Umbrella van, and attack them. Ada escapes into a van, while leon fights them off. Leon and ada then leave the garage and find marvin. After explaining what happened to marvin, they head into the sewers.
During a street race in Raccoon City, Elza gets attacked by zombies. To avoid the zombies, she does a power slide into the front doors of the Raccoon City Police Department. She triggers an alarm which closes the front shutters and a few others in the building. She then heads to the interrogation room where she meets Roy, a police officer. He tells her what happened, and then passes out. She then heads to the basement after being given a keycard from Roy. She frees a man from the prison named John, and then she splits up. The buildings power then shuts down and she is unable to use the radio room to call for assistance. She eventually meets John again in an office. Roy is now starting to change into a zombie, and begs John to kill him. John, kills Roy despite not wanting too. He then asks Elza to leave him alone. Elza eventually finds a little girl in the garage. She is unable to get to her, so she heads to the roof. After being attacked by crows, she is rescued by John, who tells her to follow him. They enter the sewer and eventually find the little girl. The little girl follows after, and they head to the ground. They enter a warehouse, and Elza and John fight off william birkin. They head down into a lab where Sherry runs off.
The game featured similar controls to the original Resident Evil, but boasted newer features that distinguished it from its predecessor. Weapons like the Knife make a return, but now the protagonists are able to carry the knife in a sheath, allowing instant access without using an extra inventory slot. A wider range of weapons were also introduced, including Hand Grenades for Leon. Player health would change Leon and Elza's appearance throughout the game, with visible scratches, blood, and clothing tears appearing on the protagonists. At two separate points in the game, both Leon and Elza would be able upgrade their defenses by equipping body armor.
Like the original, the player had the option to choose between a male and female protagonist and would experience their individual stories. However, unlike the original, 1.5 allowed both stories to unfold at the same time, with partner characters crossing paths and parts of the map becoming unavailable in conjunction with certain events.
Crows, Zombie Dogs, Web Spinners, and Zombies return with this installment, with the latter undergoing appropriate changes to fit the new setting. Powerful Infected Gorillas have been introduced to the Raccoon City Police Department and Laboratory stages, giving the player a significant challenge early in the game. In addition, Alligators were added to the Sewers and a strange half-man, half-spider creature could be found in the Laboratory. Perhaps one of the most significant additions is William Birkin—infected by the new G-Virus—who stalks the player through the Factory and Laboratory stages, until the very end of the game.
Production and DevelopmentEdit
Production for the game was started sometime in 1996. The original draft featured a tactical-geared cast who appeared largely similar to the first game, with a lead protagonist known as "Grant Bitman". This concept was scrapped once game development began sometime in July 1996. The first public build was unveiled at the V-Jump V-Fest in September 1996, featuring footage of the male protagonist Leon Scott Kennedy traversing the Lobby and Chief Irons' Office. Zombies were the only enemies shown at the time. Elza Walker was formally introduced at this time with concept artwork and a character biography, but she had no model or gameplay to showcase.
As 1996 drew to a close, the development team felt unhappy with the project. With the game estimated to have been 70% complete and nearing release in March, the project was cancelled.[note 1] The developers then took the risk to redevelop the game from scratch. In the meantime, the Resident Evil: Director's Cut was released along with the first demo of what would become the retail version of Resident Evil 2. In late-January, 1998—nearly an entire year after the original project was scheduled to launch—Resident Evil 2 hit the market and was a commercial success.
The original setting of the game was very modern with much more realistic urban environments. When the game was redeveloped, it was decided that the setting would more accurately reflect the appearance of a smaller town.
When game development began, one playable build would be created per month and shown to Mikami. They are speculated to have been created near the beginning of each month, showcasing work from the previous month. A handful of these builds are known to exist. They include:
- The July 1996 build - The premiere build showcased at V-Fest '96.
- The August 1996 build - The build used for the game's first promotional trailer.
- The September 1996 build - The first build to feature Elza Walker.
- The October 1996 build - The build that debuted new weapons and the clothing damage feature.
- The November 1996 build - The build leaked to the public.
- The December 1996 build - The first build to feature voice acting.
- The January 1997 build - The final known build of the game, seen on the BIOHAZARD Complete Disc.
- ↑ The percentage given before the project was scrapped varies from each account given. However, 70% appears to be the most consistent of these percentages.