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Article by BSAArklay, researching all Resident Evil 5 beta builds and deleted content.

Word from the author - "Welcome to my research article into the varied Resident 5 beta builds and scrapped content. I have great memories of this title, and the build up to release was monumental in sending me from casual fan, to joining the online community and looking into the series with greater depth. I now have a great fascination with the lore surrounding Resident Evil 5 and its connections to the series. So I wanted to give something back, by working on a passion project researching the wealth of known (and unknown!) deleted elements of the game, including beta scenarios, rare concept art. and files I have extracted from the Resident Evil 5 disc, containing un-seen textures, concepts, and dialogue! Much like the fans of  Resident Evil '1.5' and '3.5' I felt like this scrapped '4.5' version warranted its own investigation into what could have been..."
"We started development in 2004, and we knew it would be a long road before the game would hit shelves, so we wanted to focus on pushing the technology to its modern limits... The idea we started with was so massive that we had to shrink it down while we were giving it form...": Producer Jun Takeuchi (The Art Of Resident Evil 5)

"The story of Resident Evil 4 was like a side-story, so our aim was to continue the main Resident Evil story as a sequel":
Producer Masachika Kawata (Prima Games Interview)

"The launch concepts were to use Wesker, the character of this series; to change the stage of this game to Africa due to the progenitor virus; and to develop this game with Resident Evil 4 as a fundamental base. Co-op play was added to these concepts, which gave us a firm bedrock.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)

"The actual development time itself has been just about three years. If we were to include the time spent in the concept and planning stages, then I guess it would be close to four years. We have pretty much been working on it since Resident Evil 4 itself came out. As for the team size, at the biggest it was about 110 people.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (Joystiq Interview 24/02/2009)

Regarding the implementation of the MT Framework engine, Anpo san states that "before the MT Framework, we were all working on games separately, and creating them separately, and it was a very inefficient process, to have lots of different teams separately developing tools to make games. So we wanted to create something that would unify the process."

The début trailer for Biohazard 5 premièred in last quarter of 2005, at Tokyo Game Show, although development started considerably earlier in 2004.

The original Resident Evil 5 logo, showcased in the TGS première trailer, was particularly plain, in contrast to the bright, colourful retail version.

The beta logo differed from the retail version, having a much thicker design, with cracks appearing along the top & bottom, and illuminated by a fire or lava effect. We first get a glimpse at the beta logo in the E3 2007 extended trailer.  Both versions are coloured bright orange to symbolise hope for Chris and the rest of the world.

"We had a different logo at first. It had a long jagged crack in the ground... we had already decided that the colour scheme would be sunlight yellow & sunlight orange... The sun represents light, but also fire... these colours are very symbolic and act as a metaphor for the main character... Chris still carries a glimmer of hope, of light. That's what we were trying to convey with our choice of colours." Resident Evil 5 Producer Jun Takeuchi (The Art Of Resident Evil 5)

Development began in 2004; Capcom knew that the game would be a lengthy process before it hit retail, so they made sure to keep up to date with the latest technology.

"When we set out to make Resident Evil 5, the guys knew that if you want to make the most powerful, most pretty game, the Nintendo Wii isn't the best choice.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (Resident Evil 5 Demo interview 23/02/2009)

The original idea was considerably ambitious and had to be scaled down over time; however Jun Takeeuchi states that they did try to keep the most impressive features. Right from the start the main theme was decided upon, Chris Redfield versus Albert Wesker, with Spencer E. Oswell earmarked for a cameo appearance. But the game design was constantly changing, right up until release.

"For the story we decided to go with Chris, we looked at what he has done and the puzzles surrounding him, what we wanted to do was solve those and figure out what had been going on... show the origins for various viruses that had appeared in the games and figure out where those had come from... One of the pillars for the story was the Progenitor virus, where it came from? How it was developed... This won’t be limited to the Redfield’s this will go into the origins of the virus.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (Gamespot interview 03/06/2008)

"Once again we have focused on the theme of humans. The contrast between Wesker & Chris has always been an important part of the story... in the Resident Evil series we have all kinds of twisted & tragic events happening, like the murder in the mansion, but it was a human who stood at the root of it all... We knew right from the get-go that this was going to be a story about Chris & Wesker... We also knew that Spencer would make an appearance, even if we didn't explore his character very much.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (The Art Of Resident Evil 5)

The possibilities offered by a new generation PlayStation 3 console, coupled with the MT Framework v1.4 engine, enthused the development team to take on challenges unique to the series; a main game offering an online co-operative campaign, and instead of setting Resident Evil 5 in a dark environment, the unusual decision to utilise the bright, daylight locations of Africa was taken. Assisted by directors Kenichi Ueda & Yasuhiro Anpo, game producer Takeuchi contrasted light with shadows to implement the fear.

"Some felt we should create something with the traditional, dark foreboding atmosphere... As a next-gen game, others felt we needed to do something completely new... We really wanted to show the origins of the virus, so for the setting we thought, how about using the place where humankind was born... That's how we came to use a place in Africa as the setting... In doing that we had to set the game somewhere bright. Up to now, light was never a factor in any of the Biohazard games... Being a next-gen game we also saw it as a good chance to create something different... We wanted to maintain the Biohazard-esque feel of the game, and of course when you create light, you automatically create shadow... We're creating a game that is based around light and darkness... When you're in a bright place, it's really difficult to see into the shadow. You're pupil contracts when there is a lot of light, but this makes it hard to see when you suddenly enter a dark place... By focusing on that element, we're able to escalate the player's fear of the darkness. Stepping into the shadows from a place where your eyes have adapted to the light, in those few moments until your eyes adapt, you're playing a game where you can't see... That really fans the fires of panic.": Producer Jun Takeuchi: (Capcom Production Room Interview)

"Having Resident Evil 5 take place in Africa gave us a great opportunity to develop the series not only in the sense of how we use darkness, but also brightness.": Designer Kentaro Yano (Prima Games Interview)

"With the jump to next-gen, a lot of the processing power that you have, as a designer, you want to show off the graphics that you can... something that they've been able to accomplish is take the fear and horror from the past games, and really take it from a place where you can only experience that in darkness and say, 'Well, you can actually do this in the light as well.' I think they've captured the essence of what made the original Resident Evil games so great; they've just done it in a way that takes advantage of the next-gen platforms.": Marketing Director Mike Webster (WorthPlaying Developer Interview 29/12/2008)

Capcom would have had the option to release the game up to two years earlier, but invested considerable time perfecting the visual realism, now offered by a new generation of consoles. Jun Takeuchi instructed his team to take as much time as they needed to attain perfection, and it is arguable that Resident Evil 5 remains, to this day, the most graphically accomplished game in the series, some eight years after its release.

"It certainly was a decision from myself and from the development team that we really wanted to push the next part of the series as far as it could be pushed. That included the graphical aspect of the game. So that was the reason that we went with the 360 and the PS3.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (Joystiq Interview 24/02/2009) 

"Lighting effects, physics, sound effects, AI, animation of objects and characters with many joints, big textures, polygon count… not one of these Resident Evil 5 features would be possible on older consoles. If you take a close look, you can see the motion of all joints in each Majini's fingers. We depict flying debris with complex physical calculations, and a Majini's screams rebound from the walls inside buildings.": Programmer Mikio Ueda (Prima Games Interview)

The scenario team headed to Africa to collate reference photos for game textures & locations. However Art Production lead designer Yoshizumi Hori had concerns regarding the urban city locations his team visited being too modern, and not resembling the classic, generic African visual theme he desired.

Hori-san instructed his team to create more African-esque environments, and to that end they designed scenes  that whilst utilising gameplay mechanics, also depicted popularly recognisable African iconography.

"I did these during the early stages. We were talking about how to use the cloth awnings to make it look more like Africa, while including things that would be necessary during gameplay like the blinds.": Background Designer Yasuko Shimoda (The Art of Resident Evil 5)

After trial and error it was decided to shape the stages with a more popular generic design, more recognisable as African locations to the gamer audience. These reference materials were clearly inspiration for paintings found in Resident Evil 5 DLC locations that required a continuation and link to Africa, the setting now chosen to depict the origins of Resident Evil, that was to be a main part of Resident Evil 5's narrative. 

During a Games Aktuell interviewJun Takeuchi was asked if the location for Resident Evil 5 was indeed a real African country, and to identify which language was spoken. "The venue is a fictional country in Africa. The locals speak Suheli." (Credit: Captain Redfield)

When creating the environments for Resident Evil 5, Capcom used real life photos as a source for textures, and for concept inspiration, during the earliest design stage, as can be seen in the source photographs below, extracted by BSAArklay from Resident Evil 5 disc.

An early beta concept sketch for an African savannah, with inset source photograph. The slide-show below contains just a few source photos from the large collection, taken by the development team, and extracted from the disc.

An early concept design of Resident Evil 5's volcano location, CGI created, with inset source photograph, extracted from the game disc by BSAArklay.
Resident Evil 5 concept art for an African themed location, with an inset screenshot, from the Resident Evil 5 DLC 'Lost in Nightmares', of a painting found in Oswell E. Spencer's mansion estate.

During the earliest development stages, Resident Evil 5 had much more of a war/action theme to it. There were numerous allies planned that would assist the player, and allow for gameplay mechanics such as 'protection'.

"I drew these in the summer of 2005. There are way more people here than are in the final game. The characters coloured green are allies... Since the enemies always outnumber Chris and his allies, the player would have had to figure out how to use the allies effectively to win each battle.": Background Designer Yasuko Shimoda (The Art of Resident Evil 5)

War zone concept area with the objective of securing the safety of your allies after clearing the enemy base.

Action scene concept including traps and mechanisms for use in combat gameplay, with the objective of defending your allies.

Production Director Yasuhiri Anpo considered these action and war orientated locations too far removed from the true style of the series. And such was a concern throughout, to respect and adhere to Resident Evil's roots. Hence a continuing challenge in these early days of the game's development, was this African setting dictating bright, sunlit locations, and how to induce the series' signature survival horror despite that.

"I drew this in the spring of 2005, as a piece to maintain the direction of focus for the development team. This is the earliest of early stages in development, when very little of the actual game content had been decided upon. The man in the foreground is Chris, and the woman is his partner, who wasn't decided as Sheva at the time... I kept wondering how I could manage to bring out the Resident Evil flavour in an image with sunlight & Africa, two themes that had never really had a place in the series before.": Background Designer Yasuko Shimoda (The Art of Resident Evil 5)

One method employed to avoid this conflict would be to utilise the darkness of typical survival horror interiors, and with very much in mind, the team began to design the buildings & underground locations that would accompany the outside environment.

"The dark interiors are supposed to bring out the trademark scary feelings that the Resident Evil series is known for.": Cinematic Supervisor Yoshiaki Hirabayashi (The Art of Resident Evil 5)

Translation:  Abandoned diamond mine shaft interior - 'Fear of Solitude' - Separated from the group the player experiences a fear unlike any Biohazard in the past as they wander through the labyrinth tunnels. 
Translation: Abandoned diamond mine shaft from the conquered fort, to an underground graveyard.

"A realistic representation of lighting makes an environment much more authentic, and helps to immerse the player. We achieved this with a variety of visual effect such as tone mapping.": Designer Toru Arikawa (Prima Games Interview)

"Ridley Scott is a director who makes a proper distinction between light and dark. The darkness you see in his movies are truly the blackest of black."Co-Producer Masachika Kawata (The Art Of Resident Evil 5)

Resident Evil 5 chief producer Jun Takeuchi stated that the development team were very much inspired by Shinji Mikami’s work on the game's predecessor, however they clearly wanted to avoid suggestions of plagiarism, and knew they would also fail to match the survival horror icon's creativity, if they were to attempt to copy any gameplay mechanics from Resident Evil 4. Takeuchi-san was also mindful that it was imperative to progress the series forward, for its own survival, with sales figures for the series on a consistent downturn, since the records set by Resident Evil 2; and with that his attention turned to those gameplay mechanics that could provide the necessary innovation to turn the financially flailing series around.

"For Resident Evil 5, a lot of the elements in it are a refinement of things that we had in Resident Evil 4; making them better, and choosing which elements to keep, which elements to discard.When we first sat down to design Resident Evil 5, we decided that changing fundamentally the way that Resident Evil 4 worked was something that we did not want to do. So that was one of the most important parts of that design process."Resident Evil 5 Producer Jun Takeuchi (Gamasutra Interview 15/08/2008)

Only the very first Resident Evil 5 beta scenarios featured a lone Chris Redfield, chosen as the sole protagonist of a single player campaign. But with Capcom's MT Framework engine and the tantalising power of a new generation PlayStation 3, the ambitious decision was taken during early stages of development to upgrade to co-operative gameplay.

"We wanted to create a new experience for the player... to advance the series on from Resident Evil 4 and to allow the users to do something in the game that they have never been able to do before. Our answer to that was co-op; to allow the players to play with a partner and to experience the game in a different way."Resident Evil 5 Producer Jun Takeuchi (Joystiq Interview 24/02/2009)

"I think the main feature is co-op. A lot of what Takeuchi-san tried to do when he took a look at Resident Evil 4 and tried to lay out what he was going to do for Resident Evil 5 was really take a look at how franchises fail as they progress, and one of the things that I think he identified was that they really don't innovate very well. So that was really a big focus of his.": Marketing Director Mike Webster (WorthPlaying Developer Interview 29/12/2008)

"We were afraid of losing the fear and atmosphere you enjoy as a solitary player by introducing co-op as a primary feature. But then we thought: co-op is just like entering a haunted house with two people, and this was a big leap forward. We thought a great deal about the survival element, in which you must co-operate to survive. I think this combination of RE and co-op has more advantages than disadvantages.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)

During these very first stages of level design, the shadow cast by Resident Evil 4 over its successor, spread to influence many in the development team, to such degree that the idea to include co-operative gameplay, was first met with reservation.

"It was something that we included part way through the development of the game. I always had the idea that co-op was something that was going to be necessary in Resident Evil 5. But just when we started planning and making the game right at the start, the pressure to outdo Resident Evil 4 was so strong that it was difficult to get everybody in the team behind the idea of doing a co-op focused game.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (Joystiq Interview 24/02/2009)

"In terms of the co-op element, it was time to introduce that element to the series, to liven up that aspect of the series and also to give ourselves a new challenge. To give us something new to bring to the series, and to give ourselves something new and challenging to do.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (Gamasutra Interview 15/08/2008)

With Chris Redfield decided upon as main protagonist, and concept art illustrating a female partner to utilise the required co-op gameplay, Chief Producer Jun Takeuchi now turned his attention to this character, and whether to draw upon the series past roster of recognisable protagonists, or to create a new one.

"There was a long list of characters that came up as candidates. Every one of them had strong enthusiasts amongst the team. Satisfying all of them would require us to line up all the characters and create a variety of stories corresponding to each of them. It was just impossible to create such a volume of work, and that would also make it difficult to establish the story line we had planned. Additionally, staging within a new location required us to bring in a local guide, one who is familiar with the region. All of these factors convinced us to use a brand-new character.": Producer Jun Takeuchi (IGN interview 14/07/2008)

"Originally Chris was going to be the only main character. With the addition of Sheva, and co-op actions, we had to redo the map at least twice... Though she started off as a regular sub-character, changes in the scenario led to changes in her character. When co-op was brought in, it made Sheva a BSAA agent, and we made her more of a combat-orientated character": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (The Art of Resident Evil 5)

Chris’s appearance and role as lead protagonist in Resident Evil 5 was decided upon by Capcom, from the get go. At the concept stage character modeller Yosuke Yamagata was given instructions to make Chris’s muscle structure as visibly enhanced as possible. The reasoning behind this was to give the clear impression that Chris had been training for his confrontation with Albert Wesker, and if necessary Chris wanted to be physically prepared and capable to take down Wesker with his bare hands! So instructions went out to 'make his neck thicker than his head, and his arms should be super thick too….like, inhuman thick.' Moreover, Chris’s original design had considerably bigger arms than the final CGI version. Additionally he sported scruffy facial hair, and an unkempt hairstyle, to make his appearance look wilder.

"We created his equipment with reference to military hardware in the real world to avoid being outdated or unrealistic. We also drew upon photos of soldiers and PMC (Private Military Company, or mercenaries) in the field to recreate the "wardrobe" typical of troops involved in military action… We got help from a Japanese military store during the game's development. The owner of this shop imports and sells equipment. We borrowed real body armour, holsters, night vision goggles, gas masks and other gear as research material.": Modeler Yosuke Yamagata (Prima Games Interview)

"I also worked on the first Resident Evil, so I have known these characters for a long time. I tried my best to preserve their image and imagined how they would have changed over the passage of time. Chris trained and got stronger.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)
As you can see in the variations between these early concept outfits, Yamagata-san was toying around with various ideas, particularly differing levels of militaristic symbolism (Metal Gear Solid esque), and while this could be considered more realistic, he also wanted to take account for the heat in Africa; consequently Yamagata-san decided to go with an outfit that Chris would find easiest to manoeuvre in, whilst keeping him cool.

"I wanted to give him clothes that would allow him the freedom of movement that any superhero should have, while mixing components from military styles and sportswear... I made sure to give him a 'next-generation' feel when I was drawing the materials and other details of his clothes.": Modeler Yosuke Yamagata (The Art of Resident Evil 5)

The earliest placeholder design for Chris Redfield's partner, was of a mysterious figure wearing a hooded cloak, covering much of her appearance, and much like her unlockable fairy tale alternate costume. In the concept artwork below, Lickers begin to surround the player, climbing out from hidden areas to overwhelm our lead protagonists, while BSAA helicopter support arrive just in time to effect an escape by air; this beta scenario failed to make it to the retail build.
"Though she started off as a regular sub-character, changes in the scenario led to changes in her character. When co-op was brought in, it made Sheva a BSAA agent, and we made her more of a combat-oriented character": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
Sheva Alomar was originally set to be a member of a private militia however she was given a bigger role to become Chris’s partner in co-op. When Sheva was still in the private militia phase her attire was much simpler. It was only later when Sheva was partnered with Chris that her attire was changed to the more advanced military gear. Takeuchi-san states that Sheva was created purely for the purpose of 'being someone familiar with the environment, somewhat of a guide for Chris'. This may be true, however one has to wonder whether Sheva was afforded a much larger role in the game (perhaps replacing Jill) due to the racism contention that arose after Capcom released the E3 2007 extended trailer (more on this later).

Sheva’s favourite style of combat was martial arts, so this affected her choice of weapons, necessitating her to carry the lightest weapons possible, thus allowing her ease of manoeuvrability when in hand to hand combat.

Yamagata-san wanted to make sure Sheva stood out from the African daytime scenarios. To achieve this he used a lavender colour scheme. He was also mindful not to design the character too feminine so as to look physically awkward for the trials ahead, whilst keeping sufficient femininity to imbue players with strong desire to protect her. This conflict was quickly averted, when Ampo-san confirmed 'I like slender girls'. Furthermore, many in the design team were not happy with Sheva’s face on several occasions, with Yamagata-san directed to ‘make her cuter’.

"We discussed many ideas for her background. Sometimes she was a civilian or a guerilla, sometimes she was a commander of a military corps. In fact, we made in-game models of Sheva for some of these ideas. But there were certain desired constants in all iterations: beauty as a heroine, ferocity and determination as a fighter. Finally, we chose the current design which is contemporary, as with Chris, mixed with a wild look appropriate for the assignment in Africa... We then had to adjust the modelling several times after she appeared in-game until we got positive feedback on her appeal. Our visuals staff suggested an adjustment to her in-game lighting so that she looks more charming.": Modeler Yosuke Yamagata (Prima Games Interview)

"The designing of a female character is a killer assignment. We had to change and modify Sheva considerably to combine two qualities, feminine attraction and the strength of a fighting woman.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)

"We made a new design that retained their signature colour, green for Chris, blue for Jill, to carry over the same look from the past. The facial structures are mainly based on the visuals of the GameCube version, and we added various details to these in order to develop a realistic texture.": Modeler Yosuke Yamagata (Prima Games interview)

"Jill's theme colour is still blue... the fact that her hair changed colour when she became an enemy really accentuates the change in her character. I enhanced her raccoon-like features, with heavy lips, relatively larger eyes and nose, and brushed her up to bring out the texture of her skin and veins... I didn't receive instructions to give her different outfits for before she gets caught by Wesker and when she shows up as an enemy, but it was something I chose to do... The close-fitting clothes she is wearing are supposed to give the player the idea that she had been experimented on while captured.": Modeler Yosuke Yamagata (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
Here we see concept art of Jill Valentine during the Majini bike assault. During this beta stage the Sheva Alomar character had yet to be established, with a focus instead on Jill Valentine and her platoon. Although still in early design, by this stage Capcom had decided to drop zombies as standard enemy, (initially preferred to develop connection with the original Resident Evil game), moving forward with Ganado’s.

"The character in the foreground isn't Sheva, it's Jill. Early on, it was supposed to be 'Jill and her team'. Jill has brown hair here... Though it was already established that we wouldn't be going with zombies by this point, we hadn't yet come up with the term 'Majini', so they are still Ganados.": Background Designer Yasuko Shimoda (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
From the time of these earliest concept designs, it was always a part of the narrative that Jill would die. The development team considered gameplay stages were Jill would meet her demise, depending on player actions.

As with Chris Redfield, the character of Albert Wesker had been decided upon from the outset, before any concept stages had been planned, before any other character designs. A small note in his early design concept states ‘confirm model of gun’. It is possible that Yamagata-san was told of the Samurai Edge, and this was to be a planned, integral part of the story. The design team wanted to give Wesker a spy look, and the materials he wore were to look futuristic.
The earliest concept sketches of Wesker interacting with his Uroboros mutation. The inclusion of foreign objects such as metals have yet to be designed, the developers instead opting to focus on Wesker's ability to control Uroborus by sheer will alone. Prior to the addition of metal shards during his battle with Chris Redfield, Wesker's combat style would have been very different; using only the power of mind he could extend and contract Uroboros. Furthermore, it was at this earliest development stage, when the battle with Chris did not involve a co-op partner, just one on one battle between these two bitter rivals, that allowed for such a fighting design; Wesker having no requirement for additional 'weaponary', however, with the inclusion of Sheva Alomar co-op for this final boss battle, he needed beefing up!

Initially Excella Gionne was going to be a secretary, with the CEO role going to a male figure. Far removed from her strong presence in the retail version, the character's earliest conception was that of a feminine secretary, far more submissive, and in a sexual relationship with Albert Wesker. Yamagata goes on to state that when they changed her role to the CEO the design team decided to make her attire similar to a celebrity style.

Excella went through several different changes in her design and there was much conflict between the staff concerning 'makes a great woman'. In the BSAA Desktop at the very end, an animation can be seen where Ryan’s blood splatters across the screen and a silhouette of M Suzuki appears behind him, on the monitor. That silhouette seen is the exact concept model as Excella’s secretary attire shown in early concept art (see below)

Ricardo Irving had a less significant role in the early concept stage. One of his earliest character designs was that of a small-time crook, a loser with flaws, and insecurities due to such failings.

Here we see Irving originally cast as a test subject, as evidenced by the bar-code imprinted on the back of his neck. His mutation was not always to turn into the aquatic bio-weapon seen in the retail version. Before Uroboros concepts had been created and decided upon, Irving's original mutation was of a design similar to that of a Tyrant.

Once the Uroboros mutation became integral to the enemy designs, and the game's development was at the stage where it had been determined Irving would mutate into his Uroboros form for a ship battle, concept art for this revised Irving monster had to be designed. And the first revisions for a seafaring creature were quite different from the final retail build; these earlier concepts are clearly influenced by Octopuses. These designs were passed on, considered too slow a creature for keeping up with a speeding ship.

"First we thought about co-op play. What should these monsters do, and how should players move or attack as a consequence? We sometimes used an animal as the base reference, and then performed a Resident Evil makeover.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)
"The design team took precedence on creature design in Resident Evil 5. They defined enemy characteristics, like their role, action pattern and so on for the art team. The two teams had various discussions and the artists prepared many rough designs from the results. This enabled us to chose the visual look of the creature. In rare cases we began with the creature's appearance and expanded the game idea from that image, like in the case of Uroboros. Sometimes we created a new character from art to remedy any lack of visual excitement following the gameplay development.": Modeler Yoshinori Matsushita (Prima Games Interview)
Possible scrapped Irving story in the earliest beta scenarios? Well, within the BSAA desktop (a supplemental website released in conjunction with Resident Evil 5 as a part of the marketing campaign alongside 'Adam's Blog' and the 'Famitsu Biohazard 5 Blog'), a file does state:

'Moreover, there are questionable documents claiming he was in Raccoon City during the tragedy in 1998, though it is difficult to confirm this because a large majority of records has been lost.'

In Resident Evil Remake the 'Laboratory Security System Information' file tells us that a 'Keith Irving' was the Visual Data Room monitor, in the Arklay Mansion laboratory! Perhaps a relation to Ricardo Irving, and the connection linking him to this canon reference of Ricardo being present in Raccoon City during the 19998 tragedy? It's possible Irving had a back-story that never made it into the game, stretching back to a beta build. His father (Keith) perishing in Raccoon City is a likely explanation for Ricardo’s future criminal descent, forcing him down a dark path selling bio-weapons on the black market; moreover as a way to enact revenge on a world that saw the loss of his family to a biohazard outbreak! Very similar to Curtis Miller’s character arc in Resident Evil Degeneration, perhaps explaining why this part of Irving's biography was scrapped - due to the similarity, and that both instalments were in development around the same period.

The only enemy characters Capcom had decided on from the start of production were zombies, even the Majini were yet to be conceived into the game. Zombies played a significant role in the early stages of the game, such as the public assembly stage. These zombies differed from previous versions by having the ability to run. Even though zombies, they still had the ability to aggressively rush the player.
Still in early scenario design stage, and the development team decided to switch directions, promoting newly conceived Majini enemies over zombies. This was due to concerns within Capcom that another zombie based game was too tired an enemy concept to appeal to the wider audience, so desperately needed for the series, at this precarious time in its history; Resident Evil 5 had to progress the franchise forward and produce significant sales figures, arguably for it to survive. Furthermore, zombies lacked the intellect to communicate, hold weapons, and of particular significance, lacked the ability to organise group assaults, a gameplay mechanic the development team wanted to implement, mindful of series progression.
"These were done back when we were still planning on using zombies... since the setting was Africa, we put jagged cracks in their flesh to give them a dried flavour, even though their skin was quite damp and squishy.": Lead Character Modeler Makoto Fukui (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
These unused creature concepts were designed to confuse their pray with illusions, triggered by this enemy emitting a gaseous substance. When the player came into contact with this gas, a gameplay mechanic would see the screen change to a distorted thermal view.
After dropping these illusion creatures, the design team then set about creating a collection of parasite Plaga creatures that required human hosts. Resident Evil 5 Modeller Yoshinori Matsushita who created these types of enemies, also added variants of the B.O.W. with an ability to use the illusion gas. One such enemy that would emit this gas, was actually approved at one stage, adorned with psychedelic colour, in keeping with the hallucination theme.

When the decision was taken not to use Plaga types requiring human host, Matasushita-san then attempted to evolve his creature to fit the game’s theme; sketching concepts that were stand-alone creatures. However his concepts were all rejected, with this variant of the hallucination B.O.W. finding its way to the cutting room floor, with all the others.
The Majini’s eyes were originally designed to glow red in the dark, being one of the only ways of telling the difference between human and Majini. The wetlands Majini’s skin colour is very similar to the colour used when the game was using zombies as the enemies. Also, the Giant Majini encountered in the village scenario was originally designed to a considerably larger scale; in fact the model was so out of  scale with its surrounding environment it would not fit inside the houses, and so the design team had to reduce its size. And early designs for the Cephalo involved the host’s body splitting in half as opposed to the Plaga protruding from the host’s neck.

Originally the Executioner was conceived as a Chainsaw Majini wielding a huge axe; however his slender appearance did not feel sufficiently intimidating. He was always intended to have a butcher, self-harming theme. Early concept sketches were of a minimalist appearance, with just a hood over his head; he wore no clothing on his upper body unlike the retail version. Another un-used concept saw his back designed with a large weak spot, which would open up like a flower, offering a vulnerable area for the player to target in battle.

"It is their insanity and unpredictable behaviour linked with their human intelligence which now create fear for the player.": Modeler Yoshinori Matushita (Prima Games Interview)

Concept drawings for the Kipepeo reveal a creature that was equipped with abdominal claws. In the game, the creature uses these talons to perform an effective grapple attack. Coming with the final implementation of all these enemy creatures into the retail build, will always be the development challenge of how much influence is given over in the final cut, to the artist's concept, or to the game design.

"Creatures can be conjured by artistic designs but, in the case of Kipepeo and Bui Kichwa, they were prompted by a request from the design team. We wanted to create a situation in which one character is caught and the other character must help.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)
The Kipepeo’s first appearance was to take place in a cut-scene that did not survive to make retail version, and would have played in real time. Kipeopeo's début into the game's final build, instead being moved to the sewer stage.

The Kipepeo was first designed with African-esque colours across its wings. However it appeared too colourful attractive, like a butterfly, persuading the team to sketch it more moth-like, removing bright colours, and adding the internal organs to its body, giving it a less pretty design.

"The design team made a presentation of Kipepeo's required attributes ['Kipepeo comes rushing over to the player and pulls him up'], and the art team then worked on a creature design to match this… the Kipepeo's design was first decided and appeared on the basis of animation, but then we thought 'Kipepeo's image doesn't fit the game', and we had to overhaul his design radically.": Modeler Yoshinori Matsushita (Prima Games Interview)

Makoto Fukui’s early designs for the canine based Adjule were not overly frightening (concept art below); their ears were floppy and too cute, so it was decided the creature would split in half, creating a far more fearsome image.

"The Plaga's tentacles came out from the back in RE4 but, during the development of RE5, I wanted to create something more disgusting and visually impressive. As we were discussing ideas, the design artist made a rough sketch with a splitting head. This is the design I chose.": Lead Designer Jiro Taoka (Prima Games Interview)

The first design sketches for the Popokarimu clearly resemble a hybrid creature, born of a scorpion combined with a bat. Whereas some enemy designs start life as a random creature concept, created initially with only aesthetics in mind, the Popokarimu came to be with a specific gameplay purpose already determined.

These are the sketches for a flying enemy, conceived before the decision was made to base Popokarimo’s design on a bat >

"We started with the idea that we would like to have a creature like "Red Arremer" from Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, which can attack from mid-air and on the ground.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)

"Popokarimu is a combination of bat and silkworm, invented when we planned to create a flying boss enemy.": Lead Designer Jiro Taoka (Prima Games Interview)

"We kept the idea that Popokarimu is a huge bat infected by Plaga, but we changed his appearance from adult insect with hard shell to young, worm-like larva. The reason for this alteration was the look of the early image. That creature had too strong a fantasy element, and lacked a sense of revulsion. So we changed him to increase the visual impact.": Modeler Yoshinori Matsushita (Prima Games Interview)

A concept sketch of the Bui Kichwa shows it attached to the player's back, as we see in the final build, but also attached to a human, or Majini host, which in turn attacks the player. Possibly this first concept of the creature was a kind of mutated form >

The Bui Kichwa was originally desgined to drag around the body of its human host behind it, was smaller, and had a primitive theme to it, not continued over into the larger final version, which changed to be more arachnoid. The changes made were to give this enemy fewer limitations, and enable it to spawn from the ground, independently without the use of a host.

"At first, yes, this enemy was a derivation of Plaga. But it was clear it would have more appearance opportunities if it could act freely. That's why it is now an independent creature.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)
"Bui Kichwa is also an improved type of Plaga. So Bui Kichwa spawned from Majini, just like Kipepeo, in the early development phase. But it wasn't good to let so many stem from Majini, so we redefined this so that Bui Kichwa would appear from the ground. At that point, the idea of spawning from Majini was abandoned.": Lead Designer Jiro Taoka (Prima Games Interview)
The first concept design for the Resident Evil 5 Licker was sketched without the benefit of claws, so the enemy could stalk its prey, the player, silently! This design feature was implemented right up to the final model, but was scrapped at the last minute, the Licker considered not sufficiently intimidating without its talons! An addition to the Licker last seen making an appearance in Resident Evil 2, was a huge, extended tongue.

"Licker appeared early in Resident Evil 2 with a 'neck-chopper' attack which caused instant death. We changed this enemy according to the co-op design, adding the grappling time. The jumping attack is not an instant death attack like Resident Evil 2's, as the co-op player has time to help their partner. The Licker now has a much longer tongue": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)
The Tyrant designed to feature in first drafts of Resident Evil 5's narrative, enjoyed enhanced effects over the previous models. The body appeared covered in veins, with tubes on his shoulder to take in vast amounts of oxygen, granting the creature physical enhancements. His arm also had the ability to extend with its claws. Anpo san has stated the reason for the Tyrant's deletion, was it clashed with the Uroboros theme for the game.

With the superior power now offered by a new generation console, in the PlayStation 3, the modeller team were gifted greater scope for their designs. And with this came the extraordinary physical mechanics of the Uroboros concept enemies. 

"The core element of this creature is the large amount of tentacles covering the body. Maybe we could have hit on this idea in earlier days, but it would have been abandoned at review phase because it was impossible to recreate... Initially, we had to reduce the number of tentacles by about 50% for the final Uroboros but our highly motivated staff wanted to develop a creature like never before and persevered to create the birth of Uroboros...": Lead Modeler Makoto Fukui (Prima Games Interview)

As discussed in the research article on the Resident Evil 4 beta builds, the implementation of a Uroboros type B.O.W. was attempted when Capcom scenario designer Yasuhisa Kawamura created the 'Castle'/'Fog' beta build for Resident Evil 4 (see image below left). However, due to the technology limitations of the available consoles in that era, namely the GameCube, it would not have been possible, and was scrapped at the review phase. So with the technologically superior PlayStation 3, the Resident Evil 5 designers drew up concept sketches, showing off the newly available extraordinary motions of a Uroboros based enemy (see image below right).

"The technology we used for Uroboros is so new that we're working on getting a patent for it.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (Prima Games Interview)

Many variations of Uroboros based B.O.Ws. found their way to the cutting room floor. Several concept designs for the U-9 Uroboros were rejected including giant and upright variants. A version that would slowly fall to pieces as it moved, leaving scraps of its body, like bone and flesh, behind as it moved, until there was nothing left and it would expire. The final rejected concept for this enemy, saw the suffering of heavy damage cause a specific area of the body to react; so if a shoulder was severely damaged, the creature's arm would fall off!

There was another concept Uroboros boss, called the U-11, that was scrapped. The U-11 was designed when Uroboros enemies were merely just another enemy in the game. The development team had not created the name Uroboros at this time, so they simply called the creature 'Wriggles'. The concept art depicts the Uroboros fighting the player on a train, and whilst it moves along the carriage, it covers everything with tentacles. There was also a design for this enemy to enter the train, with a gaping mouth, very much like William Birkin’s final mutation boss fight, in Resident Evil 2.

Upon its conception, there appears to have been several different concept narratives for Resident Evil 5. One involved Barry Burton(A), one Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield teaming up (B), and one involving Jill being captured, similar to the final retail build that saw Chris team up with Sheva Alomar (C). Scant detail exists regarding scenario A; there does not seem to have been an overall plot developed for Barry.

N.B. Unless stated otherwise I will now be referencing scenario C continually, only differentiating to identify when the scenario changes to either A or B.

The first scenario created for Resident Evil 5's early build, with panoramic shots across an African landscape, is seen realised in the opening cut scene. The game originally began with an Uroboros boss fight, in the town street. Chris is shown battling the B.O.W. surrounded by two military Jeeps, with deceased team members.

Despite its size, the Uroboros Chris faces was merely a normal boss fight, not the main enemy of the game. Moments after his battle, Chris is shown standing with the defeated B.O.W. laid on the ground in front of him, whilst Excella and Irving look on. Excella appears in her secretary outfit due to the CEO. being involved in these beta storyboards.

Stated as being the second area, was an indoor shopping district, that had been largely destroyed, in the first city, with an arcade feel to it. This area was designed to involve more use of lighting effects, with shadows and sunlight. The area would be surrounded with shops and retail buildings to show that it was once a bustling bazaar,  with the ceiling damaged and cracked, allowing sunlight peering through holes.

Chris would jump across this environment using the pillars to move along, whilst finding items and money; gameplay similar to player's movement in the 'Prince of Persia' series. Zombies in the streets beneath would begin to shake the pillars, trying to force the player to fall into the horde below!

This beta narrative developed with Chris visiting a weapons-dealer store, located in the first city, and securely barricaded, leaving only a slit he could peek through. This black-market trader would question Chris' intentions by asking 'are you a friend or foe?'. The weapons store would be advertised with signs adorned with a gun symbol. The immediate area surrounding the store was barricaded off, forcing Chris to smash his way through to make it to the dealer’s door! These barricades were set-up by the weapons dealer to keep away enemies who had no qualms in infecting him too.

In the first city there was an idea to feature a weapons dealer, similar to Resident Evil 4’s Merchant, with the same design. Inside his shop the player could find bonus items or money, by shooting certain objects, such as a deer head at the back of the store. There was a ladder for the player to climb, gaining access to hidden guns in the room above.

[Beta scenario A/B] A barricade in the first city had been set up by survivors of the outbreak. Chris Redfield would assist them in defending this barricade. The survivors were armed but not adequately. Their weapons included meagre guns, melee weapons and Molotov cocktails. The survivors try to escape via a car but are involved in an accident, surrounded and outnumbered by zombies. Chris and either Jill or Barry (undecided) arrive, and assist the stranded survivors in battling these zombies.
A scrapped beta scenario with an unknown time-line, involved a horde of zombies bursting through a wall of stacked drum cans (not final), and converging on the player. This scene had loud noises, and exaggerated action. The enemies were to jump and climb over obstacles to get at the player, in what would have been tense gameplay.
During the night in the first city, a train crashes and Chris Redfield is attacked by a zombie horde. A fight was to take place between Chris and these zombies, as they clamber over the train, and surround it.
Chris Redfield makes it into a brick tower and when reaching the top a cut scene plays; Chris was to meet a 'priest' and potentially find inventory items. At this point the timeline has changed to night, and the environments appear to be very dark. This is the last beta scenario designed that involved zombies. At the next beta development stage that these base enemies are mentioned, they have been switched to the Ganado’s.

Following on from the tower location, and the player encounters a Ndesu boss fight, structured differently to the final build, with this beta version using headlights to see the enemy, but which would constantly move, with Ndesu vanishing into the dark shadows.
Continuing this beta storyboard, Shimoda san tells us about a scrapped stage that took place at night, in the city. Chris and the first depiction of his co-op partner fought an abundance of Lickers that would shed their skin to become advanced.  The Lickers were to surround the player, appearing from every nook and cranny, but after surviving long enough Chris and partner would receive assistance from their comrades via helicopter support.
During what appears to be a night scene, Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar receive word of an abandoned fort from a mysterious informant.
This concept scenario continues, with early storyboards depicting a 'City Limits' location; where a boss battle with a branded Ricardo Irving, marked as a biological experiment, was to take place. As discussed above in the section on the first character concepts, Irving's mutation was significantly different than the retail build, as the development team had yet to devise a Uroboros narrative.

A huge desert stage was designed located near to the Marshlands. Anpo-san states that "since there was no cover available out there we had to resort to enemies popping out of the sand". The production director seemed to believe that the gameplay felt slightly like whack-a-mole. The desert scenario involved four of the protagonists including Chris Redfield, and three other unknown protagonists (possibly Sheva, Jill and Josh). When exploring the desert the team find a deserted ship, left stranded on land, when water receded from the desert to the marshes. Surrounding this area was sparse vegetation, and sporadic water. One would have to presume that the ship was at the beginning, or end of the stage, on the edge of the map. Located on the grounded ship would be a save room, and the weapons dealer would also be available, just outside the shipwreck. Probably used as a checkpoint and break from the enemies, as utilised in Resident Evil 4.

The fort that Chris and Sheva received information on is the next beta scenario scrapped, and appears very similar to the events staged in the 'public assembly' scene, only on a much grander scale.

The abandoned fort location was an early concept stage where Chris, Sheva and their comrades (helicopter support) begin an assault on the fort, and face a mass amount of swarming enemies. In the concept art there appears to be large beast type creatures, using spears and rocks to attack Chris and company. As well as the helicopter support there appears to be at least seven members of Chris’s team who are on the ground supporting him, and a Jeep filled with comrades firing weapons. The enemies are referred to as 'Militia Ganados'. The weapons they use appear to be very similar to that of the villagers in the retail version. Weapons such as spears, bow and arrows, rocks and axe’s. The area is protected by guards, and this is where a large horde of the Ganado’s live.

Somewhere near the fort location is an old floodgate/dam, dilapidated and covered with graffiti. Design instructions for this area were to not to show any religious iconography, as this would be covered in the further stages. Design notes stated that these old buildings were built by Westerners, but they were chased away by the indigenous villagers that had been hiding in the abandoned fort.

Additional fort scenarios created in the Summer of 2005 included sequences with many more people than in the final build; this involved a mass battle sequence with 12 allies. This beta gameplay was designed to include a barrage of stones and arrows, hurled at the player. The design team took the Battle of Normandy as an influence for this concept fight.

The fortress area was designed with several stages to it, which the Ganado’s could use to their advantage attacking from different elevations, such as sliding down slopes. At the central base of the fort, Chris Redfield and his allies are attacked by approx. 15 Gigantes, going berserk throughout the base. The player's objective was to safely move your allies into the fort, from the desert. Players had the ability to manoeuvre the allies out from the desert and inside, using a drawbridge. However the many surrounding enemies are also trying to get into the fort, forcing the player to defend the base too! The player had access to defence mechanisms, such as knocking down drawbridges for allies, and manning machine gun turrets.

Another scrapped scenario for the fort area involved a fight scene at the central base. The entire area had been developed into a fortress with the use of wood scaffolding, and leftover equipment from the mines.
However these ambitious narratives, modelled on a grander scale, and with a generous amount of team back-up on-hand, offering the player significant support, did not encompass the survival horror essence, enjoyed by Resident Evil 5's predecessors. Consequently the fort build for Resident Evil 5 was consigned to the cutting room floor.

"Early on in development the game had more of a war-action game feel to it. There were tons of allies to assist the player, and I always felt that it kind of strayed a little too far from the true style of the Resident Evil series.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
[Scenario B] Keeping with the fort situation ideas, but this scenario places Jill Valentine in an 'interior version'; a power supply room, with design notes stating nothing else would differ from the main fort build. Whilst Jill attempts to repair a power source unit, vital for game progression, the player will control Chris Redfield, having him cover and defend Jill from an attacking Gigante onslaught, trying to scupper her attempts to re-engage power. Further design notes for this idea instruct that Jill is to showcase her technical skill here, and the sequence must make her look cool!
Another idea for the fort section, designed as an interior scene, would have Chris and his team finding themselves inside a large refinery facility, housing a lot of machine equipment, and bustling with much background activity. Chris and the players objective was to overwhelm and suppress the many guards and Ganados working within this facility.

The last idea for an exterior fort scenario, was set within a small valley, and Chris and the team had to defend their allies, whilst fending off waves of enemies, including El Gigantes and zombies. The player has access to co-operate with the allies, close off gates and create barricades. Machine gun turrets are again available to use from an elevated vantage point, and players had the ability to shoot large boulders loose, causing them to fall on enemies.

Following on from the Fort location, was a planned abandoned diamond mine scenario, with a wonderfully survival horror theme, 'fear of solitude'. Chris and Sheva enter the mines from the conquered fort, but soon after Chris is separated, finding himself in the bowels of the mine, engulfed in darkness, he's forced to rely on torch-light. In the image (below right) note the creepy creature crawling up the stairs, much like when the player first meets bad Mia Winters, in Resident Evil 7. Design notes make the dumping of this beta scenario very lamentable:
'Separated from the group, the player experiences a fear unlike any Biohazard in the past as they wander through the labyrinthine tunnels.': (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
Prolonging the scenario where Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar are separated, a cut-scene would have played, depicting Chris falling from a waste management facility, to an unknown subterranean level, leading to the 'Ancient Ruins' section of the game.
Originally the underground city was conceived on a significantly grander scale. From the concept sketches, it appears to be of a much larger design, and far more extravagant; due to the fact that at an early development stage, this beta build narrative involved a considerably advanced civilisation, as compared to the more Neanderthal intellect used in the retail version. The city had been largely flooded, with most of the ruined buildings submerged.

"With so many areas having water running through them, and highly contrasting areas of light and dark, I had a lot of fun drawing this city.": Background Designer Yasuko Shimoda (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
The laser puzzle in the retail game was used in the city but for different purposes. The inhabitants would use the light reflection from the sun bouncing it from several mirrors to a spherical ball that would light the entire city which was shown in a cut scene when entering the Ruins. In the ancient ruins all houses in the underground village had a sphere atop of them with a large hole in the middle which was used to light up the houses. A Prism mechanism was used to bounce light to each home, and whilst these spheres made it into the retail game, they are used as a weapon against you.

"Back when the game was being designed as a single player game, this stage had more of an adventure game atmosphere to it. Once we brought co-op in, we had to reduce the number of traps and mechanisms.": Production Director Yasuhiro Anpo (The Art of Resident Evil 5)
The area had its own Stonehenge style architecture, with more unbalanced rocks. Differing from that seen in the final version of Resident Evil 5, the method for the prism puzzle, involved one large device, near a lake in the middle of the ruins, utilised to bounce light to other smaller prisms.
Frequent use of spheres was a design theme in the beta ancient ruins section. Almost every building, statue, or landmark were covered in as many spheres as would allow. The fascination with this particular geometrical design, sprung from the inhabitants of these ruins being worshipers of a sun god.
Arguably the reason for the sphere motif theme being abandoned, was these models being too great a strain on the game engine available at that time. Concept designs and ideas for the sphere themed ruins were very ambitious, with another scenario, fated to the cutting room floor, involving a large, rolling sphere, bearing down on the player, engulfed in flames, and manned by a Majini; a far cry from the dull by comparison boulders of Resident Evil 4!

One of the strangest things about an already fascinating and technically challenging stage, were the peculiar homes, designed to be built into the canopy of the cave structures, effectively placing them upside down!

Probably the reason this whole stage was scrapped, was Shimoda san being instructed that sphere designs would surely prove to be too much a drain on technical resources. Throughout the ruins there would be signs of how the ancient underground villagers had made all these spheres but it largely remains a mystery now.

Continuing this beta storyboard, the player uses a large Gondola to navigate a free falling water current. A conversation takes place between Wesker and Excella; we can only presume that this is something Chris Redfield overhears via radio contact, similar to the elevator scene in the retail version, when Chris and Sheva discover Wesker is still alive. Chris then finds himself in an underground mining area with family housing, and make-shift scaffolding. He is subsequently attacked by a group of Ganado’s, who until his arrival were digging for treasure. Chris then receives communications from Sheva Alomar, requesting aid, and hurries into a quarry storage area, only to witness Sheva and the group being attacked by an El Gigante! Chris rescues the team and helps defeat the B.O.W.

Afterwards the group head into a collapsed tunnel, referred to as a 'resetting area'. Chris and Sheva have a conversation regarding the ruins. When heading into the next area Chris and Sheva are still conversing when they spot Wesker heading into the pyramid. Suddenly the pair are attacked by a large group of Ganado and, after winning this confrontation, the group head into an area with an imposingly large statue. Here Chris has to solve two connecting puzzles, to create the 'Origin of civilisation'. The next area allows Chris to take somewhat of a break with a bonus treasure game. After solving the 'Origin of civilisation' puzzle, the scenario triggers 'a flash from the ancient weapon, the aurora road appears, granting passage to the sun temple'. The diagram shows a rainbow path of light. Whether or not they are suggesting Chris and the team travel across a ray of light, is unknown perhaps it is just a euphemism.

The player next enters the Sun Temple, covered in wall murals & paintings galore. The narrative behind this beta scenario has the ancient villagers worshipping the sun, these decorations are their homages. In keeping with the ancient villagers' theology, the concept sketches below, depict temple walls decorated with religious murals, and iconography to match their devotion to the sun, and other celestial bodies.
The scenario continues to develop, with the player collecting a book item and then a trap activates, a gameplay mechanic to separate Chris Redfield and the rest of his team. Following this Chris engages in a sniper-type game, involving a large mural. Further along in the temple Chris would reach a flooded area where the player would have to swim underwater; the primary goal being to find a way through, whilst using air pockets to catch your breath (similar to Resident Evil 6's Tall Oak’s caverns). Capcom's attention to detail saw the development team implement player air bubbles, as well as encountering sea-life. No enemy designs here, only environmental hazards.

Chris would then enter an area with giant fans, having to navigate his way through them, and into further flooded ruins with the increased danger of 'torpedo traps'. After exiting the water Chris finds an elevator, descending deeper into the ruins. The player would then come under attack from an unknown enemy, whilst descending in the elevator.

Enemy defeated, Chris Redfield traverses a water slope, whilst having to avoid traps on his way down. When reaching the bottom successfully, Chris finds himself in a location titled 'Forgotten Fields' - this area’s primary goal is to develop an ambience for the boss fight to follow. In the garden facility, the original location for the Progenitor flower, Chris encounters Albert Wesker for the first time in-game. The inevitable battle ensues, until the point that Chris’s team (unknown members) arrive to assist in battle. Wesker retreats, but not before releasing an ancient B.O.W.
Although this entire location was re-designed in the final build, with many concept ideas for its inhabitants, architecture and puzzles regrettably scrapped (for both technical and aesthetic reasons), these murals survived to the final build, in slightly different form. The retail version of Resident Evil 5 does include indigenous hand paintings, found on the walls of the revised ancient ruins section; the first two appear before entering the laser lift room.

Another can be found upstairs, in the location where Chris battles Wesker and Jill, in the retail version. Perhaps the Ancient B.O.W. did make it into the final game after all, only his role now reduced to these indigenous diagrams.

Extractions from the Resident Evil 5 disc (by BSAArklay), depicting the source photographs & textures, for these indigenous wall murals, throws up a fascinating theory, regarding the potential origin story for the parasitic creature, which made its first appearance in Resident Evil 4 - the Plaga!

The surprising depiction of the Plaga, carved into the walls of the African ancient ruins, provokes debate as to the possible birth place of this parasite. Moreover, its location, in the same area where the Progenitor ('stairway to the sun') flower can be found growing, tantalisingly suggests this could be the origins of both...
Image file extracted from the Resident Evil 4 disc by The Chief, of the original plaga design, clearly matches the parasite carvings intriguingly found in this Resident Evil 5 beta scenario.
One theory based on this observation, proposes this the Plaga is a form of mutation, from a creature infected with Progenitor, and that the parasite seen in the native carvings, developed from said creature. An extension of this theory, put forward by long-standing community researcher welsh, suggests the creatures shown fighting with the Ndipaya tribe are plaga infected, with a clear resemblence to the Adjule creature, first seen in concept artwork for Resident Evil 4 (illustrated below).

More scrapped areas below, for this 'Ancient Ruins' scenario, not included in the time-line we have been following, and the story will continue with Chris Redfield and his team on the train. There was a beta location designed to represent celestial bodies, but it is not clear what these areas are used for; they seem to interact with the sunlight, so possibly puzzles the player had to solve to open up the next stage. Another scrapped area included a large mechanical gear system, utilised as a calendar. The marked gears would rotate, possibly using the position of the sun to identify the time of year. It appears to be a large, complicated hourglass.
This architectural theme of spherical buildings, with prominent pillars & archways, especially when formed into illogical angles, has a strong resemblance to the unusual designs developed in the artwork of M.C. Escher; perhaps the artist's work was an inspiration for these beta concepts.

The Progenitor flower stage went through various design changes, ranging from an environment rich in dry vegetation, to an area filled with water pools, decorated with stone carvings; a location befitting for when the 'stairway to the sun', was conceived as an aquatic flower, similar in design to a water lily

Miscellaneous concept artwork for beta scenarios, including a night time excavation, so perhaps Umbrella or Tricell were excavating the area, a puzzle focused location which changes colour using a lighting system, flooded ruins, and more mysteriously decorated, archway themed ancient architecture.

Referring back to the narrative with Chris Redfield on board the train; there is concept art for the U-11 Uroboros B.O.W. illustrating it destroying a train. It is possible that this was planned to take place during the laboratory stage, but also a possibility that it could have taken place earlier, when the Zombie horde train crash occurred. A third option, neither occurred, this concept was merely sketched for the purpose of showing the creature in action. There is no further confirmation that Chris ever battled a Uroboros enemy on a train.
Whether or not Chris battled this train bound Uroboros boss, the scenario remains the same, as the group head to the labs. In an early beta design, Sheva arrives before Chris; they may have been separated after the train battle, or during the prior ruins stage. Sheva discovers Jill Valentine, held captive in one of many sealed capsules.
Wesker and the CEO sketched in one of the concept pieces, shown to be walking among a large area filled with similar capsules. Meanwhile in another concept sketch from this scrapped beta scenario, Excella and the CEO are shown in a surveillance room, watching several video screens depicting different characters.

Wesker was originally planned to fall to his demise into the lava; the rocket launcher sequence was later added purely as homage to the series game-play. Excella’s transformation was not part of this beta narrative, instead she would gradually mutate through transitional stages. Much like the retail game Chris is depicted viewing Jill via video feed, isolated in one of the holding capsules. The environment is different but the actual scene is very much the same.

Moments after their fall from the Spencer Estate, Wesker is shown to be holding an unconscious Jill Valentine. Wesker’s eye is bleeding and appears to be severely damaged. As we know this damage is due to Jill stabbing him in the eye with her knife.

Sheva Alomar is surrounded by Excella Gionne and her group of human mercenaries, who do not appear to be infected. She is consequently taken captive, shown tied to a wall in this beta concept sketch.
During Scenario B, Chris Redfield and a place-holder partner are shown storming a group of Majini, gathering  below an un-named captive, possibly Sheva Alomar, who the pair race towards. This leads to gameplay involving Chris, and his yet to be decided co-op partner, battling to effect a rescue.

The storyboard for this beta narrative continues with Chris discovering Sheva’s location, and assessing the situation, he takes cover behind a wall, spying on a suspicious acting Excella Gionne. Potential gameplay could have included Chris despatching her mercenary bodyguards, whilst Excella fleas.
Again, taken from Scenario B, Sheva and Jill are shown shaking hands, which was to occur after Chris and Jill rescue Sheva.
Chris and Jill are shown moments after her capsule release, and she appears very disorientated. In this beta scenario, Jill wears the same outfit worn during her Lost in Nightmares mission; she is not depicted in her battle suit in any of the concept art. After Jill's rescue, Excella is shown with a device activating the P90, turning Jill against Chris. After managing to remove the device, he heads off in pursuit of Excella and Wesker. Sheva Alomar has now arrived on the scene, and stays behind to care for Jill. Meanwhile, the CEO is betrayed by Wesker and Excella. Wesker is shown shooting the CEO in the chest, whilst Excella and Chris look on.

The ship stage was originally constructed to be open-world, enabling the player free, non-linear exploration, however this freedom afforded to the gameplay lead the design team to get carried away with ambition, and the size of the ship had to be scaled down for retail.

"... it soon surpassed the size of the world's largest tanker. Questions like 'How many shipping containers did you think we would place on the ship!?' resulted in the immediate shrinking of the vessel.": Lead Designer Yoshizumi Hori (The Art of Resident Evil 5)

A Tyrant was originally included at this beta stage, with Albert Wesker having the ability to control and order the B.O.W. to execute Excella Gionne. The Tyrant impales her through the chest, while Chris looks on; probably the set-up to a Chris/Tyrant boss battle. Moments after his first  in-game fight with Wesker, Jill Valentine appears to save Chris, who has been beaten within an inch of his life. Sheva Alomar also appears on the scene.

Chris, Jill and Sheva are now shown using a computer terminal, for what purpose is unknown; perhaps tracking Wesker. The next cell in this beta scenario storyboard, depicts Chris Redfield racing off with purpose, whilst instructing Jill and Sheva to make haste in the opposite direction; probably pursuing Albert Wesker moments before the finale boss battle.
An injured Chris Redfield is shown once again, beaten and on his knees, whilst an onlooking Wesker taunts him, Sheva Alomar is in shot, distracting Wesker and consequently saving Chris. She fires her weapon, hitting Wesker in his damaged eye (caused by Jill stabbing it with her knife during their Spencer Estate battle). This was Wesker’s true weakness and was thus used to finally defeat him, in this beta narrative.

Wesker is shown in human form, not mutated with Uroborus. The final boss battle for Resident Evil 5 at beta stage, was to be a raw battle between Chris and an Albert Wesker free of the circling Uroboros tentacles and appendages upgraded with chunks of metal, that he was afforded in the retail version. These bonuses were added to enhance Wesker for a fairer fight, since it was now 2 vs 1. The storyboard continues with Chris Redfield climbing into the plane, triumphant after finally defeating his nemesis.

Chris is shown assisting Sheva with the controls of the plane as they leave the area and head to safety. After arriving on a landing strip the heroes are shown leaving the ship and walking away, in the beta version of the game's ending.

Miscellaneous beta concepts and cut materials

Variant Opening Cut Scene: Early beta stage storyboard which illustrates Jill Valentine callously infecting an unknown captive, tied to a chair with Uroboros. An early, arguably first incarnation of the retail game's opening scene >

Ancient Ruins Fire Balls: Spectacular gameplay from the retail version of Resident Evil 5, featured large spherical balls of fire. These unforgettable obstacles roll onto the stage where Chris & Sheva have to hurriedly dodge , in order to stop a fatally closing wall, by triggering a pressure plate. At beta stage, these fire balls originally had a menacing Majini inside each one. However Anpo stated that this idea was scrapped due to the unwanted, context jarring comedy involved when these Majini riders, ejected out from the flaming wheels, in a crazed, dizzy state!
U-8 Boss Fight Environmental Damage: Inside the large room where Chris Redfield encounters Jill Valentine, in the retail version, the design team wanted to insert a human captive into every capsule, and have the lift platform moving, whilst the player battles U8, stumbling into the capsules and knocking them off the wall.

Experimental Phase: Set inside a run-down building, the Resident Evil 5 development team used this stage purposely for reasons of gameplay testing. USS Command tells that the environment consisted of only a few rooms some with beds but the player did not have the ability to leave the area and venture outside.

In a map built solely for testing purposes this area resembles the retail version of Public Assembly and was used to create early trailers that we are going to look at. The team did once consider introducing a set-piece where the Majini tip the bus on its side (this was included in the E3 2007 Extended Trailer which I will touch upon later). The Majini to Chris’s left in the bottom left picture is a waiting stance. Chris can be seen avoiding melee attacks from machete wielding Majini. This dodging technique could be implemented by pressing the dodge feature at the correct time (like Resident Evil 3).
More images from the beta test stage reveal an assault rifle that is not in the retail version. Also note the size of Chris’s arms here. They appear to be much thicker than in the retail version. Also one of the images shows us that the Majini had the ability to pick up chairs or bring them into the map and use them against Chris.



Tuesday, Jan 21 at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Friday, May 29 at 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM