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

BIOHAZARD 5 BETA TRAILER

As discussed at the start of this article, the début trailer for Biohazard 5 premièred at the Tokyo Game Show, in late 2005.

Game producers Jun Takeuchi and Masachika Kawata have confirmed how light and dark environments were key goals during the production of Resident Evil 5, and this early trailer makes excellent use of transitioning the frames from dark, into light. This première trailer should be considered very much a concept work in progress, the representation of a general theme, and not definitive of the finished narrative & product.

Lighting in particular was a key focus for the trailer's conception; its scenes showcase in particular the type of environment, lighting, and tone. As can be seen in the two frames below, light shines through into the dark area creating a beautiful effect. This environment oozes atmosphere.The retail product has similar moments to match the style emphasised here, however I do not feel these were consistent through the game, with a different direction preferred that moved away from some of the themes seen in this beta stage trailer (including the deserted streets, marauding zombies, and tense, slower pace).
Here we can see the adjustment between light and dark enviroments is emphasied, with the appearance of the Chris Redfield beta character model, a considerably younger and less musclular design to the revised, retail model. Furthermore, Chris's uniform is significantly different to the one he sports in further trailers and the retail build, being almost t-shirt like, in its lack of BSAA logo identification, and non-camouflage colour.
Very bright environments, using a range of different colours, from light pastel shades for the African architecture, to contrasting primary colours for decoration. The final build of the game I feel misses the benefit of using such varying colour palettes.
We know that during these beta stages zombies were the main enemy, shown through these sinister silhouettes, shambling on screen. But in the following frame these (presumably) same zombies are shown suddenly sprinting very purposefully towards the player, barrelling in tandem around the corner. No reference to any virus or Crimson Head type mutation, so it remains unknown as to how these zombies we able to move with such speed. Had these frames been separated by two differing trailers, one could presume the silhouettes belonging to differing types of enemy; one slow marauding zombie, the other rushing horde, possibly revised Majini.
Chris is sporting a modified Silver Ghost handgun in the beta trailer, which did not appear in the retail game. This handgun débuted in Resident Evil 4 , as Leon S. Kennedy’s starting weapon. The gun also appeared in Resident Evil The Umbrella Chronicles, Resident Evil Degeneration, and even makes cameo appearances in Resident Evil The Deck Building Game and Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.

It would not be for almost a further two years, until the second trailer for Resident Evil 5 was aired, at the Electronics Entertainment Expo 2007.

The music has a genuine African vibe and does not appear in the retail game. Chris’s introduction from Resident Evil 5's opening plays here, prior to being slightly revised for the final build, but that is not the only production edit, with Roger C. Smith's cadence being audibly different with this delivery.

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The opening shot for this trailer does include the area which made it to retail, however there are some minor differences. For example there are far more civilians milling around, and there is a van parked at the bottom of the stage where Chris and Sheva enter via the large steel doors, where the player takes control.
The area in the screenshot below, was completely scrapped from the later build, or at the very least it has been considerably re-designed. Notice the shape of the building in the background, behind the tree. There are also goats roaming the street, only seen in the retail build locked in cages.

Although this area is in the retail version, the 'Friday Night' banners are of a different design than in the final build. Also note the tall, white building in the background, where you can spot the Agitator Majini in the retail version; this area is to Chris Redfield's left when the player takes control for the first time.

Although the scenario in the screenshot right & below makes it to retail build, the iconic 'Executioner' enemy makes no appearance here. Alternatively his role is given to the chainsaw wielding Majini, but minus his chainsaw; here he wields the large modified axe, soon to be gifted to his physically superior successor!


Also Reynard Fisher is missing from this scene, seen in his fateful place, is an unidentified prisoner, tied upside down; he does not appear to be Reynard, and may simply be a place-holder for a planned character, yet to be fully realised by the design team. Also notice the unusual wooden structure to the right, from which this unfortunate captive hangs; it is not in the retail build.

The first close up shot of the revised Chris Redfield character model shows a more mature looking man, with significantly larger upper-body muscle, and a re-designed uniform, now sporting his BSAA logo, and the more military colour of khaki, as compared to the model seen in the début 2005 trailer.
This section in the below screenshot was scrapped from the retail build.
A large group of Majini surround Chris Redfield, in an unknown location, scrapped from the final version. It is possible this is an earlier concept for the retail version's 'Public Assembly' area, although there are design differences.
In the screenshot below, two Majini’s swing melee weapons at the player, which he manages to avoid by ducking. This defensive manoeuvre was not carried through as a feature for the final build.

It would be remiss not to note that for these first two trailers, the skin colour of all Majini matches a darker tone associated with West Africa, with no mix of other pigmentation ethnicity. This proved to be a contentious point, not so much for industry insiders or reviewers, but a small, yet significant section of gamers, cried foul with accusations of racism. Capcom, guilty of no more than insensitivity at worst, changed character model skin tones in post-production, to include diverse pigments, representative of other racial heritage.
Another scrapped location, in the below screenshot, which also showcases the larger crowds of chasing enemies that pursue and surround the player (who during this beta build was afforded the privilege of a defensive ducking manoeuvre!). These larger, pursuing crowds frequently seen during the 2007 trailer, seems to have been planned for the retail game, but were presumably dropped due to technical limitation. This large crowd storm toward Chris, hurling machetes and other projectile weapons.

Further locations that were left on the cutting-room floor.

The player unloads a machine gun that is not available in the retail version, a  M4A1 Carbine. This assault rifle played a key role in Resident Evil 3 Nemesis. Used by Carlos and Mikhail this rifle has an automatic and manual mode and uses 5.56mm NATO rounds.
More shots of this mysterious map. Chris Redfield is nailed by three Majini, all wielding axes, and all about to strike the player simultaneously. This enemy attack feature is not a gameplay mechanic in the final build, as these enemies are limited to only hit the player one at a time. Again, technical limitation is the most likely reason for this.

Chris Redfield equipped with a Benelli M3, and whilst a similar shotgun appears in the retail build, this variant model replacing the beta weapon, had significant design alterations.

A M1911 Handgun, very similar to the one used by Ethan in the Resident Evil 7 biohazard demo, Kevin Ryman in Resident Evil Outbreak, and Billy Coen in Resident Evil zero. Despite being featured in this trailer, it was not an equipable weapon in the final game build.

Opening her eyes, Jill awakens in her capsule, the closing  shot from E3's trailer, but not appearing in the final game. This could certainly be a small part of larger beta footage, cut from the retail build.
The third trailer, for 'Captivate 08', also shown at Electronics Entertainment Expo that year, and still containing significant scrapped material, was to showcase Resident Evil 5 for Xbox 360.
Chris uses an opening monologue here,  that is different to the retail version.
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In the screenshot below, Chris Redfield struggles with multiple enemies on the balcony only Sheva Alomar can gain access to in the retail game, and we can now see a broader range of skin tone for the marauding enemies, as compared to the universally darker skin colour of all Majini in the previous two trailers. Capcom went on to deny that the racism rows had any influence on the game, in a Kotaku article.
Another image below, of Chris Redfield's M4A1 which never made it into retail.
Equipped with sniper rifle, Chris takes aim at the bridge crossed during retail gameplay, but interestingly the location where Chris is positioned did not make it to the released game build.
The two enemy character models in the screenshot below, do not appear in the retail game. One appears to have barnacles covering his head, while the other is dressed in tribal clothing.

Our final Resident Evil 5 trailer that can be dissected for significant cut material, was showcased at the Leipzig Games Convention 2008, in Germany.
Various scrapped playable locations, including a night time scene which probably took place pre or post the Ndesu fight, and the area which provided the Majini biker cut-scene & QTE in the retail build, is seen here as a playable stage for both characters.
Above we can see early world building concept art, for this location, designed for gameplay; and below, Kipepeo appear in the Stairway to the sun area, but were not present in that location in the retail build.

BETA DIALOGUE

Sheva Alomar - Scrapped dialogue, consigned to the cutting-room floor, (until extracted from the retail disc by BSSArklay), included an insightful little epilogue by Sheva Alomar, reminiscent of the Resident Evil 3 epilogues:

'Sheva's Epilogue': "Of the approximately 3000 terrorist incidents involving BOW’s annually. The BSAA is despatched to handle roughly one third of the most series infractions. This mission represents only one of those thousands of incidents. The success of this mission however saved the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet."
Sheva's Epilogue
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Albert Wesker - Dialogue for Wesker, cut from the retail game build included a nice little piece where the antagonist explains he is not a king, but a God, and even Kings will bow to Gods! Further lines include taunts aimed at both Chris & Sheva, and a variant line for longer duration boss fight.
God speech
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Various taunts
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Variant boss fight
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Chris Redfield - Scrapped beta dialogue from Chris includes an unusual catchphrase (uploaded in the audio box below). I guess Capcom were aiming for humour here, but perhaps it was cut due to its unusual style of humour! The same can be said of the following scrapped audio; it appears Capcom wrote this line for Chris to poke fun at himself, much like they implemented in later games, Revelations 2 & Resident Evil 7 biohazard. Like the films 'Scream', 'Shaun of the Dead' and most recently 'Deadpool' it could be seen as a breaking-the-fourth-wall reference.
Chris beta dialogue
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Laboratory Alert - During the boss fight with the Uroboros B.O.W. located inside the laboratory area when Chris & Sheva use the flame-thrower. Originally there was a VA system with a computerised female voice informing us about the breach in the lab and the status of the flame-thrower. In the retail version this was replaced by a flashing red and green light system to let us know when the flame thrower was charging and fully charged.
Lab alert
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Ndipya Conversation - Chris and Sheva share dialogue regarding the behavior of the Ndipya Villagers, during the Ancient Ruins scenario. Sheva also shares historic details of the tribe’s culture & architecture to Chris.

Ndipya dialogue
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BETA INVENTORY

A comprehensive file search of the Resident Evil 5 game disc, unfortunately only reveals at least two scrapped beta inventory items. Extracted by BSAArklay, an image file for mysterious scroll can be found, alongsie the other image files for those items that did make it to retail build, plus an interesting texture for the variant medicinal herbs that can be found in-game.

As can be seen from another of BSAArklay's extractions - the texture for in-game item medicinal herb, there are four variant types listed, labeled 'type A. B. C. and D'. Although green, blue, and red colour variants are included here as a resource, the blue herb does not make an appearance in the released game build.
BETA NPCs

The Merchant - Previously featured in Resident Evil 4, a gameplay feature providing weapon purchases & upgrades, realised in NPC form as the Merchant, also appeared in the Resident Evil 5 beta. The Merchant was planned to interact with Chris Redfield from behind a closed door, with letterbox style peep hole, and ask "Friend or Foe". Any trade deals would pass through this opening, and so Capcom only needed to create the character model’s eyes. From this file extracted by BSAArklay from the Resident Evil 5 disc, fans of the film 'Silence of the Lambs', may notice the eyes used were from Sir Anthony Hopkins!

The G-Human - Now keep an open mind for this one! G-Humans have been a much talked about B.O.W. within the series, particularly surrounding Resident Evil 4 beta gameplay. Commonly known as the 'Castle' or 'Fog' build, its scenario designer Yasuhisa Kawamura (in interview with Crimson-Head.com) confirmed this beta NPC was designed as part of his origin story for the 'progenitor virus'.


Extracted by BSAArklay, the name of this image file 'g-humann01_bm' alone captures ones attention. However, this character model is placed within the same disc location as image files for the capsules found in Resident Evil 5's underground laboratory area, close to Jill Valentine’s empty capsule. It is more than likely this 'G-Human01_bm' is a place-holder name for test subjects within these capsules.

BETA B.O.W.

Most the B.O.W.s & secondary infectants conceived by the design team went through various states of amendment, as the enemy concept is realised from beta sketch, to finished retail cast member! The Bui Kichwa B.O.W. for Resident Evil 5 was no exception, yet whilst most unwanted beta designs would be lost to the cutting-room floor, an early concept for this creature, would find itself being re-used, in the subsequent release, almost a decade later, of Capcom's 'Umbrella Corps', as seen in the screenshot below, from the game's Kijuju stage (identified by TheBatman on The Project Umbrella Podcast #35)


BIOHAZARD 5 BETA DLC

During the Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition (Directors Note) interview (archived by Resident Evil Database), the director for both main game & DLC, Yasuhiro Ampo, identified the catalyst for 'Lost in Nightmares' & 'Desperate Escape' scenarios being kept over for a separate, subsequent release, being Resident Evil 5's considerable popularity. Ampo san confirmed the decision to implement 'Lost in Nightmares' & 'Desperate Escape' scenarios as bonus modes for completing the main game, occurred very late into development; this also had the disadvantage of no longer gaining access to Hollywood studios that produced the high quality, main game cut-scenes.

Furthermore, in Weekly Famitsu (Sept 29th 2009) Jun Takeuchi confirmed the 'Lost in Nightmares' episode was originally planned as part of the main game retail release, but during development the team decided that it didn't quite fit in with the flow of the rest of the game.

At one stage the development team did consider making American comic style cut-scenes, but despite their best efforts, this concept could not be realised to Capcom's satisfaction. After the game launched Capcom received feedback from the fans, with one of the most demanded requests being a playable Jill Valentine; this feedback provoked the decision to create the scenario for 'Lost in Nightmares'.

Yasuhiro Ampo's team wanted to make a traditional episode, paying homage to the original Resident Evil. Ampo san himself had worked on the original game, although joining the project late on, he claims that he owes a debt of thanks to this first instalment, for the inspiration behind 'Lost in Nightmares'. Interestingly, he states its narrative was already in existence as a concept, even prior to the co-op mechanic being implemented; although it appears to have been single player when originally envisioned, as Ampo san states the scenario had to then be re-envisioned for a co-op partner mechanic. Jill's addition into the DLC was then a forgone conclusion, as many on the team also wanted her to be a playable character during part of the main game.

The 'Desperate Escape' scenario was originally planned as a bonus mission, discarded during the later builds approaching retail, but then this scrapped scenario was fortunately revived as DLC, due to a large number of fan feedback demanding to play as Jill Valentine. Josh was a popular character amongst the team so Capcom decided to implement him into DLC. Original plans for Josh Stone saw him perish during the oil refinery location.

Sheva’s original plan as a guide for Chris Redfield, was during the boat section, just prior to fighting Iriving, and she was to steer the boat during the pursuit for Irving, with Chris boarding the antagonist's boat alone. However when Sheva joined Chris as co-op partner, boarded the boat together, the development team then required a new character to steer, hence Josh's return. Ampo san knew that Jill would play one of the main characters during the 'Desperate Escape' scenario, but didn't know who the other character would be; luckily Josh Stone being available, allowed him to became her Jill Valentine's partner by default.
Lost in Nightmares Beta Scenario

Scrapped Guardian information: Capcom Unity ran a promotion allowing five lucky winners to submit their chosen questions to one of the development team. This in turn has shed fascinating light on the earliest concepts for this scenario. Capcom stated that they would have liked to have implemented Hunters into 'Lost in Nightmares'. The most fascinating response though comes from the second winning entry -

"How did the Guardian of Insanity come to be, and where did they get their anchors?" To which one of the developers responded -

"Spencer was conducting top-secret human experiments in the basement of his mansion. The Guardians of Insanity are the victims of the cruel experiments where innocent people are exposed to the virus. Spencer’s mansion is located near the harbour warehouses and the Guardians of Insanity seem to have access to those warehouse facilities through one of the mansion’s many secret underground pathways. The Guardians seem to wander around the area so perhaps that’s where they got their anchors."

A likley location for these harbour warehouses, has been identified in the concept art of Spencer's castle, (extracted from the game disc by BSAArklay).

The title 'Lost in Nightmares' was created to express "Chris’s profound sense of loss and the fear of unforgettable nightmares."


Capcom also admitted they did not have access to the same orchestral recording & Hollywood production studios when creating this scenario, forcing the development team to spend considerable more time designing cut-scenes that could match the quality of the main game.

Below we can see source photographs of environmental features, taken by Capcom to use as textures for cliffs, and stone architecture for the Spencer Estate (extracted by BSAArklay).

It's common for Capcom to send scenario artists & designers to particular environments, that may inspire concepts during early development, and also offer the opportunity to take source photographs for the textures, for natural & man-made structures; for example when Crimson Head Elder resident Welsh extracted files from the Resident Evil remake disc, a search through its catalogue revealed the location for source photographs that provided textures for Spencer's mansion, Chepstow Castle in Wales. The photographs below, extracted from the Resident Evil 5 disc by BSAArklay, were taken in the very earliest development stage for the 'Lost in Nightmares' scenario.


When designing Oswell E. Spencer’s appearance there was little conflict for how he should look. The concept artist who drew him got his appearance spot-on almost straight away, according to interviews given by Kawata san.

BETA TRAILER CONTENT

  • Chris & Jill enter the mansion in a cut scene; however in the retail version once entering the mansion the player takes immediate control.
    Chris & Jill enter the mansion in a cut scene; however in the retail version once entering the mansion the player takes immediate control.
  • Jill uses the corner wall for cover in another cut scene moment not included in the retail build.
    Jill uses the corner wall for cover in another cut scene moment not included in the retail build.
  • Chris & Jill enter the dining room in another cut scene deleted from the released cut, surveying the room with their weapons drawn.
    Chris & Jill enter the dining room in another cut scene deleted from the released cut, surveying the room with their weapons drawn.
  • Possible explanation for what happened to the dining room banister. Notice the wood beneath Jill on the dining room table; what would have caused Jill to have fallen here? Chris is in an area that is not accessible in the retail build - only Jill can access this area when Chris gives her a boost across the gap.
    Possible explanation for what happened to the dining room banister. Notice the wood beneath Jill on the dining room table; what would have caused Jill to have fallen here? Chris is in an area that is not accessible in the retail build - only Jill can access this area when Chris gives her a boost across the gap.
  • In the library where Chris and Jill face Wesker, Jill appears to be shouting to someone and in the retail game this mirrors the sequence when Chris is grabbed and hoisted up into the air by Wesker moments before Jill tackles him out the window. However in this version Chris stood next to Jill.
    In the library where Chris and Jill face Wesker, Jill appears to be shouting to someone and in the retail game this mirrors the sequence when Chris is grabbed and hoisted up into the air by Wesker moments before Jill tackles him out the window. However in this version Chris stood next to Jill.
  • Probably just a shot for the trailer but this back to back pose from Chris and Jill is also nowhere to be found in the retail version. At the end of the trailer Chris is shown using a crank and states “What is it with this guy and cranks?” Jill Responds “He’s a fine of refined taste.” Chris adds “He’s obsessed, that’s what he is.”
    Probably just a shot for the trailer but this back to back pose from Chris and Jill is also nowhere to be found in the retail version. At the end of the trailer Chris is shown using a crank and states “What is it with this guy and cranks?” Jill Responds “He’s a fine of refined taste.” Chris adds “He’s obsessed, that’s what he is.”
Chris & Jill enter the mansion in a cut scene; however in the retail version once entering the mansion the player takes immediate control.
Chris & Jill enter the mansion in a cut scene; however in the retail version once entering the mansion the player takes immediate control.

 SOURCES 
The Art of Resident Evil 5
Project Umbrella’s Developer interview Database
Resident Evil 5 Official Guide


SPECIAL THANKS & ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUIONS
George Trevor, USS Command, 3A7, News Bot, Rombie, TheBatman, Welsh, CaptainRedfield, Monique Alves.

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