From September 27th to October 5th 1997 I was in Los Angeles covering and photographing production of the commercial for the Capcom video game, Biohazard 2 (Resident Evil 2). The commercial was directed by George Romero, with effects handled by Screaming Mad George. What follows is a report of my time in LA.
Though near impossible, my hope is that those of you who can make it through my at times self-indulgent report will be able to get a sense of what it's like to be beside George Romero as he works.
But first, a little basic background info...
1. What is Biohazard?
Biohazard is a video game from Japanese game maker Capcom. The game is released in the United States under the name Resident Evil.
2. What is Biohazard 2?
Biohazard 2 is the sequel to Biohazard. It is the story of a rookie officer Leon, who has to make his way through hordes of realistic looking zombies as he searches for the answer to why they have come back to life. In the United States the game is titled Resident Evil 2. The game was released in Japan in January 1998. At first exclusively on the Sony Play Station, it was eventually formated for other systems too.
3. What is the Biohazard 2 commercial?
The BH2 commercial is the most expensive commercial Capcom has made to date. It was directed by George A. Romero. In fact, the cost of the commercial ($1.5 million) exceeded the development cost of the game. There were two versions, a 30 second and 15 second commercial. While the commercial generated a lot of publicity for Capcom, the sucess of such a costly commercial is doubtful, and since then Capcom has not repeated the venture.
4. When can I see the commercial?
The commercial was a "Japan only" deal, playing both TV and movie theaters. It ran during the months of Dec 1997 - Feb 1998. Because of a contractual agreement with the star of the commercial it was not shown outside of Japan. However brief shots of some zombies filtered their way into the American commercial for the game.
5. What about the 'making of' video?
There was a 10 minute 'making of' video released in Japan in December of 1997. It was a 'not for sale' video (again due to contractual agreements with the commercial's lead) and avaliable only as a complimentary rental in video stores throughout Japan. A version of the making of video was given away by Capcom as part of a promotional package, along with shirts and jackets.
6. Who is "Actor X"?
Good question. "Actor X" is the name I am forced to give to the star of the Biohazard 2 commercial due to complaints from his management over the use of his name within these pages. Whatever. Life is too short.
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