Riddle me this, why would you license a famous property only to create your own spin on things? I’m wondering this the whole time I’m watching Netflix’s newly released Resident Evil series.

It’s like the company went down the checklist of things to include; zombies, the T-Virus, lickers, undead doggies, Albert Wesker and of course, the Umbrella Corporation. Then, in the midst of that, they decided to just screw with established canon, and make none of the characters even remotely recognizable.

I kid you not.

Remember when Albert Wesker was the father of two twin girls and worked in an African city called New Raccoon City?


That’s because in no game, movie or animated movie is this batshit canon.

Yet, that’s the basic starting point for Netflix’s Resident Evil series.

The Netflix series isn’t connected to any previous continuity; not the Milla Jovovich movies, not the S.D Perry novels, not the animated films (which are connected to the games), not even to the old Wildstorm comics.

There are references to general events in the Resident Evil timeline (such as the destruction of Raccoon City), a Chainsaw Ganado (who is not a Ganado in the series), Moonlight Sonata used to unlock stuff and Barry’s ‘Master of Unlocking’ line from the original Resident Evil game but those are nowhere near enough.

I keep asking myself why Netflix bothered to spend the big bucks on netting the Resident Evil license only to do their own stuff with it?

Why not just create their own property? Or just make another show integrate it into their ‘Army of’ zombie series? Both Army of Thieves and Army of the Dead were awesome (and still have a ton of lore left unanswered) so why didn’t they just build upon what they have instead of this…monstrosity?

The only logical answer I’ve come to is that somebody at Netflix didn’t want the competition to get the license. They’d rather have the Resident Evil license and make bad RE media rather than somebody like Paramount or Amazon have it for their streaming services.

It does make sense in a twisted sort of way.

Resident Evil is one of gaming’s most famous brands. It’s spawned a ton of movies (the latest being Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City) and a handful of animated films (which range from decent to crap).

Even the father of zombie movies, the late George Romero himself had a go in creating media for the series in the form of this Japanese Resident Evil 2 commercial.

In short, Resident Evil has a ton of cultural cache. Like it or not, it’s recognizable.

Rather than having their competition have it and making a potential killer series to entice viewers, Netflix’s taken the ‘Salt the Earth’ approach by taking the license and putting out garbage (whether it’s intentional or not I have no idea) to dilute the brand.

I’m not sure how Capcom’s handling this considering it’s their I.P. that’s being ruined…but considering they greenlighted Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (which is an even worse travesty than the Netflix series) for release, I’m guessing they’re too busy counting the licensing fees to care.

At least the games are still awesome.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.