Resident Evil 1.5 is without a doubt the most in demand unreleased video game of all time. Survival horror fans have been actively scouting for any scrap of information they can find on the cancelled version of Resident Evil 2 ever since the day Capcom halted its initial efforts. The hunt, however, may be over soon as strong evidence suggests that the unfinished game might be with us before we know it.
While our last look at the Resident Evil 1.5 detailed the frustration dedicated fans have endured over the years, a lot of progress has been made in the last few months which could soon end their suffering (and ours). That said, as you always have to, take anything regarding Resident Evil 1.5 with a pinch of salt.
Whilst we do believe it will eventually end up in the hands of the fans, here is why you might want to sleep with an eye open over the coming months.
Spreading like the T-Virus
Halfway through June 2012 users of the Resident Evil fan forum The Horror Is Alive (THIA) stumbled upon a private Facebook group dedicated to Resident Evil 1.5. This entry on the social networking site not only featured screenshots of the unreleased game in action, but also a statement suggesting that the unfinished game was being 'fixed' and that a release date had been set.
Excited, users of THIA posted a link to the Facebook group onto the forum to share the promising news. What can only be described as a horde of 1.5 thirsty zombies soon set foot upon the group with a plethora of interest. This flurry of interest and activity, however, led to the closure of the Facebook group, leaving fans very puzzled as to what was going on.
One user took the initiative to back up the uploaded screenshots and images, which were then posted on the on-going THIA thread. This soon spawned countless pages of discussion and debate regarding what could potentially be underway. One of the screenshots, an image showing one of the Resident Evil 1.5 rooms in a PC based editor, made it clear that this small group of individuals we're trying to finish what Capcom had started.
Is this for real?
Overwhelmed that the antidote to their previously incurable sufferance was materialising, fans began pouring questions and queries into the THIA forum. Whilst many of these questions went unanswered and were left to speculation, one query seemed to bring out of the woodwork somebody linked to the 1.5 project and the now closed Facebook group.
This question in particular asked if the version of the prototype being worked on was similar to the one PlayStation Museum has flaunted over the years - one which was then confirmed to be the same build, with only 40% of the game's locations as playable.
With several details confirmed by a seemingly official source, the thread exploded with activity - both good and bad. Anything related to Resident Evil 1.5 seems to attract both the most die hard retro gamers and sadly those who are out to cause trouble. It has been suggested in the past that previous owners of the 1.5 prototype have been sent death threats, presumably an attempt to force them to release the game online for free. While the majority of the activity on the THIA forum was from users on their best behaviour, eagerly anticipating more details being put forward about this new project, some, however, were clearly out to cause trouble - for their own reasons.
After settling the stirring and upset, the discussion pressed on with users providing detailed analysis of the various available screenshots, comparing them to magazine scans, existing game footage and other sources - to a level even the cast of CSI would be proud of. After seeing the various efforts of the Resident Evil 1.5 detectives, the user linked to the 1.5 project once again stepped into the THIA thread with an impressive, and once again promising, map of the various in game locations all stitched together.
Fakes and Frauds
While this source linked with the project was releasing plenty of information nobody else could ever hope to hold, they never went on to confirm this project was actually happening. The community of survival horror fans were still very much unsure if the Resident Evil 1.5 prototype was actually going to be released - and understandably too. There have been failed efforts in the past to preserve this title and any mention of the game is instantly met with skepticism.
Once again the discussion attracted the attention of a few bad eggs - one hoping to cash in on those desperate to get their hands on this elusive beta.
A user by the name of 1gameview on YouTube began promising users access to the beta in exchange for $30 (in a comment placed on an existing RE1.5 video found on YouTube). This caught the attention of those involved with the project which soon led them to upload a video response to 1gameview onto YouTube. The video uploaded, however, not only put a halt to this user's actions, but went on to further strengthen the combined hopes surrounding this project.
As you'll see above, this video response features a segment/cut-scene from the unreleased Resident Evil 1.5 with edited dialogue to combat 1gameview's comments. While I'm sure the video's intentions were to prevent anyone falling for this potential scam, it soon led to even more excited discussion regarding the project overall.
After all, how else would someone be able to quickly create such a video response without access to the original material. This also went on to further suggest that they were in fact fixing this prototype and they clearly possessed the tools to edit it fairly easily.
The future of Resident Evil 1.5...
It's clear that the thread over at THIA covering the efforts of this unnamed Facebook group and Capcom's unfinished version of Resident Evil 2 does hold plenty of promise. We're very much excited of the prospect that we could be playing a fixed version of the game in the near future, but until a downloadable and playable image file of Resident Evil 1.5 surfaces online, we're refusing to let our guard down. After all we've already endured fifteen years of frustration, what harm would several more do?
Our fingers are crossed and we're sat here on the edge of our seats... Like we always have been whilst playing Resident Evil.
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