GOG is bringing the original Resident Evil trilogy back from the dead, and to digital PC storefronts for the first time

Resident Evil 1 zombie
(Image credit: Capcom)

Barely a week after a strange PEGI rating for the original PC version of Resident Evil appeared on the ratings board's website, the aura of mystery has been broken. Turns out the entire original RE trilogy is due for its first release on digital storefronts.

The release comes courtesy of, you guessed it, GOG, no doubt flush with the success of rescuing the excellent spy RPG Alpha Protocol from licensing hell. The company says it's teamed up with Capcom to put 1996's Resident Evil, 1998's Resident Evil 2, and 1999's Resident Evil 3 on the world wide web. They're not all releasing simultaneously: for now you can only buy and play RE1, with 2 and 3 following later down the line.

There is, of course, already a version of Resident Evil 1 on digital storefronts, but that's Capcom's 2015 HD remaster of the 2002 GameCube remake. It isn't the original game that hit PS1 and PC back in the '90s, which is what we're getting today.

As per GOG standard practise, the RE1 you can find on the store is totally DRM-free and comes with "quality of life improvements and enhanced compatibility with modern systems," which is how the company usually refers to the little tweaks it makes and fan-patches it bundles in with the games it sells to keep them functioning on modern machines. Beyond that? Pure Resident Evil, baby, with "all its original content intact".

I'm excited about this to an extent that is probably abnormal. In our era of remakes and remasters, it often feels like the golden oldies get left by the wayside to be supplanted by their RTX-enabled successors, especially if they never had the good fortune to get digital releases. But as good as those remakes can be—especially in Resident Evil's case—there's something to be said for going right back to the original. These games are too important and iconic to be kept trapped on physical editions that none of us have the disc drives to play anymore.

I asked GOG if the games would remain permanently exclusive to its store or if they might wander over to, oh, I don't know, Steam some day, and the company couldn't tell me. My bet? Permanently exclusive or not, it'll likely be a while before you see original RE anywhere else, so there's no use holding out for your preferred launcher if you've a hankering for the Spencer Mansion and a Jill Sandwich.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.