Playing the Resident Evil Games chronologically

Playing the Resident Evil Games chronologically

One of the most influential and top survival horror series of all time is the Capcom-created Resident Evil video game franchise. Since the release of the original Resident Evil game in 1996, Capcom has expanded the franchise into over two dozen console titles, along with numerous films, novels, comics, and other adaptations. 

However, with so many entries released over different platforms and time periods, it can be difficult for new fans to determine the best way to experience the story chronologically. This article provides a comprehensive guide for playing through the core narrative Resident Evil games in their intended chronological order.

Recommended games to play

For the purposes of this guide, I will focus on the 12 mainline Resident Evil games that are most significant to understanding the overarching plot. This includes Resident Evil 0 through 7, along with Code Veronica, Revelations 1 and 2, and Village.

 While some other titles like Outbreak and Operation Racoon City are canon, they are excluded here due to being niche spin-offs or difficult to access today. Playing these 12 titles in order will provide fans with a cohesive storyline experience spanning the universe’s most pivotal events.

The Proper Chronological Order

Now that the recommended selection of games has been outlined, let’s delve into the chronological order:

Resident Evil 0 (2002)

The prequel game Resident Evil 0 takes place first in the timeline in 1998. Players control S.T.A.R.S. members Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen as they investigate mysterious happenings aboard a train near Racoon City. This introduction establishes many key elements, like Umbrella Corporation’s experiments with the T-virus.

Resident Evil (1996)

Next is the original Resident Evil, also set in 1998. Players assume the roles of Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine as they search for their missing S.T.A.R.S. teammates within the sinister Spencer Mansion. This classic survival horror title laid the foundations for the entire series.

Resident Evil 2 (1998)

Resident Evil 2 is set a few months later in 1999, introducing new protagonists Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they navigate a zombie-infested Racoon City. It expands on the backstory revealed in the first game.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)

While parts of RE3 take place prior to 2, it’s recommended to play it next chronologically. During the viral outbreak, the game follows Jill Valentine’s escape from Racoon City while the menacing Nemesis is after her.

Resident Evil Code: Veronica (2000)

Code Veronica continues Claire Redfield’s quest to find her brother Chris. The story spans multiple locations, like a Umbrella facility in Paris and remote Ashland Island regions.

Resident Evil 4 (2005)

A pivotal entry, Resident Evil 4 is set several years later in 2004 and stars government agent Leon Kennedy on a mission to rescue the U.S. president’s daughter in a rural European village.

Resident Evil Revelations (2012)

Set between RE4 and 5, Revelations sees Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield investigate a terrorist group using an advanced mutagen in 2007.

Resident Evil 5 (2009)

Resident Evil 5 picks up the narrative in 2009, featuring Chris Redfield partnering with Sheva Alomar to combat a viral outbreak in Africa orchestrated by series antagonist Albert Wesker.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 (2015)

Taking place between RE5 and 6, Revelations 2 stars Claire Redfield trying to rescue Moira Burton from a mysterious island facility in 2005.

Resident Evil 6 (2012)

By far the most expansive storyline, RE6 intertwines varied campaigns for Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Jake Muller, and Ada Wong set against a global bioterrorist pandemic unleashed by Neo-Umbrella in 2013.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)

A major turning point, RE7 introduced first-person perspectives and a new protagonist, Ethan Winters, investigating the deranged Baker family in 2017 Louisiana.

Resident Evil Village (2021)

The direct sequel continues Ethan’s story three years later, in 2021, further exploring the connections between the Baker incident and Umbrella Corporation’s past activities.


By experiencing these 12 mainline Resident Evil games in the described chronological order, players can gain a comprehensive understanding of the franchise’s complex yet thrilling overarching narrative spanning over two decades. With consistent plot and character developments across each title, this guided path offers the most cohesive and satisfying way to delve into the rich lore and history of Capcom’s beloved survival horror universe.

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