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Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’s game references run obsessively deep

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Even the house plants are from the games!

Adapting a video game series like Resident Evil can go a few ways. For a decade, Paul W.S. Anderson found inspiration from the spirit of Capcom’s franchise to explore nearly every genre imaginable, following Alice, a character of his own creation. With November’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, writer-director Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, The Strangers: Prey at Night) adapts the games in a more faithful way, breaking from the continuity of the previous films and following the exploits of Chris and Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon Kennedy, and the RPD.

But Roberts’ approach goes beyond cosplay and familiar story beats. To heighten the horror element of the series, the filmmaker went so far as to rebuild Raccoon City in the precise image of the games. There’s peppering a video game movie with Easter eggs, and then there’s splicing iconographic DNA to make the referential aspects almost fall away. Roberts hopes to achieve the latter with Welcome to Raccoon City, which not only grabs beats from creator Shinji Mikami’s many Resident Evil games, but goes so far as to replicate, like, the keys from the game’s puzzles that general horror moviegoers would never notice. It’s hardcore.

In Polygon’s exclusive video feature for the movie (above), Roberts and the cast describe just a few of the ways they brought the games to life — and just how deep the cuts run to create an immersive experience for people in the know.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City stars Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) as Claire Redfield, Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Jill Valentine, Robbie Amell (Upload) as Chris Redfield, Tom Hopper (The Umbrella Academy) as Albert Wesker, Avan Jogia (Zombieland: Double Tap) as Leon S. Kennedy, and Neal McDonough (Yellowstone) as William Birkin.

The movie is set to premiere exclusively in theaters on Nov. 24.