Narrator: At the beginning of the 21st century, the Umbrella Corporation had become the largest commercial entity in the United States. Nine out of every ten homes contain its products. Its political and financial influence is felt everywhere. In public, it is the world's leading supplier of computer technology, medical products, and healthcare. Unknown, even to its own employees, its massive profits are generated by military technology, genetic experimentation, and viral weaponry.
You find out in the next movie (Apocalypse) that Dr. Ashford created this virus to help his 'sick' daughter walk again. In the original game, it was created as a bio-organic weapon. The zombies were an unfortunate side effect.
A Note Regarding Spoilers
The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
Is there a novelization of "Resident Evil"?
Yes. Resident Evil: Genesis (2004) by Keith R.A. DeCandido is a novelization of Resident Evil (the first movie). DeCandido has also written novelizations of the other two movies: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). There is also a Japanese novelization of the first Resident Evil film by Japanese writer Osamu Makino titled Biohazard (2002). Makino's novel is unrelated to DeCandido's version. There are also a number of novelizations of the videogame series, writen by S.D. Perry, but these are unrelated to the movies.