Alright, now that the game’s out, it’s time to discuss some spoilers for Resident Evil Village. As I alluded to in my review, Resident Evil Village has a real problem with its story. While it’s off to a great start, the final quarter of the game is brought down heavily because of some… strange decisions that were made with regards to the story, both for Ethan on a personal level, as well as the franchise’s direction going forward.
If the title didn’t give it away, there will be spoilers galore from here on out. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Ethan Winters And The Mold
The first major plot point worth talking about is the revelation that Ethan Winters hasn’t been alive since an hour into Resident Evil 7. Sure, there were hints about Ethan having maintained some of his regenerative healing capabilities after Resident Evil 7’s events, especially when you think of all the harm Ethan suffers in Resident Evil Village, but towards the end of the game, Ethan Winters is revealed to have basically been a molded zombie all along.
The revelation that Ethan has been a zombie for the majority of two games—the only two games that star him, mind you—ends up feeling more like a punchline to a joke that never really got the proper set up. Despite the abundance of foreshadowing, it’s a pretty stupid plot point, and one that does a disservice to two games that are otherwise rather fantastic.
Short And Long Term Future of Resident Evil
The ending for Resident Evil Village gives an indication of where the franchise is going, both in the short term—through DLC for RE Village and one potential sequel—and the in the long term with future games. In the short term, we’re obviously going to follow Chris Redfield’s attempts at uncovering BSAA’s role in the events of Resident Evil Village, and potentially even a side story leading up to, and including the events of the game from Chris’ perspective. All of this is great.
Some people—yours truly included—might have some concerns about the long-term health of the series considering the revelations about Rose. As the game’s ending shows, there’s a timeskip a decade or two into the future, and Rose will likely join the ranks of Resident Evil’s legendary protagonists. The downside, however, is that it looks like the franchise might fall back into making the same mistakes it made in the past (re: Resident Evil 6).
Playing a potentially superpowered protagonist just doesn’t jive well with the tension that Resident Evil games tend to go for, even in there most action-heavy outings. As bad as Resident Evil 6 got, it still managed to create some form of tension through gameplay. Resident Evil games starring Rose might suffer from not only the lack of series-regular characters, but also from becoming a strange Mary Sue-esque superpowered character.
Resident Evil and Camp: Where it Goes Wrong
As a franchise, seldom has Resident Evil had to worry about crossing over the line from being a fun, campy B-movie styled horror franchise into something that’s outright bad, but Resident Evil Village’s ending sure does feel like they got dangerously close.
Don’t get me wrong; all Resident Evil games suffer in their endings in some form or another, be it the rocket launcher at the end of Resident Evil 2, or the boring island from Resident Evil 4 (not counting the Regenerators, of course), or the entirety of the ship segments in Resident Evil 7. The games have always struggled to nail an ending, but they still managed to avoid being outright bad. They got action heavy and lost a lot of their tension, but the power fantasy at least felt somewhat earned owing to the franchise’s campy roots.
Resident Evil Village has a real problem with its ending that throws a shadow over future instalments in the series. Let’s hope that the franchise doesn’t need another Resident Evil 6 before it remembers why people liked the series to begin with. Having action in a horror game is perfectly fine—Resident Evil Village is a wonderful example of this—but until we get more details about how Rose as a character will affect the franchise moving forward, I’ll definitely remain concerned.