Resident Evil Village: the excellent story that Capcom missed

Managing+Editor%2C+Laken+Kincaid%2C+writes+their+opinion+on+Resident+Evil+Village.

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Managing Editor, Laken Kincaid, writes their opinion on “Resident Evil Village.”

Laken Kincaid, Managing Editor

*WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE AND RESIDENT EVIL: BIOHAZARD*

During the summer of 2021, the gaming sphere was taken by storm with CAPCOM’s newest edition of its hit horror series.Resident Evil Village,” the eighth installment of the “Resident Evil” saga, was the fastest selling game of its series and is the most completed game of 2021 (although it has a shocking story length clocking it in at over 10 hours). While the game was overall well received with an 8/10 ranking on IGN and an 85% from PC Gamer, many players still had one prevalent critique of the electronic adventure: there was no opportunity to choose a new storyline.

In the previous game of the RE chronicles, the player was presented with a choice in the middle of the game which dictated parts of their playthrough. Without going into extenuating detail, the main protagonist, Ethan Winters, is forced to choose to save Mia Winters (the love of his life) or Zoe Baker (his over-the-phone colleague that aided him through a variety of tasks) from an all consuming mold that turns it host into a mutantous creature with ravaging anger issues. 

If the player saves Zoe, they receive a “bad ending” where his friend quickly passes and Ethan has to kill Mia later in the game. If the player chooses the “good ending” by saving Mia, they continue the plot of the game for well over an hour without an intense marital brawl. While “Resident Evil: Biohazard” received great reviews, many critics stated their dislike for this unnecessary choice because, according to Shack News, “there isn’t much difference between the two endings.”

Seemingly as a response to this backlash, “Resident Evil Village” has no main choice within its plot. From fighting gothic vampires with a devastating blood disease to destroying demonic dolls controlled by fungal spores, the game has one plot that each player is forced to stick to. However, fans of the game have engaged in recent discussion about how CAPCOM could have redeemed its past misuse of the “choose-your-own-adventure” mechanic: letting Ethan Winters partner with secondary villain Karl Heisenberg.

A still from “Resident Evil Village.” (PlayStation)

Heisenberg, the fourth boss in the game, is one of the lords of the village where the story takes place. As Ethan Winters traverses the small mountain town looking for his stolen child, he kills the other three lords (Lady Dimitrescu, Donna Beneviento and Salvatore Moreau) without any offer of alliance. All of the lords have superhuman abilities, each catered to their house crest and previous talents, given to them by the mold seen in “Resident Evil Biohazard.” However, Heisenberg asks Winters to join him in killing the true final antagonist of the game known as Mother Miranda. This is in direct opposition to the maternal love that the other lords showed Miranda, so it takes Winters by surprise.

Heisenberg tells Winters that he was tasked to kill the other village lords as a test of will and applauds him for killing his “siblings.” However, because he detests Miranda for infecting him with a parasite and making him “a freak,” he asks Ethan to join forces with him to “grind [her] into paste” (specifically using the power of his lost daughter).

Canonically, Ethan denies Heisenberg and goes on to kill both the lord and Mother Miranda, although he loses his life in the process. This prompted offer goes on to beg the question: what would have happened if Ethan joined Heisenberg to kill Miranda?

Video Game Sophistry, a video game podcast and YouTube channel, offers an answer to this query. The theory proposed says that if Ethan joined forces with Heisenberg, then super soldier Chris Redfield would never have revealed that, at the beginning of the game, Ethan’s wife did not die. Therefore, Ethan and Heisenberg would not only have to fight Mother Miranda but also Redfield’s squad who was deployed to stomp out Miranda and the mold. 

It could also prevent Ethan from dying at the hands of Miranda, like we see in the original story line. Yet, if Ethan is still killed, Sophistry prompts that he may be presented with another choice during this new plot line: choosing whether Heisenberg or Redfield takes on the role of Rose’s father figure postmortem. 

The game could have also explored one of its more famous mechanics of changing the protagonist in the middle of the playthrough (like “Resident Evil Village” does with Chris Redfield) and allowed the player to take the perspective of Heisenberg.

Articles like those from Screen Rant echo support for the choice option between Heisenberg and the main story of the game. Not only would it have made the story more interesting for fans, it would have substantially increased the game’s replay value. The decision is also apparently extremely popular with the “Resident Evil” community with fans creating “tons of fanart and fanfiction of the idea being made since the game’s initial release.” This especially rings true because Heisenberg is an undenied fan favorite from the game because of his quick wit and unique motives. Who wouldn’t want to either team up or even play as a highly loved villain?

CAPCOM has not commented on this critique but fans are hoping this new game mode may be introduced with the game’s re-release in October, which already promises a DLC following Ethan’s daughter and new accessibility options. However, many are eagerly waiting for the new “Resident Evil Village” updates this fall with hope that their dreams of partnering with the beloved evil lord could become a reality.