Capcom graces Resident Evil fans with yet another misadventure with Ethan Winters, courtesy of Resident Evil Village and its wild take on survival horror. Whereas RE 7 added zombies and Bio-Organic Weapons (BOWs) to haunted houses, RE 8 adds bioterrorism to suburban horror. Why, Ethan’s latest run-in with viral-empowered monsters requires him to find his daughter and escape an infested village.
In fact, Village has quite a bizarre premise that fans would think it’s a new game entirely. It doesn’t help that formerly-jacked Chris Redfield had a more antihero vibe compared to his more heroic aura. Granted, Village will give more insights towards the new status quo in Resident Evil. However, RE 8 also has Easter Eggs that fondly takes players back to the series’ survival horror roots and action-packed phase.
A Drink From The Past
As fans might remember, the original Resident Evil team also developed its sister franchise; Dino Crisis. Another survival horror title, Dino Crisis deals with deadly dinosaurs instead of horrific zombies. Unfortunately, Dino Crisis had a much shorter run compared to Resident Evil.
However, players of RE Village might notice a small background detail that calls back to this beloved franchise. In the house of Ethan and Mia Winters, players may remember seeing a ton of wine bottles. Upon close examination, one of the bottles is named the Regina Rosie. This name is possibly referencing Regina, one of the Dino Crisis protagonists.
Ethan Is Finally Awake
After Chris Redfield makes a surprising attack against the Winters and takes their daughter Rosemary, Ethan is also grabbed by Redfield’s team. However, when Ethan wakes up in the middle of the forest, he stumbles upon bad news. Somehow, his escorting guards are dead, their convoy is overturned, and Rosemary is nowhere to be found.
As fans remember, Resident Evil 4 also begins with Leon’s mission to retrieve the kidnapped Ashley Graham, the daughter of the United States President. Like Ethan, Leon finds himself in the middle of the forest near an unidentified village in Spain. Thankfully, at least for Leon, the guards who escorted him in the village outskirts made it alive.
The Herding Bells
When Ethan awakens near the mysterious Village, he barely gets to meet another human being before monstrous Lycans try to kill him. Thankfully, loud bells from the Castle coincidentally ring just in time before they finish him off. The Lycans retreat and Ethan finally gets a fighting chance as he makes his way to Luiza’s house.
Interestingly enough, franchise fans would find this bell yet another familiar element from RE 4. When Leon tries to rescue Ashley Graham in the undisclosed village in Spain, things get heated pretty quick between him and the untrusting villagers. However, it’s thanks to the nearby chapel’s bell that things didn’t escalate further into violence.
The Convenient Duke
When Ethan meets the Duke for the first time, not only does he seem to know him, he also knows Ethan wants to rescue his daughter. However, what perhaps makes the Duke interesting is the fact that he’s become Ethan’s go-to guy for weapons and merchandise. Not only that, Ethan even remarks he’s almost always around.
There’s a reason many gamers compare RE Village with RE 4, but it’s the enigmatic Duke that brings the two games together. For instance, Duke at some point says, “What’re ya buyin?” in a familiar voice and then laughs. Players will recognize this time as that of RE 4‘s Merchant, with the Duke remarking after that, “Just something an old friend of mine used to say.”
The Case Of Two Giants
Any Resident Evil game isn’t a true Resident Evil title if there aren’t any giant monsters stalking the player. True enough, RE Village has two of them, one for each playable character.
Throughout their journey in the Village, Ethan and Chris face massive Lycans who serve as Mother Miranda’s enforcers. In Ethan’s case, he faces the warhammer-wielding Urias who once served as the Village chief until Miranda infected him with the Mold. And in Ethan’s absence, Chris faces mace-wielding Urias Strajer, the Urias’ older brother.
Once again referencing RE 4, players also meet a giant enforcer in the remote village. Accompanying cult leader Osmund Salazar is the massive Father Bitores Mendez, who once served as the village priest and is now a priest for Los Illuminados.
There’s Something In The Lake
When the villagers capture Ethan, he’s sent to Mother Miranda for execution. In her lair, Ethan meets the four noble families residing the Village, one of which is the hunched merman-like Salvatore Moreau. As with the other noble families, the Moreau have their own territory within the Village, this time at the Moreau Reservoir. However, by the time Ethan visits the Reservoir, it soon becomes apparent that it also housed a whale-like mutant creatures. Being a Resident Evil game, Ethan will have to face this creature.
As though the allusions to RE 4 won’t stop, the whale-like creature resembles another giant monster that Leon has to fight in his quest to rescue Ashley. Instead of a giant whale, Leon has to fight the Del Lago, a Plaga-infected salamander that grew into a massive amphibian monster.
The Link To Umbrella
If it weren’t for the little Easter Eggs, RE Village would feel like its own survival horror IP. In fact, aside from Chris Redfield, there’s almost no blatant connection between RE Village and the previous games. Moreover, the first real sign of a Resident Evil link in RE Village appears when Ethan sees the noble crest of the four families. Apparently, the emblem on its center looks a lot like the Umbrella Corporation’s iconic logo.
As it turns out, Umbrella founder Oswell Spencer served as one of Mother Miranda’s first students. However, friendly differences in philosophy had Oswell separate from Miranda and form his own team. When he discovered the Progenitor Virus, Oswell created the Umbrella Corporation – adopting the emblem that Miranda used in her village.
The Distraction Moment
After Ethan’s apparent “death,” Chris Redfield makes it his mission to kill Miranda and hopefully save Rosemary from captivity. Thankfully, Ethan’s connection with the Mold is strong enough to revive him. When he catches up to Miranda, he confronts her about what she does. And after a distracting shot from Chris, Ethan tries to take Rosemary but to no avail.
In moments of desperation, sometimes a well-timed distraction is all what heroes need to save the day. Thankfully, the Resident Evil franchise is riddled with iconic distraction moments. While Ethan’s moment didn’t get to save Rosemary, most other games had these moments come in the nick of time. For instance, Ada Wong conveniently throws a rocket launcher to Leon’s direction as he faces the last bosses of RE 2 and RE 4.
This Isn’t Even The Final Form
Granted, the monsters shown in RE Village trailers already seem grotesque enough as they are. And while Lady Dimitrescu is arguably one of the more fab villains in the franchise, even fan knows her first appearance isn’t her final form.
True enough, as per Resident Evil tradition, none of the major villains have their default forms as their final forms – akin to Tyrants of the first games. In fact, Ethan will have to fight most boss battles across a series of stages, with each stage having the villain transform into their more mutated and more powerful “true” form.
The Mason Connection
At the end of RE Village, players will see a more grown-up Rosemary carrying both the book of the Village of Shadows and wearing Mia’s wedding ring. She implies that she’s currently being tested by an unknown organization, albeit voluntarily as she doesn’t seem to oppose the idea. Interestingly, the game ends by saying that “the father’s story is done,” implying that Rosemary may very well be the protagonist of Resident Evil 9.
Perhaps what might intrigue fans is the fact that this ending calls back to two things. First, RE 2 ends with the child Sherry Birkin safe with Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Silent Hill 3 protagonist Heather Mason is the adopted daughter of Harry Mason, the protagonist of Silent Hill.