Resident Evil Village has now been out for a little over two weeks, and after taking some time to play through the game several times on all difficulties, I figured it was time to detail out the long road that brought us here.
For me and the Biohazard Declassified team, the road to Resident Evil Village started in September 2019 after we were contacted by an anonymous individual claiming to have played a demo for an upcoming Resident Evil game.
At the time, before we’d received the details, I’d believed this to be information on the fabled Resident Evil 3 remake, that at this time was still unannounced (though it would be in December of this same year). However, once discussions started with this source, it became very apparently that this was way different from RE3 or from any other Resident Evil title for that matter.
The source spoke of Ethan Winters return, which wasn’t too far of a stretch giving the overall popularity of Resident Evil 7 and it’s DLCs, but then they spoke of one word that would not only throw me off, but later the rest of the fandom as well: Werewolves.
I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t quite believe it at first either. There was months of internal discussion on whether to even publish any of it or not, BHd only being a year old at this point, a lot was on the line. I knew there’d be those that doubted or claimed we were spreading falsehoods in order to garner attention, clicks, and views, but the longer we waited the more information came to us and the more and more I figured, if I had the information, others had it as well.
Publishing Day- The First Set of Rumors
January 28th began as any day does for me, I woke up had breakfast, and hit publish on an article. I’d spent the last 5 months reaching out to people all over the fandom to see if anyone had heard any of these rumors, but to little avail. However, I was determined to publish the article to see what would/ could come out of it.
This first article was left intentionally vague, I’d decided if too much was in the wild it would be harder to determine the validity of any more sources coming forward. Here’s the original bullet points from that article that went out in the early morning hours of January 28, 2020.
- Ethan will be returning as a playable character.
- Resident Evil 8 was tested last year.
- It will not be called Resident Evil 8, but will have a “clever title”
- The game will be in First-person like RE7.
- Gameplay starts in a village leading up to a castle.
- The environment will be rural, snowy, and mountainous; possibly Europe.
- Regular zombies will be appearing instead of the Molded from RE7.
- There is a persistent shadowy “female” enemy that will follow you but will dissipate if shot.
- There are also wolf-like creatures that will attack the player in certain areas.
- Chris Redfield will also be returning in some capacity.
Rating: Very True
All bullet points from this article ring true in the final game. Ethan Winters did return as a playable character, it was not directly called Resident Evil 8 (rather Village, with the VIII hidden in the title), it features first person gameplay to continue from 7, the first playable section of the game takes you from a village to a castle, all set in Europe (more specifically Romania), the molded from 7 did not return but indeed the “wolf-like creatures” did turn out to be Lycans and the “regular zombies” are more likely describing the Moroaica enemies found in the castle, the “persistent shadowy female enemy that follows you and dissipates when shot” is no doubt describing at least one of the Dimitrescu daughters, and finally, Chris Redfield does make an appearance in the game.
However, as to be expected and completely warranted when launching this sort of news, disbelief from the community was abundant.
All of this sounds extremely fake…— Suzi Hunter (@TheSphereHunter) January 28, 2020
The community responded with a mix of dislike of this direction if true, though others were cautiously optimistic if Resident Evil did decide to tackle more fantasy rather than biological horror.
None of that sounds exciting….— 🌙 Sara 🌹 (@Ymrtc555602) January 28, 2020
But I'm still going to buy it day 1 though LOL 😂
Ohhhh, I hope this is all true, I'd be so glad to hear they haven't abandoned where RE7 left off.— Ryan Brown 🎮 (@Toadsanime) January 28, 2020
In hindsight, some of the tweets poking fun of us still actually remained kind of true as Heisenberg and Lady Dimitrescu are in fact inspired by Frankenstein and Dracula respectively.
However, we pressed on. Resident Evil 3 remake had also just been announced with a release window of Spring 2020, so thinking that Resident Evil 8 was far out, we continued on eagerly awaiting 3. Though over the next few days other sources would come to support our claims as valid. (From: MORE SOURCES SUPPORT RESIDENT EVIL 8 RUMORS)
April 2020- The Title, The Witch, and Chris’ New Wardrobe
After Resident Evil 3 remake released early in April, while most of the staff found it enjoyable, the ability to make content for it was underwhelming, to say the least.
However in the following days, that wouldn’t prove to be much of an issue. In the early morning hours of April 6th, we’d received an email from our initial source claiming to have more details on Resident Evil 8, most importantly, it’s title.
After giving it a quick once over, I immediately began to type, which in hindsight was a brilliant idea as I had learned from a friend that other publications had also received this information and was getting ready to publish. The following parts are excerpts from that article. (From: NEW RUMORS ARISE ABOUT RESIDENT EVIL 8)
To start, it seems likely that 8 will have a subtitle, this time Village. At the least, this is the working title. Given the formatting for 7, it’ll likely be this way so as to highlight the VIII for a Roman numeral 8. So the “clever title” part we were first told about seems to fit with this.
Rating: Very True
The final title for Resident Evil 8 was Resident Evil Village, including the clever part of hiding the Roman Numeral VIII in the title.
The nature and origin of this witch remain to be seen, but what the leaks CAN tell us is that the witch will be similar to Marguerite: she operates with insects. When defeated, she even dissipates into them and as reported in our original leak article, she is known to “haunt” the player in the demo and has a distinctive “laugh”.
Rating: Mostly True
While, it wasn’t in full detail here that there would be multiple of these “witches” in Resident Evil Village, all three of the Dimitrescu daughters fit the bill here. Their ability to turn into an insect swarm as well as their distinctive laughs while chasing Ethan.
The divisive appearance of one Chris Redfield in the finale (and DLC) of 7 set a rough precedent for recurring characters in the new engine. Thankfully, the remakes have since fixed that worry, but Chris has yet to appear since.
According to the leak, Chris will be playing an integral part in 8. He appears in flashbacks surrounding Ethan, Mia, and apparently their baby. What this baby has to do with the narrative is as of yet unclear. That being said, Chris doesn’t seem to be looking very heroic this time around. It appears that in a flashback sequence Chris can be seen shooting one of them while breaking into their home.
He also apparently looks a bit different, trying to bridge the gap between the original, burly Chris and the newer, slimmer one.
Rating: Mostly True
While Chris does play an integral part of Resident Evil Village‘s story and he does in fact shoot one of the Winters’, this scene is not a flashback, but a real time event at the start of the game. Now this could’ve been changed during development, or could’ve been a misunderstanding from the source, but it’s too close to the final to be coincidence.
The part of him looking different also was true as well. While 7 and Resident Evil Village both use Gordy Dandy for the face model for Chris Redfield, his features were changed to look more like the 5 & 6 era Chris.
June 2020- Our weakest rumors and Resident Evil Village’s official announcement
June was a very interesting month, not only did we continue to receive more rumors, albeit some more credible than others, we were also aware that an announcement for the game was right around the corner.
On June 5th, 6 days before the official announcement, we put out a collection of rumors we’d picked up with heavy inference that we were unsure of the validity of most of them, but they were interesting things we heard, the following is a breakdown from that article. (From: MORE POSSIBLE DETAILS ON RESIDENT EVIL 8 [RUMOUR])
Occultism will play a big part, but there is no magic. There is a cult that worships the abominations created from the new virus. At first, there are hints at something supernatural but it is explained by the virus, which is in the air, causing hallucinations from time to time.
Rating: Mostly True
Occultism does play a large part of Resident Evil Village as Mother Miranda does seem to be leading the villagers as in a cult where they pray to her and she offers protection. While a lot of elements of Resident Evil Village look supernatural, they are explained by the Megamycete and Cadou parasite. However, the hallucinations don’t seem very prevalent in the final game and only play a minor role during the Beneviento section, so this was likely cut and only used here.
The main villain of the game is a man called Alan R., a mysterious count living in a castle. He is the leader or at least a high ranking member of ‘The Connections.’ Alan is also mentioned in an article published by GameRant on May 15th.
The secondary villain is Natalia/Alex Wesker. There are also files hinting that Blue Umbrella is not as clean-cut as they portray themselves to be.
Though GameRant had published something as well about this “Alan R.” character, nothing in the final game would suggest he was ever in Resident Evil Village. The same holds true for Alex Wesker and Daniel, even as heavily rumored as they were as well.
Sidenote: Now this is completely into speculation territory, but even though Alan R., is likely false, in the concept art for Resident Evil Village the developers do state that Heisenberg’s father was a concept for the game as the leader of the village, so maybe this holds some water, though it is a huge stretch.
New Playable Character, Emily
Parts of the game are played as a Mountain Resident called Emily, a woman in her late 20s, who aids Ethan. She is looking for her father. Emily grew up in the village and will assist Ethan and later work with him to find her father and escape.
Rating: Somewhat False
Though “Emily”, doesn’t exist, Elena does. Given the fact that Elena is with her father Leonardo when Ethan finds them, there’s some credibility that this was true at some point of the Resident Evil Village‘s development.
The Flashlight Will Play a Large Role
You have a flashlight and the game is often pretty dark, forcing you to use it, akin to many other games that are in the same genre. The flashlight can run out of batteries, but slowly recharges by itself over time.
Though a flashlight is present in Resident Evil Village, the battery mechanic is not, and though it could’ve been at some point, flashlights are prevalent throughout the series as I would chalk this up to a “guess”.
Aside from the titular ‘Villiage’ (Stylised as VIIIAGE), Resident Evil 8 is set to explore other locations such as Castles, Caves, and Forests. It will have a larger focus on “Outdoor” locations that the rest of the series.
Rating: Very True
Resident Evil Village does have you explore the village, the castle, caves, and forests along with a few other locations.
The Child and Evil Chris Redfield?
Mia and Ethan have a child. They live a pretty lonely life in a remote place and try to hide their child. However, Chris Redfield breaks into Ethan’s house, ending in the execution of Mia. Apparently, he is operating on his own and that is not part of official operation.
When Ethan wakes up, Chris is gone. He did not leave Mia to die but bandaged her. There are some shadowy figures in the room. Ethan is abducted there and then wakes up in the ‘Village’.
Rating: Mostly True
Mia and Ethan do have a child and they live in a remote area hiding. Chris Redfield and his team to break into their home and execute “Mia”, though Chris does leave her to die and believes her to be dead. There are figures in the room which is Chris’ team and Ethan does get abducted and wakes up after a car wreck outside of the village. Chris is also not on an official mission and is acting rogue of the BSAA.
Ethan has to make his way through the mountains. There have been disappearances in this region that are unexplained. You will also start off defenseless before getting your first weapon a bit into playing.
Rating: Very True
Ethan does make his way along the side of a mountain to reach the village, and in official Resident Evil Village teasers put out by Capcom on Twitter in early 2021, there are newspaper reports of disappearances. You also start out without a weapon until later in the village when you pick up the knife and receive the Lemi handgun.
The Enemies of Resident Evil 8
The main enemies are zombies and pale human-like enemies, that resemble Ganados. Dogs, wolves, and enemies that resemble Lickers do appear as well. There are zombies with swords, knives and clubs. They appear mainly in the later section of the game, where you enter “The Castle”.
Rating: Mostly True
As stated previously the “zombie/ pale human-like” enemies likely refer to the Moroaica who wield weapons in the basement of the castle and the wolves refer to Lycans. It might be a stretch, but the references to dogs or Licker like enemies, might refer to Varcolac as they are on all fours and their mouths are more dog-like than human.
After this was published, Resident Evil Village was officially announced less than a week later with a trailer shown at a PlayStation 5 live event.
Ethan’s story MAY BE over, but this one is not
I’ll be publishing a Part 2 of this journey over the next couple of days that will cover information we received post announcement leading up to the Ragnar hack of Summer/Fall 2020, in which we stopped coverage over Resident Evil Village leaks and rumors due to the nature of the hack and the fact that information from that point onwards wasn’t merely rumor, but actual information obtained through nefarious means.
In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed the recalling of this long journey and I hope you’ve have had the chance to enjoy Resident Evil Village in its entirety.
If you haven’t yet, I highly encourage you to do so.