Obviously, there are MAJOR spoilers ahead.
Resident Evil Village is here, and it's rather awesome. Resident Evil Village concludes Ethan Winters' story, which kicked off in Resident Evil 7, in a fictional Eastern European mountain town full of monsters.
Ethan has been through quite a lot. After rescuing his girlfriend from a mold zombie-infested swamp in Louisana, the couple moves to Europe under a new identity to start a new life, aided by the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance). Unfortunately, as you might guess, things don't exactly go to plan.
In this article, I'll share some thoughts about the game's final chapters and plot twists, and some tin-foil hat conspiracy theories about what the revelations could mean for any prospective Resident Evil 9.
Once again, I emphasize, this article has many huge plot spoilers.
Resident Evil Village: Full plot synopsis
Resident Evil Village kicks off with Ethan and his wife, Mia, in a new house in an unknown location somewhere in Europe. Set a few years after Resident Evil 7, the couple has had a child, Rose, and seem to be living a somewhat idyllic life, until they aren't. Series staple Chris Redfield storms the house with his Hound Wolf Squad, and guns down Mia in a hailstorm of bullets. Enraged, frightened, and confused in equal measure, Ethan and his daughter are forcefully taken away by the tactics team.
Ethan wakes up somewhere in the forest after some sort of attack caused their truck to veer off the road. The squad with Ethan has been killed, leaving few clues as to what actually went down. Ethan stumbles into the cold of the night, and eventually reaches a deserted village in the mountains nestled in the shadow of a gothic castle. It's not long after arriving that Ethan discovers something is very wrong. Blood coats the walls and floor, and signs of carnage and death are everywhere. Soon, Ethan is attacked by a horde of werewolf-like humans with murderous intent.
Ethan resolves to discover what happened to his daughter while hunting down Chris Redfield's team in the process. Battling through scores of werewolf "Lycans," Ethan eventually reaches the outskirts of the castle, only to be attacked by a group of shadowy lords that seem to hold dominion over the area. Heisenburg has the ability to manipulate magnetic fields, making iron objects hover through the air, transforming them into all sorts of weapons and projectiles. Donna Beneviento and her puppet, Angie, manipulate the pollen of a hallucinogenic mountain plant to induce dark visions. Lady Dimitrescu stands tall over the others, with superhuman strength and razor-sharp claws, while Moreau stalks the shadows, mutated and fish-like. They're led by Mother Miranda, a godlike figure with six black feathered wings who presides over the others with otherworldly authority.
They attack Ethan, subjecting him to all sorts of torments and horror throughout the game. Ultimately, each of them underestimates him along the way. Ethan escapes their clutches and discovers that it's maybe them who took Rose from Chris Redfield and is ultimately holding her captive. After dispatching a mutated Lady Dimitrescu atop the highest tower in her castle, Ethan discovers that Rose has been literally torn apart, separated into four flasks for some grotesque ritual. Wracked with despair, a mysterious merchant known as the Duke claims Ethan can restore Rose by gathering her parts and completing the ritual himself.
Each of the four lords of the village has a piece of Rose, and Ethan travels across the valley to kill each of them in turn. He battles the fish-like monstrosity Moreau in his aquatic domain at the dam and Bienviento in her hallucination-inducing cliffside mansion. He then takes the fight to Heisenburg in his factory, whom Ethan discovers has his own agenda. Heisenburg reveals that Mother Miranda created each lord through a series of failed experiments, trying to create the perfect "vessel" to resurrect her deceased daughter with the mold introduced in Resident Evil 7, called the mutamycete. Heisenburg created an army of half-man, half-machine cyborg zombies from dozens of villager victims to facilitate his goal to kill Mother Miranda, and have vengeance. He asks Ethan to join. As you might expect, Ethan declines with extreme prejudice.
Ethan battles through the factory and meets Chris Redfield, who explains that Mia is possibly alive. The "Mia" they gunned down was in fact, Mother Miranda, who is almost entirely comprised of the mold. This gives her the ability to manipulate her form, mimicking all sorts of shapes, and thus, people. Miranda mimicked the form of a corpse in the van and attacked the Hound Wolf squad, kidnapping Rose in the process. She plans to use Rose as her vessel to resurrect her daughter's consciousness. Rose's composition is somewhat unique too, being the daughter of Mia, who was infected with the mold prior to getting cured, and Ethan... who is actually dead.
It's revealed that Ethan died at the start of Resident Evil 7. In fact, if you go back and play it, you can hear quite clearly that Jack Baker stomps Ethan's skull with a sickening crunch at the end. Ethan's ability to withstand various types of damage is not merely gameplay armor, but in fact, is due to that he's literally made almost completely made of mold — the mutamycete.
Underneath the village is the origin of the mutamycete, some grotesque parasitic creature dubbed the megamycete, that spreads and grows like a gigantic sentient fungus. It infects and replaces the cells of its victims, creating the enemies from Resident Evil 7, the molded, and occasionally more advanced molded creatures, like Ethan and Mother Miranda.
Ethan defeats a gigantic, mutated Heisenburg using a polymer-alloy tank, and resolves to save Rose, and end Mother Miranda in the process. Throughout the game, the mutamycete growth has spread, while becoming more and more powerful. It eventually erupts out of the ground like a gigantic forest made of dark mold tentacles. Left unchecked, it could envelop the valley, perhaps across the entire world. It's at this point you take control of Chris to bring the fight to the mutamycete and remaining Lycans.
During the fight, Chris realizes that his former colleagues at the BSAA have also gotten involved, sending in a small army of their own to take on the Lycans, the Urias Strajer, and the mutamycete. Chris tracks the mutamycete growth underground, with the aim of placing a large explosive at its very heart. In Mother Miranda's underground labs, Chris finds the real Mia, who has been interred for some time.
Additionally, they discover that Oswell E. Spencer, the founder of Umbrella, met Mother Miranda decades ago right in this village. The pair studied the metamycete together, alongside other viruses and strange phenomena. Spencer left a letter for Miranda, noting his goals of world domination and his intention to use a virus to do it. It would appear that Mother Miranda is the source of Spencer's knowledge and inspiration, ultimately responsible for the carnage in the first few Resident Evil games.
After his battle with Heisenburg, Ethan is attacked by Mother Miranda, who rips out his heart. Being molded, Ethan survives, albeit barely. Ethan uses what little strength he has left (and all the accumulated ammo from playing) to take the fight to Miranda herself, who mutates into various forms throughout the fight. Interrupting her final ritual to steal Rose's body, Rose is ultimately restored, and Miranda is defeated, shattering into a thousand dusty pieces.
The megamycete continues to grow unchecked, although Chris manages to place a large explosive underground at its very heart. Ethan takes the detonator from Chris, and urges Chris to take care of the restored Rose for him. In the end, Ethan is killed in the ensuing blast, taking out the megamycete for good.
As Chris, Mia, Rose, and the remaining Hound Wolf squad members escape in a helicopter, the soldiers reveal that the BSAA are using bioweapon soldiers, rather than human soldiers. The soldiers look pale white and gaunt, like the Tyrant T-Virus models from Resident Evil 1 and 2. Chris notes that his squad may have to pay a visit to BSAA Europe.
In the epilogue, we see a teenage Rose, who seems to be doing well. She visits Ethan's grave, and a secret agent appears in a car to take Rose away. He jokingly calls her Eveline, in reference to the bioweapon girl from Resident Evil 7. Rose doesn't appreciate the comment, reacting angrily. She notes she has "abilities" that "Chris doesn't even know about," implying that her unique birth has given her some supernatural powers. We see the car drive away, but it is then stopped by a shadowy figure at the end of the road, whose identity remains a mystery but could possibly be Ethan himself.
Thoughts on Resident Evil Village's ending and major twists
I wrote in my review that I thought some aspects of Resident Evil's story were a bit clunky or under-explained. For example. it's not really explained why Rose needs to be separated into four parts in order to be transformed into Mother Miranda's daughter, Eva. It's barely touched upon why Chris doesn't just explain what's going on to Ethan from the outset. His teammates remark upon this as you're traversing the cave systems as Chris, saying "you should have told Ethan," and Chris even agrees, "I know," as if this was injected at the last minute to stave off criticism.
I also think the inclusion of Chris felt a little forced in general towards the end. I think the section where you battle the Urias Strajer would have been better if you were just Ethan, using his new-found mold powers instead. Instead of using a convenient polymer-alloy tank that's immune to Heisenburg's powers, wouldn't it have been cooler to have turned into a molded bioweapon Ethan instead? It would have made far more sense in context and would have seemed a little less contrived. The polymer-alloy tank had me rolling my eyes. Why would Heisenburg make a tank, specifically, that could kill him?
The game is, frankly, filled with an array of barely-sensical motivations from various characters, which you could explain away with insanity, I guess. Why does Mother Miranda steal Mia's body and play happy housewife when she could've just turned into some kinda creature and murdered them both to steal Rose? Why not just do the ceremony to replace Rose with her daughter outright to begin with? Why doesn't Mother Miranda know that Heisenburg is plotting against her, considering she can literally transform into crows and spy on everything?
These weird issues with the writing is ultimately why I deducted points from our review. Some of the haphazard explanations come in the form of text files, but they just heap on confusion. Mother Miranda has some motivation to "recruit" powerful molded entities from her experiments, but why?
Spencer notes in his letter that their goals diverge: Spencer wants to take over the world, while Miranda only wants to resurrect her deceased daughter. Why would Mother Miranda want to recruit males at all, to that end? It makes for cool gameplay since it would suck without the various bosses, but I feel like there must have been a better way to narratively tie all of this together.
I actually enjoyed the plot twist that Ethan was molded, however. It elevates Resident Evil 7's story a great deal as a result, explaining away why Ethan has his hands severed multiple times and is able to reattach them with relative ease. The hivemind-like qualities of the mutamycete also make for an interesting concept. I also liked that Resident Evil Village tied itself quite neatly into the events of the previous games via the connection between Miranda and Spencer. The iconography in the ruins surrounding the village, bearing the symbol Umbrella would eventually go onto use, carries some mystery of its own. Also, there's the whole angle with the shadowy bioterrorist group The Connections — what exactly is their endgame?
Indeed, Resident Evil Village leaves us with an array of unanswered questions. What exactly is the megamycete, and where did it come from? What's going on with the BSAA and their bioweapon-soldier usage? What the heck is going on with Rose? Where are the franchise's other characters?
What this could all mean for Resident Evil 9 (or DLC)
In Resident Evil 7 and Village, we learn that The Connections were behind much of the recent mutamycete outbreaks. Working with Miranda, The Connections created Eveline from Eva's DNA. The Connections built Eveline with the plan of creating a bioweapon that could infect soldiers in the field, and turn them into allies through mold-induced pheramonic mind control. Unfortunately, Eveline was psychotic, and used her bioweapon powers to spread the mold, creating "family members" from the corpses of the dead. Miranda bailed on The Connections at that point, resolving to find another way to revive Eva. Eveline would eventually end up in the swamplands from Resident Evil 7, infecting the Baker family and the surrounding wildlife.
Since we know the megamycete seems to hold the cognitive essence of the people it infected with the mold strain, there's certainly a chance that that "hive mind" of consciousness still exists within Rose. Rose remarks during the epilogue that "she knows" she's like her father, despite having never met him. This could explain why Ethan has visions of other infected characters, like Eveline, Jack Baker, and Mia. Is Rose currently aware of Ethan's consciousness? Does the metamycete hivemind still exist within her? Could she become malevolent in the future? The fact the secret agent types had a sniper rifle pointing at Rose during the epilogue certainly suggests they are afraid of her, at the very least.
There are a lot of ways Resident Evil 9 could take advantage of Rose's unique status. Given that Resident Evil 7 appears to hint at Mother Miranda in its original promotional art, I'd say that the overarching plot has already been planned out for Resident Evil 9 to some degree.
Given that the BSAA seems to have resorted to using bioweapons in its army now, there's a chance it could also be somehow compromised. The goal of various pharma companies throughout the Resident Evil canon was to ultimately create supersoldiers that could withstand irregular amounts of damage, and accept some sort of ultimate authority. If the BSAA has truly achieved this goal, they would be the first to do so without any major consequences, besides the potential legal and ethical issues. On the flip side, they could also have become evil as well. Blue Umbrella, comprised of former Umbrella scientists who want to make amends for the disasters from Resident Evil 0-3, are now working with Chris' strike team, Hound Wolf. Could the former central antagonists of the franchise now become good? With the BSAA and The Connections becoming the central villains? Time will tell.
Mother Miranda's mold-induced powers gave her the ability to shapeshift into any form and stave off aging. Her lab suggests she'd been there for over one hundred years, applying her research skills to a variety of projects. She created the "cadou" parasites from the megamycete, using them to infect humans and experiment on different mutagenic properties. Spencer preferred a virus as the method of infection since it self-propagates much more rapidly than a parasite can. However, the huge time period of Mother Miranda's activities suggests she could have been responsible for other strange happenings throughout the franchise — perhaps, even further back.
Ultimately, we have no idea on her exact age, knowing only that her daughter was killed by the Spanish Flu in around 1918, and became mortal sometimes after that from discovering the megamycete fungal growth.
Resident Evil 9 ultimately could explore two separate tracks, or perhaps both. The ending says "The Father's Story is Over," heavily implying the next game will be about The Daughter, i.e. Rose. Teenaged Rose seems to be interred with Blue Umbrella and Chris' group, but we have no idea how much time has passed since Resident Evil Village. I don't know if Chris would wait 15+ years to find out what's going on at the BSAA, which is now using Tyrant-like bioweapon soldiers. Eveline however, exhibited rapid aging. Could the time period be less than we expect?
I think Resident Evil 9 may potentially follow Chris heading to the BSAA to find out what the hell is going on there. After Jill Valentine was infected in Resident Evil 5, she spent some time in quarantine with the BSAA as they tried to figure out what effects Wesker's experiments had on her. Could Jill be in trouble, or perhaps even responsible?
If Resident Evil 9 does a time skip ahead with Rose as the protagonist, that potentially leaves the BSAA plot to be explored either via a Chris-focused DLC as we saw in Resident Evil 7, or as part of a separate game entirely. Resident Evil has done spin-offs before, with Revelations 1 and 2, which explore subplots. Revelations 2 followed Barry Burton and his daughter Moira, for example.
Historically, the Revelations games have been of a lower caliber and budget than the mainline Resident Evil games, but perhaps the modern Capcom has other plans. I wouldn't say no to a bigger-budget Revelations 3 that followed Chris to BSAA Europe, even if it was perhaps a bit more action-oriented.
The mainline Resident Evil sequel will hopefully remain true to the survival-horror formula we've come to know and love. The Connections are still out there, working their dark machinations. We have no idea what sort of powers Rose harbors, nor do we know if Blue Umbrella is a true ally or not. Resident Evil has many loose ends across the board and tons of potential exploration opportunities for future installments. I didn't even write about the game's mysterious vendor, the Duke, who seems to be molded too. What's his deal?!
Resident Evil remains crazy, but I love it
Resident Evil has never had the most sensical plot, with enemies that seem incapable of learning from their mistakes and narratives that contradict gameplay. But, frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. Could Resident Evil be something more? Sure, and I would like that, but I also love fighting zombie werewolves, cyborg monstrosities, giant fish monsters, and flying psychic dolls. Resident Evil is a bit silly, but I every dimension of its wacky and wild plots, strewn through a lens of tense survival horror action.
I think Resident Evil honestly reminds me of the X-Files in some ways. The games seem to work better when they focus on smaller, more intimate localized stories, rather than the bigger plot hole-filled main story arc. Marrying believable scientific information with the fantastical beasts of the franchise would probably require mountains of additional dialogue. Resident Evil does a good job of explaining its universe generally if you're willing to read the text files that is. I'm still unclear on a lot of the different character's motivations, but hey, being infected with a mutagenic virus probably does a number on your cognitive reasoning skills. And maybe Chris just isn't that smart.
In any case, I love this bloody franchise. After the relative disappointments of Resident Evil 5 and 6, 7 and 8 feel like a big return to form, and I hope the Capcom of the modern era continues the trend.
What do you think of Resident Evil Village's ending? Hit the comments, and let's chat.
Resident Evil Village is available now for $60 on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. It's quite easily one of the best Xbox games of the year so far, and well-worth a look. Be sure to read our full Resident Evil Village review for more details!
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!