rehorror: The Evolution of Character
Anyone whose introduction is atop a motorcycle is pretty awesome. So the fact that Claire Redfield makes her entrance into Resident Evil 2 on a motorcycle, at night, without a helmet, is doubly so. She’s not even wearing any kind of protective gear, either. Kickass!
For the uninitiated, Claire Redfield is the younger sister of STARS (and later BSAA) agent Chris Redfield. You probably played as Claire in Resident Evil 2 if you either:
a) were a girl yourself
b) were a completionist
c) thought she was hot.
Choosing the academics rather than a military tour, Claire attended university after high school while her brother was off in the US Air Force. The story tells us that the two of them were close – close enough not to tell your sister that your town has been overrun with zombies and you have to put a stop to an evil multinational corporation? We know it was 1998 but a phone call was like 25 cents, dude.
Claire came to Raccoon to search for Chris after he went missing. This was exactly the same time that Leon Kennedy was riding into town for his first day of work with the Raccoon City Police Department, as well. It’s a good thing, too – because his marksmanship saved her ass within two minutes of her arriving in Raccoon.
The original concept for Claire was that she wasn’t Claire Redfield at all – she was Elza Walker, a Raccoon City University student and a motorcycle aficionado. Some sources on the subject matter state that Elza was recruiting people for a racing team, others that she was just looking for someone. Both Elza and Claire were voiced by the same voice actor, Alyson Court – who has voiced Claire Redfield in every iteration she has shown up in.
Elza would have teamed up with Sherry Birkin, like in the final release, but would have also teamed up with another character, Robert Kendo (or John, as he was originally named). Well, we’re sure that this was all for the better. Claire went on to make it out of Raccoon and live to see another day – but Kendo? He was eaten by zombies. In a gun shop. In ‘his’ gun shop. Fail!
Capcom did an about-face on their original plan not to have any related characters in the series when they changed Elza Walker to Claire Redfield. The reasoning behind this was that it would create a greater tie to the rest of the series, and probably create a better flow for the series as a whole. With the decision to change Elza to Claire, she gained more features that tied her to her brother – namely dark hair (she was originally supposed to be blonde), and a perfectly logical explanation for being able to use any type of firearm she picked up without so much as a tutorial.
It’s not until Claire finds her way to the STARS office at the police station (and in an event that still seems to make us jump every.single.time), she runs into Leon again reading Chris’ journal. Chris left, and now it’s Claire’s turn to leave too. But there’s just the slight issue of survivors. And making it out of the town alive.
One little girl in particular that needs saving is right there in the police station. Claire finds Sherry Birkin scared as a…well, a little girl. The two of them form a sisterly bond that gamers have come to identify her character with.
Claire eventually escapes Raccoon with Leon and Sherry through a series of underground tunnels leading to Umbrella’s secret laboratory. Along the way, she faces off against a hordes of cop zombies, researcher zombies, lickers and even Sherry’s dad (babysitting gone totally wrong). She shows us those big-sister skills by watching after and taking care of Sherry Birkin, and in the nagging tone at the end of the game when she states she still has to find Chris.
Code Veronica takes place 3 months after the events of RE2. It begins with Claire unsuccessfully infiltrating Umbrella’s medical branch in Paris, France. Because it’s one thing to infiltrate a police station full of walking corpses, and quite another to go barging into a facility full of people who are alive. So naturally, she’s caught. But instead of turning her over to the authorities for breaking into their facility and getting a few guards killed in the process, Umbrella just imprisons her on Rockfort Island.
As Rockfort is being attacked by an unknown entity with the help of what would seem like a small army, Claire is released from her cell and makes her way through the prison, using the skills learned from her previous experiences. Along the way, she runs into the equally-charming, equally annoying Steve Burnside, who appears to have some issues of his own. You know, aside from being imprisoned in a facility that is being overrun with the undead due to yet another viral outbreak. The two of them form a bond, of course, and work together to get through the horrors that await them, including the island’s resident head-case, Alfred Ashford.
Ashford accuses Claire of bringing these enemy forces to the island, but as it turns out, it was just Wesker. Claire’s presence at the island would eventually bring Chris along, so he leaves her alone. Claire and Steve escape in what might have been the most uplifting, happy ending to a Resident Evil in the series’ history – except it didn’t end that way. No, no matter how hard they tried, Claire and Steve were just not meant to be. Chris did eventually show up to save Claire, but it was too late for Steve…
These guys really know how to leave their characters unhappy, husks of human beings.
After the events in Antarctica, Claire joined a non-government organization known as Terra Save while Chris joined the BSAA. She was involved in a protest at an airport in Harvardville when it was attacked by a plane full of zombies. Again, fans can see her unwavering dedication to the human side of fighting bio-terrorism. Terra Save is a human rights organization that seeks to put an end to bio-terrorism. So…she might as well have joined the BSAA.
Much as with Leon, fans are waiting for Claire’s return to a proper Resident Evil game. As the series cycles its characters, Claire’s return should come up in Resident Evil 6 if her story-line isn’t officially over.
If Degeneration and the events at Harvardville are considered to be canon, it would be interesting to know more of Claire’s Terra Save adventures.