Resident Evil 8: Village Trailer Breakdown and Analysis
Come down from the hype of Resident Evil 8: Village yet? No? Good, because I’ve just spent goodness knows how long going over the reveal trailer as well as other footage and screenshots. I’ll be breaking down every single last scrap of this stuff so you don’t have to. There’s a ton of great stuff hidden away in the footage we’ve seen so far, and as usual, some of it lasts for just frames. I’ll also provide my thoughts and personal interpretations for everything seen; feel free to jump into the comments and offer your takes as well! There’s a ton to gossip over and be excited about.
We’ll be bouncing back and forth between information revealed in the original PS5 reveal trailer for Resident Evil 8, and the follow up ‘Special Message’ video from the developers. We’ll start with how the Resident Evil 8 trailer opens, with these ominous words…
The very first thing we see is this line of text. Fans have been going nuts over this and for a good reason. Who’s end exactly? Ethan’s? Chris’? I’m going to go out on a limb here and offer up the possibility that… it’s neither. Who that could be exactly… well, we’ll get there.
Next up, we hear a woman reading a bedtime story, which sounds like some old world spooky “scare your children into being good” shit:
“Long ago, a young girl went with her mother to pick berries for her father, who was hard at work. But the forest greeted them with a dark, cold silence — the bushes empty. Yet, determined to find the berries, the rascal broke free of mother’s grasp and vanished into the trees. Mother’s worried cries faded fast as the girl ran on, over vine, under branch, and into the forest deep.”
This audio is played over footage of a deep, dark wooded area in the snow, along with the interiors of what may be one or more wrecked cottages. It’s haunting stuff, and to top it off, the footage of walking through the forest has a slight VR-ish bob to it, very similar to the original RE7 reveal trailer. Seeing as Sony has yet to talk in-depth about the PS5 version of their proprietary VR headset, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was announced at a later date to be part of the package.
Next, we see a woman with long hair sitting on a couch holding a book, presumably the same one she’s reading this story from. This would appear to be Mia Winters, co-protagonist of Resident Evil 7. Considering that we immediately hear what most likely is RE7 protagonist Ethan’s voice saying, “What is it with you and that creepy story,” this would seem to confirm it as well. I am curious about the “just a local tale” description of the story, which feels like it would indicate that they’re living… pretty much anywhere other than the US. Not to say there isn’t folklore in the states, but nothing that I think anyone would describe as a “local tale.”
Next, we find ourselves taking a peek inside of a closet, at which point a man inside fires a shotgun. It appears that he misses by a country mile, much to Ethan’s benefit. After Ethan makes it clear he’s not here to hurt anyone, the gunman asks frantically, “Who are you, who sent you!?” More is afoot than merely a man protecting his home.
There’s a flash of white, cutting the conversation in half (some cinematic elements have been cut for the sake of this trailer), and the man covers up Ethan’s mouth, shushing him. He looks up, seemingly terrified of something lurking above. The screen flashes again, showing that we’re inside the house we previously saw as audio of Mia was reading the bedtime story, only now it’s daytime. Another note is that the man has what appears to be bone fragments, including a jaw bone, hanging from his neck. Are these simply hunting trophies, or do they hold a greater significance?
As the older man cautiously peaks out the window, we get a clearer angle of that kitchen area, revealing a multitude of things hanging on the wall. My best guess is that they are ram skulls, but shaved down into a particular shape that no longer includes the majority of those animal’s distinguishing characteristics. It’s a bizarre piece of decoration, to say the least.
Ethan gets a peek at one of the “beast-men” that we’ve heard so much about through the window, and we get our first look at Ethan’s handgun. Gun enthusiasts haven’t been able to pinpoint what gun this is meant to be, and it isn’t helped by the inventory (which we’ll get to) labeling it as a LEMI, which isn’t a real gun. Interesting to note that this isn’t the same window the older man looks out of, as we can see a fridge off to the right (not present in the other area of the room).
Anyway, the older man fires off another round from his shotgun (which we can see is most definitely RE7‘s M21 double barrel) before he gets pulled through the roof while trying to reload. And then Ethan gets pulled through the floor. Lots of getting got in Resident Evil 8, it would seem.
We see more imagery of walking through the snowy forest, except this time, we’ve transitioned to daylight. We then get our first look at what I can only describe as “the fetus sigil.” This freaky-looking sigil mirrors RE7‘s bovine and sawblade dreamcatcher thing, although while that seemed like a warning, this feels closer to a coat of arms or rune. The corpse inside of it, if it even is an actual fetus rather than a sculpture, is horribly deformed and sprouting tentacles. The first thing that comes to mind is Lisa Trevor, who also had tentacles that protruded from her back. Then again, it isn’t like she’s the only beast in the franchise to sport flesh whips. As long as we’re on the subject, let’s take another look at this disgusting image, this time clearer, from the Resident Evil 8 Special Message video:
Here we can clearly see this… thing in all of its horrible glory. One aspect of it I’d like to touch on here is the positioning of the wings and the wreath behind it. This might be going out on a limb, but seeing as the imagery shows up elsewhere in the video, this feels highly reminiscent of something we’ve already seen lots of. I have suspicions on this, but I’ll get to them once we see a bit more. Just keep this in mind that there’s a possibility that there may be some connection to RE‘s past.
Next, we see a statue of a woman in what appears to be a courtyard. Holding what looks like a rapier and a shield, she stands as a lone protector of this snowy landscape. The shield’s embossing is difficult to make out, but it won’t be the last time we see this striking imagery, and we’ll be getting a better look at it soon.
In the next shot, we see the fetus sigil again, and this time painted across the floor. A couple of interesting points here, first and foremost, the runes detailed around its edges. I’m fairly certain these aren’t from any real culture or language, and most likely are meant just to be spooky and cult-like. More important than that, however, is its positioning. It appears to have been kept under a rug, and in some sort of scuffle, the rug was moved aside, revealing this hiding beneath. Based on the basket and old-world vibe from the clutter, could it be possible that this is still the interior of the house from before? Taking that into account and noting that the runes separate this from the other, physical version of this image, could it be possible that this is meant to ward off, rather than invite like the other one? That’s just a game theory, but the vibe feels very telling. There may be two forces at work in Resident Evil 8‘s village.
Now we get our first real look at the castle, and more notably its front gate and surrounding graveyard. I don’t have much to say about this just yet, but take note of the gate, with the orange glow of the flames. We’ll have a better look in just a moment. The snow-obscured castle itself appears massive, composed of multiple spires and towers.
Now we get a closer look at that front gate. We once again see the shield maiden from the courtyard statue, embossed on the gate to the castle entrance. We also get a clearer look at her shield, which sports a ram (tieing back into the weird shaved down skulls). Facing off against her is some sort of winged demon, possibly chowing down on something — or someone. Missing here, of course, are both character’s faces. Obviously, we’ll need some puzzle pieces to gain entry to this mysterious castle. To either side of the doors, carvings depict what may be the souls of the damned. To the left, bodies skewered on pikes (similar to the imagery seen in depictions of Vlad the Impaler’s particular proclivity), and further to the right, we see people falling towards the grasping hands of those already below. Up above the door, there appear to be people setting the pikes up, eager to catch falling victims.
It’s a morbid glyph, and I’m curious to know the history behind all of this imagery. One last note, although this is going out on a limb, is that the imagery behind the shield maiden and the demon could be interpreted as feathers. It could easily just be a background to make the negative space not look empty though.
Here we have a woman cradling a baby. Some minor details like the pillow bare a vague similarity to the rings around the painted version of the fetus sigil (that’s most likely total coincidence though); the wooden train set on the couch beside them seems like it would indicate the presence of a much older child, or maybe they’re just super prepared for a few years from now. It is worth pointing out that the latticing on the window is the same as inside the house we saw the older man in, and the walls look similar as well. This is most likely just a result of all the houses in the village having similar architecture.
The next shot shows a pair of villagers reaping a field of wheat with scythes. The woman here looks to be the same one that was holding the baby, but she may be simply an NPC model we’ll see lots of, or all of the women in the village wear more or less the same outfit. The man we’ll be seeing more of elsewhere as well. In the field, we also get a glimpse of an odd, ward-looking installation, and off in the distance, we see what might be a chapel complete with a bell tower.
The man shows up again here at the gates of a very large home. Not quite a mansion, but more substantial than the average hut we see elsewhere. Considering that these people seem to lead a normal life in this village, despite there being plenty of evidence that they’re fully aware of what’s going on around them, could this be some sort of stronghold? There are a few red stains here and there on the wood, and some of the spikes are discolored. It could just be rust and water damage to the wood but…
The next shot gives us a farther away look at this same building, positioning it elsewhere in the wheatfield (possibly meaning that the chapel from before is behind us here). There’s a traditional-looking scarecrow surrounded by more of those disturbing crosses. The crosses have both a ram-like set of horns atop as well as a collection of teeth, claws, and spikes dangling from them. Some may be just icicles, although they seem to be blowing with the wind, so maybe not.
Next, we see a close-up shot back at the gate of the large house, of the man closing it in our face, and then a shot of a dark-haired older woman in a puritanical get-up. There isn’t much to say about either of these shots, so moving on from that, we get our first look at who may be the woman described in the demo leaks that Ethan escapes with. Again, not much to say, but it’s a clear shot of someone who seems like they might be a main character rather than just another generic NPC. This also looks vaguely cutscene-esque, as in not from Ethan’s perspective but rather a cinematic camera, which would be (mostly, there are a few cinematic cutscenes) a change from RE7.
Afterward, we see the same man from before gazing out over a flock of ravens or crows going nuts, a shot of him aiming his shotgun (again, more cinematic looking than the other POV shots), flashing between different angles before he fires, and then finally another interesting image worth talking about appears. Yet again, we see the same painted version of the fetus sigil – this time painted on the wall of what might be a basement. This image is just all over the place in this village.
One thing worth noting is the stark difference between the sigil itself, which is finely detailed and sharp (especially the runes), and the rather haphazard “wings” crossing the edges to mirror the wings on the physical sigil. Is it possible that these streaks were added after the fact, to corrupt a marking that was already there by a different person, or are they simply more frantically painted than the rest?
Next, we see the man from before as well as the woman in the old world clothes standing by a window, the man grimacing in pain. Looking back over the Resident Evil 8 leaks, he very well could be the guy who loses it and begins butchering people on the inside of the house before torching it. But after this, we get our first real treat: a definitive connection to classic Resident Evil lore.
Yep, that sure is the Umbrella Corporation logo. Surrounding it are four new sigils (which I’m willing to bet are puzzle pieces that must be set in place here), showing a mermaid, a horse (with horseshoe), a sun/moon glyph, and finally… something we can’t quite make out.
A popular theory is that these sigils represent the three houses of the founders of Umbrella Corporation — James Marcus, Alexander Ashford, and Oswell E. Spencer, along with a fourth, unknown founder. As exciting as that possibility is, I’m not willing to bet on it just yet. Spencer’s family coat of arms is rather ornate, but the out of focus symbol also appears to have a sword or another long object running through it. The focus of this image may simply be the Umbrella logo itself, and the surrounding metal plates are simply puzzle pieces that represent something else entirely. I can absolutely see some placard or inset describing how you must bring together “the spirit of the equine, the duality of the stars, the maiden of the waters,” etc. That said, don’t write off the idea of Resident Evil 8 being tied to Spencer just yet.
After a quick shot of walking through more snowy woods, we get a look at the woman from before again, along with a new male character (dripping blood no less) dragging her away from something. She looks slightly… jankier(?) than the previous shot of her, and some fans have speculated this may be footage from an older build of the game (similar to REmake 2‘s reveal trailer). No biggie, games take time to craft and seeing how this game’s release is still ways off, some aspects here might not be 100% yet.
We see the same older gentleman again, surrounded by the murder of crows/unkindness of ravens, then the grotesque, torn apart corpse of a horse. The woman in the puritan clothes with her hands on her head, seemingly in pain follows, and then finally another shot worth dissecting. The same man with the M21 from before is holding the woman we’ve seen over and over again at gunpoint. Based on the coloration and architecture, I’m willing to bet this is the main entrance to the house he was shutting us out of before. Paranoia and fear are rooted deeply in this village. Mainly it does seem like this woman will be our companion for some length of time, certainly more than a random NPC, and perhaps a straight up partner for most of Resident Evil 8.
A shot of a Black Phillip looking goat goes by, and then we get treated to a very spooky looking witch-y woman. She is most likely the stalker mentioned in leaks, who melts into bugs upon being attacked. She seems to be carrying a staff made out of deer horns, and just maybe a few human skulls by the looks of it. Spooky spooky! Take note of this character, because we won’t be seeing her again — and that in and of itself is interesting. Who knows what role she could hold in Resident Evil 8, especially since she isn’t the last ‘witch’ we’ll be seeing in this trailer.
Next, we have a shot of a hallway on fire (based on leaks this very well could be the house Ethan and the unnamed woman hide out in), followed by a shot of an irate looking woman on the phone. In fact, this woman, the phone, and indeed the entire room appear to be victorian in design, lavish in gold plating and old-world stylings. The ornate nature of everything would seem to indicate that this is inside of the castle — or rather looking into it. Ethan is seated outside of a window, spying on this lady as she chews someone out. On the walls, we can spot a few portraits as well as a door across the way with what looks like a coat of arms embedded into it. This one still doesn’t look like the out of focus symbol from the Umbrella image but does vaguely resemble the scrapped Spencer coat of arms from the “Stylish” version of Resident Evil 4 that eventually became Devil May Cry. It could be entirely unrelated of course, and the actual Spencer Family Emblem (seen in the original Resident Evil remake) doesn’t resemble it much beyond the Umbrella logo still being a part of the design.
After that is a shot is of a pretty nightmarish scene; a woman pretty much exploding, or at the very least spewing, a massive swarm of insects. To her right is another woman in a long black dress (the bug lady appears to be wearing the same), and they’re standing in the main hall of what looks very much like a Spencer Mansion type location. Keep this location in mind, as we’ll be coming back to this for a theory later down the road.
And here we see them all: the main posse of bad witches. Headed up by the victorian lady from before, a group of women in black dresses with hoods tower over the player character. This scene appeared to be in what looks to be a master bedroom of some kind, just as lavish as the rest of these
mansion castle locations. I am very curious about the color grading here, as it looks unlike anything else in the trailer. A hazy sepia coloration exists in just one scene, and nowhere else in the trailer. Is Ethan being affected by some external force? In RE7, our vision turns hazy and colors drain out into a greyscale pallet. Something similar may be happening here in Resident Evil 8 as well. In fact, there is only one spot of true color — a bright red arm of the chandelier’s decoration. Most likely blood, but who knows. It stands out from the rest here. It should be said that this could just be candle-light or perhaps ambiance from a lit fireplace, but the coloring feels a bit too overwhelming for that.
Now it’s worth noting that fans have some theories regarding this coven, but I’m not really on board with them:
Noting facial similarities and picking through their neck jewelry, fans have theorized that these three women are, in fact, Claire Redfield, Moira Burton, and Natalia Korda. Ehhhh I think that’s a leap too far. I’ll admit that the witch to the left of the screen does resemble Claire’s REmake 2 look, but only vaguely. Considering we can see that one character from a previous game has undergone a complete redesign (yet again), I honestly wouldn’t put it past Capcom to just re-use Claire’s face model (Jordan McEwen) because they liked working with her, or it was easier to pull from their existing models and tweak it a bit and hope nobody notices because she’s in shadow. We’ll see though — considering the point of this trailer is to show literal conspiracies in action, it’s worth mentioning regardless of how far of a stretch I personally think it to be.
All that said, there’s also another theory making the rounds that the woman in white we keep seeing is actually Natalia, or if you recall Revelations 2 well enough, Alex Wesker. At the finale of Revelations 2, we discover that Alex had copied her mind into Natalia’s and appears to be slowly corrupting and overwriting her personality with her own. Given the massive gap in time between Revelations 2 (ending in 2013) and Resident Evil 8 (presumably set in the release year of 2021), Natalia/Alex would be in her early 20s now, already an adult. This woman in white appears much older than that, but who knows what effects the virus-infused mind transfer could have on the body. Given rumors that this game was originally intended to be the third chapter of the Revelations spin-off series, the thought isn’t totally out there. Bringing the two (thus far completely unrelated) storylines of those titles and the mainline entries would also be very rewarding for long-time fans in my opinion as well.
Cutting back and forth between this scene of the women looking down on you, we’re introduced to a new section of this castle; to be perfectly honest this feels like something straight out of the original Spencer mansion in Raccoon City. Ornate and beautiful, with warm tones and a delightful amount of detail beyond anything RE Engine has done in the Resident Evil games thus far, I’m immediately hooked. The candle holders above the far door especially remind me of REmake 1, which only fuels my fire for what we may see here. I’m becoming increasingly of the opinion that this castle may in fact be a Spencer estate — perhaps even the original one.
Oswell Spencer had luxurious mansions built for himself all across the world, presumably so that he’d always have a little piece of home wherever he went. From Raccoon City to Antarctica, to Europe in RE5, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that this could be another of his leftover homesteads. The absolutely insane scale of it on top of that possibility is why I’m also considering the ideat that this could be the original Spencer mansion, the one all of the others were modeled after.
Given the age of its exterior, it’s possible that this building dates back long, long before the birth of ol’ Oswell himself, and is a Spencer family heirloom (if an entire castle can be called that). Another reason I think this could very well be the case is that it fits in with part of Resident Evil 4‘s original concept. Remember when I mentioned the Spencer Family Crest from the “Stylish” RE4? Most versions of RE4 before the final released version (together make up the conglomerate called RE3.5 by fans) saw Leon infiltrating a castle owned by Oswell Spencer in order to bring the fight to him. As rumors have pegged this title as drawing inspiration from those scrapped versions of RE4, is it possible that the original Spencer Castle concept has been brought back, albeit with Spencer himself long gone? Keep this in mind.
Now we have our first look at one of the “beast-men,” as rumors have called them, lasting for just a few frames. Still, this short glimpse hides a few interesting tidbits. Firstly, this monster appears to be wielding something. A mallet? An Ax? It’s hard to say, but it for sure is being held in their hand and drops away as the beast looks up. We can also see more of them popping up onto the building behind.
In this same shot, we can also get a look at the beast person’s chest, where they appear to have breasts. It’s hard to tell exactly, but note the outfit — the puffed out shoulders look somewhat similar to that of the woman in the puritan clothes I noted earlier (although the turned up sleeves here are different than what any of the villagers are wearing). It’s possible that these beast creatures include both sexes (thanks to Suzi for pointing this out to me, check out her analysis!)
Here we have what is most likely a boss-monster, wielding a massive hammer (more like a tenderizer) that leaps off of the roof of the building we saw burning before. This may be the back end of the building Ethan and the woman found refuge inside of, considering how things lined up in the leaked demo. We also see a man stuck on a spike in our lower right corner, as well as more of the beast people popping up across the roof. It’s looking likely that they’re going to be the standard enemy for Resident Evil 8.
Next, we see a shot of what is most likely the main entrance hall to the Winters home, with a man ominously standing in the doorway and a vehicle parked outside. There isn’t much to say here, beyond the man is Chris Redfield, who we see later in the trailer, based on his outfit and the lack of a Balaklava (we’ll get to that).
Next, another shot of the as-of-yet unnamed woman, and then finally one of the game’s biggest mysteries — a man who I’ve been calling the Hunter (basically because he looks like VanHelsing). I made a comparison between the Hunter and the most recent iteration of Carlos Olivera over on Twitter, due to his skin tone and some of his facial features — but if I want to be totally fair here (especially after throwing out the Claire/Moira/Natalia theory), he probably isn’t.
Others have postulated that this may in fact be Daniel Fabron, fan-favorite Mastermind from Resident Evil: Resistance. While I’d love to see that character appear in another game, pretty much the only similarity here is his shades. Nope, if I want to be fair to even my own eager to theorize self — I’m betting that this is an entirely new, original character. Another running fan theory is that he’s this game’s incarnation of the beloved Merchant from RE4. Not literally him, but taking his place as the new weapons dealer for Resident Evil 8.
Part of why the merchant theory exists is because Resident Evil 8 will in fact bring back a monetary system, the first of the mainline games to do so since RE5 (discounting using points to purchase things, even if it worked the same way). This was noted by fans when watching the Special Message video, where we got a quick look at the in-game inventory. We can see in the upper right corner of our first look at the inventory, a coin object followed by “100 lei”. Lei, or leu, is the standard currency of Romania, which gives us a general idea of the village’s location.
In fact, I think it’s possible that even the Winters homestead is in Romania, considering Mia’s ‘local tale’ line. This backwater village must be incredibly out of the way from the modern-day society of Romania (spoilers: it ain’t Dracula over there anymore), in a similar way to RE4‘s Los Pueblos (if you can even call it that, it’s never had an official name), RE5‘s Kijuju Autonomous Zone, and RE6‘s Edonia (located in Vague, Europe). A completely fictitious, nigh fantasy location set in a real-world country or area.
As long as we’re here — as per the leaks, it does appear to be something along the lines of RE4‘s ‘attache case’ design, although the developers oddly say that fans of the most recent games will recognize it. Now, if we actually think about it — yeah, despite being the ‘blocks’ design of the original trilogy games, RE7, REmake 2, and REmake 3 all use RE4‘s inventory — it’s just in a strip, rather than a rectangle. Items can be moved freely around, stacked, and even combined in ways that are more or less like RE4‘s design. The only missing feature is the ability to rotate items, but that isn’t really necessary with the way it works now (although items placed on the quick inventory tabs in RE7 will rotate on their own). It’s also possible that this inventory can be expanded, given the large amount of space to either side of the useable inventory area. You can also spot a ‘First Aid Med’ from RE7, which replaces the traditional G+R herb mix/First Aid Spray the series has used in most of their games. It’s likely that the lengthy animation for dousing wounds in ‘goop juice’ will return as well.
We also see a new health display, which appears to be ditching the vague ECG design that Resident Evil had fallen back to as of late for a much more traditional health bar. A bit of a shame in my opinion, as the ECG design is so classic, and not having a full grasp of how much health you have is part of the horror. It does look (albeit very hard to tell because it’s so blurry) like the heartbeat image of the ECG might still be present, but it’s just an overlay onto the bar. If the game truly is a little more action-focused, it might be for the best. I get the sense that it’ll be animated, with bubbles moving through the tube and the heartbeat overlayed on top of that. It is worth remembering, however, that this could all change by release. Games play around with menu elements a ton before release, testing out different designs to see what works, and sometimes the difference is jarring (such as with RE4)
Another thing to point out here is that the pistol is upgradable, as indicated by two empty diodes located along the bottom of the pistol’s inventory icon. Are they indicators of the more robust add-ons from REmake 2 and 3 (tactical sights, extended magazines, etc) or simply stat boosters akin to RE4 and 5‘s design (think level one, level two, etc.). This leans in even further to the merchant theory. We can also see that the quick inventory also returns for Resident Evil 8, with D-Pad directions assigned to the pistol and knife.
Moving on, we see another shot from inside the Winters home, of two men in Balaklava storming in. Again, not much to say here, beyond Chris isn’t alone when he attacks Ethan and Mia. Next, a shot of these same men approaching Chirs in the doorway from before, where we can see the back of his head. After that, the continuation of the shot of the Coven in the bedroom from before, this time the head Witch kneels over and sucks from Ethan’s wrist. Are these Witches in fact… vampires? Not literally, but in some way, whatever the latest virus is has caused them to require blood? Or maybe she’s just creepy and weird for the sake of it. The sepia filter is also still here, which could mean this is still part of a hallucination, and Ethan’s mind is leaping to things he’s already afraid of. Also worth mentioning is that this is the same hand Ethan had sliced off and sewn back in RE7. He was infected in RE7, after all, so it could be possible he’s still got some shit coursing through his veins, and they find that extra delicious?
As long as we’re here, we also finally have a clear shot at this mystery emblem — her necklace — with an open flower with crossed swords behind it. The open flower petals do resemble the Umbrella logo once again, however, this is a modification of the insignia we previously saw on this woman’s door. That version bore no such blossom, meaning that this may be a branch off of whatever that original symbol means, or even a modification to it. It also sort of resembles a ram’s head once again, but that’s a stretch. Either way, this image appears to be important to whatever is going on in Resident Evil 8.
Finally, a full look at the landscape of Resident Evil 8‘s village and the castle that overlooks it. This may not be the whole village, because despite how many roofs we can see, it looks tiny in comparison to the castle. We can even pick out quite a few landmarks here — the belltower from before can be seen just below the castle, and we can just make out the front gate to the castle thanks to the little orange pinpricks of the torchlight. The castle, on the other hand, looks absolutely massive, sprawling across the mountaintop. We’re gonna have a lot to explore here, by the looks of it.
And thus the Resident Evil 8 logo is revealed with a delightful and shocking twist (for everyone who wasn’t in on the rumors). Another tremendous trailer from Capcom. But wait, there’s more…
Finally, the Chris shot. Everyone’s talking about this, what it could mean, why Chris is turning Mia into spaghetti sauce, etc. Lots of fans have noted that he sounds very similar to REmake 3‘s voice actor for Carlos, Jeff Schine, which wouldn’t be a first for the series (Roger Craig Smith has voiced three separate characters for the series, including Chris). It does seem a shame that the voice of RE7‘s Chris (David Vaughn) was left in the dust. I thought he did an excellent job. Chris has been redesigned once again, this time to match up with RE6‘s version of the character (albeit much older, which makes sense). Dressed for the cold (to match his now cold demeanor), Chris apologizes to Ethan (who recognizes him instantly, which confirms that is this supposed to be the same Chris despite the face change still) before turning Mia into swiss cheese.
A lot of theories have flown around as to what the hell is happening here; seeing the original male lead of the series take such a dark turn and obliterate Ethan’s wife (as well as presumably being the reason Ethan winds up in the village) is quite shocking. There’s a bunch of different options to chose from, so I’ll lay out all the most reasonable theories and my thoughts on each:
Chris is being mind-controlled which has precedent in the series thanks to Las Plagas (which was recently unearthed in lore) as well as E-Mold, which influences you into doing the source’s bidding “willingly.” The last time we saw Chris, he’d been assigned to help Blue Umbrella in capturing Lucas Baker and the information he had on The Connections (an as of yet unexplained organization that was funding research into the E-Type fungus mutagen). There’s a very, very high chance that Blue Umbrella (shown to be a PMC started in 2007 to combat and “make amends for” the original Umbrella’s wrongdoings) is in actuality Umbrella Corps. The Umbrella Corps (referred to by some fans as ‘Red Umbrella’) are PMC that uses Blue Umbrella tech and equipment to infiltrate viral hot zones to collect data and samples and are headed up by a mysterious leader who was present for the events of RE4. This organization (which has access to Las Plagas and the E-Mold if they really are Blue Umbrella) may have used Chris to carry out dirty work once infecting him, using his face and reputation to gain access to things they wouldn’t otherwise.
Chris is a clone, or a genetically engineered doppelganger, which again has precedence in this series. Carla Radames was a researcher for Neo-Umbrella (a presumably dissolved organization that is unrelated to either the original or Blue Umbrella), who was infected with the C-Virus and reborn as a doppelganger of Ada Wong. Using this technology in order to masquerade as RE heroes, shifting the blame to those characters if exposed, doesn’t sound like a half-bad use of it (especially when that’s literally what Carla does in RE6, causing the BSAA to chase the real Ada like a bunch of played fiddles). This could also be a reason why Chris isn’t voiced by any of his previous actors since he’s not the same person — but then again, Carla and Ada were both voiced by Courtenay Taylor in RE6.
This is a hallucination. This is possible, but if I’m going to stick with the idea that we’ve already seen hallucinations — the sepia haze isn’t here. I think this really is happening, and Mia does have more holes than a golf course in her.
Chris is none of these things, and what he’s doing is actually for the greater good. This one feels… actually the most likely to me. Maybe not for the greater good necessarily, though. It’s possible that he’s carrying out these deeds because he has no other choice. Dozens, maybe thousands of lives are on the line — or perhaps even just one, in particular, his sister. It’s impossible to know (although there is the vaguely Claire look-alike from before…) at the moment, but considering that it looks like Chris might be the central focus of the box art, this story may be very personal for him. A story where he’s simply under mind control or has been replaced by a look-alike wouldn’t carry the same impact with fans. Following up on old fan theories about Not A Hero, it sounds like something Capcom might actually be interested in doing. Seeing this character torn apart emotionally as he’s forced to carry out things inherently against his nature sounds like exactly the creative thread writers would want to explore in order to keep these characters feeling alive.
Chris hasn’t actually killed Mia. It’s also worth mentioning that… we have no conclusive evidence that Ethan and Mia have been cured of their E-Mold infection. Despite being “cured” during the events of RE7, both Mia and Zoe suffer the effects of the E-Mold long afterward. Even with Evelyne, the source of the mold, dead — there seems to be no undoing the infection. Molded still roam the underground, and all of Lucas Baker’s powers remain intact. There’s every chance that both Ethan and Mia are still infected, and nothing can be done about it. Chris might be counting on this fact, as Mia could presumably regenerate no matter how many bullets she takes. Chris unloads half a damn clip into her, which is way over overkill for a normal person. Perhaps he’s making a big show of it for the other men with him, hoping that she can recuperate and come after Ethan eventually?
Which theory has the best chance of being real regardless? Most likely — none of them. Resident Evil, time and time again, has completely subverted expectations, and fan theories constantly end up being wrong. Anything from chasing after the non-existent ‘Redfield’ in RE7 to reading too much into a nothing character appearing in RE5‘s marketing, we’ve all been wrong a ton of times. Hell, there’s even things like that time the reveal trailer for Resident Evil: Revelations literally had nothing to do with the final game. Not saying it will be that drastic, but it’s way more likely that we’ll be dead wrong with every theory.
So now that that’s all out of the way, let me get to the crux of what I’ve been building up to this entire time, the seed that I think has been planted here in this trailer for Resident Evil 8. The aforementioned Umbrella logo, as well as the fetus sigil. Fans have noticed that the fetus sigil bears a striking resemblance to the Umbrella logo, with the wings and wreath forming the red and white diamonds of the classic emblem. I’m going to add another layer to my “Spencer Castle” theory — this is more than just the birthplace of the mad monarch but in fact the birthplace of what would later become Umbrella itself.
The Umbrella insignia has already been featured in the Spencer family emblem for years, meaning that it pre-dates the company itself. What if the Umbrella logo is much, much more than the logo for some pharmaceutical company, but in fact an incredibly old, possibly even religious symbol from the old world, from Spencer’s lineage? In fact, the redesigned Blue/Red Umbrella logo from Umbrella Corps and RE7 bears an even closer resemblance to the fetus sigil’s spread out design.
Could it be possible that Umbrella was more than one rich old asshole convincing his other rich asshole buddies into helping him find the secret to eternal life and forcing human evolution…? Is it possible that Umbrella’s weird reverence for death was more than just a spooky aesthetic? Could Umbrella be rooted in a cult is what I’m asking. An ancient cult, that worshipped some hitherto unknown concept of what Spencer sought to achieve. Could his partners, James and Alexander, have belonged to this cult? To this ideology? I gotta say, it makes way more sense than Umbrella just being a front for what basically amounted to Dr. Eric Vornoff’s plan from Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster.
Things like this are nothing new for the franchise, from things like the old-world Illuminati type organization The Family (not Jack Baker’s ‘the family’ from RE7) to the ancient Los Illuminados cult. Shady organizations with deep histories rooted in religious fanaticism and/or goals of world domination. Secret players having secret meetings with secret rituals and practices. It isn’t outside the realm of possibility that Resident Evil 8 would want to dive even further down this rabbit hole.
Umbrella has always been evil, even deliberately cruel to a fault. Torture chambers, elaborate monoliths built to celebrate and honor death, and even literature (bearing the symbol of a ram’s head I might add) throughout the world that seems comically satanic. There’s even a massive catacomb built around someone who’s life was taken in the pursuit of Spencer’s goals. I think not only was Umbrella a secret cult, but that it always has been — and Resident Evil 8 will finally reveal the truth to us, and possibly even close the book on Spencer’s goals as we move into a new version of the Umbrella lineage unrelated to his master plans.
I think Resident Evil 8 may be telling us the end of Spencer’s story, the end of his legacy, long after he’s already been put in the cold, cold ground.
That about wraps it up for what I was able to glean from the Resident Evil 8 trailer and special video we’ve been shown thus far. There’s more to come, so I’m sure I’ll have 7,000 words + to say about that too, but for now, that’s it. Please let me know your thoughts, as there are tons of possible talking points packed into just these two videos. We can’t wait for more information on Resident Evil 8: Village, and will let you know as soon as there’s more to talk about!