Evan Winters is Resident Evil’s Most Forgettable Character
Evan Win— dammit, I imply Ethan Winters, is the Resident Evil franchise’s most forgettable character. And it’s virtually like he’s deliberately designed to be that means. Ev- Ethan is kind of actually a faceless protagonist. First launched in Resident Evil 7 biohazard, the complete story was advised from his first-person perspective. You, the participant, had been presupposed to turn out to be Evan. Capcom didn’t trouble displaying his face since you are Ethan, I’m Ethan, we’re all Ethan. Or Evan. Or no matter his title is.
Even whenever you unlock Ethan’s character mannequin in-game, the mannequin viewer shadows out his face so you may’t see it. Which implies somebody truly modeled his mug just for it to be hidden at each potential flip. Capcom has had a laughable streak of obscuring Ethan’s face in promotional supplies too. He’s a no person. At this level, Evan’s lack of a face has turn out to be every thing from a meme to a wild narrative-ridden conspiracy idea that some suppose has deep implications for the lore of the sequence. Is he a Chris Redfield clone? Is he a bioweapon himself? Is he one other lengthy misplaced sequence character? Is he associated to the Weskers or the Birkins or the Spencers?? Or maybe, possibly he’s simply the forgettable Ev— dammit, once more… Ethan Winters.
Capcom tried to seek out this stability between giving Evthan a transparent id, but in addition making him a car for the participant’s immersion. Resident Evil 7 shifted the franchise right into a first-person survival horror expertise, a primary for a sequence that had been third-person up till then. As a substitute of placing you within the footwear of Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon Kennedy, or one of many sequence’ different fashionable protagonists, it caught you as Mr. Ethvan Winters, an everyman experiencing these organic horrors for the primary time. Nathan— dammit… ETHAN was meant to offer a type of reset, bringing Resident Evil again to its horror roots after the sequence took a serious action-oriented flip over the prior three mainline entries. Ethan was actually simply meant to be… some dude. And that’s all he actually finally ends up being. Simply… some dude.
The irony is that he does even have a face mannequin, which is seen briefly in Resident Evil 7 and might be mined from the sport’s recordsdata. (See the picture under. He appears like a rejected Peter Parker idea.) And to be honest, Capcom isn’t precisely identified for consistency in character visuals throughout the Resident Evil sequence. Simply take a look at the weird and muscly evolution of Chris Redfield as he morphs between numerous variations of “generic white male military-trained protagonist.” However Chris Redfield nonetheless has a really outlined character and id inside the sequence, and is probably one of the crucial memorable Resident Evil characters regardless of not having a really notable or memorable face.
Criticisms of Evan from Resident Evil 7 got here from his remarking on inane issues, whereas having nothing to say within the sport’s extra excessive pressure and emotional moments. Yeah, tacky dialogue is par for the course in Resident Evil, however this sport concurrently wished you to attach with the character and be the character whereas actually failing to embody both one. It turns into way more distracting that the sport tries to do each as an alternative of simply leaning into one or the opposite. He ought to have both been a silent protagonist, or had a full emotional and reactionary vary to all conditions.
And Resident Evil Village follows go well with. Ethan Winters is as soon as once more a person on a mission; motivated and pushed by the demise of his spouse and kidnapping of his daughter. However regardless of this very clearly outlined background, predetermined character, and emotionally motivating elements, Ethan’s emotional reactions disappear utterly once they matter probably the most.
Ethan Winters is so forgettable that my spouse stored calling him Evan Winters as an alternative. It grew to become a working joke between us, till I began unironically calling him Evan and forgetting his actual title. I dismissed this as a hiccup with the same names till I lately noticed a number of opinions for Resident Evil Village additionally confer with Ethan Winters as Evan. If the principle character of the final two mainline Resident Evil video games had been extra memorable, maybe individuals wouldn’t be goofing on his title as such.
All proper, sufficient with the Evan Winters jokes, let’s get right down to brass tacks.
Main Resident Evil Village Spoilers Observe
All through each Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village, Ethan is a punching bag for brutally violent therapy in first-person, which is all mystically healed because of his contact with the mildew. In RE7 particularly, these moments had been particularly surreal in VR. Getting your personal arm sawn off is kind of an expertise whenever you’re in that immersive state. Fortunately a number of staples to place all of it again collectively, and he’s good as new. There’s additionally an non-compulsory scene the place Jack Baker takes Ethan’s leg, which is equally reattached with out a lot fanfare.
From the opening moments of Resident Evil Village when Ethan cuts his hand on a barbed-wire fence, I knew he was in for yet one more sport of brutal therapy. Certain sufficient, a number of of his fingers are quickly bitten off, he has hooks impaled via his palms, which he escapes from by simply type of pulling them out and tearing gashes via his fingers, and his different arm will get sliced off by Woman Dimetrescu’s claws, all simply inside the first few hours of the sport. I also needs to notice that when he reattaches his arm, his reduce coat and shirt sleeve additionally bizarrely heal again collectively, which is defined by a reveal on the finish of the sport, I assume.
In the long run, you uncover that Ethan has truly been lifeless all alongside, killed by Jack Baker early in Resident Evil 7’s story. The Ethan we’ve been enjoying as since isn’t solely contaminated by the mildew, however a creation of it. This explains his insane skill to heal, although it doesn’t clarify Ethan’s full ignorance of the truth that he’s been brutalized and comes out of those encounters comparatively unscathed. He doesn’t appear to know he’s contaminated by or a creation of the mildew, however is concurrently utterly unmoved by the truth that he has reattached a number of limbs? The person’s actually been quartered, however his emotional depth doesn’t appear to acknowledge this in any respect.
It’s clear Resident Evil Village needs you to really feel some form of means concerning the “Ethan truly died years in the past” reveal, however his emotional vary has been lifeless for the reason that starting, so it doesn’t land in fairly the way in which the sport intends. Capcom can’t fairly determine whether or not Ethan has his personal id or is a clean surrogate for us, the gamers, and that unevenness makes it onerous to care about his therapy and destiny. That’s additional sophisticated by Resident Evil Village truly having third-person cutscenes, all of the whereas nonetheless going to nice lengths to obscure his face.
Within the last moments of Resident Evil Village, Ethan is proven through third-person cutscene—once more, from awkward angles that conceal his face all through—after the ultimate boss battle. He arms his daughter off to Chris, accepting his destiny as intertwined with that of the Megamycete mildew—seeing as how he’s a assemble of it, in spite of everything—and blows each himself and the Megamycete core up, together with the whole thing of Resident Evil Village’s titular village.
However Ethan’s sacrifice feels unearned. It’s not our sacrifice, it’s his. We’re ripped away from this participant surrogate and compelled to look at from a distance because the shell we had been simply parading round in makes this grand gesture. It does so with out displaying us Ethan’s face, and with out permitting us to attach with him as a personality separate from us, the participant. In these last moments, when Ethan might have used a human id all his personal, it robs each the participant and Ethan of a significant second.
As a substitute, the sacrifice is made by nothing greater than a participant avatar with all of the emotional vary of a screaming potato—a personality who by no means acquired to be way more than the participant’s window into this world. Actually, Ethan issues so little that the statue within the Resident Evil Village Collector’s Version is of Chris Redfield. The demise, journey, demise once more, and sacrifice of Ethan Winters is memorialized by a brooding statue of a man that didn’t have the respect to really inform Ethan what was happening within the first place. It’s a cool statue of the latest model of a staple Resident Evil fan-favorite character, however it highlights Capcom’s priorities. Chris Redfield is the memorable character that folks will fork over $220 for (or $1800 in Japan for the model with Chris’ jacket).
The Tragedy of Ethan Winters
The true tragedy of Ethan Winters is that his character is a vital keystone inside the Resident Evil franchise, but he’s so forgettable. The tragedy of Ethan Winters is that he was hollowed out to make room for the participant. The tragedy of Ethan Winters is that he was a blood-filled punching bag designed to be brutalized whereas being robbed of any type of emotional vary to make gamers join with him in these moments. Ethan Winters is you. Ethan Winters is me. Ethan Winters is all people who performs Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village. Till he’s not. However what’s left after the participant leaves him behind is a forgettable husk of a personality that deserved higher.
Ethan Winters is lifeless. Lengthy reside Evan Winters.