Resident Evil Village finally hit store shelves earlier this month and marked the franchise’s second foray into the first-person genre. When Resident Evil 7 launched back in 2017, this shift in viewpoint served as a major departure compared to what players had come to expect from the series. However, after seeing how Resident Evil Village concluded, I’m inclined to believe that Capcom may be looking to mix things up once again and ditch the first-person perspective for the eventual Resident Evil 9.
Spoiler Warning: Plot details related to the entirety of Resident Evil Village can be found within this article.
If you have beaten Resident Evil Village for yourself at this point, then you’ve witnessed the biggest piece of lore concerning the future of the Resident Evil franchise: the death of Ethan Winters. First introduced in Resident Evil 7, Ethan essentially serves as a sort of everyman that could fill the void of the player within the game's world. Although Ethan was a well-defined character that had his own personality, voice, and characteristics, Capcom also refused to ever reveal his face as a way of keeping players grounded and believing that they were actually filling his shoes.
Upon reaching the end of Resident Evil Village, however, it’s clear that Capcom now seems to be taking things in a different direction. Rosemary Winters, who is Ethan’s daughter, is seemingly going to be the protagonist that we should expect to play as within Resident Evil 9. Even though this isn’t directly stated, it’s heavily implied given that the epilogue focuses on her character after an apparent time jump. Not to mention, Capcom kind of spells out for us that Ethan will no longer be the player-controlled character by stating after the credits, “The father’s story is now done.”
To me, the fact that Ethan is now going to be out of the picture means that the first-person perspective might be going with it. Again, Ethan’s character was one that was solely created out of the shift to this perspective in the first place for Resident Evil 7. With him being gone, to me, this signals that Capcom could be doing away with that style of play as well. Whether or not the third-person style would be coming back -- much to the joy of many fans, I would reckon -- remains to be seen, but it would make quite a bit of sense. Capcom has shown with both the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 that it knows how to keep making compelling horror games in this style.
It is worth stressing, however, that just because Rose isn’t going to hide her face in perpetuity as her father did doesn’t mean that the game necessarily needs to ditch first-person play. After all, there are sequences in both Resident Evil 7 and Village where players control Mia and Chris Redfield, both of which happen to be characters whose faces we see quite often. Still, if the storytelling in future Resident Evil titles is going to become more character-focused as we have seen in previous installments, it might make more sense for Rose to step into the spotlight in a greater way.1comments
If I had to personally guess what Capcom might do next, I really do think the studio will opt to do away with the first-person perspective. I think that this style of play still has a lot of mileage left in the tank, but with Ethan now out of the picture, I really do believe that this is an indication from the game's developers that something new is coming. I could easily be wrong about this hypothesis, and honestly, I kind of hope that I am. I've really enjoyed the first-person viewpoint and I'd like to see how it can evolve moving forward.
If there’s one thing that we have learned about Resident Evil over the years, it’s that Capcom is always looking to experiment and try new things with this series. Whether that includes leaning into action elements for Resident Evil 4, making a fully VR-compatible title with Resident Evil 7, or abandoning the core of the franchise entirely with Resident Evil 6, this is one video game franchise that doesn’t stay static for long. Whether or not Capcom feels like Resident Evil 9 stands as another good point in the series to mix things up once again we won’t know for quite some time. But if Rose is going to be the character in which Resident Evil centers around in the future, the best way to have fans become attached to her is to put her in front of the camera.