Vampires, werewolves, zombies, gargoyles… Ethan Winters is in for one hell of a time, it seems.
Right from the get go, Resident Evil has been a series about bioweapons- about horrifying monstrosities that exist only because of science experiments and mutations gone wrong. With that, Capcom’s survival horror series has cast a very wide net over the years- after all, with reasoning as general as that, you can describe pretty much anything your imagination can drum up as a “bioweapon”. And sure enough, RE has used that to its advantage. From the mundane like zombies and giant spiders to the imposingly terrifying like Tyrants and parasite-infected brainwashed people to the “what the hell is that” like Code Veronica’s Nosferatu and Resident Evil 6’s t-rex Derek Simmons, Resident Evil has thrown all manner of enemies at players throughout the last two and a half decades.
2017’s Resident Evil 7 was a clean slate for the series in more ways than one, and a byproduct of that was a keen lack of enemy variety, but it seems that’s an issue that’s being quashed beyond a doubt in its direct sequel. Resident Evil Village is promising to conjure up a multitude of enemies, of sizes and shapes and styles that the series has never seen before, and based on everything that we’ve seen so far, it’s doing so in very exciting ways (and, according to the developers, in ways that will be consistent with the series’ overarching lore). Of course, there’s plenty that Capcom haven’t confirmed yet, and a lot of it will likely be kept secret so that players can experience things themselves, but details on plenty of the enemies we will be facing in the game have been revealed- and here, we’re going to talk about that.
THE BIG BOSSES
We’ll start, of course, with Lady Alcina Dimitrescu, who seems to be the star of the show based on everything that we’ve seen so far. Standing at 9 feet and 6 inches tall, she’s an imposing foe in more ways than one, taller even than the likes of Mr. X and Nemesis by quite a significant margin. Inspired by and based on vampire motifs and stories, lady Dimitrescu might not be an actual vampire in the traditional sense (unless Resident Evil is going completely off-track from its science fiction narrative roots)- though she definitely has all the traits, from feeding on the blood of humans to living an unnaturally long life to having extremely pale skin.
How does she function in gameplay, though? Well, we’ve assumed for some time now that Lady Dimitrescu will be yet another one of Resident Evil’s classic stalker enemies, and as it turns out, that’s exactly what she is. At least during the castle section of the game, Lady Dimitrescu will dynamically be seeking out and hunting Ethan constantly as she roams the halls and rooms of her labyrinthine abode. She’s also got retractable claws, Tyrant-style, so if she does catch you, Ethan’s going to have plenty to deal with. Of course, as a pursuer enemy, she’s going to be unkillable, and at most will be temporarily subdued to give you a chance to flee- though we’re assuming there will be a boss fight at the end of which you will be able to permanently kill her (or otherwise take her out of the picture).
And Lady D won’t be the only threat when you’re in the castle. Witch-like bloodthirsty women that she refers to as her daughters are also going to be after Ethan, and it seems they, too, will be dynamically stalker the castle to seek you out- at least that’s what IGN’s recent hands-on preview suggests. Encounters against the daughters have also been described as dynamic and varied in said preview. Apparently, each daughter works alone, but all of them have a common weakness, which you’re going to have to figure out and exploit if you want to beat them. Given that they’re faster and more ferocious than Lady Dimitrescu, though, they’re not exactly going to be pushovers either.
Of course, though Lady Dimitrescu has a lot of say over what goes on in Resident Evil Village’s titular, well, village, there are other authorities that exert their power and influence over the area as well. Four main leaders from four different factions are seemingly in charge of everything that goes on in the village. One of these is obviously Lady Dimitrescu. One is Beneviento, though what exactly that entails remains to be seen. Then there’s another major villain who seems to be named Moreau. Finally, there’s Heisenberg.
Capcom have, by now, officially shown off the map of the village that the game is set in, and it seems that each of these four major villains is going to have a significant portion and location of the game dedicated to them. Lady Dimitrescu has Castle Dimitrescu, of course. Beneviento has House Beneviento, which (based purely on the basis of its name) could be ripe for some classic haunted mansion vibes, which is something that Resident Evil has obviously always excelled at. Moreau seems to have Moreau’s Reservoir, which might be an outdoor location that lets you enjoy beautiful scenery while scaring you out of your pants. Finally, there’s Heisenberg, who’s likely going to be in charge of Heisenberg’s Factory.
In the most recent Resident Evil Village trailer, we saw quite a bit of one of the many new locations in the game, which looked like a network of caves and mines. This, most likely, is Heisenberg’s Factory- primarily because we saw quite a bit of Heisenberg himself in these environments during the trailer as well. Something else that’s interesting is that, as one quick glance at Resident Evil Village’s map will tell you, nestled between Heisenberg’s Factory and Moreau’s Reservoir is a lake that seems to house a massive sea monster. That clearly has “boss fight” written all over it. There’s no way that creature isn’t going to be the star of a major boss encounter, which will likely call back to the Del Lago fight in Resident Evil 4.
What’s even more interesting about the four big bads in Resident Evil Village is that- well, they’re apparently not the big bads. They’re major villains, but they’re not calling the shots. They’re all working for a mysterious masked woman who is known only as Mother Miranda, who seems to be the leader of this secretive, shadowy, and clearly powerful cabal of mutated freaks and villains. Who exactly is she? What are her powers and abilities? What role does she play in the story? How does she connect to the series’ overarching lore, since she’s clearly been around for a while, and been a pretty major player all this time? Is she being set up as the next major villain of the series, or is her character and her story going to be wrapped up within Resident Evil Village’s framework itself? There are a lot of questions, but not a lot of answers. When it comes to Mother Miranda, it seems we’re just going to have to wait and see.
But of course, even in terms of the “smaller” grunts you will fight in Resident Evil Village, there’s apparently quite a bit to look forward to. Resident Evil games generally tend to have wide varieties of enemies and enemy types, but even so, each one tends to position one certain kind as its primary, flagship enemy. In the classic RE titles, it was Zombies. In Resident Evil 4, it was the Gonado. In Resident Evil 5, it was the Majini. In Resident Evil 7, it was the Molded. And in Resident Evil Village, it looks like Lycans are going to be the primary threat. Whether or not they’ll be as pronounced as prevalent as some of the other examples mentioned just now remains to be seen, but it’s clear that they’re going to get a lot of screen time.
And based on all that we’ve seen so far, they’re clearly going to be very formidable foes. Where Lady Dimitrescu is inspired by vampires, these Lycans take a lot of cues from classic werewolf tropes. They’re fast runners, which means they can close large gaps in the space of a few seconds. They’re also great jumpers, which means they can leap and bound at you from afar with lunging attacks. Lycans will attack and hunt in packs, which means the threat of their ferocity is going to be manifold, which means isolating them and picking them off one by one is going to be the best strategy. There’s also going to be several different kinds of Lycans- some of whom can even wield weapons (we’ve seen one particularly large one taking a swing at Ethan with a monstrous sledgehammer, for instance) and, according to a recent preview on the official PlayStation Blog, even ride horses (though it remains to be seen whether the latter is just for a couple of cutscenes or something that will op up in combat encounters as well).
If you find yourself overwhelmed, you will also have the option to barricade yourself inside of houses and structures, block windows and doors by pushing furniture in front of them, and make a desperate stand against their relentless swarms. But though they are pack hunters, Ethan will often run into lone Lycans as well. When they’re isolated, they won’t be as overtly aggressive, seeing as they prefer to attack in groups. You might spot one perched on the roof of a building and silently staring you down while you walk past it, and in these moments, you’ll have a decision to make- should you kill the lone Lycan while you have the chance but run the risk of attracting a larger swarm? Or should you let it be, avoid confrontation, and save bullets, knowing that even that lone Lycan could attack you when you least expect it? And as if all of that weren’t enough, it seems Lycans can also ambush players by hiding in bushes and waiting for you to walk past them.
But of course, Lycans won’t be the only “grunts” that you’ll be coming up against in Resident Evil Village. We know for a fact that zombies are also coming back. The Maiden demo and a couple of the trailers have suggested that at least in Castle Dimitrescu’s dungeons, we will be encountering zombies- and zombies who can wield swords, no less. Meanwhile, recently, Capcom have also unveiled gargoyle like enemies- winged monsters who can dart about in the air and use their mobility and agility to attack you in unpredictable ways. Finally, rumours have also suggested that we might see more of the Molded, in many more different shapes and sizes.
Based on everything that Capcom have said about and shown of Resident Evil Village so far, one thing is abundantly clear- in the enemies department, the game seems to be pulling no punches. If each of these encounters is as tense and challenging, each of these enemies as frightening and formidable, and their design as varied and imaginative as it looks to be right now, RE fans are going to be in for a treat. Of course, we’re more than a little curious to see how these gargoyles and werewolves and vampires and what have you fit within the lore of the series. Capcom have said that Resident Evil Village is being positioned as a celebration of the series’ 25 year history, and that it’s going to have a lot of connections to past entries in the franchise as far as its story is concerned. There’s also the fact that we’ve seen Umbrella Corporation’s logo quite prominently a few times in the game’s trailer- all of which suggests that there’s going to be a very good narrative reason for why and how all of these new kinds of bioweapons exist in the world of Resident Evil.
More than anything else, however, we’re just excited to be able to take on these foes- and hopefully come out on top. Thankfully, with Resident Evil Village launching on May 7 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia, we don’t have to wait for that too long.