Thursday, February 11, 2016

Resident Evil: What Actually Happened?

Since you can choose either Chris or Jill at the beginning of Resident Evil, it leaves the sequels ambiguous as to who did what during The Mansion Incident. StallionDan has posted a list of the canon order of events according to the Resident Evil Archives. Interestingly, the canon story is not playable in any incarnation of Resident Evil, as you must play as either Chris or Jill for the entirety of the game and thus complete every event as either one character or the other.

"RE Archives has a list of who did what in REmake.

- Jill and Barry investigate dining room at start, Jill encounters the zombie eating Kenneth and it follows her for Barry to shoot it. They then find Wesker missing in the main hall.
- Chris solves the puzzle of the emblem key with the spinning blade statue.
- Chris encounters zombie Forest on the balcony and kills him.
- Chris finds Richard being cared for by Rebecca and fetches the serum.
- Jill finds the shotgun and gets saved by Barry in the room with the lowering ceiling.
- Jill encounters Barry in the study area with fishtank
- Jill plays the piano and solves the puzzle.
- Jill fights Yawn in the first battle.
- Chris finds the book of curse, he solves the 4 masks puzzle and fights the Crimson Head from the coffin.
- Chris hears a radio message outside from Wesker about Lisa Trevor
- Chris encounters Lisa Trevor in the cabin.
- Jill hears Barry "talking to himself" (secretly Wesker) in the dormitory.
- Jill is attacked by and kills Neptune
- Jill fights plant 42 after making V-Jolt, Barry saves her with the flamethrower.
- Chris finds an assault shotgun in the dormitory (I guess this means that is where Richard died...eaten by Neptune. That shotgun belonged to him, but the archives do not directly state his death method)
- Chris finds supplies from Wesker on returning the the mansion.
- Chris encounters the first Hunter
- Chris fights Yawn the second time.
- Chris hears Rebecca's scream and saves her from the Hunter.
- Jill sealed the floodgate and revealed the entrance to the caves.
- Jill finds Enrico and sees him get shot.
- Chris encounters Lisa Trevor in the caves (after the cave elevator raises strands you below), he runs and escapes through the cabin exit, he makes his way to the mansion and opens the doors under the main hall stairway.
- Chris meets Wesker and they both fight Lisa Trevor by her mothers grave.
- Jill finds out Wesker worked for Umbrella, transports the nitro.
- Jill confronts Wesker in the laboratory where Barry ends up shooting Wesker but the Tyrant is still freed and kills Wesker.
- Jill frees Chris from the cell.
- Jill kills the Tyrant on the heliport."

Similarly, News Bot weighs in on the nature of series canon and the canon path in Resident Evil 2. The game has four scenarios - Leon A, Claire A, Leon B, and Claire B. The story changes depending on which character is chosen first (which then becomes the "A" scenario) and which character is chosen second (who then plays out the "B" scenario).

"The canon is a literal mixture of all four.

For example, Leon takes the G-Virus from Ada and throws it away. This is a combination of Leon B (Ada fakes her death) and Leon A (Leon throws away the virus) but you don't see the scene in the game.

Leon also encounters both Kendo and Marvin. Claire fights G-Birkin's first form. Claire A/Leon B is commonly viewed as the canon order simply because their most important events are canon.

Kamiya points out the nature of how the game cannot be viewed as a linear narrative:
Q3. "Leon A & Claire B" and "Claire A & Leon B." Which scenario combination could be considered the true one? 
A3. Both of them, of course. To digress, we really wanted to show off the merits of the zapping system, so we cut out elements of diversion from this game. We did this because by having 4 different zapping story scenarios, we felt that players would have to play through the branching story a number of times in order to see everything. Should players have time, it would be interesting to see where things differ among scenarios. 
Q23. In the ending of Leon's A scenario, how did Sherry know him? 
A23. We never drew it in the scenario, but there must have been a conversation with Leon and Sherry since they didn't encounter each other until the freight train departed. In other words, Claire must have escaped from the laboratory along with Leon and told Sherry the story about this man.
Remember, BIO2 was made in a very short timeframe. There were things that were included but cut for various reasons (a scene with Leon/Claire mistaking the Tyrant for human was cut because it was more effective for the horror to just have it round a corner and attack your character with a sudden music queue). There were also things that couldn't be included due to time and budget issues, just like the first game. On top of this, there's the standard common sense in fiction that you don't need to see or read something from a direct perspective to know something happens off-page or off-camera. Games have the added caveat of things happening even if not seen while playing.

BIO3 is the first game to have a "completed" narrative, but it still uses player choice, and as a result there are various ways to view the story. Archives doesn't present a canon outline of the story. They are just overviews of the story that choose specific events because that's the only way to present the story without being confusing. BIO3's overview outright states in a postscript that it may conflict with the player's experience. Unlike the rest of the book, which is information taken directly from CAPCOM's planning and scenario documents, those story overviews are original content written by the Archives staff."

Once again, what "actually happened" according to the franchise's own history is not playable. In fact, there is no definitive history at all, with the canon list presented in Archives existing mostly as a compromise in order to tie in player choice with a definitive narrative. This is slightly frustrating!

As an aside, Mega Man X4, which is, incidentally, another Capcom game, has this same problem. You choose either Mega Man X or Zero at the beginning of the game and stick with that character until the end.

Subsequent games in the series treat both characters' stories as having happened, so you're left wondering who did what. Unlike Resident Evil, there's no comprehensive list for X4, so fans of RE's story should count themselves blessed by comparison to fans of Mega Man X's!

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