Resident Evil Village has captured the imaginations of survival horror fans since the game’s launch on May 7. And while much of the attention was centered on the game’s tall vampire lady, Countess Alcina Dimitrescu, during the lead-up to Village’s release, players have since become similarly obsessed with the game’s other characters, including Ethan Winters, Chris Redfield, the residents of House Beneviento, and Karl Heisenberg.
Having played through Resident Evil Village in its entirety, we were left with many (spoiler-heavy) questions, ranging from “What the hell is up with Ethan Winters’ jacket sleeve?” to “How do people know Chris Redfield punched a boulder one time?” to “Uhhh, is Karl Heisenberg a Nazi?” (In case you missed the Karl Heisenberg-might-be-a-Nazi discourse, folks online were wondering if Heisenberg was a Nazi due to Capcom’s character design choices, including his style of dog tag.) So we reached out to Capcom and Resident Evil Village director Morimasa Sato for some answers.
Sato obliged our random questioning, which you can read below.
[Warning: The following interview contains spoilers for Resident Evil Village.]
Polygon: Karl Heisenberg refers to Chris Redfield as a “boulder-punching asshole” in a boss fight. How does Heisenberg know that Chris Redfield punched a boulder? (Also, what is the Japanese-language version of “boulder-punching asshole”?)
Morimasa Sato: It was added in as a bit of fan service, so I’m unfortunately not able to provide you with a deep answer, but I’d like to believe that the battle between Albert Wesker and Chris Redfield is something fairly well-known in that universe. Heisenberg knows of the tragedies that befell Ethan during his time in America and also knows about the BSAA as well. He also acquired news about the world through the Duke, so it’s quite possible that he received intel about Chris’s past through those means.
And for those that are curious, he refers to Chris as a “gorilla” in the Japanese version.
When Ethan gets his hand cut off and reattaches it (shirt sleeve included), that seemed like an unusual and very deliberate choice. Were you concerned that players would be confused by Ethan’s magically healing jacket? Was there internal discussion about that?
It was definitely a scene implemented to create shock and disbelief. We wanted it to be this odd, warped sense of familiarity for those who played Resident Evil 7 biohazard, since it’s very similar to the experiences Ethan went through at the Baker estate. For those who didn’t play the prequel, we wanted to create that same sense of impact from RE7. We wanted to weave and connect the two installments in subtle ways such as this, and I think players will be satisfied with how it all comes together when they finish Resident Evil Village.
As far as Ethan’s shirt and sleeve … let’s just say Ethan has some impressively lightning-fast sewing skills. *laughs*
What were your design intentions with Lady Dimitrescu? Did you want her to be attractive? Grotesque? What were you trying to convey to the player with her size, stature, and fashion?
There were multiple design plans as far as “the boss of the castle,” all designed to inspire dread and intimidation through some means. Contrary to the final product, some of the designs bordered on ugly and straight-up grotesque visuals.
However, we knew from fairly early on that we wanted the castle to be populated and owned by dangerous and powerful women. There was a discussion about taking a different approach to instilling fear, but also maintaining allure, mystique, and beauty. The idea of creating an incredibly tall lady was the final outcome in bringing all those pieces together.
In terms of her fashion, we wanted it to be a combination of modern design with gothic overtones, so we drew inspiration from fashion seen around the Great Depression.
Was Lady Dimitrescu a jazz singer in a previous life, based on the CD (pictured above) found in the Winters’ home?
Those of you who found and read through the files within the game will know that Lady Dimitrescu isn’t originally from the village and was someone living in the outside world before being taken in by Miranda. I’ll leave it up to the player’s imagination whether she was a jazz singer in a past life, but she visually most definitely fits the part.
Players seems to love the House Beneviento section of the game. Is this an experiment that we might see more of in future Resident Evil games (or another IP)?
First of all, it’s an honor to hear so much fanfare surrounding the game. The development team, including myself, do scour through and read a lot of player feedback and reactions. It’s always reassuring when much of the sentiment is positive.
I think there’s a lot to take away from any idea we’re able to bring from concept to fruition, whether it’s deemed successful or not. I think it’s always important to take a look at what we’ve built in the past and learn from it, but to not be bound by it either. We want to make sure we’re able to continue to create things that leave a lasting impact on the player. It’s great to hear House Beneviento was so well-received, and we hope we’re able to create other fresh new scenarios in the future that may be different, but have that same lasting impact.
[Ed. note: Sato declined to answer our other question about House Beneviento and its nightmare baby out of an abundance of spoiler-related caution. Its origins and inspiration will remain a mystery for now!]
Is Karl Heisenberg … a Nazi? (Just asking because of his dog tags, which seem like a very specific design choice.)
Karl Heisenberg is completely unrelated to Nazis.