One of my favorite parts of the game is learning the ins and outs of development, and specifically any plot points that may have changed prior to launch. “The Tragedy of Ethan Winters”, a comprehensive digital art book included with the collector’s edition of Resident Evil Villageprovides a ton of those juicy details, including the appearance of franchise anti-hero Ada Wong in an early version of the story and unused concepts for the game’s villains.
Ada Wong is one of the most enigmatic figures in resident Evil traditions. She has appeared frequently throughout the series, assisting the protagonists for as long as she deems necessary before overtaking them in pursuit of her own goals. According to the developers, there were early plans to include Ada in Resident Evil Village as the “mysterious masked person” who rescues Ethan during his first encounter with the Four Lords. She was going to conduct her own investigation of the village, but was ultimately cut from the game due to “a number of conflicting storylines”.
In official artwork, Ada is depicted as a rogue-like figure wearing a plague doctor’s mask and wielding a crossbow.
This design can also be seen in early storyboards which show Ada coming to Ethan’s aid and allowing him to escape from the Four Lords. She played a similar role in Resident Evil 4, save leon kennedy of early game antagonist Bitores Mendez.
Lady Dimitrescu has a striking figure, but she wasn’t always the elegant giantess we know and love. Resident Evil Village. An early design had the “bewitching vampire” wielding giant garden mowers chasing Ethan through his castle, possibly as an homage to Scissorman of the Clock tower franchise.
The rest of the game’s villains have undergone similar changes. Donna Beneviento was originally an entire family of ghosts, with “skinny parents” and “kids wearing weird masks”. Moreau has always been a “disgusting newt”, but early sketches showed him with a parasite on his back that was once a girl he loved. And Heisenberg, rather than a solitary figure in his factory, was conceived as twins experimenting on their elderly mother.
Before Capcom chose Mother Miranda as the titular colony matriarch, Resident Evil Village had a few very different big baddies waiting at the end of his adventure. The first was an unnamed leader of the region’s religion, who would transform into a dragon-like creature that was eventually used for Lady Dimitrescu’s boss fight. The second was Heisenberg’s biological father, whose mechanical mutation was similarly used for the boss fight with Heisenberg in the final version.
Just like the Resident Evil 4 Merchant it refersThe Duke is perhaps the most mysterious part of Resident Evil Village. In the final game, he’s just a big dude following Ethan around, buying treasure and cook delicious meals, but early drafts made him the fifth lord of the village. Either way, The Duke was always intended to be a chunky dude in a determined effort by Capcom to allow its artists to get more creative with designs.
Resident Evil VillageThe art book is chock full of neat little bits like this. Lightning tower! It was planned to switch the story between modern and medieval times. Early security room designs used a camera, rather than a typewriter, as save points. The old lady version of Mother Miranda was originally the one the Four Lords followed. Miranda was only a lowly researcher at one point in development. Early concept art of the ‘birth’ of lycans shows them locked in the mold and emerging like a biting butterfly. And once upon a time there was a great lycan who controlled two of the Townthe wolf-like vârcolac enemies.
Phew! Now that I’ve caught my breath, do yourself a favor and check out “The Tragedy of Ethan Winters” for yourself if you found the Collector’s Edition. It’s a wonderful look back at the development of this fascinating game. And I haven’t even touched on all of them Resident Evil 7 concept art, which offers an equally deep dive into the making of this game. I’m hoping Capcom releases a physical edition at some point, as I’ll be first in line.