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Resident Evil 7: biohazard arrives in stores by late January. Because of this, many players can’t wait to step into the new protagonists’ shoes and scare themselves to death. However, this doesn’t mean that players cannot get a taste of the horrors that await them in RE7. Players can have a taste of the terror to come before they get their hands on the game this January 24 by downloading Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour for free on PSN and Xbox One.
But the promotional material does so much more than just giving us a sneak-peek into Resident Evil 7. The promotional material gives us clues to know the origin and nature of the Baker family, RE7’s malevolent antagonists. The clues lead us right back to an old enemy: Umbrella. The clues all point to their involvement in RE7’s backstory.
In my recent posts, I mentioned that the developers didn’t want to focus on a “big bad villain” archetype for their seventh game, instead requesting a return to the franchise’s roots: Horror. I love this, and I think they’re going to do a great job at bringing back true survival horror. However, I think there’s so much more implied as well.
Based on what I’ve seen from the promotional materials and the lore of the Resident Evil Universe, I think Umbrella might be somehow involved in RE7.
Taming the Tyrants
The Umbrella Corporation was founded by Lord Oswell E. Spencer, Sir Edward Ashford, and Dr. James Marcus. Umbrella’s goal was simple: godhood. Lord Oswell Spencer made this explicitly clear in his soliloquy with Wesker:
“I was to become a god! Creating a new world, with an advanced race of human beings…”
The Umbrella corporation sought to complete that goal from the company’s foundation. With the discovery of the Progenitor virus, a viral agent that gave its hosts a myriad of super-powers, Umbrella was one step ahead in the global race to improve humanity through gene-altering viruses. Many factions within Umbrella sought to improve on the Progenitor virus, creating different strains like the t, G, and c-viruses. Among these viral agents, the most stable and successful strain is the dreaded tyrant virus, Umbrella’s darling discovery and the bane of Raccoon City.
The Fall of Raccoon
Raccoon City and its surrounding regions are the setting for the first three Resident Evil games. Due to a series of complicated incidents, the tyrant virus contaminated Raccoon city’s water supply and turned a majority of its populace into flesh-eating zombies. Apart from the hordes of walking dead, Umbrella also released its terrible bio-organic weapons (BOWs) throughout the city to see how they would fare against the Raccoon city survivors. One the BOWs released by Umbrella is called Tyrant. Tyrants were implacable, humanoid bio-organic weapons, capable of passing as an uncannily tall, pale human being. Six Model 103 tyrants were sent into the city to get rid of all evidence that could connect Umbrella to the incident. However, they failed.
Due to this horrendous incident, the US government decided to destroy the town with a nuclear warhead, preventing any further outbreak of the t-Virus to occur.
This incident led to the fall of Umbrella. Evidence of Umbrella’s culpability piled up and up, until the U.S. government suspended Umbrella’s market trading license. The company eventually became bankrupt. For all intents and purposes, Umbrella was finished.
Almost twenty years after Umbrella’s downfall, there was no sign of the organization ever returning. In its place were terrorist groups and shady government organizations, all hellbent to unlock Umbrella’s little secrets. These factions struggled to fill the power vacuum by taking Umbrella’s place, all continuing Umbrella’s quest for godhood. By 2017, Umbrella’s story would be told in pharmaceutical circles as a kind of ghost story to keep scientists from pushing genetic boundaries too eagerly.
Enter RE7’s main antagonists, Jack Baker and his family. The Bakers saw something odd one night. There was a helicopter hovering in the distance. One of the Bakers took a picture of it, scribbling a note on the back of the paper. The note read:
“Are they watching us from that helicopter?”
It was not an ordinary helicopter. An umbrella logo adorned the helicopter’s side!
Right off the bat, we can speculate about a few things. It’s very possible that Umbrella experimented on the Bakers, given that the promotional materials inform us that the Bakers harness unnatural powers. There’s a possible connection between the Bakers’ abilities and Umbrella’s presence in the region.
Apart from that, we also know that Umbrella always built their facilities in secluded areas, be they forest regions or underground facilities. RE7’s setting is in the swamps and forests of Dulvey, Louisiana. There was also the fact that the Bakers were a “quiet family” as well. With no one looking for them, Umbrella has free reign over their bodies for experimentation.
At this point, I think it’s implied that Umbrella experimented on the Bakers, but to what extent?
Let’s examine the evidence.
The Tyranny of Jack Baker
Jack Baker is an interesting character. While he may look like a normal person, in RE7’s gameplay trailers, we see Jack portrayed as a relentless figure, seeking out the player character in order to kill him. One clip shows Jack brandishing a shovel as he chases the terrified player-character around the mansion. The player-character gets away, reaching a narrow and dimly-lit hallway, only for Jack to destroy the wall separating him and his quarry. Not only is Jack relentless, he is also stronger than he seems.
The promotional materials also show us that Jack is nigh-invulnerable. Like a true Resident Evil game, the player finds a pistol somewhere in the mansion. He tries to shoot Jack in the face, only for Jack to playfully laugh, chiding him: “That gun is not gonna work the way you think it will!” as he continues to pursue the player. Furthermore, in the promotional video, “Immortal”, the player-character guns down Jack. He seems to go down due to the punishment he took. When the player shoots Jack, he starts shaking like an epileptic as blood comes from his mouth. Finally, Jack goes down. But this only offers a momentary sigh of relief, as Jack rises back up after a few seconds, anger in his words: “Oh, no, no, no! Now you gonna get it!”
“Oh, no, no, no! Now you gonna get it!”
Finally, in another promotional material, the player burns Jack alive inside his car. For a few seconds, it looks like Jack would not get up from that. However, not only does Jack get out of the car, he gets out and comes after the player as he burns to a charred crisp.
To summarize, the promotional material for RE7 all show that Jack:
- Looks like a normal person;
- Is a relentless figure;
- can burst through walls with ease;
- Is nigh-invulnerable to small-arms.
If you saw these details and asked yourself, “Hey! Almost all of these sound like the Tyrant, Mr. X, from Resident Evil 2!” You better lock your doors, because you might be a mind-reader.
Yes, based on the photo on the third floor of the Dulvey Haunted Mansion, and Jack’s relentless, implacable, and invincible nature being so similar to the T-103 Tyrants, we can hypothesize that Jack Baker and his family are the successors of Umbrella’s Tyrant project.
Welcome to the Family, Jack!
Based on the Umbrella corporation’s implied experimentation and involvement with the Baker family, and the similarities between Jack and the tyrants of the old Resident Evil games, I think it’s safe to say that Jack and his family are infected with a virus similar to the one that gave birth to the tyrants. Due to this unidentified agent, Jack is invulnerable to conventional arms and obtains super strength and mobility, while retaining all of his intelligence. The best suspect for all these powers would be the t-Virus.
Tyrant: A Study
First, we need to define what tyrants are first. The Tyrant virus affects (human) hosts in two different ways. According to the Resident Evil wiki, the first and normative way the virus affects people would be brain degeneration, necrosis, and the rise of cannibalistic urges in those infected. The second, rarer way it affects its hosts would be to give the host an enhanced skeletal-muscular frame and superhuman strength, speed, agility, and durability. Also, while the virus degenerates the user’s intelligence, these humanoid creatures were still capable of limited thought processes. Umbrella calls these beings tyrants.
While successful tyrants like the T-103 series could nearly pass off as normal human beings, people would look at them and wonder why they were so tall, silent, and pale. Furthermore, the t-Virus limits a tyrant’s thinking capacities, only making them obedient drones of Umbrella.
This isn’t the case with Jack. Though mentally disturbed, Jack acts as a human and thinks as a human. The virus did not alter his anatomy in the way the virus alters a tyrant.
In short, Jack gets all the benefits of the Tyrant virus without its degenerative effects.
This leads me to conclude that the t-Virus was not the direct agent involved, since the t-Virus would only turn Jack into a typical Tyrant. Instead, I think Jack was infected by an improved version of the t-Virus, and that the reason for Umbrella turning up in Louisiana’s backwater swampland was to observe how Jack and his family reacted to the agent.
One Step Closer to Godhood
Lord Oswell E. Spencer created the Umbrella Corporation, with the end-goal of achieving godhood. All the pharmaceutical smoke and mirrors and all the covert espionage and all the bio-organic weapon experimentation were for that purpose: transcendence. If Umbrella was responsible for the Bakers’ mutations, then Umbrella is one step closer to their founder’s goals.
Jack Baker is invulnerable, strong and keeps coming back. Not only that, he looks like a normal human being. If Umbrella had discovered this years ago, they would have laid a different path for the human race.
Of course, I’m not blind to Jack’s insanities. Jack and his family are insane. I’m not sure if their madness started before or after their infection. But I suppose that’s why it isn’t godhood just yet: there’s so much to improve, and Umbrella would need to work to remove that degeneration.
The Umbrella Corporation casts a long shadow in all Resident Evil games. Their subtle comeback in Resident Evil 7 doesn’t merely hearken back to the old days, but rather, truly pushes the overarching story onward. In spite of being destroyed by the world, Umbrella still has one final card up its sleeve, and this card is its ticket to godhood. We wouldn’t know until Resident Evil 7: biohazard comes out next year if my ideas are justified. However, until then, here’s something to keep you Resident Evil fans thinking.
Resident Evil 7: biohazard comes out worldwide next year on January 24,2017. You can play it on PS4, Xbox, and PC.