When Resident Evil first launched on the Sony PlayStation in 1996, it was not the first game in the survival-horror genre, but it did have the greatest impact in years to come. Clock Tower, Alone in the Dark, and I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream were all excellent in their own ways, but the experience that was treading softly through the Spencer mansion, only to have a hunter leap through the air and decapitate Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine with a single swipe of its razor-sharp claws, was on a completely different level.
The enemies faced in that and all other games in the series became quintessential of Resident Evil. Hunters (all four variants), Lickers, Ivy, and the entire line of nearly unstoppable Tyrants were but some of the instantly recognizable bio-organic weapons (B.O.Ws) created by the Umbrella Corporation.
And yet, Umbrella did not operate within a vacuum, creating these monstrosities for their own sake. Behind almost every significant plotline in the Resident Evil universe, the fictional United States government drove the demand for these terrifying creatures. In their desire for new, unstoppable weapons of war, they lied to the public, engaged in torture, spread B.O.Ws to foreign nations, and even detonated a thermobaric device on United States soil.
Despite the presence of creatures that seek to kill you at every turn, America is the real monster in the Resident Evil series.
The Beginning of Evil
Founded in the 1960's, the Umbrella Corporation had several science-related departments, with the development of B.O.Ws. becoming the primary concern after Dr. James Marcus worked on what would become the T-Virus. The T-Virus is a mutagenic virus derived from the Progenitor virus that, when exposed to humans, makes their heart and lungs redundant, lowers brain function, and forces the host to feed to replenish energy.
In other words? It creates zombies.
By 1968, Marcus had found a buyer for the B.O.Ws in the United States Military who from then on would be Umbrella’s largest customer for decades to come. Marcus would later be assassinated by scientists William Birkin and Albert Wesker, all in an internal struggle over control of the B.O.W. work. This research was worth an immeasurable fortune in the long-term, as such weapons were desired by and paid for by the United States government and, later on, by other nations.
US Government's Complacency In Torture Of Civilians
The first game in the series took players to the Spencer mansion, not far from Raccoon City - where the second and third game take place. There, the Umbrella Corporation spent years working on human test subjects, one of which was Lisa Trevor, an American woman abducted by Umbrella and used for decades as an unwilling test subject in an unknown number of B.O.W. tests to further scientific research.
The existence of Trevor was no secret among those working in the mansion. In-game archival material points to the American government being fully aware of her existence, but unconcerned as her forced inclusion meant advancing research at a faster pace. Trevor was a fundamental component of the development of the first Tyrant Virus, and later, was discovered to have the Golgotha Virus (G-Virus) within her as well.
Without a doubt, Lisa Trevor is the most tormented and abused individual in the Resident Evil series, and the American government remaining complacent in her ongoing torture in order to facilitate B.O.W. development, along with the numerous nameless test subjects that cycles through the Spencer mansion, is a terrible crime.
Government's Disowning of Umbrella and Detonation Of Thermobaric Missile On U.S. Soil
Resident Evil 2 in 1998, and the remake in 2019, clearly show Racoon City as completely dependent on the Umbrella Corporation. Many citizens are tied to the plants owned by the company for employment, and the Police Chief was all but a formal employee himself of the company.
More importantly, we learn that the United States government has been double-dealing, both with Umbrella, and when that is not done in a satisfactory way, with Umbrella’s leading scientists. All the problems that lead to the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3 trace back to 1998, when Dr. William Birkin attempted to sell the G-Virus to the U.S. Military, who were more than happy to accept the offer in order to conduct their own private experiments.
Before the transaction could be completed, we know that Birkin was taken out by the Umbrella Security Service lead by Hunk from the bonus content following the main game. The rest is history, as Birkin injected himself with the G-Virus, and the T-Virus spread to the city through rats in the sewers.
At this point the United States government had a few options about how to proceed, mainly falling into variations of coming clean with the public, which would have been a political problem for everyone involved, or sweeping the problem under the rug. They chose the latter, through the detonation of a thermobaric weapon on the city to contain the outbreak. In the blink of an eye, Racoon City was wiped off the face off the map, along with any potential survivors.
At this point, the United States government was successful in keeping the focus of the blame squarely on Umbrella, and the corporation was gradually shutdown entirely, though remnants of its work and those most involved simply moved operations elsewhere.
The Blowback of B.O.W. Development with Homegrown Terrorist Cells in Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 offers a different take on the American government, where the plot revolves around rescuing the kidnapped daughter of the President of the United States - meant to be used to later kill the president and conquer the world.
The last part is a little supervillain-esque, but the much of the game speaks to the atrocities committed by the American government on foreign soil. This terrorist cell has risen up as a blowback to the actions against the global community, by using the same B.O.W. and techniques as the government. By definition, "blowback" is a term used by the American Intelligence community to refer to the unintended consequences of a covert operation that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.
This parallels the allegations of CIA assistance to Osama bin Laden, around the time when the United States provided hundreds of millions of dollars per years in aid to the Afghan Mujahideen insurgents. These insurgents were combating the Afghan Marxist government and the Soviet army in Operation Cyclone, from 1979 to 1989. The blowback in this case came when the war ended, and bin Laden organized Al-Qaeda primarily against the United State. While it is only an allegation that has not been substantiated, seeing its parallel theme in these games is sufficient.
It is no secret that the real American government has a history of interfering with foreign nations. In Latin America alone, the United States government was involved with arming a regime change in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and accusations of activity in many others. When one visits any of these nations, it is not difficult to find anti-American sentiment.
This theme continues in the Resident Evil going forward, where B.O.Ws appear in foreign nations to the effect of massive destabilization and the death of innocent civilians.
B.O.Ws Become Privatized, Proliferated Throughout Africa and China to Destabilize Those Regions
Umbrella shutting down hardly slowed down the sale of B.O.Ws, and a black market popped up instantly to sell the creations to governments outside of America. Development of newer, deadlier viruses continued through groups unofficially connected to the American government, but run by their most powerful members, such as Derek Clifford Simmons, the National Security Adviser to Adam Benford - the U.S. American President.
When Benford announced that he would be making public the actions of the government at Raccoon City, Simmons released the C-virus to assassinate the president, killing him and several other people.
Later in 2013, even greater developments in the virus allowed for intelligent B.O.Ws to be crated in Lanshiang, China, known as the J’avo. All of these projects trace back to the American government, bringing nothing but death, destruction, and destabilization to whatever area is unfortunate enough to come into contact with them.
The Narrative Comes Full Circle in Resident Evil 7, As The Evil Comes Home
Eveline, codename E-001, was a B.O.W. created by The Connections and the main antagonistic entity within Resident Evil 7. As the story progresses, we learn that virtually all environments in the game have been tainted and usurped by Eveline, absorbing all people and places into her molded reality.
We slowly learn that she was en route to South America to avoid the squads of the new Blue Umbrella Corporation that sought to destroy such dangerous B.O.Ws, but that she ended up instead in the United States.
Similar to how previous B.O.Ws were disrupting other parts of the world, Eveline was a threat that could have spread even further than she already had.
As we play the game, we come to learn that Lucas Baker was in talks to sell the E-series data to an unknown third party. Since he betrayed The Connections, this third party could easily have been another American organization, although this is speculation based upon the past behaviors of the government in each of the past games.
For nearly five decades in the fictional history of the series, the American government has been working from the shadows to drive the research and devilment of B.O.Ws. All of this is to further an agenda of having the most effective and dangerous tools for war.
The cost has been thousands of innocent lives, as each outbreak of a virus in different locations tends not to leave any survivors, and the nuclear containment of Racoon City literally wiped the place from existence. But for a select few, the prize has been massive profits and the acquisition of the most dangerous, if not also unstable, weaponry on the planet.
With such an ever-present involvement in the most immoral aspects of the series, what might the developers be hinting at in their stories? If one looks for parallels to today’s American government, they are sure to find some. War is immensely profitable for a select few individuals, and the current administration.
As of 2018, the United States was recorded as spending $649 billion annually on defense spending, more than the next seven countries combined at cumulative total of $609 billion, many of which are allies. Does the American government manufacture warfare? If the best-selling book by Al Gore, The Assault on Reason, and others like it are to be believed, Iraq was invaded not for any connection to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but for oil.
Of course, it may simply be coincidence that the fictionalized American government in the Resident Evil series is behind every major disaster that befalls the world. However, it probably isn’t. In one game we may have written it off as coincidence, but in the 24 total games in the series that echo the same themes of the American government behind the drive for larger and more dangerous B.O.Ws, we would be fools to think that that characterization is anything but deliberate.