Resident Evil is arguably at its best when it has players walking a fine line between being able to confidently defend themselves while at the same time being susceptible to tense encounters. This balance is achieved when ammo is low enough that the player needs to micromanage it accordingly and decide when a bullet needs to be fired, as well as when a bullet should be preserved if an enemy can be evaded. Not every Resident Evil game needs to be scary to be fun, and indeed, many aren’t scary at all, but Resident Evil protagonists are the main culprits for why Resident Evil entries may or may not be all that horrible.
That’s not to say the franchise isn’t gruesome and bloody at times, regardless of which protagonist is in charge at that moment. However, someone as capable as Chris Redfield hardly has an air of fear about him. Many Resident Evil protagonists are defined by their combat experience and how elegantly they are able to dispose of bioweapon monstrosities, which inherently makes enemies less frightening if the protagonist isn’t frightened by them. There are many reasons Resident Evil’s Ethan Winters is preferable as a new protagonist, but his innate fear makes him the most unique by far.Ethan Winters is the antithesis of most Resident Evil protagonists
Ethan definitely demonstrates daring, especially in Resident Evil Village when it’s his daughter he’s chasing, but the main difference between him and characters like Chris is the fact that he’s an ordinary civilian. Leon Kennedy was a green fighter in Resident Evil 2 as a new Raccoon City police officer, but even he possessed a strong determination to help people.
The remake did a great job of showcasing his emotional responses, but he was still well equipped to deal with what he had to deal with. Ethan, on the other hand, was a truly nondescript individual who could be portrayed as fearful and repulsed by what he encountered. Mia was a compelling reason for him to keep moving forward and not just abandon her on the Baker estate, but he also just needed to stick around for the narrative to really continue.
Otherwise, Ethan doesn’t seem like the type of person to strut around the Baker’s Louisiana home with a shotgun at the ready and mow down molded enemies. Ethan clearly has more experience with firearms than most regular people, as he doesn’t show a problem with handguns, shotguns, and a grenade launcher, for example, but that seems like a necessary oversight to ask players to do the same. combat be as varied as possible. .
Resident Evil probably could have gotten away with even less weapons than it provided Ethan, considering how few real enemy types there were in Resident Evil 7. Ethan could have been trained by Chris between Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village for him to use more weapons in the sequel, but he’s still not a soldier or a war-torn individual.
Still, Ethan’s anonymity makes him unique beyond the roster of legacy characters Resident Evil has latched onto, and making him an ordinary citizen was the smartest choice Capcom could have made in its grisly horror. Having a new protagonist in Resident Evil 9 as an ordinary citizen will no longer make it a unique premise as a result, but it would still make it more dynamic compared to entries where STARS members could easily blast their way through hordes of bioweapons.