In a previous interview, director Morimasa Sato explained how the team implemented a village as the game’s central theme, and how they created different areas, characters and experiences with that theme in mind. Footage from the trailers shows a lonely village tucked away high in the mountains with architecture reminiscent of Northern European styles. But specific details remain a mystery, covered deep under the village’s snowy landscapes.
Today, IGN can exclusively reveal the game’s map, which teases a wide array of locations within the village for the first time.
Four locations are highlighted by emblems, of which one reads Castle Dimitrescu, the location of the PS5 exclusive Maiden demo. Other landmarks include a factory, windmills, and a reservoir which houses an image of a giant monster. The latter looks like it could recreate a situation similar to Resident Evil 4’s iconic battle with lake monster Del Lago.
There seem to be more similarities with Resident Evil 4 – which also takes place in a village, for starters. By introducing new enemies and fresh gameplay elements for each area of the game, Resident Evil 4 felt like much more than just a village. Sato sees this variety as one of the 2005 classic’s key components, and he seems to be going for the same approach with Village.
“When you hear the word ‘village’, you might imagine quaint houses lined up along a street, but that’s not really enough to make a videogame out of,” Sato tells IGN. “Especially in a horror game, I think it’s important to keep providing new experiences along the way. Within the village, it’s important to keep delivering new surprises to the player.”
Resident Evil Village: The Evolution of Lady Dimitrescu and Her Daughters
Sato sees the game’s characters as the most important factor of creating a memorable village. With Lady Dimitrescu residing in Castle Dimitrescu already revealed, examining the map makes us wonder not only what the remaining areas will look like, but also what kind of villains await us there.
While the potential for a diverse selection of areas definitely has us excited, there seem to be some elements that unify the village as well. Visually speaking, the snow creates a common thread between the different locations, but interestingly, Sato tells us that this wasn’t part of the team’s original plan.
“We went to Europe for research during spring one year, but due to an unseasonable cold snap, the scenery was covered in snow,” he says. “This inspired us to implement snowscapes into our game. We use snow not just for visual presentation, but as gameplay elements as well.”
First Look at Mother Miranda
Mother Miranda appears to be a character who plays a huge role in the village, especially for the people who live there. While her character remains a mystery, in footage that has been released so far, you can see villagers chanting her name in some kind of ceremony, and Lady Dimitrescu can be seen talking with Mother Miranda over the phone.
According to Capcom, Mother Miranda is “a presence worshipped by the villagers”. Today, we can reveal a portrait of Mother Miranda that is perhaps used as an item of worship.
The portrait looks like an in-game object that seemingly portrays Mother Miranda as a deity. Sato acknowledges that she was named “mother” in the religious meaning of the word, but when we tried to ask more about her, he retained a poker face.
“For Mother Miranda, I think it’s better for the players to find out for themselves by playing the game,” says Sato. “But I’ll say this: Mother Miranda and the inner side of her character are extremely important factors in the game.”
While the portrait makes it difficult to decipher Mother Miranda’s appearance, the concept art below reveals more.
You can see protagonist Ethan Winters holding a rifle, while series mainstay Chris Redfield is carrying a baby. The masked character below them is none other than Mother Miranda. Her fierce look is as menacing as you might hope in a game like Village.
Art director Tomonori Takano tells us that crows were the main motif for Mother Miranda’s design.
“The mask resembles a crow’s beak,” Takano says. “As a symbol of horror, crows function as a theme for Village in its entirety as well, and they appear in the actual game. Since she has a symbolic role within the village, we implemented that same design theme for Mother Miranda.”The baby that Chris carries is Rosemary, Ethan’s daughter. In Village, Ethan’s main goal is to rescue his daughter.
Ethan was also the protagonist in Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, but Sato hopes to show more of Ethan’s personal side by portraying his full story this time. Both Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village play from a first-person perspective, which means that players don’t get to see much of Ethan’s appearance. The concept art above is a rare example in which Ethan is visible, albeit with his face turned to the side.
Resident Evil Village PlayStation 5 Screenshots
“Ethan is a character without a face, which makes him very difficult to design,” Takano laughs. “If I make his character art… he still does not have a face. That makes it pretty hard, but even in first-person there are moments in which you can see his clothes. We’ve also challenged ourselves within the cutscenes, so I hope you look forward to that.”
Check out the real-life clothes which Takano used for reference when creating Ethan’s design in the gallery below.
Resident Evil Village: Ethan Clothing Gallery
You’ll get to wear that outfit when Resident Evil Village is released on May 7. For those worried about the last-gen version, be sure to check out our PS4 Pro gameplay footage, and if you can’t wait to get your blood drained by Lady Dimitrescu, don’t miss our feature on the towering villain either. Look forward to much more exclusive Resident Evil Village content throughout April as part of IGN First.
Esra Krabbe is an editor at IGN Japan. He would totally wear Ethan’s clothes.