Resident Evil Village DLC Should Have Us Play As The Castle Dimitrescu Maid

One of Capcom’s first and – let’s be real – only announcements at E3 2021 was news that downloadable content for Resident Evil Village is in the works. Given the game’s massive success, the publisher has decided to capitalise on its popularity with new stories inside this slice of the survival horror universe, and who can blame it?

We know nothing about what these expansions will entail, so it’s far too early to draw any conclusions, but even now I’m unsure whether I want to see more from this world in its current state. Ethan Winters’ final adventure felt like a simultaneous introduction and swansong for the European village filled with American accents, introducing us to its struggling populace as they slowly but surely fall victim to a demonic curse that tears them apart, all in the name of a family that has served Umbrella ever since its inception. It’s a fascinating reinvention of the series’ foundations, likely aiming to shape the original Raccoon City outbreak in the years to come.

Anything could happen, with the base game’s ending thrusting us forward almost two decades in time as Rosemary Winters finds herself abiding by the whims of yet another sinister corporation while we’re left to fill in the blanks as the screen fades to black. This is the continuation I want to see, an adventure that leaves the isolated village behind in favour of whatever grand vision Capcom has planned for the series. I imagine Rose will share the spotlight with Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield in whatever Resident Evil 9 turns out to be, acting as a connection between the reboots we’ve come to love and the modern universe of 7 and Village, since they seem to exist in the same timeline once you break it down. This ambitious crossover should be the focus.

But if we were to return to the titular village, Lady Dimitrescu and her trio of daughters deserve another chance to shine. Despite being the main focus of marketing material, the tall sexy vampire lady (please step on me etc) is killed off in the first couple of hours – the first member of her family to bite the dust as Ethan Winters storms through a castle to murder her children and steal a bunch of priceless treasures. He also gets his arm chopped off in some of the most unintentionally hilarious examples of gore in gaming history, with line delivery that I’m still not over. Just pour some magical herb juice on your stump and glue your hand back on, it’s all good. Putting the hilarity aside, I feel there’s an untapped well of humanity hidden inside Dimitrescu Castle that requires a more deft touch to capitalise on, one that an isolated piece of downloadable content could deliver without resorting to campy boss battles and over-the-top violence.

This is where a maid of the manor comes in. By placing us in the shoes of an everyday housekeeper, we would be free to monitor the lives of Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters long before they meet their doom at the hands of Ethan Winters. Notes and logs scattered through the complex across the main campaign hint that this place has been occupied for centuries, with staff coming and going alongside prisoners who unfortunately found themselves as unwilling subjects to experimentation, ultimately taking the form of the insectoid daughters we see roaming about the place. It’s evil and homicidal, but Lady Dimitrescu is acting from a place of empathy, desperate to find companionship in a life where she is no longer valued by Mother Miranda. So she decides to create her own offspring, a responsibility that will allow her to matter, to give her existence a purpose beyond occupying a mansion that is far too big for one woman, no matter how tall she is.

Being able to view this from a new perspective, and watch the timeline of events unfold as we’re inevitably thrown to the grinder would be wonderfully tragic. Compared to her siblings, Lady Dimitrescu is easily the most human character. She expresses immense jealousy towards being rejected by Mother Miranda, and a genuine sense of grief as her daughters are taken away from her at the hands of Ethan Winters. She’s angry, misunderstood, and confused – all factors that culminate in her own demise. This is Resident Evil, so I can’t blame Capcom for turning her into a giant monster, but if downloadable content can turn back time, use that opportunity to make her more human than ever.

Village doesn’t have anything that lives up to the brilliance of the Baker Family. Towards that game’s conclusion it becomes clear that our horrifying villains are good people being controlled by powers far greater than they could imagine. They ask Ethan for help, to rid them of this curse even if it means killing them. It’s a sombre moment, and I wish Village was willing to engage with storytelling like this instead of descending into pompous campiness so quickly. A meaningful expansion set away from the main campaign could remedy this, especially if the housekeeper character I mentioned earlier is able to communicate with and understand the Dimitrescu family, perhaps even sympathising with them as she learns where they came from and why exactly they do the things they do.

Finding common ground before a tragedy would be fantastic, and explore narrative in a way this series never has before. No weapons should be around, with the exception of a broom you use to sweep the floor or a tray of food to serve the aforementioned family. The core mechanic should be eavesdropping on conversations, or finding yourself in parts of the castle you have no business exploring. Games are an inherently curious medium, and we’ll want to discover things, so have this be our downfall. Perhaps our friendship with Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters is jeopardised once we uncover the true nature of their existence. I’m a well of ideas for this, so please just hire me, Capcom.

In all seriousness, horror is far too often about over-the-top violence and grotesque imagery, when the scariest things are often the most human and personal ones, situations that force us to make tough decisions that will stay with us forever. We will remember Lady Dimitrescu not because of her final form, but because of what she stands for in the wider culture and her still developing impact. If Capcom is smart, it will make her more than a meme – it will make her into a character we can both empathise with and despise in equal measure. Take away our guns and give us a maid outfit, only then will the Dimitrescu family truly shine.

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