Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2014-05-03 08:04:11
The Curious Case of Chris Redfield's Steak
Look at that big, juicy steak. It looks delicious, doesn't it? Chris Redfield doesn't appreciate it in Resident Evil 6 but the audience definitely does - in fact it's the best part of the game. The way the thin layer of fat glistens...the melt in the mouth buttery texture...the virtual aroma as the slightly smoky scent wafts with a haunting pull toward your nostrils. That is one yummy steak. There couldn't possibly be anything sinister about it, right? Right?!
Having done some extensive research on the matter, I can now reveal a horrible truth about the steak Chris is eating at the beginning of the game: it's all that remains of series heroine Jill Valentine as Chris cannibalises her with reckless abandon. Don't believe me? Keep reading, little one.
It all begins in the original Resident Evil title, wherein Jill's fate is prophesised by Barry Burton, who suggests that, after almost being crushed by a falling platform, she almost becomes a 'Jill sandwich'. Later in the game, Chris, after witnessing the death of S.T.A.R.S member Brad, mentions while in the mansion's kitchen that he loves steak sandwiches if the player observes the menu.
"I could really go for one of those...but not now. Maybe in a few years," he states.
Later, in Resident Evil 5, Chris can have a conversation with Sheva in which Sheva asks him if he could ever resort to cannibalism like the Majini in chapter 4-3. Chris thinks about it for a moment and then replies:
"I would...if I had to. It'd be a lot like eating any other kind of meat if it was cooked the same way. These are desperate times."
In the Resident Evil Archives book, Capcom overtly make two references to the upcoming steak in Resi 6 - firstly by stating in a tongue-in-cheek piece on page 132 that a Jill Sandwich 'would probably taste a lot like steak' and then on page 156's trivia section stating that '[Chris Redfield's] favourite food is steak. He likes a lot of blood in it...but he hopes it isn't his own'.
In an interview leading up to the release of Resident Evil 6 Nobuo Tsumi, a programmer on the game, stated that:
"[In Resident Evil 6] Chris is a changed man...he will turn on old friends in subtle ways that only the most die-hard fans will pick up on...He has lost his sanity...and may start moving into anti-hero [status] if players read around the subject".
As he doesn't turn on any old friends in the game itself, this supports the idea that what he has done to an old friend happens off-screen - at the beginning of the game, before we get to see why he's feeling so alone and isolated and why he struggles to enjoy his steak as the weight of his actions burden his mind.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle can be seen in Resident Evil: Revelations in a few telling conversations. At one point in the game in the dining hall of the Queen Zenobia Parker says to Jill:
"Everything is set up here for a feast. It's a pity Chris isn't here to enjoy it."
To which Jill replies:
"He'll be enjoying it later. I can feel it."
Later in the game Chris says to Jessica:
"Jill and I are partners but we keep getting separated. I need to find some way for us to stay together for good."
To which Jessica replies:
"You need to become one?"
And Chris replies:
"There's a lot of Jill inside of me...but I need more."
In Resident Evil 6 Jill is nowhere to be seen and Chris is depressed. Consuming Jill Valentine does nothing to satiate his feelings for her and he clearly regrets his actions throughout the game. Remembering Nobuo Tsumi's words, in future titles Chris Redfield will start being the new villain of the series - a fate that the titles have hinted at quite boldly by having him kill and devour one of the leading members of the cast.