Posted in Unit 9

Historical context character research (Unit 9)

Some characters have been around since the start of the gaming era, developing to fit around recent social situations or political views. Characters that have been around for 20+ show some very obvious changes – either due to the development of technology and graphics or the social/political views of the new world. The character I am going to research is Chris Redfield – one of the originals from Resident Evil franchise.

Chris Redfield has been around since Resident Evil 1, being one of the originals that still get used within all the different types of media. It’s safe to say he is one of the most well-known and popular characters in the horror genre of gaming; even if you haven’t played the Resident Evil games or watched the films you still know who is. Chris was first created in 1998, meaning his character has gone through a lot of appearance changes but also personality changes, something I will go into detail later on.

Shinji Mikami was the character artist that created Chris Redfield, along with Leon (another key character within the RE franchise) but after Resident Evil 4 Shinji Mikami left the company and stopped developing the Resident Evil franchise: Jun Takeuchi taking his place. After Shinji’s departure, Jun and Capcom wanted to ‘explore Chris further‘, which led to Chris Redfield getting his own game and solely focusing on him and his story – a little.

Chris Redfield can be seen as the ‘typical tough guy’ with his straight cut military hair and a love of bowie knives, which was true at the start of the resident evil franchise and something Capcom wanted to depict at the time. The development of Chris Redfield is quite drastic as in Five they ‘increased (Chris) muscle mass in the game was to show that he had trained heavily in order to fight the series’ powerful villain Albert Wesker bare-handed’ which people deemed to unrealistic as his arms were massive compared to how he looked in the previous games. In 6, Chris ‘has been redesigned slightly, as he now has a slightly disheveled look due to his alcoholism, and has been slimmed down to a much normal musculature along with a slightly shaved head’. They got the looks of Chris from the Gamecube version of the game as they wanted to ‘make a realistic facial structure’

What I enjoy about their development of Chris is how they made him tackle real situations like alcoholism, a subject not spoken much within the gaming industry, along personal loss of his team and the betrayal of Albert Wesker – someone he deemed a friend and mentor. These events have certainly hardened Chris and made him someone who does not trust people easily only if they are in his team and are his close friends.


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