The man behind the Resident Evil series and The Evil Within doesn’t cater to the common horror trope of the helpless screaming female. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Shinji Mikami talks about writing strong, independent women, and why he didn’t want RE‘s Rebecca Chambers in his game.
Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield — the Resident Evil series proper is a haven for strong female characters overcoming situations that would turn a normal human being into a quivering mound of jelly. They’re prime examples of Mikami’s mandate to only write strong, independent women.
“I don’t know if I’ve put more emphasis on women characters, but when I do introduce them, it is never as objects. “In some games, they will be peripheral characters with ridiculous breast physics. I avoid that sort of obvious eroticism. I also don’t like female characters who are submissive to male characters, or to the situation they’re in. I won’t portray women in that way. I write women characters who discover their interdependence as the game progresses, or who already know they are independent but have that tested against a series of challenges.”
While later games in the series overseen by directors other than Mikami attempt to maintain the strong female hero trend, games like Resident Evil: Revelations haven’t shied away from flashing some skin.
There is one female character from the original Resident Evil that Mikami isn’t happy with — S.T.A.R.S. member Rebecca Chambers.
“If I had to name the woman character I most disliked in my games it would be Rebecca Chambers. She’s submissive, she’s not independent. I didn’t want to include her but the staff wanted that kind of character in the game, for whatever reason. I’m sure it made sense to them. And in Japan, that character is pretty popular.”
Chambers’ popularity have carried her quite a long way. She scored a main protagonist role in Resident Evil Zero, and she’s one of only four former S.T.A.R.S. members still alive, along with Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and Barry Burton.