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Resident Evil 4 Remake Proves The Series Hasn't Been The Same Since Losing Wesker

Albert Wesker is one of the most delectably evil characters in video game history, exemplifying everything that's fun about the "Resident Evil" games. He's a megalomaniacal super soldier and mega-genius with a penchant for world-ending schemes and high fashion. He's everything you want out of a campy big bad, and the series honestly hasn't been the same since he went away.

Though Albert Wesker doesn't directly factor into the plot of "Resident Evil 4" in any major ways, his specter looms over the proceedings. He's the reason Ada Wong is investigating Saddler and the Plagas, and the game's post-credits scene hammers home that he's still the architect of much of the chaos that plays out in the series. Here, he's plotting a horrific future for humanity and completely at ease with himself. Voice actor Craig Burnatowski's smooth performance reminds us of how in-control Wesker is at all times, a calculating villain in the vein of DC Comics' Lex Luthor or Ernst Stavro Blofeld of the Bond films.

Wesker's cameo at the end of the game immediately had fans excited about the prospect of not only a "Resident Evil 5" remake, but more Wesker. That's why it came as such a surprise when the "Resident Evil 4" remake's "Mercenaries" mode launched without any sign of Wesker or Ada as playable characters. The disappointment among fans has been palpable. If the reaction to the new remake's post-game proves anything, it's that fans sincerely miss this character — and the series has been chasing the highs of his villainy ever since his demise.

Albert Wesker haunts Resident Evil to this day

After the supervillain's death at the end of "Resident Evil 5," "Resident Evil 6" boasted multiple big bads, none of whom were anywhere near as compelling as Wesker. "Resident Evil 7: Biohazard" attempted to course-correct by focusing on scares over action, and for the most part, it succeeded. Whereas Wesker is a guy who doesn't hesitate to join the fight and get his hands dirty, Eveline is a haunting figure, one who's ability to scare is linked to how sparingly she's seen in the game. If the series is to move on from Wesker, then this is the way to do it. But "Biohazard" still had a hard time leaving Wesker behind, given the reveal that his team helped to create Eveline and the weapon used to kill the final boss was named and modeled after Wesker's signature Samurai Edge pistol.

Even Netflix's "Resident Evil" series, which was written to tie closely to the continuity of the "Resident Evil" games, prominently featured the return of Albert Wesker as a major character in the series. In fact, the late Lance Reddick splendidly portrayed multiple cloned versions of the character, allowing audiences to get to know the franchise's greatest villain in a whole new light. Even reviewers who disliked the show (of which there were many) applauded Reddick's performance and the show's use of Wesker. In a show ostensibly about the end of the world and the toll it took on two sisters, Albert Wesker was still the talk of the town. It's hard not to take this as a sign that the character is in need of a comeback.

It's time to bring back Albert Wesker

Nobody wants to see the "Resident Evil" series regress, per se. The games have matured in the way they tell their stories, introducing important new familial ties and bold time jumps in "Resident Evil Village" and "Shadows of Rose." The introduction of characters like Mother Miranda have given the franchise a far-reaching origin story, opening up several new avenues for future games to explore. 

Even so, it's difficult not to miss the pure and single-minded egomania of Albert Wesker. Mother Miranda was a complex character whose twisted machinations sprang from a desire to save her family. On the other hand, Wesker is so downright diabolical that he loops back around to being genuinely entertaining as a villain. You never want to understand him, and so he's fun to hate. And that's why Capcom might want to consider bringing the character back in some fashion.

Perhaps Capcom could borrow a page from Netflix's series and clone the late archenemy. In the meantime, players can get their Wesker fix in some other places. He was added as a playable character in "Dead by Daylight," which somewhat made up for his absence in Capcom's own isometric title, "Resident Evil RE:Verse." Again, it's strange to see that Capcom is holding back on one of its greatest baddies.

There is an elegant simplicity to Wesker's particular brand of evil, one that nicely mirrors the baddies seen in the kinds of campy B movies that inspired the beloved video game series. After all, most classic creature features need a mad scientist to set things in motion, right? "Resident Evil" needs its Victor Frankenstein, its Herbert West. "Resident Evil" needs Albert Wesker.