Resident Evil 7 may be the newest installment in the Resident Evil franchise, but it has already asserted itself as one of the best installments in the series. And part of that has to do with the Baker family, and how they revolutionize the horror genre in video games.
Admittedly, it’s a little odd to claim that a secondary antagonist is the greatest villain in the entire Resident Evil universe. Especially when there’s Albert Wesker who is arguably the villain of the who series and the antithesis of Chris Redfield who, along with Leon Kennedy, is the ipso facto hero. But being the most notorious antagonist doesn’t always mean that they’re the greatest villain.
What do we typically get with villains in Resident Evil? They’re megalomaniacal leaders of an evil order/corporation hell bent on either taking over the world or creating a new race of super humans. Granted that’s an oversimplification. But most of the time it feels like our heroes are paired off against the same villain, just in a different suit. The endgame is almost always virtually the same, and how they go about it is so typical that Resident Evil had become almost predictable.
Like many of his counterparts, Lucas is very intelligent. At a young age, he accelerated in engineering, evident by his numerous trophies. He later uses his ingenuity for his twisted games where he forces his victims to figure out a puzzle that leads them to their horrific deaths.
There’s a common trope amongst the villains in Resident Evil; they either become evil because they were turned by a biochemical weapon, or driven insane, sometimes for petty reasons (looking at you Simmons). Though Lucas was controlled by Eveline, it wasn’t Eveline’s influence that made him insane. No, Lucas was a psychotic killer long before the Bakers ever met Eveline.
If you read Lucas’s journal during the game you can see that even as a boy he exhibited his psychotic neighbor. In his journal, Lucas admitted tricking one of his school bullies, Oliver, into coming over for a fake birthday party where he proceeded to lock the boy in the attic with a remote. Lucas would later hide the remote from his sister Zoe, leaving Oliver to die.
In the main storyline, Lucas had already been freed from Eveline’s control before Ethan Winters arrived at the Baker residence. Before the main events, Lucas made a deal with the unknown organization that created Eveline for a serum that would break her control. In return, he would spy on his family and Eveline. Though Lucas was freed he made no attempt to save his family or help stop Eveline. Instead, Lucas continued to kidnap innocent people for Eveline’s “family,” but his true motives were he wanted more victims for his games.
Eveline didn’t turn Lucas into a monster, she just afforded him the freedom to become the monster he already was.
Resident Evil has some fun villains, but their main downfall is that they’re far too cartoonish. It’s hard to take them seriously as threats or to be afraid of them (which should be the main goal of a horror game) when they’re overly dramatic. Most times, they just come off like villains from a cheesy children’s cartoon rather than the diabolical psychopaths they’re supposed to be.
Lucas stands out because he’s so much more believable. There are people like Lucas in our world, and that’s truly frightening. Lucas doesn’t just kill his opponents or send monsters after them, he challenges the player to beat him in a game of wits. And regardless on whether or not the player solves the problem, even though they must endure a great deal of pain in order to do so, Lucas still wins.
In the upcoming DLC Not a Hero, Lucas Baker will be squaring off against Resident Evil’s most prominent hero, Chris Redfield. And fans of the series will only get to see more of the psychopath, and hopefully, learn more about the secret organization helping him.