***Spoiler Warning: This article goes into depth regarding Resident Evil: Village’s main story. If you don’t want it spoiled for you, come back after you’ve beaten the main campaign. ***
A towering force of a woman dressed like she’s off to a southern ball, she grabbed the imagination of the internet as tightly as she would the throat of her prey as soon as she was introduced. New and old Resident Evil alike couldn’t wait to see how she played into the story. The internet at large, meanwhile, had a thirst-fueled field day with the iconic-ness of her design.
Pretty much everyone was expecting her to stand aside the likes of Mr. X or Nemesis as one of the series’ most iconic villains, as it was revealed early on that she too would stalk players as they roamed the halls of her castle. And with all the marketing she received, everyone also hoped Lady Dimitrescu would be the be-all end-all villain of Resident Evil: Village, haunting the nightmares of any who struggled to escape her grasp for hours on end.
With the game now out and in the world, though, it’s painfully clear this was never the intention Capcom had for her.
To be sure, Lady Dimitrescu plays a crucial role in Village. She serves as the first major boss of the game, standing as an intimidating force for protagonist Ethan Winters to struggle against at every turn. She also receives some of the best character development of the boss villains, with journals and set pieces used to display her imposing strength and the control she commands over her vampiric daughters.
Topping it all off is the fact that she controls what is arguably the best-designed area in the game. Castle Dimitrescu – the looming, gothic castle which feels like it’s lifted straight from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel – is designed with a level of detail and care other areas simply don’t offer.
And yet, despite these strengths, her section in the game is painfully brief. She’s only around for a few hours at best, stalking Ethan through parts of her castle before facing him in a monstrous and mutated form. There’s no room left for her to come back later either, as she is quite literally pounded into dust by the end of the boss fight.
It’s a sad fate for a character that saw such love from the gaming community, but it’s also nothing new for Resident Evil villains. More often than not, the series’ antagonists are one-and-done obstacles for the heroes to overcome. They’re there to set up climactic set pieces, or to help keep the terror offered by the games as varied as possible.
Likewise, Capcom can’t really be blamed for handling Lady Dimitrescu this way. They’d designed her, and decided on her role in the game, long before she gained internet fame. Even if they knew how much people wanted her to be the main adversary, they couldn’t exactly redesign the game to feature her more prominently without scrapping a majority of what they’d put together.
To leave her behind after only one game, however, seems like a waste of potential. At a time when the series is innovating and redesigning itself, it’s more important than ever to embrace hot new villains like Dimitrescu and give them proper room to steal the spotlight. The series needs her and the hold she has over the fandom, especially if they’re going to keep testing new ideas.
They wouldn’t even have to try that hard to bring her back into the fold. Through DLC set before her confrontation with Ethan, they could dive deeper into her side of the story and explore her role in the group of Village’s main baddies. After all, her dialogue makes it sound like Ethan is far from the first “visitor” to come to the village or her castle, and their experience would no doubt set the stage for plenty of tall lady-inspired terror.
Heck, they could even bring her back whole-hog to star in another game further into the timeline. She wouldn’t exactly be the first video game villain to return from the dead through some manner of MacGuffin-ry, and fans would be happy to have her back to serve as a proper adversary.
Again, Capcom shouldn’t be blamed for Lady Dimitrescu not getting the spotlight she deserved. Her adoption by the internet and gaming community as an icon of the series wasn’t something they could’ve predicted, and it was just as likely that she would go on to be yet another mutated monstrosity to take down.
As it stands though, Dimitrescu deserves so much more, and Capcom can’t afford to let this opportunity pass them by. She could easily serve as a new face for the series, and may well bring in a legion of fans willing to stick with the franchise through all of the new ideas it plans to offer.