Resident Evil Village ending explained — what the hell was that?

Resident Evil Village ending explained — what the hell was that?
(Image credit: Capcom)

Resident Evil Village, undoubtedly one of the most anticipated video games of 2021, perplexes audiences up until the very last minute. As we mentioned in our Resident Evil Village review, we absolutely loved the game’s stunning visuals and memorable boss fights. And now that enough time has passed for fans to play the game at least once, it’s finally time to wrap our heads around what happened.

Even after over 10 hours of vicious lycan attacks and mind-numbing scares, the ending can seem confusing to even the most devoted fans of the franchise. You’ll find major spoilers for some of the biggest plot points in Resident Evil Village below, so if you haven’t had a chance to play the game yet, beware.

Resident Evil Village ending explained: How it starts

If we're to understand what happens at the end of the game, we need to first establish what led up to the confusing conclusion.

Towards the end of the previous chapter, Resident Evil: Biohazard, Ethan Winters defeats the main antagonist Eveline, and then he and his wife Mia get rescued by fan favorite Chris Redfield (now working for Blue Umbrella). 

After the events that took place in the Baker farm, the Winterses went into hiding for three years, before they had a baby girl named Rosemary and subsequently moved to Eastern Europe. 

Resident Evil Village ending explained — Ethan's got a new place to explore

(Image credit: Capcom)

Unfortunately for Ethan, that “happy ending” didn't last very long. At the start of Resident Evil Village, Ethan and his wife are once again treated to a visit from their dear friend Chris, who promptly shoots Mia. Chris and his guys in the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, a United Nations sanctioned task force) then kidnap baby Rose and stuff an unconscious Ethan into a truck. The game truly begins as Ethan finds himself awake in the middle of a forest following a violent attack on the truck that he was being transported in. 

Ethan stumbles across a mysterious village where he's ambushed by a horde of villagers, including rabid lycans. In an attempt to save his daughter from the grasps of evil, Ethan has to embark on a journey that sees him encounter inhuman creatures as well as various horrors mysteries. 

Resident Evil Village ending explained: Mother Miranda's role

Towards the end of the game, we learn that the oft-spoken about (and never seen) village "goddess" Mother Miranda impersonated Mia at the start of the game. Her intent was to stealing young Rosemary, and using her as a host body to revive her own long-deceased daughter, Eva. Miranda’s plan consisted of turning Rose into crystals and dividing her into four glass flasks, which are then distributed amongst Miranda’s four adopted "children:" Lady Alcina Dimitrescu, Donna Beneviento, Salvatore Moreau and Karl Heisenberg. 

The Duke, the game’s jolly merchant, informs Ethan that “Rose’s essence is still intact” and that his daughter can still be saved by collecting all four flasks and placing them in the village’s ceremonial altar. Why Miranda separated Rose into the flasks is never explained.

After defeating all four “Lords” and retrieving all four pieces of his daughter, Ethan finally meets Mother Miranda, the Big Bad of the game. But Ethan doesn't beat her outright. Instead, Mother Miranda rips his heart right out of his chest, which should have killed him.

Resident Evil Village ending explained — Mother Miranda

Squint to see Mother Miranda. (Image credit: Capcom)

However, instead of dying, Ethan is greeted by a vision of Eveline, the antagonist from the previous game, who reveals that he had been dead all along and has been infected with the E-virus since being killed by Jack Baker in the opening hour of the previous game. Finally, the game explains how Ethan was able to reattach his forearm earlier on in the game using just willpower and a few drops of medicine. 

While Ethan is coming to terms with his existence (or lack thereof), Chris fights his way through Mother Miranda’s defenses and makes his way into her laboratory. There, he comes across evidence of how Resident Evil Village (and Resident Evil: Biohazard) tie into the larger universe. From Miranda’s notes, we can discover that she had previously been a mentor and inspiration for Dr. Oswell E. Spencer, who later went on to establish Umbrella Corporation and develop the T-virus, which kicked off the events of the entire Resident Evil franchise. Spencer also appeared to have gotten the idea for Umbrella’s logo from the altar located within the village.

As Chris rescues the real Mia from the lair, Ethan clings to life, defeats Miranda and puts a stop to her evil plans. Dying, Ethan volunteers to stay behind and sacrifice himself to detonate the source of the mold virus known as the Megamycete while Chris, Mia and a newly returned Rose escape in a helicopter. 

Resident Evil Village ending explained: post-credits scene

Resident Evil Village’s post-credit scene shows an adult Rosemary Winters taking the bus to visit Ethan’s grave on his birthday. Rose is seen wearing her father’s jacket, which Ethan wrapped around her right before his ultimate sacrifice, as well as Mia’s wedding ring, which we saw earlier in a hallucination created by Donna Beneviento. 

After laying down flowers on his headstone, Rose’s sentimental moment is rudely interrupted by someone who appears to be a BSAA agent. The agent mockingly calls her “Eveline”, which angers Rose as she threatens to use “powers that even Chris isn’t aware of.” 

Resident Evil Village ending explained: Rosemary Winters

(Image credit: Capcom)

As the cutscene shows, Rosemary is clearly being closely monitored by the BSAA as during her encounter with the agent, we can hear a sniper state that he has “a clear shot” to eliminate Rose if necessary. However, the two quickly resolve the misunderstanding, get into a car, and drive off as the agent notes the uncanny resemblance between Rose and her late father. The scene ends as we see a lonely silhouette slowly making its way towards the car. 

Now this is where things get really interesting. If the player were to use Photo Mode during this closing cutscene to zoom in on the mysterious figure, they can discover that it’s actually a model of a jacket-less Ethan Winters approaching the vehicle. Whether or not this was done intentionally remains to be seen, since it’s perfectly possible that Capcom just wanted to use a silhouette of a generic average-height male character. However, this does beg the question, could Ethan somehow still be "alive?" Since he's been technically dead all along, it's definitely possible. 

Resident Evil Village ending explained — will Ethan come back?

Just like in the movie The Sixth Sense, the game foreshadowed the big reveal that the protagonist was dead all along on multiple occasions. The first instance of this came in the very beginning of the game as Ethan was putting baby Rosemary to sleep at home - interacting with Ethan’s laptop reveals a diary entry in which he states that he still feels that a part of him “is still trapped in that hellhole in Louisiana,” where he first contracted the E-virus from the Baker family.

Another curious observation that we came across occurred when Ethan was captured by Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters. After the 9 ft tall vampire lady takes a sip of his blood, she rather rudely mentions that it tastes a little “stale."

Resident Evil Village ending explained — Ethan Winters

(Image credit: Capcom)

Shortly afterwards, as soon as the protagonist defeats Dimitrescu, Ethan comes across the village hag, who upon hearing that he had “almost died” began pondering about how a man could be “almost dead.” Weird.

Although the game’s ending clearly indicates that “the father’s story is now finished," we expect that in future games, the player will very likely be in control of Ethan’s daughter Rose. However, even though the next Resident Evil development will be a part of Rose’s story, we can’t rule out that Ethan may still have some sort of role to play.

It’s very possible that given the circumstances of Ethan’s off-screen death, we can expect a comeback or a small cameo somewhere down the line. After all, this is the Resident Evil universe, where characters have a tendency not to stay dead. As my colleague Henry T. Casey told me, “when you don’t see the corpse, you can’t bet against a return."

Resident Evil Village ending explained - what’s next?

Given Resident Evil Village’s post-credits scene, we can expect that Rose will take on Ethan’s role as the main protagonist. We may see Rose developing the “Eveline-esque” powers that Miranda hinted at, with Chris Redfield adopting some sort of “mentor” role to help her control her powers. 

Resident Evil Village ending explained

(Image credit: Capcom)

However, with development of Resident Evil 9 still likely years away, it’s unclear whether we’ll see Chris follow up on his investigation of the BSAA allegedly using bioweapons in a very Umbrella Corporation-esque fashion. 

We’re still expecting the release of the multiplayer Resident Evil Re:Verse as well as any possible DLCs, so the plot of the ninth game will largely depend on what will be revealed next. However, with Biohazard being released in 2017 and Village being released in 2021, we may well have to wait until at least 2025 to find out.

Denise Primbet
News Writer

Denise is a Life Reporter at Newsweek, covering everything lifestyle-related, including health, relationships, personal finance, beauty and more. She was formerly a news writer at Tom’s Guide, regularly producing stories on all things tech, gaming software/hardware, fitness, streaming, and more. Her published content ranges from short-form news articles to long-form pieces, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not playing horror games, she can be found exploring East London with her adorable puppy. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen.