Ada Wong and Luis Sera Need More Screen Time in Resident Evil 4 Remake
Time to stick it to the 'Ladies' Man.'
SPOILER WARNING: This piece will talk about some key events in the Resident Evil 4 plot.
The Resident Evil series is full of enigmatic characters, and has always been happy to parachute various ‘plus 1s’ in to help the core set – the Chris’, Leons, Claire’s and Jills of the world – before extracting them out of there again. Think Carlos Oliveira from Resident Evil 3, whose caring relationship with Jill (which was nicely expanded in the remake) just begged for more. There was Chris’ game-long companion Sheva Alomar from Resident Evil 5, Helena from Resident Evil 6, sulky Jake Muller (you would be too if you were Wesker’s son), and the gone-and-pretty-much-forgotten Billy from Resident Evil 0.
Resident Evil 4 also starred a couple of all-too-elusive characters – recurrent ‘Now you see me, now you don’t’ mercenary Ada Wong, and ‘Ladies’ Man’ Luis Sera. Both make only fleeting appearances in the game, with some discordant dialogue that never really makes the most of the pair. With the game soon returning in full remade form, there’ll be room to expand on several of the core characters in the game while keeping the main story intact.
Following the way in which Resident Evil 2 and 3 Remakes expanded on the tenderness (and even romance) between Leon and Ada, and Carlos and Jill, respectively, the Resident Evil 4 remake will have a similar opportunity to write up a three-way dynamic between Leon, Ada Wong, and Dr Luis Sera – one of the most absurdly underdeveloped characters in the whole series.
Our own Luke Maguire talked recently about the silliness of the Resident Evil 4 story, which very much felt like a byproduct of the ‘old way’ of Resident Evil characterisation – characters jump down from rafters, perhaps save your life, say a few disjointed bits of dialogue, act shady, then run away while our protagonist helplessly shouts ‘Hey, wait!’ after them not actually moving to prevent them from leaving. While the series will never be defined by its profound storytelling, it’s fair to say that since Resident Evil 7 it’s turned a bit of a corner, and storytelling expectations are now a bit higher than they were back with Resident Evil 4 in 2005.
Between them, Spanish scientist Luis Sera and Ada Wong have about 10 minutes of screen time in the main Resident Evil 4 story. Neither of them need much more than that, and of course it’d would be an unnatural change in form for Ada to suddenly start sticking to Leon like his biggest fangirl (which, admittedly, she kind of is), but the recent Resident Evil remakes proved themselves pretty nifty at establishing character relationships with relatively little screen time; if the same amount of effort is put into RE4 Remake, then there’s the potential here for one of the best three-way character dynamics in the series’ history.
First up, there’s the clear and obvious tyrant in the room of Leon and Ada’s whole romantic ‘thing.’ If the chemistry wasn’t palpable between these two in the original Resident Evil 2 where they first met (despite Ada’s earnest confession of love), then the remake ramps it right up with their first kiss. So when Leon and Ada reconvene in the RE4 Remake, you’d hope there’d be a little more reference back to that, or on the events of the intervening years. On the one hand, it could play out as confusion and frustration from Leon that Ada’s kept him believing all these years that she’s been dead; on the other, perhaps Ada could feel a bit miffed that Leon didn’t embark on a heroic quest to go looking for her after her ‘death’ in Resident Evil 2. Or it could be a little bit of both? Point is, there’s a complex history there that deserves to be explored.
Beyond improving on the existing fleeting interactions in the main game, Capcom can refer back to the Separate Ways bonus missions from the original Resident Evil 4, where you play several chapters from Ada’s perspective. This bonus content expanded on Ada and Luis’ clandestine business arrangement, and showcases some of Luis’ cheesily sleazy innuendos towards Ada that could use an update for the current day. Would the Resident Evil 4 Remake work if these Ada chapters were integrated into it? It’d be a bit of a pacing risk, but taking certain elements from those chapters would help embellish the characters.
In the original Resident Evil 4, Ada – a bit of a pioneer for ass-kicking women in videogames – is fairly unresponsive to Luis’ naff comments about ‘foreplay’ and other sigh-inducing advances; the best part of 20 years on, maybe it’s about time she bites back with some acerbic comments to put Luis in his place? There’s a pseudo-flirtatious dynamic here that could be explored, based around Ada deflating Luis’ ego in a way that the self-labelled “Ladies’ Man” has been needing for a very long time. It’s quite possible that Capcom will skirt around the problematic Luis by toning down on his rampant innuendos and horniness, but it’d be far more entertaining if Capcom showed a self-awareness about Luis’ ways and tackled them directly in the story.
Likewise, there could be a bit of healthy tension between Leon and Luis, given that the former presumably remains smitten with Ada and may take exception to the latter’s casual advances on her. It would make their dynamic a bit more intriguing than the 10-minute-buddy-cop thing they had going on in the original. By knocking Luis down a peg from his cocky perch, and offering some resistance to his distinctly ‘2000s lothario’ ways, the Remake could actually build up some more sympathy for the bit-part character before his inevitable demise. In turn, by giving Luis just that bit more substance and screen time, perhaps Leon’s unspeakable anguish at his heroic death will feel a little more justified when the time comes.
The Resident Evil 4 Remake has the leeway and potential to depict an intriguing, funny, and tragic interplay between its three lead characters while still keeping the wider story intact. I’d be very surprised (not to mention disappointed) if Capcom don’t take advantage of that.