I'm going to be doing some very brief posts regarding the cast of Resident Evil 6 from a faux-analytical point-of-view. I'll be focusing on Leon Scott Kennedy, Helena Harper, Chris Redfield, Piers Nivans, Jake Muller, Sherry Birkin, and Ada Wong (and perhaps Derek C. Simmons). These are just my opinions. Be warned, I will be touching about SPOILERS.
As part of a little side project, I've decided to add some other quotes from outside sources that I basically think would apply to the character in some way. Take from it what you will.
As the oldest (in terms of chronology) main protagonist of the series, Chris has had a lot to live up to. Particularly considering how often he is compared to the other main protagonist, Leon, often being the less-favored of the two. On the other hand, Chris hasn't changed as substantially (or eccentrically) as Leon has. Throughout his first couple appearances, Chris was a very plain and vanilla character. At first the mere survivor, but CODE: Veronica (and his mentions in the two previous titles), he had become someone with an agenda - taking out Umbrella (which used to be a broken-record agenda when it came to this cast previously). With Resident Evil 5, his role as the forever-hero with the B.S.A.A. became solidified and although that title did little to explore his character and morphed him into this strange meatheaded soldier, Resident Evil 6 seems to change things up quite a bit.
Drunk and Lost
"Nowhere to go."
"Who are you? What is this?!"
Chris is first found in a situation that is far from expected. Chain-smoking and belligerently condescending, the soldier is clearly nothing more than a shell of his former self with no purpose. So far gone from what he once was, Chris doesn't even realize that a good comrade is sitting right next to him in the very same bar. Events unfold and Chris' horrendous attitude gets a drink thrown in his face and forces him into an instinctive attack against another aggressive patron, until that good comrade (Piers Nivans) stops him and sits him down. In spite of this, Chris is dismissive of Piers and tries to wave him off. It isn't until a forceful and brutally emotional display that Chris begins to remember his place - in the B.S.A.A. At this point, Chris is someone brought back from the brink of madness and hopelessness but he still has a long way to go. He may have been pulled out of his Heroic BSOD but there's still the path in front of him. It isn't until later we see the situation in which his men died, mutated horribly (and most likely painfully) into B.O.W.s known as Chrysalids as he and Piers were powerless to help. It is unknown if this horrifying event is the only thing that drove Chris into drinkin his demons away, but it's certainly enough to make anyone lose it.
Hot and Cold
"You follow my lead, or I'll find someone who will."
"After what she's done to us! How many of our men are dead because of that bitch!?"
Back with a vendetta, Chris is still undeniably missing a degree of charm that people most likely saw in him in the first place. Although not completely drone, he now has the tendency of speaking down to some of his team in an attempt to keep them in line. Albeit this is undoubtedly a way of trying to make sure everyone takes their situation seriously to avoid any losses, he comes across as severely more condescending than anything else. These moments are balanced by severe anger and rage as he begins to show more raw emotion regarding what has happened to his men in the past as well as to what is currently happening. Vengeance is something that drives him as he comes closer to realizing that the person responsible for the events in Lanshiang is the same responsible for the deaths of his men in Edonia. It is only his comrade, Piers, that keeps him from seemingly going completely over the edge. This frequent change makes Chris seem more sporadic - perhaps even schizophrenic - than anything else, particularly when balanced with his own wisecracking behavior. It is hard to follow where Chris' mind is at any given time, though it is easy to see he is still quite fractured mentally and emotionally.
"These are my men."
"Let him go, you piece of shit!"
Even stronger than his desire to take down the person responsible for so much suffering, Chris' new found place as The McCoy takes precedence above all. Now, even one death is one death too many for Redfield and there is no question about it that this should not occur. Logic is meaningless when it means people will die and only raw emotion will suit Chris in these times. He would just as easily jump headfirst out of the frying pan and into the fire to make sure that Lanshiang is not a repeat of what happened in Edonia. Unfortunately, it seems that things do not go exactly as planned so how this eventually impacts him is hard to say. Though the more his men suffer, the more apparent it becomes that much of his anger and stoicness stems from a desire of trying to keep his men safe. This does not stop Chris from taking severe risks, such as chasing down an camouflaged snake, just at the possibility that one of his men survived. "Acceptable losses" is something that is certainly not in his vocabulary - unless you count Chris himself in place of his team. Life seemed to be significantly easier for Chris as an agent as he mostly had himself to look out for - there were other operatives around at times, but now a part of the S.O.U., he is directly responsible for the lives of these people. That responsibility caused him to break and shatter once and he clearly has no desire to have that happen again, and is willing to die trying.
Coming To Terms
"She's working for Neo-Umbrella. You know what that means?"
"I can't keep running away. I have to face the truth - accept responsibility. That's the only way I'll ever remember. The only way I'll get my life back."
One of the hardest things Chris will have to do in Resident Evil 6 is realize that no matter how much he wants to put a bullet (or several) in the head of the one responible for these tragedies, it might be significantly more complicated than that. Leon's position as the Ideal Hero clearly conflicts with the Broken/Hurting Hero that is Chris. To succeed at stopping this, Chris will have to learn to do exactly what Piers told him to do and put his idea of avenging the deaths of his fallen comrades aside. Although he has become someone so deeply driven by these strong emotions, to really do what needs to be done - to be the leader that the B.S.A.A. and his men need - he will have to learn to compromise. Perhaps his confrontation with Leon will lead Chris to thinking with a more level-head once again. More important, as Chris acknowledges himself, he will need to face his mistakes - simply trying to avoid them in the future isn't enough.
Much like Leon, I was never a big Chris fan. I understand the both of them are two huge parts of the series but neither were characters that particularly appealed to me. And again, like Leon, Resident Evil 6 is beginning to change that. Chris' station in the title as the fallen trying to rise back up is something I find deeply appealing, even if I believe it i really spelling his eventual end. I do not mean death - I think to kill Chris will really overlook his character at this point. Chris dying for his men, dying for the world, I think would be just too easy. It feels like the cop-out. What Chris as a character really needs is to live. He needs to be that survivor again that he was in Resident Evil and persevere and see an end in sight, even if that end is passing the torch (such as to Piers).
"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy."
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable."
— Madeleine L'Engle
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep."
— Robert Frost
If Chris Redfield were to be categorized as Yang (which would not necessarily be a correct categorization), Piers Nivans would be his Yin (which is, again, not necessarily a correct categorization). Piers is a promising soldier in the B.S.A.A. and might even be considered the most promising. With his cool and calm reasoning, it is clear to see why Piers would be the perfect partner for Chris. It is only with Piers that Chris can remain in-check - it is only Piers at this point that seems to stop Chris from going over the edge again, most likely due to the fact that Chris realizes Piers went through the same experiences of loss as he has (minus the overwhelming responsibility).
"You can't hide from your past, Chris. No matter where you go or what you do."
"We're taking you back, Captain. One way or another."
Just as "acceptable losses" is a term Chris no longer recognizes, "giving up" is something that Piers does not recognize. This new face has been acknowledged a "the man who never misses a target" and this rings true just as much for his charisma as with his sniper ability. When Chris disappeared after the events in Edonia, Piers sought him out. It was six months later but he found him and Piers laid into him. He was determined to see Chris back in command, to see Chris get his old life back. Piers would not take no for an answer and came prepared for this. Although his methods of handling Chris might have been harsh, they were what was necessary and unsurprisingly, he got the job done. In more ways than one, Piers is easily one of the most reliable individuals that have crossed through the Resident Evil series. Having spent six months straight looking for the missing Chris Redfield, it is not apparent that Piers ever gave up hope. Perhaps unknown to Chris, but Piers also feels a strong sense of responsibility. Just as it is Chris' responsibility to make sure his men see through the end of the mission alive, it seems that Piers' responsibility to make sure that Chris does the same. This will likely prove vital when Chris becomes more reckless with his own life.
"Look... I said look! Those were your men! Men who died under your command! You owe it to them to remember, Chris! If you walk away now, then this was all for nothing!"
"What the hell were you thinking, pulling a kamikaze stunt like that?"
Due to what we first see of Piers, he could be categorized as somewhat harsh and cruel. Constantly berating and belittling the confused Chris Redfield, Piers gives him no time to try and collect his thoughts. He barrages him endlessly and forces Chris to face what he had spent so long trying to get away from. However, Piers isn't the asshole here. This is clearly the exact treatment Chris needed to finally get back up on his feet and face the truth about himself. Like with his determination, Piers' skills as a sniper seem to carry over into how he treats Chris. He knows exactly what to say and what to do to get through to him, to get beneath the thick head and drive the point home right into his brainstem like a bullet. Piers takes this stance several times with Chris. Personified heavily as the Hypercompetent Sidekick at times, it feels like Piers is the only one who knows when something does or does not make sense and does not hesitate to point this out to Chris. When Piers sees that moment, he takes the shot.
"You heard the man. Let's move."
"It's where you belong. Everyone's waiting."
Piers balances his personality heavily with an obvious respect for Chris. Only when trying to get through to his stubborn captain does Piers neglect to address him by his title. The fact that Piers pursued the absent Chris six months after the Edonia incident is enough to show how much he respects Chris, with his strong desire to see his once-great captain back in the saddle. This respect conflicts with his position of trying to act as Chris' conscience sometimes, letting his superior voice over him even when he knows something is wrong or something needs to be addressed. It could be a likely possibility that Piers, in his analytical mind, knows a losing battle when he sees one. One can only break through so many dense layers when battling wits with a stubborn individual and even the wisest person may not succeed, and perhaps Piers know this. Or, just as likely, out of sheer respect he lets his captain have "the win" and refuses to condescend Chris (too much) in front of his own team. Regardless, Piers shows no desire to see Chris the way he found him in the bar in Edonia and treats him the way he does because of that respect.
Future of the Fight
"I'm right there with you Captain, but your personal vendetta isn't going to get us anywhere!"
Although Piers qualities make for him to be a great partner to Chris and the perfect balance to his emotional state, there is another role that Piers seems destined to fit. Along with the portrayal of his personality, it has been said that Piers has everything that it takes to make a great leader. Based upon comments by Chris Redfield himself, Piers Nivans is a personality he can see leading the B.S.A.A. against the fight of bio-terrorism in the future. With the way Chris has been going, this day might not be far off. Due to age and emotional distress, perhaps Chris is due for his hard-earned and well-deserved retirement, putting Piers in line to take his place. Piers has already been compared by some fans to be more reminiscent of the Chris Redfield remembered from the early games. Whether all of this is purely coincidental or Capcom trying to build up tension is unknown. However, it's hard to deny that Piers certainly has what it takes to pick up Chris' mantle. Although in the beginning, it seems that Piers is a bit more instinctive than what he is known as in Lanshiang, having to be held back by Chris after a snide remark from Jake. However, as was necessary, if Piers was truly that hotheaded then he got his act together to appropriately look after Chris' new fragile psyche as was necessary, showing is adaptability and willingness to change that makes for a great leader.
Right now, Piers is one of the characters I have to admit that I truly like. Aside from the fact that have the tendency of taking to snipers, Piers is the perfect balance that is needed to even out Chris' story. Although I do not believe Chris will end up dying, I do see a future of him retiring and I believe that Capcom is working hard to portray Piers as someone capable of picking up after him. I, for one, would like to see Piers do this and I think he is one that is truly capable of balancing the series on his shoulders in the future (albeit not on his own, mind you). Of course, I may be getting ahead of myself a little bit. This is only Piers' first appearance in a game and he is undoubtedly someone the fans must get used to, but I think he is someone that will make that very possible... when he's not butting heads with Chris' inanity.
"Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak."
— Thomas Carlyle
"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, Can circumvent or hinder or control The firm resolve of a determined soul."
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox
"Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed."
— variation of G.K. Chesterton quote, used by Neil Gaiman
Tune in next time when I'll be covering Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin.