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RE0 July 23rd, 1998

Back in 2002, a 14 year old me played through RE0 for the first time. I also had played Remake before I had played RE1, although an 8 year old me had watched a friend play occasionally, so I was still getting used to understanding the characters and story on a more in-depth level. I remember being very excited getting to play a prequel to the first Resident Evil. I was going to find out what happened to Bravo Team and Rebecca Chambers, the sole survivor of the team, was going to be the protagonist. I remember enjoying that I was getting to explore new environments, fighting new enemies, finding new files.

I also remember getting excited getting to revisit the Marshalling Yard and Birkin's Lab from RE2 and finding out that it was connected to the training facility via elevator. The appearance of the T-001 was cool, knowing at the time the Tyrant from the Arklay Lab was the T-002. The cameo from Enrico was also a sad scene with Rebecca's final VO, "I never saw him again." Also, being that I was green with the first game at the time, I had forgotten Enrico's fate and thought for some reason that the T-001 had killed him, considering his path through the lab.

Are you still following? Did I nearly give you all a stroke with that last statement? Okay, let's move forward.

I finished RE0 and realized that at the end, I didn't feel satisfied. I didn't have enough knowledge of the series at the time, but something felt off. Time went on. I replayed the games (except for RE0) and I researched a lot about the series. The newer games also came out and pushed the series forward (RE4/UC/RE5 etc.). When I came back to researching the Arklay Murders and the events surrounding the Mansion Incident, I stumbled upon the various trivia and debates over RE0 and the events of July 23, 1998. A lot of this came to a head last year when I decided to join the community last July (2017) by signing up for CHE and PU. After listening to the CHE podcasts with the voice actors, I discovered the PU podcasts about the games and began listening. I was very impressed with the knowledge that the members of the podcasts had about the series and I kept listening and listening. I do realize that since some of the podcasts came out, that more information has been uncovered, but the theories were still very interesting.The RE0 podcast really stood out to me because it helped me figure out why I had been left wanting more when the game was finished.

Now, as a 29 year old, I ended up playing the HD Remaster all the way through a couple of months ago, after avoiding it for some time, and it was unfortunate that I was still disappointed. It plays like Resident Evil, it feels like Resident Evil, it looks like Resident Evil.........but the story execution and the direction it took and the retcon of Rebecca's character and the Bravo Team investigation was greatly felt. The addition of Marcus was interesting but felt forced to give a new experience while exploring familiar territory. The same questions are there.

1. Should Rebecca have been the protagonist?

-After hearing the viewpoints on the podcast and researching a bunch, I'd have to say no. I believe that it should have been either Enrico or Richard. If they wanted a new experience, they could have had the player play as each Bravo Team member until they meet their end and as you progress with each character swap, they each uncover more in their investigation. The tragedy of it is that they never get to report their findings.

2. Why does Rebecca not mention anything to Chris about the day before and why is she more timid?

-A perspective that I witnessed was that she was tired and fatigued and effected by the events surrounding her. There's merit to that, but I'm not convinced.

3. Why is Birkin's Lab damaged and how is it connected to a train stop in the forest despite being geographically inaccurate? (Magic Elevator).

-The lab may not be Birkin's Lab, but an identical one located near the Training Facility.

-The elevator is just a gameplay mechanic to make up for the omission of item boxes. Ignore the top floor and you're fine.

-The best explanation has been that the concept art shows the tram going directly from the Chapel to the Water Treatment Facility and that Birkin's Lab was added very late into development. Makes sense considering how out of place it turned out to be.

4. Why is the MP vehicle near the Bravo helicopter in RE0 but Alpha Team doesn't find it?

-You can argue that there is a bit of small time jump from the Bravos exiting the chopper to when they find the MP vehicle, so when the camera cuts they are a bit of distance away from their helicopter in a different direction that Alpha Team eventually investigates. Still seems a little ridiculous though.

5. Why does Bravo Team turn their focus to investigate Billy Coen instead of staying with their primary objective?

6. The training facility's existence and the B.O.W.s that come with it.

-You can argue that those animal experiments are exclusive to that facility and that's why they never appear again. Same with the crimson heads being exclusive to the Arklay Facility because of the V-Act strain of the virus.

7. Why does Wesker take the path that he does in Beginnings?

-Is it just to force an encounter with Sergei? I don't mind him killing the T-001, it's appropriate, but otherwise the scenario is odd.

8. Last but not least, why didn't the game focus on Bravo Team's investigation?

-Such a missed opportunity.

I have a perspective that I'd like to share with you all. Say we try to salvage elements of RE0 and still have it tie-in with the Mansion Incident and the rest of the series. Say we keep the Marcus plot-point, the Training Facility, the Ecliptic Express, the Chapel, the Water Treatment Facility. I propose a few changes to have it make more sense.

The game's main protagonist(s) is Enrico alone or Enrico and Forest Speyer teamed up. Bravo Team splits up and investigates the mountains. Enrico/Enrico and Forest discover the Ecliptic Express and board it. Omit Billy Coen entirely and the investigation attached to him.

Pair Rebecca with Richard and Edward with Kenneth. When the dogs attack, Kevin is killed in the helicopter and Edward gets attacked and split from the team and he crashes through the window of the Ecliptic Express as portrayed previously, except it is Enrico/Enrico and Forest who discover(s) him. Richard, Rebecca, and Kenneth run and eventually take refuge in the mansion.

Enrico/Enrico and Forest discover the Umbrella Training Facility through the same events in the game. U.S.S. activates the train. The facility and the chapel are investigated, information about Umbrella and Marcus and possibly even Wesker is discovered. Perhaps the location of the Spencer Mansion is discovered in proximity to the Training Facility.

The tram from the chapel goes DIRECTLY to the water treatment facility. No pit stop at the Marshalling Yard or Birkin's Lab. Wesker and Birkin are at Birkin's Lab, monitoring the progress of Enrico/Enrico and Forest, but they are tucked away beneath the city.

This also means that the T-001 is not at Birkin's Lab either. It was experimented on in the Arklay Facility and deemed a failure so it was disposed of in the Water Treatment facility, but it can be speculated that it was awoken by the outbreak. Enrico/Enrico & Forest defeat(s) it.

Marcus takes the appearance of his Umbrella Chronicles form as opposed to his Final Fantasy form in RE0 because leeches aren't that talented, T-Virus or not.

The self-destruct is either set off by Enrico/Enrico and Forest or during a struggle with Marcus in which he activates it similarly to Ada being thrown into the one from RE2. Since I've decided to separate Birkin and Wesker and the lab from the geography, it's my understanding that the system can't be activated remotely by Birkin anymore.

Marcus is defeated by Enrico/Enrico and Forest and the Training Facility explodes. The Spencer Mansion is reached and the fates of the rest of Bravo Team transpire as portrayed in Resident Evil 1/REmake.

The meeting of Wesker and Sergei from Beginnings would be omitted from this version as well. It just feels forced.

If Enrico and Forest were teamed up this entire time, is my belief that they get split up and Forest is killed much earlier on the terrace before encountering any other Bravo Team members and that Enrico obviously survives until he is assassinated. If Enrico was alone throughout this entire mission, then Forest would be teamed up with Kenneth and I would just have Enrico investigating the woods with Edward until the dogs attack. Perhaps Edward throws himself at the dogs to protect his captain and then Enrico discovers the train while retreating and Edward his injured and comes crashing through soon after.

I like the idea that Enrico and Forest would be teamed up. It seems to me that if I had to group two characters together that could actually survive the events of RE0 based on their skills, traits, and experience as S.T.A.R.S. and discover the conspiracy behind it all only to tragically not live long enough to be able to reveal the truth, it would be these two.

These are my takes on how I would view July 23, 1998 reimagined. What do you all think? Let me know!
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