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General Lore Thread

Hi. I wanted to share some observations and decided to do so in a thread dedicated on the franchise's lore, but I didn't find any, so I created this one. Maybe I did a bad search, and if I did, I hope this thread is not a big deal. It would be nice to have a place where people could discuss the aspect of the franchise that I appreciate the most.

And now, without further ado, I would like to share the mentioned observations.

When RE:4 was announced, I wrote on this forum that I was excited about how Capcom could showcase the history of Los Iluminados, knowing that the original game offered only a few poorly edited textures, such as this one:


Of course, I can't say that even this mural is uninformative. If this is not a borrowed image, like many others in the game, the artist made an obvious allusion to the people of Mesoamerica and, most likely, specifically the Aztecs. This parallel is especially evident due to the flying heart with a bloody trail: the Aztecs believed that the human heart is a fragment of the sun's heat, so the sacrifice liberates this fragment, and it reunites with the sun.


But the reason why I cannot conclude that the characters depicted on the texture are legitimate Aztecs is the insignia of Los Iluminados, as well as other remnants of ancient history based on the culture of Mesopotamia. So for me personally, it is more likely that the developers used different images of ancient civilizations as references to create a portrait of an ancient cult.

In other words, the game showed us Ganados sacrificing humans, so I can be positive that this practice has existed since ancient times, but I can't be sure and I'm not sure if the actual Aztec beliefs are relevant to a fictional context. That's why I expected the remake to offer a proper worldbuilding, and I can't say that I was disappointed, although it's quite subtle and not always intuitive.

First of all, and I'm confident in my research, the murals below represent the "Aztecs" from the original game:

Fresco 1.png

What I love about them is that the images are drawn from scratch. They are completely fictional nonsense, and you can be sure that the developers didn't take someone's photos, but definitely made an effort, so you can safely think about the content.

Nevertheless, any artist has references, and you cannot do visual storytelling without universal motifs, because drawings are like a language, so they have their own kind of words. And this line of thought leads us to the question of who this mysterious figure is. Who is this weird monk-looking dude?

Well, it's rather apparent to me that his imagery is based on the motifs of South Asia and Hinduism in particular. You see, his position and the "sun" in place of his head have a common denominator: they're associated with the lotus. If the pose is known to many (especially for those who practice yoga) and needs no introduction, the head can be confusing. And here I will make a small digression: I can see how it reminds someone of René Magritte and Drew Struzan's masterpieces:

The Pleasure Principle.jpg

The Thing.png

I don't think, however, that any of these arts have an actual connection with our monk. They do have a common trait, but it's very superficial and goes down to hiding identity with light. The authors' intentions are different, nevertheless: Magritte explored the paradox through how light, which helps us see in the dark, prevents us from seeing a face in a dark room, and Struzan presented an image of an alien, often associated with bright artificial light, which can have the shape of a human. In contrast, the monk from RE:4 has a Hindu motif, for his head is a version of the golden chakra ("wheel" or "circle"), the Sahasrara (the "thousand-petalled lotus"), which represents unity with the divine, where the body is a channel of godly energy. And symbolically, the golden hands resemble the manus dei motif from the early Middle Ages, which was designed by Christians to represent Yahweh's intervention without depicting his body, since it was unacceptable to depict god as a full human figure. However, it looks like the deity from the game has multiple hands, which again reminds us of Hinduism:


In other words, if we are trying to draw a conclusion, the monk is an avatar of the god worshipped by medieval monks. You may ask what all this has to do with Los Iluminados, except for the praying hands, which are also depicted on the statues of Osmund's predecessors, and human sacrifices, and I will answer that the lotus, pose and chakra have another universal denominator: they represent enlightenment, and this is exactly what the name "Los Iluminados" refers to.

This conclusion could have been the end of the story if Leon hadn't discovered this "exhibit" in the castle:


It looks familiar, doesn't it? The significant difference is that we have a parasite instead of a chakra, but the textures of this asset are still labeled as "god". And this bit leads us to the faith that Saddler preaches: he calls each Plaga a "holy body," which in any Christian denomination means the body of Jesus Christ, the incarnation of Yahweh, but in the context of the game, Los Iluminados believes that parasites are remnants of god that were discovered by Adam after the fall of Rome.

What might be interesting about this god is that Saddler tells Leon during the final battle that he has made the decision to sacrifice his body and consciousness to god so that he—this god—would be reborn, and the final form of the character is labeled as a "tree" in the game folders.

Do we have some kind of abnormal tree in the game in any shape or form? Yeah, we have, and we have it in BIO5 as well:



Note that the "tree" next to which Adam stands has the Plaga-like imagery, and the mural from Africa has fossils of parasites. Both images, of course, are an allusion to the tree of life, which is a universal archetype, but what also unites the plant and the Plaga? That's right, BIO4's Queen Plaga. The Queen Plaga doesn't just look like a plant, but has been likened to it in supplementary sources. And keeping this information in mind, we can assume that Saddler transcended into the Queen Plaga—into god. If this assumption is correct, we can also assume that at least one carrier has transcended into god before, since Adam saw the "tree". So who could it be?

Well, my guess is that the mysterious carrier was our monk, and his tissues can be found in an ancient chantry, a version of which was occupied by the Queen Plaga in the original game:





Adam discovered his faith after the Renaissance, but the style of that chantry looks like the legitimate Middle Ages, which is why I believe that it was built around the same period as the old castle, and these structures hardly existed before the 11th century, because they are based on the Gothic style. Some people recognize the Moroccan style in the ornament, but I did a little research and found out that one Russian group of enterprises produces ceramic tiles, the style of which is based on the old Italian majolica from Emilia-Romagna:


But more importantly, these tiles cover the ceiling of the monstrous building-like structure in the center, which turned out to be an altar, because that's how it's labeled in the game files.

Since ancient times, altars can be built in places where interaction with the deity took place for the first time or most vividly, so it makes sense that the giant Plaga at the bottom is the remnants of a god. The monstrous altar could be used for any kind of sacred rites, be it ritual sacrifices, baptism and so on, and this premise is actually very similar to the original game, if we think about it: Ashley was baptized at the place where the Queen Plaga was.

And this is the ancient history of RE:4's Los Iluminados in my interpretation…

Well, I think that's all I want to say so far, but most likely my post is only the first part, as there are still some aspects that I would like to touch on. Thanks for your time!
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Okay, I took a good nap, so can we continue, ha-ha?

Before I start the second part, I wanted to write an addition to the first one, namely a comparison that can reinforce the parallel between monk and Saddler.

Throughout the game, Leon finds the holy book of Los Iluminados, and one of them is open on a page with a curious miniature:

Holy Book.png

We can see Saddler's representation, which corresponds to Salazar's subjective vision of this character, that is, as a source of light and enlightenment. This characterization is emphasized by the sun's image as a halo, as well as the gesture of the right hand in the form of the so-called "palm of the righteous", which is a symbol of sincerity and trust. There is no doubt in my mind that this "unknown" man is a saint, and the fact that he is faceless, since the insignia of Los Iluminados replaces his face, illustrates that he is an agent of the divine will, god's speaker.

I should add that this miniature doesn't exactly look like a monk in the same close way as the mummy in the castle, but I think you will agree that they still have something in common, namely the idea of the prophet and the vessel of god. In these contexts, carriers and god are interchangeable, which is why people folded their palms, praying to them and making sacrifices for them. And what else can connect avatars in question is definitely solar symbolism. The thing is that some historians associate the ancient chakras with the image of the sun, since light can be likened to knowledge, and, for example, in the case of the Indo-Aryan divinity Mitra, the sun is associated with the eye of the world, which illuminates and perceives it.

At this point, I slightly expect you to be with me in this line of thought, because the approaching second part describes aspects that confuse many, and my answers are based on the premise that I described above. If you don't agree that Saddler's Los Iluminados is an extension of an ancient cult, which is completely fine, I see no reason for you to waste time and read what is written below…

So, okay, let's keep going.

What broke my brain the first time I played RE:4 was the files we can find in Mendez's house. According to them, unknown monks with an unknown spider-like symbol infiltrated the village in 1993 and began to preach their faith, promising medicine for the "madness" that Luis's grandfather had fallen ill with. And there's nothing unusual about any of this, but then we find a photo of Mendez's predecessor:


You see what I see too, don't you? He wears the Los Iluminados insignia. Not just that, but it looks like the whole village was stainted by the cult even before Saddler came there, because we find sacrificial altars with the same insignia, an entire church and an old mechanism that gives us the key to the building. So what's this all about?

The key to understanding can be stored in the castle, where we find this painting in the gallery:


We knew before that the cult beheaded blasphemers and the like, and the images of their heads had a sort of demonic imagery because they had horns, but the "horns" of this particular individual actually resemble not horns, but the tissues of a parasite. People actually punish the Plaga's carrier, and the god of Los Iluminados approves of it.

And what kind of convinced me that the Salazars were indeed associated with Los Iluminados was the metaphorical mechanism that was designed by Gregorio, Ramón's ancestor. As you may remember, Leon finds a wheel that opens the way for him, and the design of this wheel caught my attention:

Screenshot 2.png

Yep, it's essentially a chakra ("wheel"). Someone may even compare this Halo Wheel to dharmachakra or the wheel of dharma, which is a symbol of dharmas (basically cosmic laws) and the Buddha's teachings on the path to enlightenment, although I see no reason to be that specific. The allusion to any chakra is a sufficient depth of thought for me.

These bits led me to realize that maybe when Adam discovered faith, he misconstrued Los Iluminados. Just like Miranda did, but she wasn't a believer, she just used the cult as an "umbrella" to research the Mold.

What may also substantiate this reasoning is the parallels of Saddler's cult with the Benedictines. At least I'm aware of two of them:

1. Osmund wears a medal that is heavily based on the Saint Benedict Medal:

Medal 1.png

The MAXIMUM DONVM phrase can be translated as "supreme gift". It refers to the Plaga, of course.

Medal 2.png

Medal 3.jpg

2. The holy book of the cult bears a strong resemblance to the Codex Gigas or the "Devil's Bible", which is a medieval illuminated manuscript written in the Benedictine monastery:


Codex Gigas.jpeg

Codex Gigas 2.png

You may ask how the parallel with the Benedictines substantiates the assumption of Adam's misinterpretation, and I will make a comparison with Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote. The protagonist of this novel, being a Christian, had a negative attitude towards the Benedictines, calling the Black Monks "devilish" and "unnatural", basically framing them as heretics who misconstrued Christianity. I think each of you understands why the comparison with Don Quixote is substantial in RE:4's context.

Hmm, the second part turned out to be shorter than I thought, but it's even better! I hope you enjoyed it.
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Throughout my little journey, I was inspired by a fan who also shared some of the finds, and I decided to write some of them because I thought you would find them interesting too.

1. I'll begin with a recent discovery that we made together. It started with her writing to me with a theory that motivated me to go back to the game files.

You definitely remember the amber deposit that Leon and Ashley find, after which Saddler comes on stage. It turns out that this whole rock is not amber, and amber is just a layer:

Tree 1.png

Tree 2.png

Its texture:

Tree 3.png

The huge rock itself looks exactly like a petrified tree, and the petrified tree is exactly the theory my colleague wrote to me with. Then I checked all the materials of all the rocks in the game and found nothing even remotely similar. I asked my best friend, who is very erudite, and he agreed that the texture is very similar to petrified bark.

Some references (the first one has amber on it):

Wood 1.jpeg

Wood 2.jpg

And so I'm guessing that the rock may be what's left of the cosmic tree, and the amber with the parasites are like traces of it. After all, this is how Adam's monolith described the parasites in the Japanese version: "traces left by god."

Maybe the rock isn't that ancient if Adam saw it. It could have grown under the ballroom before it was built and mineralized rapidly, like abnormal fungi did. The trees secrete resin as a response to injury, so the Salazars could have destroyed it since they had a bug problem.

2. Okay, if this rock is a remnant of god, then what is under the Ancient Chantry? And here comes the discovery made by my colleague: some living pieces of this organism are labeled in the game files as "mold".

Shocking, isn't it? But don't jump on the conclusion, because the game files use literal translations from Japanese, which is why the Giant's Chalice is labeled as the "holy grail" and the Megamycete is labeled as "mycorrhiza". "Mold" is most likely a translation of the word kabi, which in Japan is a generic term not only for fungi, but also for similar structures. You can say it's a kabi because it looks like roots and hyphae.

Leon calls Salazar a "moldy son of a bitch," but he implies that Ramón is disgusting, which the Japanese line proves. There's no way Leon would know about the Mold.

Still, I thought it might be interesting for you to know, even if it doesn't give us an answer about the nature of the organism.

3. Now it's my turn, he-he: I found a hookah in the game files!


For those who may not know, hookah was created in India for smoking, so this was another proof of the Asian roots of the cult for me.

4. Do you remember this painting?

A colleague pointed out that the sword seemed familiar:


Well, that's it for today.
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