An easy-to-miss file in Resident Evil Village mentions Ozwell E. Spencer. Some hardcore fans will recognize the name, but those that don’t shouldn’t feel bad. Though he had an immense influence over the events of the franchise, most won’t know who Ozwell Spencer is. Read on below to find out how Spencer’s letter has major repercussions for Resident Evil’s lore.
Who is Ozwell Spencer in Resident Evil Village?
Ozwell Spencer is the key founder of the Umbrella Corporation, and the person who set the series into motion. However, he wasn’t always a part of the series. The first time Spencer is mentioned is in an EX File in the N64 version of Resident Evil 2. From there, his backstory grew. He was born in 1928 into a British noble family. Lord Ozwell E. Spencer, Earl Spencer, met James Marcus and Edward Ashford in college, and the three became interested in the use of virii in eugenics.
Eventually, Spencer would discover the Progenitor Virus, establish Umbrella, and attempt to develop the virus into a pathogen which would lead to humanity’s next evolutionary step (and position him as its leader). Spencer Mansion, Ozwell’s estate, would be the site of the first game, and he would later go on to play a large role in Resident Evil 5.
The file referencing him in Resident Evil Village is found near the end of the game in Mother Miranda’s lab and reads:
My deepest apologies for not meeting you in person.
I would love nothing more than to visit your quaint village once more, however, I am incredibly busy.
Then again, I suppose for an immortal woman such as yourself, you no longer remember this poor half-dead medical student in the snow.
I have always cherished the revelations I came to 15 years ago when I stayed in your village.
I was inspired by your research. To think, one could transform a human by infecting them with an organism. Positiively visonary.
I knew that with that knowledge I could achieve my own vision for the next step in human evolution.
Even after two world wars, and humanity on the cusp of another, my conviction never wavered.
I realized, however, through the many nights of intellectual talks you and I shared, that your conviction differed from mine.
You hoped to bring back a single dead person. While I aimed to change the world.
your experiments on the mold would not have aided me in my endeavor to achive an exponeitial infection. I thought a virus would be more effective.
This is why, my dear, I had to leave you. I still regret never telling you goodbye.
My apologies for reminiscing. I actually have news that I thought might please you.
I have found the key to evolution! The “progentior,” a virus found in Africa.
I plan to start a company with friends and colleagues, dedicated to the virus’ research. I will call it Umbrella. Just like the symbol in the cave that we spoke about.
I am one step closer to making my vision a reality. I hope you will be able to achieve your goal someday, too.
You taught me so much and for that I will be forever in your debt.
Sincerely, your life-long student,
Ozwell E. Spencer”
Does Resident Evil Village retcon Ozwell Spencer’s history?
Spencer doesn’t get a ton of screentime or background, so him meeting Miranda at some point isn’t entirely out of left field. However, implying that the Umbrella name and logo came from the village is ridiculous. It’s already been established that the Umbrella logo (and presumably the name) is derived from the Spencer family coat of arms.
Other than the needless retcon above, the letter checks out. Spencer describes finding the Progenitor virus, so this must have been written between 1966, when Spencer began searching for it, and 1968 when Umbrella Pharmaceuticals was founded. So, with those dates established, we know Spencer visited the village sometime during 1951-1953. That doesn’t clash with any other info we know, so the only odd thing about the letter is the reference to the Umbrella name and logo.