Oddly enough, one of the biggest mysteries of Resident Evil Village is the identity of the Duke. Over the course of the game, most questions are answered (though not always satisfactorily), but we never find out exactly who the Duke is. However, there are a few clues, which we’ll discuss below.
What is the Duke’s real identity in Resident Evil Village?
Players might think they’ve missed where The Duke’s true identity is explained in Resident Evil Village. The closest this question comes being answered is in a conversation as The Duke is taking Ethan to face down Miranda at the end of the game:
“Ethan: Speaking of foolish questions, who–what are you?
The Duke: Even I can’t quite answer that!”
We could caulk the Duke up to being a hallucination; after all, no other character acknowledges him on-screen. However, a file in Castle Dimitrescu, the Guest Book, notes that the Duke met with someone at the castle (presumably Lady Dimitrescu) for business discussions. Not only that, he suggests that Lady D may be keeping Rose in her bed-chamber, which indicates that he is familiar enough with the countess to predict her actions.
The Duke seems to know a lot about the village and surrounding areas, and despite his apparent speed when not being watched, he’s not getting far in a horsecart. So, he has to be a local. However, despite having a somewhat sinister tone at times, he’s nothing but helpful to Ethan throughout the game and continually points the player in the right direction. He also supplies the firepower needed to defeat Miranda and her children, which would seem to put him at odds with every other inhabitant of the village.
There is dev commentary found with unlockable concept art in Resident Evil Village that states the Duke was originally envisioned as the head of a fifth great family. It’s possible that’s still the case, and we’ll see more of his story in a future game or DLC. Alternatively, the devs may have decided to make the Duke’s background ambiguous, like the Merchant from RE4.