When citing Resident Evil 7‘s film influences, people quickly rattle off names like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead. While each of those films – and more like them – certainly helped to shape Resident Evil 7‘s tone and environment, the game’s developers looked beyond the grindhouse when it came time to design the principal characters.
In the latest episode of the Resident Evil 7 development documentary series, scenario director Morimasa Sato names a legendary entrant into the horror genre as one of his biggest influences.
“I’ve always been a big Stephen King fan,” says Sato. “The Shining is a big inspiration for me. In fact, the two Jacks in that film, where Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance are why I chose the name Jack Baker. That’s how much I love it.”
The Shining‘s influence is easy enough to understand once you hear it cited as a primary source. Not only do Jack Torrance and Jack Baker share a name, they also share a fondness for extreme violence that sometimes manifests itself in the form of door and wall smashing. However, Sato says that Jack Torrance didn’t just help him create a monstrous villain, but rather a monstrous villain who exhibits undeniable human elements.
“Jack is different from previous Resident Evil enemies because we could finally create an enemy with both human and monstrous sides,” said Sato.
Sato explains that the original incarnation of Jack Baker was a decidedly less human character who shares more in common with Resident Evil‘s infamous Nemesis. At some point, though, the team opted to portray him as a family man whose rage was rooted in a twisted sense of paternal responsibility as well as the influence of a dangerous outside source.
It’s hard to argue with the results. Jack Backer not only ranks among the scariest Resident Evil villains but is arguably the franchise’s most compelling overall antagonist.