Claire Redfield

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Claire Redfield
Resident Evil character
Claire Redfield in Resident Evil 2 (2019)
First appearanceResident Evil 2 (1998)
Created byNoboru Sugimura
Designed byIsao Ohishi (Resident Evil 2)[1]
Portrayed by
Various
Voiced by
Various
  • English
    Alyson Court (Resident Evil 2, Code: Veronica, Degeneration, The Darkside Chronicles, The Mercenaries 3D, Operation Raccoon City)[2]
    James Baker (Revelations 2)[2]
    Stephanie Panisello (Resident Evil 2 remake, Infinite Darkness, Death Island)[2]
    Danielle Evans (Dead by Daylight)[3]
    Japanese
    Yūko Kaida (Degeneration, Operation Raccoon City, Revelations 2, Resident Evil 2 remake, Infinite Darkness, Death Island)[4][5]
    Hiroe Oka (Extinction, Afterlife, The Final Chapter)[6]
    Fairouz Ai (Welcome to Raccoon City)[7]
Motion capture
Various
  • Lori Rom (Degeneration)
    Ananda Jacobs (Revelations 2)
    Stephanie Panisello (Resident Evil 2 remake, Infinite Darkness)
In-universe information
NationalityAmerican

Claire Redfield (Japanese: クレア・レッドフィールド, Hepburn: Kurea Reddofīrudo) is a character in Resident Evil (Biohazard in Japan), a survival horror video game series created by the Japanese company Capcom. She was first introduced as one of two player characters in Resident Evil 2 (1998), alongside Leon S. Kennedy.

The character was formerly known as "Elza Walker", a motorcycle racer in the original version of Resident Evil 2 that was canceled at approximately two thirds completion as series creator Shinji Mikami decided it was inadequate. In the final version of the game, Elza was renamed Claire by the game's screenwriter Noboru Sugimura as the sibling of Chris Redfield, in order to introduce a connection to the plot of the first game.

A popular character, Claire has appeared in several Resident Evil games, novelizations and films, and has also appeared in other franchises, including Dead by Daylight. Several actresses have portrayed Claire. In her initial video game appearance, she is voiced by Canadian actress Alyson Court, whose features were also later used for the character. In the remake of Resident Evil 2 (2019), she is voiced by Stephanie Panisello and modeled after Canadian model Jordan McEwen. In the live-action Resident Evil films, Claire has been portrayed by Ali Larter and Kaya Scodelario. Claire has received mostly positive reviews from video game publications, with particular commendation for being a non-sexualized female lead.

Concept and design[edit]

Claire Redfield was developed out of an earlier character named Elza Walker. Elza Walker was the original female lead of Resident Evil 2; a blonde[8] college student and motorcycle racer, her reason for coming to Raccoon City was to try recruit fans at Raccoon City university to form a racing team back in her hometown.[9][10][11] However, after development of the game was scrapped and restarted in 1997, the character was retooled into the sister of Chris Redfield, named Claire.[12] This was done at the suggestion of new story writer Noboru Sugimura, in order to connect Resident Evil 2 to the first game.[13][14] Accordingly, Claire's relation to Chris was emphasized, which provided an explanation for her skills with firearms and other weapons, and gave her a new reason for coming to Raccoon City: searching for Chris. Her physical features were redesigned to more closely resemble her brother, and her outfit was changed to include a sheath for a standard-issue S.T.A.R.S. knife and a jacket with "Made in Heaven" printed on the back (which Chris had as an alternate costume).[15][16] Since producer Shinji Mikami disliked weak and sexually objectified women in video games, Claire was written to be independent and strong-willed.[17]

On her return in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, Mikami said "Claire became a lot tougher than I Imagined. I thought she should look the same, but the game director made her that way because she had such an experience in Resident Evil 2, she could handle any situation now!"[18] For Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Claire was written as hardened and aggressive in order to contrast with her partner, the young, immature and easily scared Moira Burton. The game's producer Michiteru Okabe said: "Really, only after did we look back and say, 'Oh, I guess they are both girls.' Which is good, because it means we're treating them as whole characters and not just as their gender. What we settled on is the idea that you have different roles -- it isn't two against the world, it's one against the world with a helper."[19]

For the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2, Claire was redesigned and modeled after Canadian model Jordan McEwen.[20] Her hair style is different and her hair is no longer brownish red; instead, she is a brunette. Her wardrobe was also changed, with her original hotpants and bike shorts replaced by jeans and her jacket now long-sleeved.[21]

Appearances[edit]

In Resident Evil series[edit]

Every game in the series is set in the fictional American metropolitan area Raccoon City until its destruction at the end of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.[22] Claire Redfield first appears in Resident Evil 2 (1998), which revolves around her search for her missing brother Chris, an officer in the local police special force S.T.A.R.S.. Claire arrives in the Midwestern United States town of Raccoon City to find it overrun by zombies. She soon meets up with a rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy, but along the way she is separated from him. The rest of the game focuses on Claire's struggle to escape from the city alive.[23] She maintains radio contact with Leon and teams up with a young girl named Sherry, while fighting against the various undead creatures infesting the Raccoon Police Department building, including the mutated scientist William Birkin. Claire eventually escapes from the city through the Umbrella Corporation's underground research complex along with Leon and Sherry, after the three of them manage to destroy Birkin. In the game's epilogue, Claire leaves to continue her search for Chris, while Leon and Sherry are rescued by the U.S. military.[24] This story is revisited in the remake of Resident Evil 2.[21]

Claire, still searching for her brother, returns as the main protagonist of Resident Evil - Code: Veronica (2000), set three months after the events of Resident Evil 2. After an unsuccessful infiltration of Umbrella's medical branch in Paris, Claire finds herself imprisoned on Umbrella-owned Rockfort Island.[25][26] She escapes following another viral outbreak caused by a rival corporation of Umbrella's and teams up with fellow ex-prisoner Steve Burnside. Claire manages to discover the whereabouts of her brother and send a message to Leon. Claire, Steve and the arriving Chris escape from the island, only to find themselves in another of Umbrella's secret labs, this time in Antarctica, before they are taken captive by the antagonist Alexia Ashford. The second half of the game follows Chris trying to save his captured sister from Umbrella. Chris finds his way into the Antarctic lab and rescues her before their final battle with Alexia, which costs Steve's life, and the siblings escape from the facility via the transport airplane he used to get there. During the game's ending they vow to put an end to the Umbrella Corporation.[26] In the PlayStation 2 version, Veronica X, Claire also has a brief encounter with the series' main villain Albert Wesker that would have resulted in her death had Wesker not been called away by his associates.[27]

She appears again in Resident Evil Survivor 2 – Code: Veronica (2001), the entire plot of which is actually just her nightmare dream after the escape from Antarctica in the original Code: Veronica; and in Resident Evil: Uprising, a mobile game version of Resident Evil 2.[28] Claire is playable in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2009), which retells the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil - Code: Veronica.[28]

Claire returned as a protagonist in the episodic game Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (2015),[29] set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.[30] Claire is now a member of TerraSave, a non-profit humanitarian aid and protest activism organization. The game follows her and Barry Burton's daughter Moira as they get kidnapped and find themselves trapped in a mysterious abandoned prison island. There they fight Alex Wesker and the "Afflicted" creatures. In the end both of them survive the events along with Barry, who arrived to look for them, and a little girl named Natalia Korda.[31]

Claire also appears in several non-canonical games in the series. She is a further playable in the non-canonical spin-off games Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (2011), and in Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (2012) where she is also one of the game's bosses in the game's main mode.[28] In addition, Claire is one of two playable characters in Resident Evil: Zombie Busters, which started as a browser game in the Capcom Party line and in 2011 was converted for mobile phones.[32] Claire, along with Leon's costume, appears in Resident Evil: Resistance (2020).[33] She is also a playable character in Resident Evil Re:Verse (2022).[34]

In films[edit]

Kaya Scodelario portrayed Claire Redfield, a lead protagonist in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021)

Paul W. S. Anderson, who wrote the screenplays for the six films in the original Resident Evil film series (2002–2016), did not include the character of Claire Redfield in the first two films. He did not include her in the early drafts of the third film, Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), as the character of Jill Valentine was supposed to re-appear from her debut in the second film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004). Later, Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt decided to have a different game character, Claire, appear alongside series lead protagonist Alice: "We thought, rather than bring Jill back, put her with another game heroine."[35] Actress Ali Larter portrays Claire in Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). In the film, Claire is the leader of a convoy of zombie apocalypse survivors who, at the end of the film, go to Alaska in search of a safe haven.[23]

The Extinction version of Claire has no connection to the video game character and her look was redesigned.[36] When Larter reprised the role in the fourth installment, Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), she was dressed in an outfit more resembling Claire's costumes in the games[37] and she is red-haired. In Afterlife, Claire is ambushed by the Umbrella Corporation and manipulated by a device that controls her and impairs her memory, before she is rescued by Program Alice and reunited with her brother Chris.[38] She did not appear in the fifth film, Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), where she is presumed dead.[39] Larter returned to the role a third time, in the sixth and final film of the original film series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016). Claire teams up with Alice and the Red Queen to save the remnants of humanity.[40][41] Her design in this film was inspired by that from the game installment Revelations 2.[42]

The video game series' Claire plays a major role in the computer-animated film Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008), reuniting her with Leon S. Kennedy. The film is set seven years after the events of the game Resident Evil 2 and Claire has become a prominent TerraSave member.[43] Claire has also appeared in the Netflix series Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (2021), alongside Leon.[44] She returned in the sequel, Resident Evil: Death Island.[45]

Claire, played by Kaya Scodelario, is a lead protagonist in the reboot film Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021), which does not include the Alice character of the original film series.[46]

Other appearances[edit]

A romantic comedy retelling of the story of Resident Evil 2, centered on Claire, Leon and Ada, was released by Chingwin Publishing in the two-issue Taiwanese comic Èlíng Gǔbǎo II in 1999.[47] Claire is also prominently featured in S.D. Perry's 1999 novels Resident Evil: City of the Dead (a novelization of Resident Evil 2) and Resident Evil Code Veronica (a novelization of the game of the same title and the last book in the series), as well as in the 1998–1999 manhua Shēnghuà Wēijī 2 ("Biological Crisis 2").[48] In S. D. Perry's 1999 original-story novel Resident Evil: Underworld[49] and Resident Evil: Code Veronica.[50] In printed trading card media, she appears as a card in the Bandai produced game Resident Evil: The Deck Building Game.[51] She is also one of main characters in Naoki Serizawa's manga Biohazard: heavenly island, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine in 2015, in which she is a TerraSave investigator on an isolated South American island.[52] She also appeared in George A. Romero's Japanese TV commercial for Resident Evil 2[53] In 2000, a 1,800-unit special "Claire Redfield red" limited edition series of the Dreamcast game console was released in Japan.[54] Merchandise featuring Claire include action figures, jacket, and figurines.[55][56][57][58]

Outside the Resident Evil franchise, Claire appears as an unlockable bonus character in sports game Trick'N Snowboarder (1999),[59] and in 2013 she has been added to the browser-based social game Onimusha Soul, for which she was redesigned to fit the feudal Japan theme.[60] One of costumes for the character Crimson Viper in the fighting game Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was inspired by Claire's iconic look in Resident Evil 2.[61] Her costume also appears in Dead by Daylight as a legendary skin for Jill Valentine.[62] In March 2023, Claire and Leon appeared in Fortnite Battle Royale.[63] In April 2023, she appears in Puzzle & Survival.[64] In 2020, a statue and figurine of Claire was made, alongside Leon S. Kennedy.[65][66] Claire's jacket from Resident Evil 2 remake has been also made in January 2021.[67]

Reception[edit]

Gaming media outlets have described Claire among the best video game characters.[68][69][70] Critics have also praised her as the most likable Resident Evil character.[71] [72][69] Brittany Vincent of SyFy described her as a "good-looking video game heroine," claiming that she is a "strong-willed young woman who's tough as nails and ready to take on any challenge,"[73] while IGN's Mitch Dyer particularly praised her return in Revelations 2: "The Resident Evil series places women in prominent, powerful, playable roles. Jill Valentine, Rebecca Chambers, Sheva Alomar, and Ada Wong, to name a few. Still, they're often opposite a male lead. This is the first time a Resident Evil game has revolved around the story of two women. It's fun to get to play as Claire again."[19] Michael McWhertor of Polygon has praised Claire in the remake of Resident Evil 2 and said that "the character feels like a human being and moves like a contemporary video game action hero".[74]

Critics commented that Claire was not oversexualized in her initial appearances.[75][76][77] She was used as an illustration of a female character from the series who wasn't evaluated exclusively on the basis of her gender.[75] Gita Jackson of Paste wrote an article about Claire's wardrobe, and said that it "shows us that femininity, emotionality and practicality aren't exclusive from each other."[76] The book Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design called Claire a "perfect example" of the theme "opposites attracts", as she and her fellow Raccoon City survivor Sherry (a little girl dressed in a Japanese school uniform in RE2) "couldn't be more different."[78]

Claire also received some negative reactions from reviewers. In Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian criticized Claire's alternate costumes as too revealing, particularly the motorsport umbrella costume.[79] Meanwhile, Ravi Sinha of GamingBolt considered the character's design at the remake of Resident Evil 2 among the worst in video games, noting that the developers should have kept her original design.[80] One of the essays in Nadine Farghaly's Unraveling Resident Evil also criticized and compared Claire to a "typical trope" of "a virgin or tomboy".[81]

Further reading[edit]

  • MacCallum-Stewart, Esther (2008). "Real Boys Carry Girly Epics: Normalising Gender Bending in Online Games". Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture. 2 (1): 27–40. doi:10.7557/23.5970. S2CID 7456966.

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