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Resident Evil 4 ending explained: what the remake changes

Capcom’s excellent Resident Evil 4 remake isn’t a 1:1 copy of the 2005 action-horror classic. The 2023 version departs from the original in some key ways, fleshing out characters and completely reimagining some plot beats. Some of those changes help better connect it to Capcom’s previous remakes, while others rid the game of some of its crass humor.

Some of the biggest changes happen in the remake’s ending — though you may not notice them at first glance. The general plot beats aren’t too far off from the original, but there are some important tonal changes that might be setting the stage for whatever’s next. Here’s exactly what happens in Resident Evil 4‘s new ending and how it departs from the original.

Spoilers for both versions of Resident Evil 4 are below.

Resident Evil 4’s ending explained

Like the original game, the remake ends with a climactic battle against Osmund Saddler. After a long battle with the mutated cultist, Ada Wong saves the day by tossing Leon S. Kennedy a red rocket launcher. With a blast and a stab to the eye, Leon defeats Saddler but is knocked backward onto a metal grate, dropping a sample of the amber containing the Plaga virus in the process. That’s where the story starts to diverge.

In the original game, Ada Wong essentially double-crosses Leon by taking the sample from him at gunpoint. There’s no explanation for the betrayal, as Ada quickly jumps onto a helicopter, starts a timer on a bomb hidden in the island, and tosses Leon the keys to a jet ski. She’s purely a villain in the 2005 edition’s climax.

Things play out very differently in 2023. Rather than holding a gun to Leon’s head, Ada simply picks up the sample while Leon is lying down and notes that she and Luis had “an arrangement.” She casually strolls over to an approaching helicopter, promising to take good care of the sample, and climbs onboard. It isn’t a dramatic escape; Ada even asks Leon if she wants to join him on the helicopter. He declines and notes that it’s where the duo goes their “separate ways” — a pointed reference to a piece of Resident Evil 4 DLC starring Ada.

Ada Wong holds a gun in Resident Evil 4.

As Ada leaves, an explosion rocks the island, prompting Ada to toss Leon her jet ski key. She doesn’t set the bomb off herself, further removing the original’s supervillain ending. Instead, Ada comes off as much more of an anti-hero in the finale, helping Leon and Ashley escape. The timed getaway sequence that follows plays out mostly the same way, as Leon and Ashley make their way to the jet ski and safely navigate off the island before it blows up. As they leave, they discover that the villagers infected with Las Plagas have been neutralized now that Saddler is dead.

The final moment has Leon and Ashley sharing a friendly moment on the jet ski. Notably, it gets rid of a creepy line where Ashley asks Leon if he’d like to do a little “overtime” with her. Instead, she asks Leon if he’d like her to put a good word in with her dad (who happens to be the President) to get Leon assigned to her security detail. He declines, noting that she can take care of herself. It’s a sweet moment that addresses one of the original’s biggest criticisms, giving the “damsel in distress” a more complete character arc.

The remake cuts out one more dated scene for good measure. The original game ends with a post-credits call with federal agent Ingrid Hunnigan, where Leon confirms that the mission is a success before hitting on her. “Story of my life!” he whines after getting turned down, in a hacky final line. Thankfully, that whole sequence has been cut. Instead, Hunnigan can be heard on Leon’s radio as he and Ashley jet ski to safety, asking for an update on the mission status.

Resident Evil 4 post-credits scene

While the remake cuts that codex call, it does still include a post-credits scene that’s crucial to the series’ future. The scene actually comes from the original game’s bonus Assignment: Ada chapter, which follows Ada as she collects Plaga samples through the game. There’s a small change to how it plays out, though, which has some major implications.

The original scene takes place on the helicopter after Ada steals the Plaga sample from Leon. She gets a call from none other than Albert Wesker, one of the series’ primary antagonists, who reveals he’s been pulling her strings all along. In a supervillain monologue, he notes that he’s rebuilding the nefarious Umbrella Corporation and teasing that a “change” is coming to the world. He laughs manically as the helicopter flies away, setting up what would ultimately happen in Resident Evil 5.

Resident Evil 4 Walkthrough - Assignment Ada No Damage

The remake completely reimagines that sequence. While on the helicopter, Ada calls Wesker to confirm that she’s extracted the sample. When she asks what he plans to do with it, Wesker menacingly teases that a “new dawn” is coming and says billions will die. Ada immediately takes her headset off, holds the helicopter pilot at gunpoint, and tells him to change course.

It’s an important change, as it once again sets up Ada as more of an anti-hero than a cartoon femme fatale. Rather than her being an active participant in Wesker’s evil plans, she’s more of a victim who’s been used by him. Once she realizes why she’s been asked to obtain the sample, she betrays Wesker without hesitation, staying true to her promise to keep the sample safe.

What does that mean for the future? There are a few ways you could interpret it. On one hand, you could view it as a way for Capcom to avoid remaking the controversial Resident Evil 5 next. It’s a clean slate for new players that leaves the Plaga storyline with a happy ending. Though, you could interpret it the other way too. It could be a more explicit setup for the next remake, establishing Wesker as the big bad and building a new version of Ada who could play a heroic role in the story. It feels intentionally a little vague to leave the door open for whatever Capcom wants to do next.

Considering Resident Evil 4‘s immense success, though, I’d assume it isn’t stepping away from its remake project quite so soon.

Resident Evil 4 is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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