I am a chronic late gamer. I don't know why I do it (maybe some sort of contrary reaction to the update-your-personal-blog-with-detailed-review-the-day-after-the-midnight-release zeitgeist?), but even in the case of games I purchase for full price upon release, I tend to play the intro, turn the game off for the night, and then fail to return to it for about half a year, at which time I actually get into playing it and wonder why I neglected it for so long. True to form, I followed this pattern with Resident Evil 6—bought it, started playing, died horribly when I botched a quick time event, turned my Xbox off, and didn't think about it again until my sister-in-law persuaded me to play it with her eight months later.
I haven't been able to stop playing it since. I think I have a problem, you guys, and his name is Jake Muller.
Resident Evil 6 is a bonanza of hot dudes. Three separate campaigns featuring two playable characters each allow for a large cast of attractive anti-bioterrorists. Hot dude-wise, we've got (from left, below) Chris Redfield, tortured beefcakey BSAA captain; his scarf-wearing sniper protégé, Piers Nivans; and, of course, Leon Scott Kennedy, the dreamiest fictional man to ever appear in any form of interactive media.
Rounding out that estimable list is the character who somehow managed to surpass Leon and become my biggest video game crush to date: Jake. Not content to let Bill Weasley remain the sole sexy facially scarred ginger of nerd-girl fantasies, he saunters into the game looking fiiiiiiine. Like Nathan Drake before him, the man can wear the hell out of a henley. In fact, everything Jake wears throughout the main campaign could have been pulled directly from some magical closet of clothes-that-will-make-me-want-to-make-out. And the WAY he wears them, good god. I haven't been so attached to a motion capture performance since FemShep, and her walk didn't make me feel, um, quite the same way his does. Mo-cap and voice actor Troy Baker deserves mad props all 'round—Jake's voice is all the foxier for the emotional nuance packed into the performance. Sass me again, Muller! Praise me with a "Hell yeah!" and thumbs up on co-op! Complain about your dead father again, I don't even care. Just keep talking.
So, Jake's deal is that he is—unbeknownst to himself—the son of series villain Albert Wesker, who was offed by Chris Redfield at the end of Resident Evil 5. Jake's biological parentage makes him immune to the latest crazy person-mutating virus engineered by a terrorist organization to destroy the world. The bad guys want to get their hands on Jake's blood to make the virus stronger (science!), and the good guys want to use it to formulate a vaccine. To that end, he is tracked down by one Agent Sherry Birkin, who has her own virus-conferred special healing powers thanks to the events of Resident Evil 2. And this brings us to another major component of Jake's crush-worthiness: the sexual tension between him and Sherry. Bless you, makers of RE6, it's all so perfect—the body language, the lingering eye contact, the combative dialogue, everything. Genie, can I please go back and have every flirtatious interaction of my lifetime scripted by the people who wrote Jake's campaign? Thanks. Please to observe this cutscene, which takes place shortly after they meet (and subsequently fight through a couple of armies of killer mutants and giant monstrosities):
Jeez, creepy virally transformed multi-eyed murderous J'avo, why you gotta break in right then? Can't you leave the hot people to get to know each other a little better and roll around on the floor of that cabin on their own terms, huh? Later, while they're still in that we-hate-each-other-before-we-love-each-other stage of fictional people romance, you can overhear an interaction between them where Sherry tells Jake to keep his hands to himself and he accuses her of rubbing up on him while they're hiding in a dumpster. (WARNING: do not hide in that dumpster three times! The suggestive convo happens on the second round of hiding from the monster in the dumpster. If you push your luck and do it again in hopes of hearing more dialogue, be prepared to witness a traumatizing death scene.) Defensive, Jake snaps, "Besides, what makes you think you're my type?" Uh, dude, it's pretty obvious. Every time they look at each other, he seems about half a breath away from pinning Sherry to the nearest wall and going for it.
At the time the game takes place, Jake is supposed to be 20 years old (and also supposed to be a highly trained and experienced stone cold killer mercenary who is unfazed at confronting Bio Organic Weapon monsters). Sherry was "born" in 1986 and is approximately my own age. Do I think fresh-out-of-their-teens dudes as sexually appealing as Jake Muller exist in real life? HAHAHAHAAA, no. (Unless you are a 20-year-old guy who is reading this, in which case I love you and think you're wonderful. Remember to wash your hands and floss your teeth!) In imaginary game-crush land, however, it is sort of absurdly flattering to think that a superhumanly sexy two-decade-old man would find a lady of my own age attractive and not, like, the Crypt Keeper (which is what I feel like around real live 20-year-olds). Jake's cockiness and constant stream of smartass comments would probably be intolerably obnoxious in real life, but to those of us who encountered Han Solo at a formative age, that arrogant scoundrel demeanor is irresistible in an imaginary man. Occasionally Jake's youth seems to show through his tough exterior, and it's endearing as hell. In the clip above, when he's oh-so-nonchalantly playing with his lighter to distract himself from the awkward silence? Aww, that is such a 20-year-old dude thing to do!
When Jake and Sherry are captured by baddies, you have a chance to play separately for a section before reuniting to escape the facility. Playing as Sherry, I fought my way out with a stun rod and wondered why the gun-mounted security cameras fired at my opponents, rather than me. Replaying the same chapter as Jake, I realized he was looking out for her the whole time, and the thoughts he utters while he's alone reveal that he's a lot more concerned about Sherry and her wellbeing than he ever lets on to her face. Also, he's shirtless throughout that entire sequence, and his attempt to be respectful and refrain from ogling Sherry in her skimpy lab rat wear when they regroup is kind of adorable.
By the end of the game, Jake evolves from an amoral mercenary who only cares about his next paycheck to a human being who actually gives a damn about loyalty (to Sherry, anyway) and saving the world from destruction, which he helps accomplish by punching a giant monster in the face. Jake's character development results from a pretty classic tropes vs. women arc in which the influence of a good woman serves to improve him as a person, but I love it nonetheless. I'd like to help Jake Muller become a better man, too, ifyouknowwhatImean. The guy has great taste in ladies! Sherry is a legitimate badass in her own right, and she saves his life at the game's end, providing me with this magnificent Facebook cover photo in the process:
At the end of the entire game, when all three main campaigns plus Ada Wong's (awesome!) unlockable campaign are completed, a final cutscene leaves us with the image of Jake preparing to take on another gang of armored enemies. Hopefully that means he'll be the protagonist of Resident Evil 7, because I am seriously craving more Jake Muller in my life. Gimme, Capcom! In the meantime, I'll be over here obsessively playing The Mercenaries and reading fanfiction.
Jennifer Culp has room enough in her heart for both Leon and Jake. She highly recommends playing enough of The Mercenaries minigame to unlock Leon's pirate costume.