I clearly remember the first time I saw the mysterious merchant from Resident Evil 4. He pops by a window and gets Leon’s attention. You then head out and around the back of the building where he is waiting for Leon. He’s ready to sell and buy, even in this terrible place. He’s the best. But who is he and why can’t he return to the franchise?
In Resident Evil 4, Leon is sent to a small European village to save the President’s daughter. She has been captured and Leon and his amazing hair are ready to save her. But Leon will need some help and he gets most of his mission assistance from a masked merchant. This man will sell Leon weapons, tools, upgrades, and other supplies. He will even buy stuff from Leon, which is nice of him considering Leon doesn’t really have a lot of local currency on him.
The Merchant doesn’t have a name, or at least we don’t know his name. He is simply referred to as The Merchant. Beyond his nickname and his profession, selling and buying stuff, we don’t know much about this man.
It can be assumed by his appearance and voice that he is probably infected with the same parasite that has turned the other villagers in the area into angry and violent folks. Yet The Merchant is chill and focused on business. He will sell Leon some impressive weaponry including powerful RPGs, a selection of assault rifles, and numerous small weapons.
How does he get this stuff? Like his name and origin, the game doesn’t tell us. Maybe he just had all this stuff before things went South?
The Merchant isn’t just here to sell stuff though. The man has many businesses and interests. For example, he runs a shooting range in the local castle and even awards prizes for high scores. He also seemingly hung up a bunch of medallions around the village and church and challenges folks to shoot them all to win a weapon. Where does he get all the time for this?
Other villagers and creatures don’t seem to bother him, he is never attacked while you visit him nor do you see him get hunted down by any enemies during a cutscene. It is very possible that having that many weapons make him a dangerous target. And him probably being infected helps The Merchant stay under the radar too, I assume. But at some point, you would think the villagers would notice him selling Leon all the weapons he then uses to kill the villagers.
In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that The Merchant is selling these angry folks their pitchforks and torches. He seems shady enough to play both sides against each other. The Merchant is a man of no allegiance.
As cool as The Merchant is, he sadly hasn’t popped up in any other Resident Evil games since RE4. There is another character who is simply known as a Merchant in Resident Evil Degeneration, but they aren’t as cool and honestly, they should probably stop copying the real deal Merchant.
As for what happened to the Merchant after the events of Resident Evil 4, well, we have no idea. Capcom has never officially said if he survived or was infected or stayed around to sell guns to more villagers. I know some folks believe he died or completely lost his mind shortly after Leon left. This is very possible but would be a sad end for such a great character.
Now, after all these years (and a few hints in Resident Evil Village...) the iconic and beloved Merchant is returning in the RE4 remake. From the footage we’ve seen so far of the character, he appears to be the same old mysterious merchant we all know and love.
Will the remake dig into his past or origins more? No idea. While a part of me would love to know a bit more about the masked merchant we all adore, another part of me fears that learning too much will irrevocably damage his vibes and make him less cool.
But maybe, at the very least, Capcom could include a hint at what happens to The Merchant after the events of RE4. That could be a neat thing to include in the remake that wouldn’t ruin his mysterious origins.
Regardless of what happened to the guy or where he came from, I’ll never forget you, Merchant.
Also if any of you killed this man, I will be really disappointed in you. I mean, I killed him once. But that was just to see if you could do it. Which you can. I quickly turned off the console and never did it again. If you did it again, you are the real monster.
This article was originally published on 3/19/2019.