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When playing through Resident Evil 2 disc one for the first time, you witness a scene near the end of the adventure where Ada Wong is wounded by a gunshot and proceeds to tumble over the side of a somewhat ill-designed bridge. She is grabbed by Leon, who appears to do his best to save her before she plunges into the darkness below.
Games have wired us to expect both main and supporting characters to show remorse and regret in dire situations.
But is that what really happened? Games have wired us to expect both main and supporting characters to show remorse and regret in dire situations, and when seen with a sympathetic eye, this scene is vanilla and predictable. But with a change of perspective the decisions made during this brief series of events takes on a much darker and more emotional tone.
According to developer Capcom, the events that we all saw take place on that bridge deep underground never actually happened. Is there a good reason for that? Perhaps: I propose to you that the first disc of what is considered one of the finest survival horror games ever made holds not a tragic slip of hands between two would-be friends, but instead a tale of deception that ended when Leon made a calculated decision to end a life. Leon chose to let go.
Ada first meets Leon in an underground parking garage during the Raccoon City virus outbreak and the two agree to aid each other. Ada is trying to hunt down a reporter who knows information about her boyfriend, John Clemens, an Umbrella Corporation scientist who she manipulated to get information on Umbrella's research for a competing company known only as "The Organization."
The pair find the dimwitted reporter hiding in a prison cell, and once he tells them where to go Ada immediately runs off, even as Leon screams her name. The two cross paths again inside the Raccoon City sewer system and, like before, Ada plays nice to get help from Mr. Kennedy. This time, she tags along until she sees Annette Birkin, an Umbrella Scientist and wife of William Birkin, the man who created the dreaded G-virus. Annette runs away with Ada in hot pursuit. The distraught Birkin then turns and fires at Ada, but before she can land a shot, Leon tackles Ada to the ground, saving her life and taking a bullet in the process.
Ada then leaves Leon bleeding from his torso, in a sewer crawling with spiders the size of Volkswagen Beetles. She pursues Annette and discovers that John, who was called to Raccoon City to help with the G-Virus, is dead. It's at this point that obtaining a sample of the virus for her bosses at The Organization becomes her top priority.
Ada and Leon meet up shortly thereafter and she tags along for a while before being injured by the mutated William Birkin. Leon, being the good, upstanding police officer that he is, saves her yet again (this is the third time, for those of you keeping track at home) and brings her to a safe place to recuperate. It's during this cutscene that Ada provides a bit of foreshadowing, saying "You'll be in danger if you stay with me," and, "I'm not capable of caring about anyone." Leon responds with another telling quote, insisting, "It's my job to protect you."
While looking for medical supplies for Ada, Leon runs into Annette Birkin, who tells him that Ada is a spy and not to be trusted. Annette is knocked unconscious by a falling pipe, and Leon takes the G-Virus sample from her. It's unclear just how Ada learns that Leon is now in possession of the G-Virus sample, but the next time we see her she has her pistol pointed squarely at the back of Leon's skull, ordering him to hand it over. Leon is no longer any use to her, and with just one person between her and a huge payday, nothing will stop her from getting what she wants.
The scene begins. The two stand silently for a moment before Leon asks Ada what she is doing with the gun pointed at him. Ada, tells him in an all-business tone to hand over the sample. Leon finally breaks free from his denial, muttering that Annette was right about Ada's intentions, and realizing he has made a horrible mistake. Ada tells him he should have left without her, insisting that she'll shoot him if she needs to. Leon calls her bluff, and the sound of a gun being cocked is heard. Ada freezes for a long moment before lowering her weapon.
What most people see is Ada showing a hint of humanity and realizing that she can't really shoot Leon because she cares about him too much. A few more seconds of the cutscene reveals the truth: As Ada's arm falls to her side, a shot rings out. Ada is struck from behind by a bullet and we then see Annette standing with her gun drawn. Annette then passes out - presumably from the massive head trauma she suffered earlier - as Ada stumbles and falls over the side of the narrow bridge.