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I was to become a god! Creating a new world, with an advanced race of Human beings...
~ Spencer's final words to Wesker before his death.
Lord Oswell E. Spencer is the overarching antagonist of the Resident Evil video game series. Lurking in the shadows and rarely seen, he is the president of Umbrella, a major bio-weapons manufacturer hiding behind a pharmaceutical facade. A man of great wealth and power, he was an aristocrat with a keen hobby in art collecting.
Spencer had a vision to remake the world and lead it into a new era, as the world's current state was less than ideal to him. He intended to use the research of B.O.W. to carry out his vision and mold a utopia for mankind with himself as its ruler.
Spencer was one of the three scientists that discovered the Progenitor Virus. Accompanied by prominent researcher James Marcus and his student, Brandon Bailey, the trio were able to make the ground breaking find on December 4, 1968. After much experimentation with the virus, Spencer was given a vision for the future of the world, which over the years manifested into "Project Wesker", a top secret Umbrella project that would become the reason for every action Spencer took. While driven by their insights to create a powerful viral biological weapon, Spencer and his colleagues established the Umbrella Corporation alongside his friend Edward Ashford. The company appeared to create pharmaceutical products, which was truly meant to disguise their sinister motives. Ashford later died as a result of contracting the Progenitor virus. Around the same time, Spencer hired the well-known architect George Trevor to design a mansion in the Arklay Mountain.
The estate would serve as a camouflage for a secret research laboratory complex in its basement. After realizing that George may disclose of the secrets of the mansion in the future, Spencer had his wife Jessica and their daughter Lisa kidnapped and used as Progenitor virus test-subjects. George was imprisoned within the walls of the mansion he built. Able to remember most of the traps and passages he created, he managed to escape. However, he could not leave the grounds due to the guards and so hid in the caves below the estate. All known information about him stopped after he ceased writing in his diary in December, some time after falling down a hole, where a grave had been prepared for him by Spencer. Also occurring in that year, Spencer established the Umbrella Research Center for further research of the Progenitor virus, and appointed co-founder James Marcus as the first general manager.
Initiating Project W
Having had delusions of godhood ever since the discovery of the Progenitor virus, Spencer eventually made plans to remake humanity in his own image via viruses. One of these plans, which he kept secret even from Umbrella's official archive, was Project W, which was a eugenics project that involved the mass abduction of various children born to parents with superior intellect and molding them after his own personal beliefs and moral views, manipulating them both directly and indirectly, and were given the last name of "Wesker", after the man who spearheaded the project. Two of them would later become important figures later on: Albert and Alex Wesker, who were both the sole surviving specimens of the project.
After Marcus successfully created the Tyrant Virus by introducing the Progenitor virus to a Leech, Spencer began to grow paranoid of Marcus' new found reputation. Ultimately, Spencer ordered Marcus' former apprentices, Albert Wesker and William Birkin, to assassinate him. In the aftermath, Spencer appointed Birkin to take over the Tyrant virus project. Spencer was also left as the sole remaining founding member of the Umbrella Corporation, and easily able to monopolize the company for himself.
Raccoon City outbreak and cover-up
When the Zombie outbreak affected Raccoon City, Spencer ordered that all of Umbrella's data be backed up to the U.M.F.-013 computer core, an act which was carried out and overseen by his loyal employee, Sergei Vladimir. Sergei and an unidentified Umbrella officer carried the computer core out of the city via helicopter. Raccoon City was leveled by a U.S. Government missile within moments of Sergei's escape. Spencer later received word that the city had been completely wiped out and made an entry about it in his journal. He also placed Sergei in charge of Umbrella's remaining structure, and went into hiding. Following the aftermath of the incidents in the Arklay Mountains and Raccoon City, Spencer brought forth top lawyers and false witnesses to the Supreme Court to shift blame for the events of Raccoon City to the Government, which kept Umbrella afloat for another five years.
In actuality, U.S. governors were involved with Umbrella's dealings. Ultimately, Albert Wesker sealed Umbrella's fate by submitting all of Umbrella's secret information (B.O.W.s, Viral Samples, Tactical Training, etc.) to the Government. The information had been downloaded onto a special disk from the U.M.F.-013, one of Umbrella's biggest archives. Wesker even went so far as to personally testify against Spencer, detailing what role he had in the events of Raccoon City; he was referred to as a personal friend of the CEO (chief executive officer), but ultimately betrayed his former employer. Immediately afterwards, Umbrella's business license was revoked and a global manhunt was begun with the goal of finding Spencer, who mysteriously vanished following Umbrella's destruction. Wesker took all of Umbrella's infrastructure he had recovered and planned to remake the company as his own empire, with which to lead the world into a new era. He would meet Spencer again and reveal his plans before the end of it all.When the Zombie outbreak affected Raccoon City, Spencer ordered that all of Umbrella's data be backed up to the U.M.F.-013 computer core, an act which was carried out and overseen by his loyal employee, Sergei Vladimir. Sergei and an unidentified Umbrella officer carried the computer core out of the city via helicopter. Raccoon City was leveled by a U.S. Government missile within moments of Sergei's escape. Spencer later received word that the city had been completely wiped out and made an entry about it in his journal. He also placed Sergei in charge of Umbrella's remaining structure, and went into hiding. Following the aftermath of the incidents in the Arklay Mountains and Raccoon City, Spencer brought forth top lawyers and false witnesses to the Supreme Court to shift blame for the events of Raccoon City to the Government, which kept Umbrella afloat for another five years.
In the following years Spencer went into hiding, making sure he had little contact with the outside world. His hiding place had been his European estate, a castle along the coast of an Atlantic ocean. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine were given information from a reliable source on Spencer's location, hoping to arrest Spencer and get information on Wesker's whereabouts. Minutes before they arrived, Wesker himself paid a visit to Spencer, who was expecting him, much to Wesker's shock. Wesker realized that Spencer had been in control of everything that had been occurring over the years, even his own actions, and the two discussed Wesker's origins. Wesker was the result of genetic experimentation with the Progenitor virus along with thousands of others, known as the "Wesker children."
Spencer revealed that his goal was to create a new breed of humans -Albert included- and thus become a god over a new world. However, Albert was the only one that survived out of other individuals who were "manufactured" such as him, and the research itself was destroyed along with Raccoon City. As Spencer stood from his wheelchair to confront Wesker face to face, Wesker violently thrusted his hand through Spencer's chest, whispering to him that the right to become a god was now his, and had never been Spencer's. Wesker viciously removed his hand from his chest, allowing him to topple over. As Jill and Chris entered the room, they unexpectedly found Spencer's corpse, with Wesker's bloodstained figure standing over him. After a battle in the estate, Wesker and Jill disappeared, and were presumed dead. Spencer's corpse was left lying on the floor of his castle.
Despite various references made to him in previous Resident Evil games, Spencer's only confirmed appearance was in Resident Evil 5. He was shown in a flashback to be an elderly man in his mid-seventies. He had light blue eyes and completely white, curly hair. He wore a purple evening robe with purple slippers, though he may have just been settling into more comfortable attire for the night. He was shown in a portrait wearing more formal attire, albeit with an older-age sense in his fashion. He was slightly confined to a wheelchair, which he was connected to through wires, though he was able to stand up and face Wesker during the last moments of his life, at the same time disconnecting himself from his life support. The chair kept track of his heart rate. Spencer would break into racked coughing at random times while speaking, and also seemed to have breathing problems. Since he has never been seen before his incredibly old state, when Spencer's health problems began is currently unknown, other than it potentially starting in the late 1990s.
Adam D. Clarke modeled Spencer's voice and mannerisms after Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars, due to being a fan of the Star Wars franchise. He also compared Spencer's relationship with Wesker to that of Palpatine and Darth Vader.
He, along with Alfred Ashford are one of the few villains in the video game series to canonically not die before being injected by a virus or macroparasite of any kind (though the illness that Spencer obtained before his death is unknown). An alternate path for Resident Evil 2 does have Brian Irons being killed by being torn in half by Birkin's G-form without even being infected by a G-embryo beforehand, although this was non-canon.
Even though Albert Wesker was the central antagonist of the series, Oswell E. Spencer is technically the main villain of the entire franchise, since it was his upbringing of Albert Wesker that ultimately turned the latter into a major threat and a villain, with his also being indirectly responsible for most if not all of Wesker's actions, as implied by their final meeting before Wesker killed him. In addition, it was his ordering for the assassination of James Marcus that set off the entire plotline of the franchise.