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|“||This is the photo that took one of my eyes, but gifted me with vision. The moment of death, captured like a fly in amber. A life ends and a flower of flesh and blood is born. I realized the beauty in destruction, I was eager to share my new work with the world. Neophytes. Philistines. Fools. They feared what they could not comprehend, were determined to stop me. Some consider this new world horrific, for me it is a world of beauty, full of pure creations that is limited only by my imagination. A world whose very fabric I can shape but where can I go from here? She is the key, the path to ultimate power. She is the brush, blood is my paint and this world is the canvas. My name is Stefano Valentini and art is in the eye of the beholder.||„|
|~ Stefano Valentini's most famous monologue.|
Stefano Valentini is the secondary antagonist of the survival-horror game The Evil Within 2. He acts as the main enemy to Sebastian Castellanos through Chapters 1-8. He is Sebastian Castellan's second archenemy.
He was voiced by Rafael Goldstein (who also voiced Soundblaster in Transformers: War for Cybertron: Siege) in English, and by Setsuji Sato (who also voiced Lucas Baker in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Kandachi in Past Konoha, and Yokai Amikiri in Shuriken Sentai Ninninger) in Japanese.
Born in Florence, Italy, Stefano became a war photographer whilst taking a photo of a soldier's death caused a piece of shrapnel to become lodged in his eye.
As revealed through Sebastian's Room after his death, Stefano moved to Krimson City after the war and became an artist and photographer, though in secret a serial killer who murdered fashion models by becoming their confidantes and usually decapitated them. Due to the critical panning of his exhibits which also depicted the gore and violence of death, Stefano became more unhinged.
He enrolled himself to become a part of Union through encounters with Mobius and their psychologist, Yukiko Hoffman though because he was a high-functioning psychopath he was able to hide his mental illness and deeply distorted the reality of Union, granting him incredible and disturbed powers within the world.
The Evil Within 2
Before Sebastian's arrival into Union, Stefano had been approached by Theodore Wallace, a powerful denizen in the STEM system who promised power and autonomy over the environment if he brought him The Core (actually Lily Castellanos) which placed Stefano in conflict with her father, Sebastian.
Chapter 2: Something Not Quite Right
Upon entering STEM, Sebastian is hurdled into a mansion area which is presumably a product of the deranged photographers mind. There, he discovers the corpse of Mobius search team leader, William Baker shot through the head with a camera prepared that constantly replays Baker's exact moment of dying.
As he progresses through the area, Sebastian is taunted by Stefano further who notices him in the distance and merely observes his movement. One time, Sebastian notices him murdering an unfortunate Union civilian and photographing his corpse, replaying it over and over again just like Baker but this causes him to create a noise which Stefano attempts to investigate, Sebastian narrowly avoids the mad artist and escapes the area via elevator.
Entering the basement of Stefano's mansion, Sebastian encounters dozens of corpses strung up and covered in white cloth with another camera prepared in the area. To his confusion these corpses mysteriously relocate across the room and eventually lead him to a door where Stefano ambushes him, takes a picture and transports Sebastian to a wall with blood-red eye crossed out. A mirror is there that was not before with an image of the detective taped to it, when Sebastian investigates he is attacked by the Guardian who gives chase to him. Narrowly avoiding the many-headed creature through the air vents, the Guardian locates Sebastian and still attempts to kill him. Near the end of a hallway, Stefano throws a knife into Sebastian's shoulder and teleports away, leaving life his monstrous creation to finish him off. Ironically, Sebastian uses Stefano's own knife to fend off the Guardian and escape the same way the photographer came into the area.
Chapter 3: Resonances
Residual Memories reveal that Stefano had kidnapped Rogue Mobius operative Ryan Turner and had murdered him in the exact same way of Baker, a gunshot wound through the head whilst his moment of death was replayed forever. Sebastian discovers Turner's corpse and communicator underneath the Union Visitor Centre where Stefano ambushes the detective yet again by transporting him to another gallery with the mad artists horrific photos on display throughout, particularly a glass case displaying the severed heads of three women. When Sebastian finds an exit form the gallery, he only exits the Visitor Centre yet again.
Tracking resonances throughout Union, Sebastian discovers that Lily is being hunted by Stefano. At Tradwell Trucking, he finds a doll that gives him flashes of Lily hiding in a room that Stefano searches but seemingly leaves, however he teleports back scares and kidnaps her. Angered by this, Sebastian attempts to contact Liam O'Neal, a surviving member of the Mobius search team only for Stefano to appear and distort reality by transporting Sebastian from Tradwell Trucking to his gallery with another murdered Mobius agent. Before he has the chance to confront the photographer about the location of his daughter he teleports away and leaves the Aperture to dispense of Sebastian by creating more Lost and Spawn.
Realising Stefano retreated to City Hall, Sebastian heads through the Marrow to confront him and find his daughter.
Chapter 5: Lying in Wait
Passing through the Marrow, Sebastian sees Stefano outside of City Hall as a frequency is picked up on the communicator when the Aperture appears and two massive tentacles of flesh slam down before him. The gate in front of City Hall is decorated with more corpses of MOBIUS agents and a photo of Sebastian with the words "waiting for you" painted on it. Union begins to glitch and the gate disappears allowing Sebastian to enter the area, however the Aperture causes the surrounding corpses to transform into a Guardian to kill him. After a lengthy battle with much ammunition the many-headed creature is defeated.
Inside City Hall Stefano has decorated it with more of his gruesome pictures. He has also killed more MOBIUS operatives, one he killed and threw off a high ceiling whilst keeping him frozen in time and another member of Alpha Team, Harrison was left severely wounded and found by Sebastian who tells him to turn on the Stable Field Emitter to decrease Stefano's power in the world. The area has been twisted into his personal canvas and playground for Obscura, his pet camera-monster that Sebastian often sees patrolling. One area only became accessible after replicating a picture of one of Stefano's victims on a mannequin and an underground room where he is ambushed by Obscura taking multiple pictures until he wakes up surrounded by frozen Lost which a note claims was not the mad photographer's work but were too beautiful that he had to display.
Finally activating the Stable Field Emitter in a mock dark room with dozens of Stefano's pictures, the photographer notices Sebastian and freezes him in time with a singular taken photo. He mocks the unmoving detective about Lily and even alludes to a higher power in Union beside himself who also wants Lily's power but does not elaborate until holding him at knifepoint, though only cuts the side of his cheek. Revealing his identity, Stefano leaves Sebastian with Obscura who can stop the Emitter with its camera head. After a battle which Sebastian wins the Stable Field Emitter is activates which banishes Obscura from the area but Stefano left with Lily so he leaves City Hall to contact Kidman and O'Neal for leads.
Chapter 7: Lust for Art
At the Grand Theatre where Stefano has holed up with Lily, Sebastian is stopped by two paintings of his "art" acting as a gate outside the theatre. Frustrated that he did not appreciate Obscura's performance, Stefano contacts Sebastian on his Communicator and refuses to allow Sebastian into the theatre to witness more of his work until he respects his art, and even gives him the location of two of his gruesome sculptures, leading to Sebastian hunting them down and placing Hoffman's theory to the rest, being that the only way to attack Stefano is to destroy his art.
Whilst Sebastian hunts for Stefano's artwork to destroy it, he experiences flashes of him declaring his intention to make Lily a part of his Obscura as his ultimate masterpiece.
Chapter 8: Premiere
Furious at Sebastian destroying his art, upon the detective entering the theater he goes into a drawn-out rant about his anger on how Mobius tried to change him and now the detective only wants to stop him but both have failed due to him possessing the power of the Core will allow him to create art for all eternity inside of Union.
In the main theater where Sebastian prepares to confront Stefano he discovers the entire audience of Union citizens kidnapped with bags over their heads. The artist compliments his adversary on making it this far in their chase, though refuses to disclose Lily's location. However, he does once again hint to a higher power in Union whom charged him with finding and bringing Lily to him. Upon realizing the full extent of the power of The Core, Stefano now powering himself with Lily's abilities declares his intention to overthrow this higher power and turn Union into his own work of art.
To display his power, Stefano activates the bombs under all the hostages heads in the theater and keeps the exact moment of explosion frozen in time. Transporting Sebastian to a distorted area of Union with a red sky and more of his sadistic gallery floating around, Stefano calls the Aperture to deter and kill the detective but when this is unsuccessful the mad photographer awaits Sebastian in the same mansion he first entered Union.
With nowhere left to run, Sebastian finally confronts Stefano. Brandishing his knife and camera, Stefano uses his teleportation and knife skills in an attempt to kill him as well as freezing him in time by taking a picture and staging explosives throughout the area though Sebastian still gains the upper hand. Becoming more enraged, Stefano's attire and sanity begin to dishevel further so he calls the Aperture to help him defeat his enemy. When this fails, the artist's attacks towards Sebastian becomes much more frenzied and animalistic as he charges ferociously at him whilst screaming in rage but still with no success. Eventually Stefano is defeated and collapses. The Aperture sinks and vanishes into the red abyss that was once Union's sky. The photographer sadly remarks that he had more potential and art to give but nonetheless is happy that Sebastian has made him into a masterpiece then seemingly dies. As Sebastian turns around Stefano grabs his camera and prepares for the attack but the detective shoots first, finally ending the mad artist's wrath on Union.
After his death Theodore Wallace informs Sebastian that he was one the one who charged Stefano with bringing him the Core. When in his office, Sebastian will remark with satisfaction over Stefano's death when his picture is painted with a red x, claiming "now that's art".
|“||Ah flesh... less malleable than clay. Softer than marble. It really is the perfect medium.||„|
|~ Stefano Valentini|
As an artist, Stefano has always had an eccentric nature, one that became twisted and deranged following wartime, the loss of his eye and the panning of his artistry in his civilian life. The act of taking an individuals exact moment of death that resulted in shrapnel being burrowed into his eye greatly warped Stefano's vision of beauty and a morbid view of the living, though he claims this only granted him "vision". He prefers his victims unmoving and their corpses able to twist to his sadistic likeness, comparatively to photo time. Stefano's view was not that he murdered his victims but rather reshaped and reborn them into works of art more beautiful than the uninteresting wretches they were previously.
Stefano holds a great deal of pride in his artwork (which he has previously claimed to be "perfect"), displaying his victims throughout Union in a public and lavish display for all to see. His pride in this regard leads to a deep hubris and narcissism towards those he dislikes, especially critics (whom he dubs as "neophytes") and Sebastian Castellanos as an "uncomprehending Neanderthal". Beyond his arrogance, Stefano hides his wounded ego towards the critique his work received in the real world, due to this he considers Union the ultimate canvas to carve his gory masterpiece away from fear of reprisal or shame. Despite his pride in his work, Stefano is willing to compliment other "artists" such as Myra Hanson's frozen Lost, even collecting them from the street and displaying them.
Despite his low opinion on others, Stefano is willing to compliment his adversaries continued survival in the face of danger as he considers Sebastian's pursuit of him "entertaining" yet the longer they live the more unhinged he becomes as is evident during his final fight with Sebastian where his attacks become much more animalistic and he screams continuously in frustration towards his enemy as he gains the upper hand (though Stefano claims because he had become boring to him).
Like Ruvik and Theodore, Stefano holds a great deal of animosity towards MOBIUS for attempting to rewrite his memories and (in his mind) squandering the potential Union held. Ultimately, his obsession with creating the ultimate masterpiece and hubris resulted in his own demise yet he even found solace in this do to Sebastian making him into a "work of art" in his view.
Whilst Stefano has been outwardly passionate about his views on gore and once claiming "blood is my paint", he also considers fear "beautiful". He noticed it radiating from Sebastian whilst holding him at knifepoint and considered Lily Castellanos' own terror "inspiring" for more works of art. Stefano often liked to scare his victims before finishing them off. This can be witnessed when hunting for Lily and he feigns leaving the room before teleporting back in to scare and grab her.
According to Hoffman, Stefano was a high-functioning psychopath due to his traits of egocentricity, lack of remorse and sadistic nature yet self-awareness allowed him to hide his derangement and appear normal-functioning. His nature was so depraved that Hoffman found him more disturbing than anyone previously met in her career (enough that she described him pejoratively as a "psycho" even though she found it distasteful but appropriate to Stefano himself).
Powers and Abilities
Presumably due to his tins in the war, Stefano became efficient with guns and knives, being able to throw a knife from a long-range distance and into Sebastian (although non-fatally).
In Union, Stefano uses his camera as a weapon. Taking a picture can completely freeze time or keep his victims in a continuous death loop. He has shown mastery over minions like Obscura and Guardian, the first one becoming his personal pet. Stefano can change the environment at whim to whatever he imagines but his power becomes even more advanced when he uses Lily's power as the Core. During his fight against Sebastian, he can teleport out of nowhere to stab Sebastian or throw his knife as him. He also can control a massive creature called Aperture as an extension of himself in which he can crush Sebastian to death with its tentacle.
Despite being Theodore's lackey, he is far more powerful than Theodore since he can put a fight against Sebastian directly and causes more damage to the Detective than Theodore's psychological manipulation. He is shown to be strong enough to defiance Theodore and steal Lily from himself to the point that Theodore has to depend on Sebastian to get rid of Stefano for him.