Portrait Of The Artist As A Serial Killer

Monday 15 January 2018

"I am Stefano... And now you are my art."

Stefano Valentini is a major villain and the main antagonist for the first half of The Evil Within 2, sequel of The Evil Within. He is a deranged photographer and serial killer with a very dark and twisted psyche, and is quite possibly one of the most intriguing and complicated villains in video game history so far. His role in the story is completed in the 8th of the 17 chapters of the game, however his emblematic presence and personality as a villain offer material for plenty of analysis, both about himself alone, as well as concerning his relationship with the protagonist of the game, detective Sebasian Castellanos.

The plot of the game is centered around Sebastian's daughter, Lily, who was announced dead after a fire that burned her family home, something that was known already from the first game. In The Evil Within 2, however, Sebastian finds out that Lily is very much alive, and is in fact held in STEM by Mobius, the secret organization that stole Ruben Victoriano's research and developed it so as to create the necessary means for universal mind control. As the STEM system needed a central unit, a core, to operate (Ruben's brain had this 'role' in the first game), Mobius tested several people for this, narrowing the candidates down eventually to children, whose pure brain would be a perfect 'blank sheet' for the process to progress smoothly. Lily was chosen as the ideal candidate because she was an intuitive girl with an innocent heart, and was subsequently kidnapped so as to take her place in the main STEM unit. When Sebastian's wife, Myra, found out about this, she became a member of Mobius, planning a way to take her daughter out and destroy the organization from the inside afterwards. Something went wrong however when Lily disappeared completely and the system became destabilized.

Sebastian is called to enter STEM and go to Union, a virtual environment that simulates a town and which was created by Mobius for its test subjects, to look for his daughter, as well as for the members of the search team that was sent to find her but went missing too. Sebastian finds out that one of the people who was supposedly helping Myra with her plan secretly wanted to keep Lily for himself so as to gain personal power using her potential, and for this he sent Stefano Valentini to kidnap her for his own benefit. However Stefano found out about Lily's 'power' and he decided against handing her over, thinking that, with taking advantage of her abilities, he would achieve great works of art.

Although Stefano is clearly identified and defined as a psychopathic and sadistic serial killer who has developed an appalling concept about what great art is, his connection to Sebastian and how this affects his attitude as the story progresses presents great interest. But this cannot be examined separately from his works of  'art' - photographs and installations - that can be seen in several places, and their evolution.

Stefano's installations take gore to a whole new level of creepiness

First of all we should focus a bit on an important fact about his past life. Stefano used to be a war photographer, and given that he is 31 at the time of the game's events, we can easily deduct that he had been on such missions while at a very young age. This fact alone should be enough to explain part of his paranoia, as it is more than obvious that, as a war photographer, he had witnessed and captured with his camera numerous horrible scenes. What made the biggest difference in his case however and practically altered his psyche was an incident where while photographing a war scene, he captured the moment when a man died, hit by an explosion; the same explosion that caused the loss of his own right eye. The fact that he managed to capture the exact moment of death fascinated him and after getting back home, he became a fashion photographer using this activity as a cover, planning to put to practice the twisted artistic projects that started occupying his mind.

There are several recurring elements and themes in his older photographs and installations, which can be seen in various rooms in the City Hall, the most characteristic being the red roses and the violet blue color (which also resembles the color of the suit he is wearing). These photographs and installations all depict women, albeit their head is always missing or is replaced by the flowers. What Stefano did to create his 'art' was to kill his victims and set up installations with the corpses which he then shot with the camera and edited accordingly to create a misleading artistic effect (that is, he edited the photos to make them look as if he had created all the gruesome effects with photographic or computer tricks, but in fact they were 100% real).

Some of Stefano's photos may look artistic from a distance, until you notice the morbid details

Soon his concepts became more specific, as he focused on capturing the moment of death, somehow reviving again and again that first random capture in the battlefield; and to achieve this, he had his camera ready and hit the button just as he was stabbing or shooting his models with a gun. Although one such photo can be seen in the City Hall and it shows a woman, it is quite interesting that almost all the others of this kind that Sebastian comes across depict men who, moreover, are soldiers - except the young man  in the white shirt near the start.

Being exposed to the horrors of war at such a young age, Stefano was inevitably traumatized, something that took irreversible monstrous dimensions after the event with the explosion that turned on his psychopathic switch. Clearly the paranoia that he showed afterwards was connected to the war in every way, but initially he would express it in more indirect ways, which is why his victims were female fashion models and he obviously devoted a lot more time in staging and editing his photos. As soon as his most crucial memory settled itself in his mind, his photos started being more specific. He started killing soldiers, seen now as direct symbols of war, and photographing the moment of their death; and the captured result showed exactly that, with no extra additions or effects. He went even further than that though, by creating some kind of live installations with his victims, framing them in a real-time camera shot which would loop eternally, repeating the captured moment of death again and again.

In these installations, these frozen displays, as they are called in the game, it is as if time has stopped; the moment of the victim's death plays over and over in slow motion, the scene is bathed in a gloomy and sick blue light, while in the background is heard a distorted version of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, Op 48, I.

Sebastian watches the frozen display of a young man whom Stefano stabbed moments before

This ingenious music segment seems to match Stefano's art from a technical aspect: Tchaikovsky creates harmony through dissonance and makes unconventional use of accords, still the resulting piece sounds immaculate. Similarly, Stefano's photos look artistic, albeit creepy, on the exterior, but in fact they are made of dead bodies and body parts. Of course Tchaikovsky uses disharmonies to create something beautiful, while Stefano's 'art' is literally a murder pile.

The most raw manifestation of this is the Guardian, a hideous monster made of severed limbs and cut heads stitched together, which runs around with a creepy smile stuck on its main head, yielding a huge buzz saw that is attached on its arm, while letting out a chilling, hysterical laughter. The Guardian represents all of Stefano's victims who died violently and is some sort of evil spirit that seeks revenge. Its smile and laughter are a constant reminder of the moment that they were caught in Stefano's trap when he ordered them to smile for the camera, and from that moment and on, their nightmare began.

The Guardian is one of the most hideous monsters you've ever seen

Near the closure of his role in the game, Stefano conceives and realizes a most bloodcurdling frozen display which involves several people - both men and women - who are all dressed in white and are sitting in the seats of a theater, with their hands and legs tied with duct tape and sacks covering their heads. Having attached explosive mechanisms on each one's head, he sets them all off at the same time, causing a series of explosions which create a visual effect that defies any description.

This mini-war that he creates himself in the theater brings him back to the start of his madness, to the explosion that marked his life both literally and metaphorically in the battlefield; only this time he has the illusion that he is the one in control of everything and everyone around him.

Sebastian watches in shock as Stefano realizes his latest concept

Stefano is, from many aspects, a fascinating villain. His appearance is stylish, classy, and marginally eccentric, with a toned-down flamboyant elegance. He is a young and handsome man, but his soul and his mind are of the worst kind of evil. His Italian descent gives him an air of charm and beauty that is the exact opposite of his real self. In that sense, he is more or less like his photographs. Art as a concept takes a distorted form in his head and is realized in the most disturbing ways. His missing eye has been replaced with a camera lens, which makes him see everything around him as photographic stills, even before he actually takes a photo.

Disappointed from what he considers to be a shallow approach of his work, he has created an alternate reality within the virtual reality of Union. He is able to alter the environment around him and transform it the way that he pleases, and thus he has turned several places of the town into his own personal artistic domain. The Grand Theater and the City Hall in particular are like some kind of Museums of Horror, where he has his artworks set around so that he is able to admire them as much as he wants and preserve them for eternity.

Stefano's domain is a place full of nightmarish displays of all kinds

His chemistry with Sebastian is extremely intense and dominates everything else for the whole first half of the story. Sebastian is as clear and pure as Stefano is dark and perverted. This contrast becomes even more powerful when taking into consideration that Stefano is almost a decade younger than Sebastian, as it intensifies the fact that Sebastian has maintained his unadulterated heart despite the nightmares he's been through and the evil he has encountered, while Stefano not only succumbed to his dark side when he met the horror and evilness of war and embraced it, but moreover found pleasure in it.

Sebastian and Stefano have an intense hero/villain chemistry

Sebastian enters Stefano's twisted world rather unexpectedly at the very beginning of the game, when he finds himself in an empty and tall dark room, decorated with long, red curtains that swing slightly as if moved by a ghostly wind. The whole place looks like a dismantled theatrical stage.

The entrance to the artist's domain looks like the scenery of a nightmare

A bit further, he goes through a door and he enters a smaller room where there is a photo of a door on one wall and an identical real door on another. By looking at the photo of the door, Sebastian is able to open the real door behind him and proceed. It is as if the photo became reality; or maybe reality manifested itself as a photo so as to drag him in? Nothing is clear inside STEM, and most importantly, nothing is friendly. As Sebastian goes along a corridor, Tchaikovsky's music is heard from a distance, and soon Sebastian comes across a frozen display, featuring William Baker, the leader of the Mobius search team that went missing. The same room also hosts several photos on the walls, associated with other victims, that will reappear later on.

Sebastian watches one of Stefano's frozen displays, featuring William Baker

By revealing a secret passage nearby, Sebastian enters a bizarre and disturbing building with long corridors, red curtains and gory photos on the walls, which seems to be Stefano's private place as he can be seen walking around, teleporting himself from one place to another, changing the layout of the rooms, making doors appear or disappear. A woman that you see crying for help behind a glass door disappears seconds after, and it is just Stefano and Sebastian alone in the artist's domain.

Sebastian is not just one more random victim for Stefano. This becomes very clear from the start, from the first time that the two of them cross paths. In the room where Sebastian sees Stefano for the first time, where Stefano stabs a young man then shoots him with his camera, Sebastian hides behind a couch after witnessing the scene. As Stefano passes by him, he stops for a moment, throws a look sideways to the direction where Sebastian is crouching and literally smells him, letting out a lustful groan.

Stefano's senses are enhanced whenever Sebastian is closeby

Moving on, Sebastian goes down to the basement where there is a storage room full of hanging corpses. This very interesting room is in fact a stripped down version of the vicious circle in which Stefano has willingly trapped himself. And the word vicious in his case is rather literal. When you first enter the room, it has several corpses covered with sheets, hanging from the ceiling. As you approach the back wall, you can see a mural depicting a huge artistic eye, made with what looks like red paint but is probably human blood.

Just as you get closer, a noise makes you turn towards the opposite direction. You see then that the entrance from where you came in has disappeared and instead there is a solid wall there, and a mounted camera standing in front of it. A new noise makes you move to the back of the room again, and now a door has magically appeared where the eye initially was. As Sebastian opens the door, Stefano appears in front of him and shoots him with his camera. Turning towards the opposite direction again, Sebastian sees that the hanging corpses have been replaced with piles of stuff covered with cloth, and now there is a mirror on the wall where the mounted camera was minutes before; and on the mirror Sebastian finds the photo of himself that Stefano shot a few seconds before.

Stefano's deadliest weapon is his camera

The corpses, the mounted camera, Stefano with his own camera in hand, and a new victim, Sebastian: this scenery not only sums up Stefano's repeated activities in Union but moreover describes perfectly the confusion and derangement of his mind.

As soon as Sebastian takes his photo from the mirror, he catches a glimpse of a black-haired woman dressed in red behind him. She disappears immediately and at the same time the Guardian shows up from behind the glass, shatters the mirror and prepares to attack Sebastian, whose only rescue is the passage behind the mirror. So Sebastian runs through the looking glass, with the Guardian breathing (rather, laughing) down his neck, but this is definitely no Wonderland he is seeing. Suddenly Stefano appears from the opposite direction and throws a knife at him, hitting him on the shoulder. The key in this scene is the fact that, with stabbing Sebastian, Stefano is actually offering him a knife. In other words, he gives him an item that is vital for surviving for the rest of the adventure. It is as if he wants Sebastian to follow him, and as he is luring him into his world, he is making sure that he has at least the basic means to defend himself.

A bit later in Union, while following a signal on his communicator in his search for two missing soldiers, Sebastian enters a basement room where he has a vision in which Stefano has captured Ryan Turner, one of the soldiers, whom he soon kills and photographs, creating yet one more frozen display. As Sebastian is leaving this room, Stefano shows up again in the opened door and takes one more photo of him, then disappears. Before getting back outside, Sebastian enters a creepy dark room where there is a photo of the frozen display he just saw, showing Ryan at the moment of his murder.

Soldier Ryan's photograph (right) is an unedited capture of his frozen display (left)

It looks like Stefano treated Ryan a bit differently than his rest of his victims, as there are a few details that hint to that: he tied Ryan down and kept him like this for a while before killing him, instead of just taking him by surprise or chasing him then shooting him, like he did with the others. Additionally, he obviously took the time to observe and study his victim, both before and after the murder: along the walls of the corridor that connects the room where Ryan's frozen display is and the last room where his photo is hanging on the wall, are several other photos focusing on details like his eye and his hands, his head at the moment of death from various angles, as well as others showing parts of his severed body; in one of those, Stefano has added a butterfly. Moreover, the photo that captured his death is large and framed, as if Stefano wanted it to stand out from the rest.

There is no specific hint that could explain why Stefano would have this different behaviour towards Ryan; besides, we only have the chance to know very few things about him. From the visions triggered by the resonances in Sebastian's communicator, we can see that he was a tall and slender young man, and that he was somewhat ruthless since he was the one who planned to proceed in the Alpha One emergency plan. We could assume that Stefano, in his attempt to create 'his greatest work yet', considered some victims to be more fitting for this than the others, for whatever sick reason; and Ryan was one of them. 

Some time later, and after following Lily's voice via a signal, Sebastian enters a huge warehouse where his daughter sought refuge while being chased by Stefano. Once inside and in an upper room, Sebastian has a vision of Stefano searching for Lily and eventually finding her and dragging her out of her hiding place. While heading back outside, he sees Stefano again and runs after him. Seconds later, the words 'Smile For Me' appear on a wall at the end of a corridor and just at the exit, Stefano turns to the side and smells Sebastian the same way as before.

Stefano says this to most of his victims, but with Sebastian he outdoes himself

This is the point when Stefano decides to show Sebastian that he is very aware of his presence and that he wants to lead him somewhere. Before he disappears from that place, he activates the Aperture, a huge eye that covers Union's skyline, that has a camera lens in the place of the iris. With it, Stefano is able to watch Sebastian's movements all around Union, turning this into one more means to keep him on a tight leash.

Following a lead, Sebastian reaches the City Hall, which is isloated now that Union is slowly falling apart. The place looks and feels ominous, as if it is dominated by a dark presence - which indeed it is. As Sebastian approaches the main gate, Tchaikovsky's music piece starts playing again, this time through his communicator. The whole area is instantly overwhelmed by the familiar by now gloomy blue light and Stefano appears in the distance, luring Sebastian in his lair. As soon as he shows up, he stops for a second and turns towards his back, to make sure that Sebastian is following him.

Stefano wants to be sure that Sebastian is still after him

Just at the entrance, Sebastian finds another photo of himself taken from a distance, with the words 'Waiting For You' written on it. Stefano wants to make it very clear to him that he is not only one step ahead constantly, but he is also watching him wherever he goes; therefore there is no way Sebastian can get away.

The interior of the City Hall is just as empty and haunting as the exterior was. Large, deserted rooms with photos on the walls, yet one more frozen display in one hall featuring a soldier falling from an upper floor, and just behind a bright blue curtain, a puzzle awaits. Sebastian has to recreate a photo that is hanging on a wall; this photo is, like Ryan's, large and framed, and it shows a girl wearing a blue dress and an emerald necklace round her neck, posing next to a vase with roses. What makes this photo even more interesting is that it does not feature a dead body for a change.

A rare occasion where the model is alive in the shot

Still, it is no less creepy; the face of the girl is rubbed out, and the contrast of her bright blue dress and the red roses with the dusted dark background creates a chilling atmosphere that is transmitted to the room around. When the task is completed, a new section opens up; a long corridor with more framed photos on the walls left and right, and the phrase 'Appreciate The Art' written with blood on the far wall, closed in an empty frame. Sebastian also finds a newspaper clipping with an article about the case of a woman, Emily Lewis, who was found dead while her body had been decapitated. Emily was a model and actress, and a long-time friend of Stefano who was also her photographer.

Emily is obviously the girl in the blue dress, and the long corridor that opens up beyond the room where her photo is hanging, is dedicated to her. Stefano took a proper photo of her at first while she was alive (the one in the hall) and then killed her; and all the framed photos in the corridor are showing parts of her body during and after her murder.

Stefano is as imaginative as he is disturbing

Emily is yet another victim who, like Ryan, was treated differently from the others; although in this case there is an explanation: Emily was Stefano's friend before, unlike his other victims who were random people he didn't know. This corridor in the City Hall is not the only room dedicated to her; there are also several photos showing parts of her dead body in the foyer of the theater where Sebastian will go later, and in one of them, that is focusing on her black hair, Stefano has added a butterfly.

Although this detail seems minor, it could be a clue that, with adding the butterfly, Stefano put some sort of mark on the victims that he considered unique. Emily was even 'honored' with a photo where she is shown to have butterfly wings - until you look more closely and realize what those wings really are.

This means that, since Sebastian is a unique victim too, he should have his butterfly. And indeed he has; his butterfly is actually Lily. Butterflies are associated with Lily in several ways, the most obvious and direct one having to do with something as simple and humble as the decoration of her room. But it goes even further and deeper than that. While Sebastian is investigating the case of the missing soldiers in the town, and just before going down to the basement where Ryan is held captive, a cryptic message appears on a wall, as if written with fire, warning him to not go there. Next to the words, there is a butterfly, which has a binary role: it serves as a bait for Sebastian, but also carries all the symbolism associated with Stefano's victims.

Stefano is the master or sick tricks

This long and twisted ritual that Stefano has prepared for Sebastian shows that the evil photographer sees our hero as his most unique victim for whom he has reserved a very special treatment before reaching the point of murder. He could very well capture Sebastian, kill him and photograph him just like he did with his previous victims, but instead he has set up a whole series of trials and tricks, until he decides it is time to introduce himself. Sebastian seems to be his only victim of whom he takes so many photos while still alive; and in these photos Stefano sadistically captures Sebastian's fear and anxiety. Nothing less than an extreme form of stalking; and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Stefano is more than likely obsessed with Sebastian on a sublevel; something that partly lies in the fact that Sebastian is Lily's father. Stefano may be a disturbed psychopath, but the intelligence that he had in his sane days is still there, so he is able to discern Sebastian's qualities that are very similar to Lily's - the high perception and guileless heart - which are exactly those responsible for her being chosen as the perfect core of STEM. Maybe subconsciously, he senses that Sebastian is like a grown-up version of Lily, so he may even go as far as to consider that if he were to use Sebastian somehow in the way that he plans to use Lily, he could create even greater things; but of course greatness is something very altered in Stefano's world.

The moment when Sebastian has Stefano within reach for the first time while in another room of the City Hall, is just when the latter shoots him with the camera, capturing him in a frozen display. Unlike Stefano's previous victims, Sebastian is still alive during the process, and Stefano decides that this is the perfect chance to introduce himself and declare Sebastian 'his art'.

Stefano exposes his twisted plans to Sebastian

Stefano's speech can have many interpretations at that point, one being literal and another conveying something more complex and twisted. He devotes time to examine Sebastian's frozen display, cuts his cheek with a dagger and seems to enjoy his agony too much, and in a way that goes a lot deeper than his standard sadism as a disturbed serial killer.

By capturing Sebastian in a frozen display, Stefano has a momentary victory and a few minutes' control over him. By cutting Sebastian's cheek, he puts his signature on his victim and marks him as 'his art'. All this makes the whole process look even more like a ritual and turns what would be a standard 'cat and mouse' chase into a twisted and sadistic game, that gets more and more complex and disturbing.

Stefano is marking Sebastian as his next work of art

Later on, Stefano locks himself up in the town's Grand Theater, in another part of Union, but when Sebastian arrives there, he sees that the gate that leads inside is blocked by barbed wire and guarded by two framed photos. Following the advice of the team's psychologist, he sets on to locate the actual place where the photos are and destroy them, so as to make the barrier outside the theater disappear.

This sequence is extremely interesting and revealing, as it puts both Sebastian and us in the essence of Stefano's 'work'. The two photos are of course as creepy as one would expect, but there is something rather artistic about them. To destroy them, Sebastian has to literally get in their interior, where he sees what they are really made of: corpse parts stitched together and combined with more corpse parts.

Stefano's art as it looks on the outside (left) and what it really is made from (right)

The inevitable battle between Stefano and Sebastian comes soon after Stefano has Sebastian witness the realization of his gruesome concept in the theater. He teleports away and makes sure that the path leading to him crumbles down, but still it is relatively easy for Sebastian to reach him; because Stefano wants Sebastian to get to him, but he also wants to have the upper hand in this sadistic game until the last minute.

As Sebastian gets closer to him, Stefano can be heard mumbling stuff about creating something great, for which he also needs an audience to make it complete. His speech is inconsistent and vague, and somewhat misleading; he clearly isn't planning to create his next piece with Lily in the role of the victim, as this means he would need to kill her, and therefore miss all the supernatural powers that he has gained so far thanks to her; moments before, he declared that with the power of the Core (Lily) he would create his art forever, implying that he intended to keep her with him so as to be able to accomplish his sick artistic plans. Taking into consideration all the extremes to which he has gone so far in his twisted game with Sebastian, it more likely means that has conceived a way to make use of Lily's full potential, so as to create a work of art featuring Sebastian, since he has already reserved a room especially for him.

When Sebastian arrives outside the room where Stefano awaits, it is revealed that is is a place he has seen before: when he first entered Stefano's domain, right after finding William Baker's frozen display, the entrance to that room was in a corridor, behind a locked metal gate, with a plaque on a pedestal standing at the front. Sebastian could see it through the bars but could not make out the details nor what was written on the plaque, but now he can see that it has his name engraved on it.

Sebastian's dedicated room was ready long before he arrived there

Stefano has plaques with the names of all of his victims placed outside the rooms that host their frozen displays or directly in front of them, but in all the other cases he obviously does this after killing them and having the displays ready, as his victims are chosen randomly or at least without any special preparations from his part. In Sebastian's case, however, he had already both the room and the plaque ready before Sebastian even had the chance to see him or know about him.

Sebastian's room is a large hall which looks like a gallery. This room, apart from resembling a lot the gallery room in Max's nightmare in Life Is Strange, where Mr Jefferson is chasing her, has yet one more peculiarity: almost all the photos in it show close ups of eyes and mouths. We could say that the eyes stand for Stefano's missing eye which now is a camera, and the mouths represent the screams of his victims that he so enjoyed hearing. During the boss fight, you may have the chance to notice that the photos are moving; sometimes the eyes turn upside down, other times the mouths become bloody; they are all constantly changing.

Yet another twisted exhibition by the unstoppable Stefano

Stefano uses his teleporting power to make things tough for Sebastian, while attempting to shoot him with his camera and capture him in an ideal frame. Every time he succeeds, he feels proud for his 'work' and praises himself, never failing to also praise Sebastian for being so perfectly frozen in time; and if Sebastian doesn't manage to move away from the frozen frame, Stefano rushes to him and stabs him with a fury that resembles lust too much, informing Sebastian that his death will be his 'masterpiece', leading even more to the confirmation that it is Sebastian whom he plans to make his 'greatest work yet'.

Stefano has a rather perverted view of what an artistic masterpiece is

Eventually Sebastian defeats him, and as Stefano falls down, he says with a tone of admiration in his voice, that Sebastian turned him into a masterpiece and grabs his camera for 'one last photo'. Being so obsessed with the idea of capturing the moment of death, one would imagine that he wants to take a photo of himself while dying, so as to capture his own such moment for eternity. Surprisingly enough, he doesn't do this, but attempts to take a shot of Sebastian instead, before Sebastian shoots him through the camera with his gun at just the last minute.

Before that, and while he is dying, we have the chance to look at Sebastian through Stefano's camera eye for a moment, and see how Stefano views the world around him: it is like everything has a red filter on, which makes his surroundings resemble constantly a dark room. It is as if the photographer absorbed the man and his whole being is a camera.

Stefano sees Sebastian in a dark room through his camera eye

In the first Evil Within, in chapter 4 (The Patient), Sebastian gets inside a house with Dr Martinez, looking for Leslie. It is a house like all the others in the village, and it also has several framed photographs on the walls. Those photographs have a vintage look and they seem to have a concept, like they portray the life in the countryside. One of them is of a girl who looks strikingly like Lily.

Although dressed in vintage style, the girl in the photo resembles Lily a lot

Things get creepier though when Sebastian and the doctor get down to the basement, where Leslie is hiding in an isolated room. That room, which seems totally unrelated with the place around it, is a photographer's dark room with several photos hanging from the ceiling to dry, and there is also one wall that is almost covered with photographs. If you look closely, you will see that nearly all of those photos are shots of Sebastian.

Either Sebastian is more famous than he knows or he has a creepy stalker

When Sebastian enters Stefano's domain at the start of The Evil Within 2, the door leading to the room of his final fight with Stefano can be seen through the metal gate, and it already has the plaque with his name engraved on it at the front. And in the next hall, as Sebastian heads towards the stairs leading up, a phone rings; when Sebastian answers it, Stefano can be heard laughing maliciously from the other end of the line.

Additonally, the room in the City Hall where the stable field emitter is (where Sebastian comes face to face with Stefano for the first time) is bathed in red light when Sebastian first finds it. It has a photography umbrella on the one side and lots of smudged photos on the walls, bringing that bizarre room from the first game to mind. This one here is like a mock dark room and it is as if it is set up for a photoshoot. Then Stefano enters and captures Sebastian in a frozen display, and moments later he summons the Obscura (a monster that is made of body parts and an old-time camera) to attack Sebastian.

All these details, as well as the fact that Stefano was a citizen of Krimson City before entering STEM, could be hints that Stefano knew about Sebastian before the events in The Evil Within 2; and in fact it wouldn't come as a surprise if he was really stalking Sebastian all this time, from Krimson City already, both in the real world and inside STEM.


  • Thanks to afterdarkmysweet for helping with the musical terminology


Silverspoon said...

What a wonderful, detailed, spine-chilling analysis of the character. Good job looking deeper into Valentini's past, his motives and his thoughts in general. The reference to Lily and Stefano in the first game is very clever, I never noticed that. Brings out a new sense of excitement, and almost disbelief - was it truly so thought-through?
Thank you, I enjoyed reading this.

hisbrokenbutterfly said...

Thank you very much!

Unknown said...

This was SO NICE TO READ! like reading this gave me the chills and made my eyes water at MULTIPLE intervals. It was literally like i was reading a Geo-analysis about a malicious, sadistic, twisted serial killer who was a photographer. What interests me most, is his blood-lust lust that he has for Sebastian. I find Stefano such an interesting yet disturbing character and i wish they shone more light on him and gave us littke DLC's about him (like how they shone more light on Juli Kidman's Personality in the DLC's from the evil within 1.) Anyways, This was just so fun to read! and i hope they will make an evil within 3!!

hisbrokenbutterfly said...

Thank you!!! I love this game immensely; although the first Evil Within will always remain my all time favorite, there are aspects in the EW2 that are incredible, and there is so much to look into. I do hope there is a third installment too, at least there are several things that were left as cliffhangers, like Joseph's fate, the unexpected restart of the dead STEM, that could be used in a future game.