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(Capcom's primary storyline)
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"Attention! This is Dr. Marcus. Please be silent as we reflect upon our company motto. Obedience breeds discipline. Discipline breeds unity. Unity breeds power. Power is life."

Dr. James Marcus (ジェーマス・マーカス Jēmasu Mākasu?) was a virologist who pioneered 20th century viral weapons research. One of the founders of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals, he held the position of Director at the company's executive training school and was among those responsible for the creation of the t-Virus. A perfectionist, Marcus became obsessed with never-ending research while neglecting his other responsibilities. When he became twisted in his obsession to the point of illegally using children in his research, he was ousted from all responsibilities in the company. Seen as a threat to the company even in solitude, Marcus was murdered in 1988, and he and his test subjects dumped into an underground river channel.


Early life

A young Marcus (last on the right) in his graduation.

Virtually nothing is known of Marcus' early life. It is known he graduated from a university in 1939,[3] and became a close friend of the British noblemen Dr. Oswell E. Spencer, Earl Spencer and Dr. Edward Ashford, 5th Earl Ashford.[4] In their adult life they would become part of a eugenics circle also including Lord Beardsley and Lord Henry, who believed in scientific methodology for creating Nietzsche's Übermensch.

Progenitor Virus Discovery

During the 1960s, Marcus worked in the laboratory of a Swiss university studying palaeovirology.[5] In 1966, Marcus was fascinated by Henry Travis' late Nineteenth Century opus, the Natural History Conspectus, which Spencer was a keen reader of.[6] An entry on the Ndipaya people of West Africa detailed an elaborate flower-eating ritual mimicking a supposedly true tale of a potent flower which, if the consumer survived, would be awarded superhuman abilities.[6] Marcus hypothesised that, if this account were true, a mutagenic virus would be involved. In the second half of the year, Marcus left his university in search of the flower, taking his protege Brandon Bailey with him.[7]

Over a period of some three months, the two tracked down the entrance to the secret Ndipaya Kingdom, and the Garden of the Sun where the Sonnentreppe flower grew. In spite of repeated attacks by Ndipaya warriors, the two men succeeded in isolating a retrovirus within the flowers in December 1966.[7] Returning to the university in February with Progenitor cultures, it was noted that it was altering the DNA of the tissue media.[7] The seeds brought with them blossomed successfully into viable Sonnentreppe, but it was discovered they were not producing more of the virus, indicating very unique environmental conditions were required for the flowers to actively produce it.[7] Around this time, Marcus was indirectly linked to a results forgery scandal, and he was ostracized by the university research team and his state funding cut, with the university being reluctant to fund it either.[5]

In 1967, Marcus finally left the university, having given in to an offer by Spencer to use his Spencer Foundation instead. The conditions however were that he perform all research at the Spencer Estate, and not disclose findings outside their circle and Bailey unless agreed upon.[5] Beginning his research on bacteria, Marcus perforated an e. coli cell by exposing it to 0.1ppm of chlorine. Exposing it then to Progenitor, the cell was revived, mutated, and reproduced. This feat in using a virus to repair cellular protein should have been impossible, and also went above and beyond the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment findings.[5] Immediately after this discovery, Spencer set up Umbrella Pharmaceuticals in March 1967 as another means of funding the project, and while Marcus was disinterested in business he accepted the role.[7][8]

Faced with a shortage of Progenitor cultures, in the Spring of 1968 Marcus and Bailey made plans to return to the Ndipaya Kingdom to extract more from the Sonnentreppe there. On Spencer's suggestion, however, they stayed behind and hired a team of mercenaries to drive out the Ndipaya warriors instead, and after four months they had captured and were defending the Garden of the Sun. On Spencer's insistence, however, Marcus left instead for the United States to chair the newly opened Umbrella Executive Training School, which had a purpose-built laboratory for his research.[9] While Marcus had no interest in returning to a university-type environment and simply wanted to research Progenitor, he soon understood it was the best thing to do, as there would not be an appropriate lab in the ruins.[9]

t-Virus Project

The Umbrella Executive Training School, where Marcus conducted his research on the t-Virus

Starting from September 1968, Umbrella's three founders were able to work with a steady supply of Progenitor coming in from Bailey's lab in the Garden of the Sun.[9] With work finally ready to move towards creating the Ubermensh, data accumulated over the previous two years indicated the naturally occurring Progenitor have a near-100% fatality rate in humans. Consequently, it was decided Umbrella would obtain the necessary data while creating mutant strains that would be marketed as a military weapon. Spencer ran the company side of things, while the Arklay Laboratory lead the so-called "t-Virus Project". Ashford and his son, Alexander, would take part in a competing project at their European home until Ashford's unexpected within weeks after in an accident arranged by Spencer. Marcus meanwhile continued his side of the research at the training school, having his assistant director handle the education of students.[10]

The following ten years of research by Marcus used a steady supply of animal test subjects, with the facility capable of storing them for long-term study. To some degree the students, child prodigies headhunted by the Spencer Foundation, assisted in the research, but Marcus typically avoided them, deeming them to be worthless to the company's plans due to personality traits he deemed poor. Among the rare exceptions in the 1977-78 class were Dr. Albert Wesker and Dr. William Birkin, two child prodigies who had been headhunted during their excelled university studies. Their ruthless dedication to research quickly earned Marcus' respect, and he urged his assistant director to make them as competitive as possible.[10]

Soon into the school year, Marcus made a breakthrough in his side of the t-Virus Project. By splicing leech DNA into the virus in September 1977, he succeeded in creating a Progenitor strain that was useful in weapons research, and would later his findings known to the company the following January.[8][11] In the months after, he moved on to animal experimentation, with subjects ranging from amphibians to reptiles to mammals.[12] Though he maintained a fascination in studying the virus' effects on leeches, he was met with ever-growing interest in moving research on to human experimentation.[8]

Using infected leeches by t-Virus, Marcus conducted his research on human experimentation.

In the ruthless quest for results, Marcus turned his eyes on the children as a source of research data. While it is possible he performed research on students in earlier year groups, they would not have survived infection from earlier t-Viruses. Students were infected by having them be tricked into touching his leech specimens while working at the laboratory, and bloody sheets in the dorm rooms would suggest some were left in their beds to mutate.[13] On level B1 of the training school, Marcus was able to restrain infected students to the walls with chains, force them to sit on iron chairs, be drowned by dunking cranes, or impaled by an iron maiden.[14] In one laboratory, children were forced into gas chambers to study their survival abilities. Even in 1998, skeletal remains were left lying around.[15] At the main laboratory complex itself, Marcus' research continued. In an operating room, children were subject to vivisection, with their organs removed and preserved in culture fluids in the auxiliary research room,[16] with children being preserved whole for study.[17] Marcus' main lab room also contained its own gas chamber. Dead students were taken to the nearby morgue for storage, but due to Marcus' disinterest many were improperly stored.[18][19] People are also known to have been killed in the training facility on level B3, likely built to train anti-B.O.W. combat to the Umbrella Security Service branch. Their skeletal remains would be found within the animal cages in 1998.

There were, however, also cases of test subjects being removed from the facility as opposed to being left behind. A document found in 1998 lists the names of 15 students who were experimented on, and who the staff were ordered to remove any records on. Nine were sent to other Umbrella facilities for further research, with two being sent to the nearby Arklay Laboratory. Two more were kept to be preserved as specimens. Finally another four who died during research were ordered to be disposed of.[20] The manner of disposal was to dump them into an underground stream that flowed to the nearby water treatment plant. This list, however, is incomplete and evidence elsewhere indicates far more died during this research, as they fail to take into account the aforementioned body discoveries, and an assessment by the U.S.S. would estimate no less than twenty victims.[21]

Censure and Death

A rift between Spencer and Marcus grew in prominence since the start of Umbrella, and the two were for a long time paranoid of one another, with Ashford himself being killed in a lab accident devised by Spencer. At the end of the 1977–78 school year, Umbrella HQ ordered the immediate closure of the training school and its laboratory, with surviving personnel diverted to other facilities, with Birkin and Wesker quickly moved over to the Arklay Laboratory, denying Marcus even his trusted apprentices.[22]

Marcus' corpse, after his murder.

Already suspicious that Spencer was trying to steal his data, Marcus instead remained in his laboratory to continue experimenting. He planned to present the conclusion of his research to Umbrella's executive directors, believing this would win him the necessary support to take control of the company.[8] However, in spite of his isolation, Spencer deduced Marcus' intentions and moved to eliminate the threat Dr. Marcus posed. In 1988, an Umbrella Security Service team infiltrated the lab and gunned Marcus down. Birkin and Wesker accompanied the kill squad, and quickly recovered any research data of relevance for their own projects at the Arklay Laboratory. The body of James Marcus and his unwanted specimens, such as the Queen Leech, were then dumped into the river channel.[23] By 1998, Umbrella had almost completely wiped Marcus from its company history, save for remaining material to indicate he was dismissed early on.[24]


Despite his death Marcus had set into motion the events that would lead to the destruction of Raccoon City, as well as the downfall of the Umbrella and Spencer becoming one of the world's most wanted fugitives, gaining his vengeance on Spencer and the company after all. Unknown to the operators, the Queen Leech they dumped with Marcus entered his body and merged his DNA into its genome as well as gaining his memories from absorbing his brain cells. This hybrid create would go on a rampage in 1998 to avenge his death.[23]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Sumner, Shotten, Owen (eds). Archives. p.130
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Hamamura (ed.), KAITAISHINSHO, p.011
  3. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Old Photograph".
  4. Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Patrick's Memoirs 1".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Makino, UMBRELLA CHRONICLES SIDE A, Chapter 1.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Tricell".
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "From Chief Researcher Brandon's Journal - No. 1".
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Marcus' Diary 1".
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "From Chief Researcher Brandon's Journal - No. 2".
  10. 10.0 10.1 Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Assistant Director's Diary".
  11. Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Telegram from James Marcus"
  12. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "B.O.W. Report".
  13. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Management Trainee's Diary".
  14. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Torture chamber".
  15. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Gas laboratory", examine
  16. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Auxiliary research room", examine: "Some kind of internal organ appears to be inside."
  17. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Auxiliary research room", examine: "These capsules contain human specimens. Each has a look of great suffering on its face."
  18. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Morgue", examine: "The foot of a decayed corpse is sticking out. The rest of the body has decayed beyond recognition."
  19. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Morgue", examine: "It's a corpse in a body bag. You get the feeling it was just stuffed in there."
  20. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Correctional Institute Inmates List".
  21. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Investigator's Report".
  22. Wesker's Report II.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Resident Evil 0 (2002), scene: "Revealed".
  24. Resident Evil 2 (2000), Ex-file: "Mother Virus Report".