Franz Kafka is a German speaking Czech author who was a major inspiration for the themes of Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Aside from his work and life being used as references in the game, his existence and writing are also acknowledged as inspiration by the main antagonist herself. This page is a limited list of Franz Kafka references in Resident Evil.
All of the episodes in Revelations 2 are named after Franz Kafka's various works:
- Episode 1: Penal Colony named after In the Penal Colony (In der Strafkolonie), a short story by Kafka.
- Episode 2: Contemplation named after Contemplation (Betrachtung), a collection of short stories by Kafka.
- Episode 3: Judgment named after The Judgment (Das Urteil) a short story about the relationship of a man and his father, written by Kafka.
- Episode 4: Metamorphosis named after The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung), a novella about a man who suddenly and inexplicably transforms into an insect-like creature.
- Each episode in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is split into two parts, one for Claire Redfield and one for Barry Burton. Each of these parts opens with a loading screen that portrays a quote from one of Kafka's works.
- Episode 1 (Claire): "Fear of night, fear of not-night"
- Episode 2 (Claire): "The onlooker is, in a sense, a sharer in life [who] hangs on to the living..."
- Episode 3 (Claire): "Confessions and lies are the same. To confess, one must tell lies"
- Episode 4 (Claire): "Our deliverance is death, but not this one"
- Episode 1 (Barry): "Just a word, just a "please", just a stir in the air. Just a sign you are still alive and waiting"
- Episode 2 (Barry): "The diabolical sometimes adopts the appearance of good, or even embodies itself completely therein"
- Episode 3 (Barry): "With the strongest of the lights, one is able to dispel the world"
- Episode 4 (Barry): "Not everyone can see the truth, but anyone can be the truth"
- The Overseer, main antagonist of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, frequently references the works of Kafka by quoting them to the subjects of her experiments. There is also a secret file obtained in the second episode of the game in which she has written down her thoughts on Kafka and his writings.
- At the end of Episode 2 of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Gabriel Chavez managed to fix a helicopter to attempt to escape. Calling him a cheater, the Overseer refers to him as "Gregor", referencing the character of Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of The Metamorphosis.
- During the fight with Alex Wesker by Barry and Natalia in Resident Evil: Revelations 2, amongst the things Alex taunts the protagonists with is proclaiming that she was supposed to be Grete. This is a reference to Grete Samsa, the sister of Gregor Samson, protagonist of Metamorphosis. It is likely that in this scenario, she is referring to her "brother" Albert as Gregor due to his horrific mutation and how in the end of Metamorphosis, Grete is finally able to lead a happy existence after Gregor's death.
- The final words spoken by Natalia in the Good Ending are a work of Kafka: "A cage went in search of a bird. But now the bird is gone. The bird has changed." This is likely a reference to the possibility that either Natalia was, indeed, a new vessel for Alex or that she was somehow influenced by the events that transpired.
Many areas in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 are references to Kafka, his life, and his work.
- In Claire and Barry's Episode 1, they each encounter a prison. This is a reference to the prison of his work In the Penal Colony.
- The mechanism that Claire and Moira have to retrieve the Gear Kog from is modeled after the Harrow, mentioned in Kafka's short story In The Penal Colony, which carves the sentences of prisoners on their bodies over the course of half a day, until they are dead.
- The body found in the machine with the Gear Kog is a reference to The Officer. At the end of the story, The Officer places himself under the machine after realizing that the old social order has come to an end, and is killed when the Harrow malfunctions and impales him.
- In Claire and Barry's Episode 1, they come across a falling bridge which collapses in Claire's segment. This references Kafka's The Bridge, a first-person account of a bridge over a ravine in which the bridge "dies" at the end by collapsing.
- In Barry's Episode 1, he and Natalia find a forest and lumber mill. These reference Kafka's early drawings of mangled limbs from machine accidents, which he did as a commentary on the Kingdom of Bohemia's large forests and poor conditions of the lumber industry.
- In Claire and Barry's Episode 2, they find the Wossek, a place where the Overseer says "all life begins." This is a reference to the small town of Osek/Wossek in the Czech Republic, where Kafka's father was born.
- Claire and Moira find a statue of Prometheus in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Episode 3 where they must find two pieces of a liver to place inside the statue's empty abdomen. Claire mentions the myth of Prometheus and his punishment. This is also a reference to Franz Kafka's short writing on Prometheus in which he tells of four versions of the Prometheus myth, in which Prometheus is chained to a stone and condemned to having his liver torn out by eagles. Prometheus attempts to push back into the stone until his body molded into it and he became a statue of himself.
- In Claire's Episode 3, she and Moira reach a factory and a butchery, named the Kierling which the Overseer calls the place where "all things come to an end." This is a multi-reference.
- The factory harkens to Kafka's work as an insurance agent who dealt with accidents incurred by factory workers.
- The butchery references Hermann Kafka, his grandfather, who worked as a Jewish butcher.
- Kierling was the name of a sanatorium outside of Vienna where Kafka died from starvation due to his tuberculosis.
- In Barry's Episode 3, he and Natalia end up in a mining area, a reference to Kafka's work A Visit to the Mine.
- The traveler Claire and Moira find in the village is a reference to "the Traveler", the main character in Kafka's in the Penal Colony. The story tells of the traveler who comes to an unnamed penal colony to witness the use of a unique machine called the "Harrow" that uses a needle to carve a prisoner's sentence into their back, and establish if the apparatus should continue to be used.
- Several files found in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 are actually excerpts from Kafka's writings.
- In the main site of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, a teaser showing a quote from one of the aphorisms of Franz Kafka flashes on screen. It reads: "Hiding places are beyond number, and yet only one deliverance. But there are as many chances for deliverance as there are hiding places".
- A series of five different drawings can be found throughout each episode of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 by using Moira's flashlight. The drawings in-game are renditions of actual sketches from Kafka. The actual drawings are used as icons for user profiles in Resident Evil.net.