(Capcom's primary storyline)
"I was to become a god! Creating a new world, with an advanced race of human beings...."
— Spencer to Albert Wesker, shortly before his death.
Dr. Oswell E. Spencer, Earl Spencer (オズウェル・Ｅ・スペンサー Ozuweru Ī Supensā ) (c.1923-2006) was an aristocratic British billionaire, virologist and eugenicist. One of the founders of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals, Lord Spencer was the CEO and President for its entire existence, which saw its expansion as the Umbrella Corporation over the 1980s as well as its bankruptcy in 2003.
A cold, ruthless elitist and ambitious individual, Spencer mercilessly eliminated his rivals and gradually increased his power within the company, which he strictly controlled behind a veil of darkness. Spencer had a vision to remake the world and lead it into a new era, seeing the world's current state as self-destructive. He intended to use the research data accumulated from Bio Organic Weapons to carry his vision out and mould a utopia for mankind with himself as its ruler.
Spencer was born into the prestigious Spencer family, considered for generations to be among the European elite. Growing up in his family's castle overlooking a cliff on the British coastline, the young heir to the Spencer fortune was given a wide-ranging education, and developed hobbies of art collecting and hunting as befitting of his status.[excerpt 1] Among his studies were classic literature, Early Modern humanist treatises, and the mid-20th century eugenics movement. His personal favorite was the Natural History Conspectus, a rare late Victorian encyclopaedia which chronicled a 34-year trek through Africa by British explorer Henry Travis. During Spencer's teenage years, Europe was plunged into the Second World War. Nothing is known of Spencer's life during this period of time, including whether or not he avoided conscription, though it is known his experience living during the war helped form his world views.
By the 1950s, Spencer was a university student training to be a physician. There he became close friends with Edward Ashford and an older student, Dr. James Marcus. While taking a solo hiking trip in Eastern Europe, he became lost due to his inexperience in the unfamiliar terrain and collapsed on a snow-covered road. There, he was rescued by Miranda, the priestess and biologist of an isolated mountain village which worshipped the Black God. Taken in by Miranda as a protégé, Spencer learned about the Mold and its ability to mutate, assimilate and replicate lifeforms, which inspired him a means to achieve evolutionist goals. Although he enjoyed his time with Miranda and the vast biological knowledge he gained from her, the two held very different world views, as Miranda longed to revive her deceased daughter while Spencer wished to change the world. Consequently, Spencer decided to leave the village, but would continue to keep in touch with Miranda by writing to her.
Returning to his university a changed man, Spencer became driven to replicate Miranda's achievements in his own way, as he deemed the Mold ineffective to achieving his goals. With the Cold War intensifying, Spencer began to view humanity as a race destined to fall, and believed that only through evolving mankind and attaining a superior moral code could this be averted. Though he lacked a means to accomplish this, he believed the answer lay within the emerging field of virology. Soon, Spencer formed a eugenics circle of likeminded scientists, including Marcus and Ashford, as well as Lord Beardsley and Lord Henry.
Founding of Umbrella (1966-68)
At the start of 1966, Spencer became engrossed once more in the Natural History Conspectus, having recalled an account about the Ndipaya, a West African tribe of skilled engineers whose rituals involved a magical flower which granted great power to those who could survive its poison. While Spencer was initially treated with appropriate skepticism due to allegations of yellow journalism on behalf of Travis, Marcus hypothesized that a virus could be naturally produced by the flower and mutate the consumer. This virus would theoretically hold great promise in eugenics, interesting the circle. In order to disprove or confirm the flower's significance, the three organized an expedition to West Africa to find it. While Spencer's involvement is uncertain, Marcus travelled to West Africa on a several month search for the Ndipaya with his protégé, Brandon Bailey, and returned by February 1967 with proof of the virus' existence, having isolated it within the Sonnentreppe flowers growing in the ruins of the Garden of the Sun.
Soon after research began on the virus, the Swiss university that Marcus worked for ostracized him following allegations of falsified data, which itself led to the cessation of government grants to his projects. Spencer used this to his advantage and employed his charitable Spencer Foundation as a means of funding Marcus' research, on the condition that he operate within the Spencer Estate's lab and avoid contact with any scientist outside their circle. Understanding the foundation would not be able to fund the project in its entirety, Spencer approached the circle in March 1967 with a suggestion that they establish a pharmaceutical company in order to raise the necessary funds. Ashford and Marcus agreed to the project, despite an overall disinterest with Henry and Beardsley joining.
Toward the end of the year, work concluded on a mansion built on Spencer's behalf in the Arklay Mountains, a massif in the American Midwest. The mansion itself was built atop limestone caverns which Spencer planned to use for the construction of an underground laboratory complex that would be hidden from public view. The biggest flaw in this construction project was that he chose a famous New York architect named George Trevor, known for surreal designs Spencer admired, to build it. Upon its completion, Spencer realized that Trevor knew all of the mansion's secrets, including the existence of an underground laboratory, and panicked. Spencer quickly made plans to dispose of Trevor, so that only he and his inner circle would know of the lab's existence. In November 1967, Spencer invited the entire Trevor family, including George, his wife Jessica, and 14-year-old daughter Lisa to the house to celebrate the completion of the mansion. Unbeknownst to the Trevor family, Spencer planned to use them all as test subjects in his Progenitor research. Due to a busy workload, George could not attend, but told Jessica and Lisa that he would join them at the house later. As soon as the two arrived on November 10, they were dragged away by Spencer's employees and taken into the underground caverns as human research subjects for the Progenitor Virus. Jessica died soon after infection, though Lisa survived with mutations. As George arrived at the mansion, he was captured just the same, but escaped from his room. He eventually fell victim to one of his own traps and died. Lisa was kept as a test subject and would finally die in 1998.
At some point in the late 1960s, Spencer worked with another scientist who shared his eugenics ideals, Dr. Wesker. Believing that Progenitor would only be useful to mankind if they could be trusted with its powers, Spencer concluded that the genetically-superior humans had to share his values to become the Übermenschen. Umbrella began abducting children with superior genes and intellect from around the world, and raising them with access to the finest education that money could buy. Upon reaching adulthood, Umbrella would determine the cream of the crop and infect them. This highly classified project was dubbed the "Wesker Project", in the name of its leader.
With Umbrella established, Spencer became increasingly paranoid that his friends would threaten his own eugenics project which he intended to steer towards making him a god in the new world order. Although he already controlled the project by 1967 when he secured Marcus' research, Spencer's paranoia escalated in 1968 while running Umbrella Pharmaceuticals. To procure more funding for their eugenics project, Umbrella entered a secret agreement with the United States military to produce biological weaponry and began further projects to create mutant virus strains for military use. The Umbrella founders each worked separately on what they dubbed the "t-Virus Project". Rather than perform his own research, Spencer left the Arklay Laboratory under the control of trusted executives and further worked with Lord Beardsley and Lord Henry. Marcus and Bailey continued to work on their own while Ashford worked alongside his son, Alexander, at their European home.
With Progenitor cultures becoming too limited in number for large-scale research on the t-Virus Project, it became clear that Marcus and Bailey would have to travel to West Africa and secure more. Unlike the previous trek, Spencer instead hired mercenaries to force the Ndipaya off their land and secure the Garden of the Sun for Umbrella's own exclusive use. When news reached them about this success, Bailey was sent alone to cultivate the Progenitor samples at a lab built there, isolating him from Marcus. Marcus himself was given his own laboratory in the Arklay Mountains close to Spencer's own. The Umbrella Executive Training School served a dual role as both a laboratory for the t-Virus Project and as a boarding school for gifted children headhunted by the Spencer Foundation as promising new executive-scientists. The first true victim of Spencer's paranoia was Ashford, who would die from exposure to his primitive t-Virus strain in a staged lab accident. While his son Alexander was a scientist, he was trained in genetics rather than virology, and was consequently unable to continue his father's work. This left only Marcus as the main competitor to Spencer, and so efforts were taken to steal Marcus' data for the benefit of Arklay's Laboratory.
Securing of Power (1977-98)
In 1977, the Spencer Foundation headhunted Albert Wesker for a job at Umbrella after he acquired a doctorate in virology at just age 17. Sent to the executive training school, Spencer ensured that Wesker and a fellow student, William Birkin, would abuse Marcus' trust in them and steal his research data. At the end of the school year, Spencer ordered the school and lab to be shut down, cutting Marcus off from his research staff and the children he used as test-subjects. Wesker and Birkin were immediately assigned to the Arklay Laboratory to take over as its chief researchers and used their knowledge of Marcus' research to drastically alter the Arklay Laboratory's own t-Virus project.
Despite Spencer's near-total control over Umbrella, his paranoia continued to find new victims as Umbrella expanded to the point of possessing its own paramilitary, the Umbrella Security Service. Marcus continued to perform his own dedicated research into the late 1980s, hoping to use this to his advantage in securing the support of the board of directors in taking over the company. With Marcus now an immediate threat, Spencer ordered a U.S.S. raid on the training school and he was gunned down in 1988 with Birkin and Wesker in order to steal more research data. That same year, he personally backed their proposals in acquiring a Nemesis α parasite from France's No.6 Laboratory. As Umbrella entered the 1990s, Spencer continued to take a direct role in the company's affairs despite his advancing age and confinement to a wheelchair. Beardley and Henry would both perish over the next decade with their research inherited by their respective children, Mylène and Christine, both of whom were child prodigies.
Deeply interested in the newly discovered Golgotha Virus, which was being studied by Birkin and Christine in France, Spencer funded a new NEST facility in Raccoon City for the G-Virus Project. Although intrigued by the virus' potential use in eugenics, it was instead funded as another bio-weapon project for the US military. An alternative eugenics project was assigned to Dr. Alex Wesker, one of the Wesker Project subjects who Spencer became personally close to. Spencer awarded her with greater executive power through the construction of a laboratory at Sonido de Tortuga. He also developed a close relationship with Col. Sergei Vladimir, a Spetznaz officer whom the Soviet Union had used in a human cloning trial during the Afghan War. In exchange for handing his ten clones over for research on the fledgling Tyrant Project, Vladimir became a powerful asset in protecting Spencer's control over the company.
End of Umbrella (1998-2003)
In May 1998, the Arklay Laboratory was sabotaged by one of Dr. Marcus' creations, Queen Leech. Its entire staff was either killed or infected, and escaped B.O.W.s drew national attention in their killings of out-of-state hikers. As part of the X-Day contingency, Albert Wesker sent two elite law enforcement teams from S.T.A.R.S. to the mansion to investigate. However, unbeknownst to these S.T.A.R.S. officers, they were deliberately pitted against Arklay's escaped B.O.Ws for the purpose of collecting combat data. Wesker's own orders were fourfold: gather this combat data, salvage whatever research he could from the Arklay Lab, ensure the death of all S.T.A.R.S. members, and destroy the lab so the truth of Umbrella's responsibility could never get out. Spencer's right-hand man, Colonel Sergei Vladimir, was also sent in personally for the task of recovering an experimental Tyrant and Umbrella's U.M.F.-013 supercomputer. While Vladimir was successful, Wesker instead chose to fake his own death and hand the data over to a rival company, while several S.T.A.R.S. members escaped from the mansion intent on beginning a police investigation of Umbrella.
In the immediate fallout, an executive named Morpheus D. Duvall was scapegoated for the containment failure and began a bioterror plot to steal the viral samples in vengeance. Publicly, the so-called "Mansion Incident" did not harm Umbrella, thanks to its influence over the local Raccoon City media, police, and local government. However, a combination of this incident, Albert Wesker's betrayal, and Spencer's own refusal to admit Dr. Birkin to his inner circle would be the trigger for Umbrella's downward spiral. Dr. Birkin, slighted by Spencer's rejection, dumped the t-Virus around Raccoon City in order to neutralize the other Umbrella facilities while he himself prepared to hand the G-Virus over to the US military, who were intent on starting their own bioweapons project, in exchange for protection. Spencer learned of Birkin's planned betrayal and sent Umbrella Security Services to take Birkin into custody and acquire the G-Virus. When Birkin refused to comply, an Umbrella soldier gunned him down and the team proceeded to take his suitcase, which contained all of his work, with them. However, the fatally wounded Birkin still had one G-Virus sample left in his possession and used it on himself, mutating into a powerful monster in the process. The now mutated Dr. Birkin pursued Umbrella's soldiers into the sewers and slaughtered most of them, although HUNK survived. This altercation accidentally caused several t-Virus samples to fall to the floor and break, and infected rats would soon spread the virus into the city's water supply. Over the next week, the city collapsed into anarchy as thousands of infected took part in cannibalistic murders.
Aware that Raccoon City was doomed and the company no longer capable of lobbying against a Senate committee action, Spencer ordered Colonel Sergei Vladimir to recover the U.M.F.-013 from Raccoon City and take it to a safe location. On October 1, 1998, Spencer awoke to news of the US President's bombing of the city. By this point, Umbrella's responsibility had become public knowledge, and the US Congress voted in an act to liquidate Umbrella's USA branch and ban the company from conducting any future business in the country. In 1999, Spencer assembled expert lawyers, fake witnesses, and bribes during the Raccoon Trials to divert all responsibility to the US government. He also purchased an abandoned chemical plant in the Caucasus region of Southern Russia and commissioned the construction of a secret underground laboratory, which would become the de facto base of operations for Umbrella. Unwilling to acknowledge their breaching of international law to obtain bioweaponry or even acknowledge B.O.W.s in general, the US government remained in a stalemate with Umbrella. This stalemate ended in early 2003 when Albert Wesker leaked excerpts of the recovered U.M.F.-013 data to the court. Umbrella was found liable for damages and subsequently bankrupted. An international arrest warrant on Spencer was filed by both the United States and Russian Federation. Spencer, now an international fugitive, secluded himself in his family estate where he would spend the remaining years of his life.
Final Years (2003-2006)
"When one buries a treasure, one should not leave behind a map..."
— Excerpt from a journal entry regarding Spencer's plan to eliminate executives.
Intent on establishing a future successor to Umbrella, Spencer was obsessive in maintaining what little order he had left. Right after the Raccoon City bombing in November 1998, he ordered a purge of senior executive staff to prevent the United States from ever learning about Progenitor.
Over the next few years, he had little to no contact with the outside, seen only by his loyalist bodyguards and his butler, Patrick. His increasingly erratic behavior coincided with his depression and failing health. However, intent on surviving long enough to see the rebirth of his organization, Spencer ordered Alex Wesker to begin research into a mutagenic virus capable of restoring his youth and supplied her with funding, equipment, research material, several hundred test subjects, and the research facility on Sonido de Tortuga Island to this end. Alex herself had no love for Spencer and betrayed him, disappearing after she gave up on the project and taking the results, her subordinates, and the test subjects to Sejm Island in the Baltic Sea.
"I was to become a god! Creating a new world with an advanced race of human beings. However, all was lost with Raccoon City. Despite that setback... your creation still holds great significance. Now, my candle burns dimly. Ironic isn't it? For someone who has the right to be a god... to face his own mortality?"
— Spencer's final words to Wesker
By 2006, Spencer was close to death. He lacked the strength to eat solid foods and spent most of his days sitting in his study. In a desperate last effort to survive, he ordered Patrick to assist him in the development of a new virus by using test subjects confined beneath the Spencer Estate in the hopes of healing his body. As these experiements led to several failed mutations, Spencer realized that his death was inevitable. He conceded that he would never realize his plan himself and enlisted Patrick to leak information on his location to Albert Wesker through an associate. Spencer then dismissed Patrick from his duties and was left with only his bodyguards at the estate, waiting for Wesker to find him.
In August 2006, Wesker entered the castle and brutally murdered Spencer's guards before heading into Spencer's private office. In their meeting, Spencer explained the Wesker Project to him, and why he himself was infected with a Progenitor virus strain. However, Spencer lied when he claimed he was the sole survivor of the Wesker Project, probably in order to keep him focused on his goal and prevent him from pursuing Alex. In general, Wesker was disinterested in Spencer's vision and, while not expecting this frail old man to be much competition to own goals, nevertheless decided to tie him up as a loose end. He brutally killed Spencer by knife-handing him through the chest, proclaiming that Spencer was not capable of being a god and, as such, never had the right to aspire to that goal.
Even before his death, Spencer left a dark legacy through the viral research that he conducted throughout his life that would plague the world with large-scale dissemination of bioterrorism. Due to his negligence in not being able to deal directly with the constant leaks and desertions of his dishonest employees during Umbrella's final years, this allowed them to start selling B.O.W.s to their rivals in the Bio-weapons black market since 1998 which culminated in the proliferation of countless outbreaks around the planet during the first decade of the 21st century, causing the deaths of thousands of people as a result. Overall, this made Spencer directly responsible for all of the viral events that affected the world even after his death.
- Excerpt from BIOHAZARD CODE: Veronica Kanzenban Kaitai Shinsho, page 222:
- 『バイオハザード RE:3』無料体験版が本日より配信開始！ “チャーリー君人形20体破壊キャンペーン”も同時開催
- Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, file: "Ozwell E. Spencer Profile"
- BIOHAZARD 5 Kaitai Shinsho, page 015
- Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Albert Wesker".
- Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Patrick's Memoirs 1".
- Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Tricell".
- Resident Evil Village (2021), file: "Spencer's Letter".
- BIOHAZARD 2 Drama Album ~The Female Spy Ada Lives~.
- Asakura, BIO HAZARD The Wicked North Sea.
- Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Ndipaya Tribe".
- Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "From Chief Researcher Brandon's Journal - No. 1".
- Makino, UMBRELLA CHRONICLES SIDE A, Chapter 1.
- Resident Evil (2002), file: "Family Picture & Notes".
- Resident Evil (2002), file: "Trevor's diary".
- Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "From Chief Researcher Brandon's Journal - No. 2".
- Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Marcus' Diary 1".
- Wesker's Report II.
- BIOHAZARD heavenly island, "Episode 8: Tatakai".
- "Wesker's Extra Report"
- Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (2007), file: "Umbrella Russian Branch Notes"
- Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (2007), file: "Umbrella Raccoon City Judgement"
- Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Spencer's notebook".
- Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Spencer's Memoirs 1".
- Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Spencer's Memoirs 2"
- Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Spencer's Memoirs 3"
- Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Spencer's Memoirs 4"
- Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Patrick's Memoirs 3".