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Who is Jack Krauser, and what is Operation Javier, in Resident Evil 4?

And why does Jack hate Leon so much?

A screenshot of Resident Evil 4 remake focusing on the back of Jack Krauser. In front of him is a stack of crates and a photograph of Leon S. Kennedy — with a knife through his face. Image: Capcom
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 remake pits Leon Kennedy against a town full of nameless infested villagers and repulsive monsters, but one enemy plays an outsized — and potentially confusing — role in our hero’s mission to save Ashley from her captors. That man is, of course, Major Jack Krauser, a guy who loves knives but absolutely despises Leon Kennedy.

Krauser appeared in the original Resident Evil 4, and he co-starred as a playable protagonist in another Resident Evil game, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, in which his backstory was further fleshed out. That 2009 Wii game also explains what “Operation Javier” is, why Krauser is so pissed at Leon and the U.S. government, and why he throws his lot in with Ramon Salazar and Lord Saddler.

If you never played Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, or if you’ve forgotten the events of that on-rails shooter for the Wii, here’s a quick recap.

Operation Javier, explained

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles sends Leon Kennedy on a mission to a South American jungle in search of drug lord Javier Hidalgo — who has also been working with the Umbrella corporation in buying and selling Bio-Organic Weapons (BOWs). Leon is tasked with trying to contain the spread of the t-Virus in the region, and due to the dangerous nature of the mission, is paired with U.S. Special Operations Command soldier Jack Krauser.

When the two meet, Krauser says he doesn’t believe in the existence of BOWs, but faced with the reality of their mission, in which they directly encounter dozens of zombified villagers and virus-infected creatures, accepts their existence. Krauser expresses jealousy over Leon’s status and his assignment, which came directly from the President of the United States. Krauser feels brushed aside by his government, and aims to prove his worth by completing the mission.

During the events of the game, Krauser is seriously wounded by an amphibious BOW under Hidalgo’s control — which is actually Javier’s mutated wife, Hilda — forcing him out of the army, and reinforcing his resentment of the government. And during an unlockable post-game chapter of The Darkside Chronicles, players take control of Krauser to get further insight into his thinking. Players hear Krauser’s internal thoughts as he begins to not only grow resentful of Leon during their mission, but begins to sympathize with Hidalgo and his use of the virus to strengthen himself.

A screenshot of Jack Krauser staring resentfully at Leon Kennedy in the ending of Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles as they escape in a helicopter
Jack Krauser stares resentfully at Leon Kennedy in the ending of Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
Image: Capcom

In the climactic battle with Hidalgo, Krauser has a revelation: The virus is the answer to his injury and regaining his strength as an elite spec ops soldier. “I can see it... I can see its power!” Krauser says. “This virus can change the world! If I could harness its power, I could rule the world. This virus, its power... I’ll make it my own! And I will be reborn. This moment marks my rebirth. For the darkness within me has awoken.”

Krauser then goes on to seek the help of Resident Evil career bad guy Albert Wesker to aid him in getting his hands on the virus. Krauser goes on to work for Wesker and the Organization, and was tasked with infiltrating Los Illuminados and stealing the parasite, Las Plagas. Obsessed with the potential power of Las Plagas, he ingests a parasite, giving him superhuman powers.

Files related to Operation Javier in the Resident Evil 4 remake paint things slightly differently. According to a documents found later in the game, Operation Javier was reportedly a secret mission to wipe out South American drug cartels and resulted in the deaths of many elite soldiers, including Krauser himself. It appears that Krauser buries the journalist’s report on Operation Javier, in an attempt to keep the events of his and Leon’s secret mission further contained.

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