Sorry I should have clarified. I don't mean one and done villains like Nemesis, Mr. X, or Jack Baker. I meant actual long lasting franchise villains, like Wesker, Akuma, Nobunaga, Sigma, Vergil, etc.
Oh I see. Yeah, I agree then. They really haven't tried though as far ask I can recall.
I think that the fact that 4 was so successful, while also being the game in which they abandoned the Umbrella narrative, might be more of the cause than Wesker's death though. Especially because 5 and 6 returned to the core story with middling success, and 7 was praised for revitalizing the franchise while again (mostly) disregarding the overarching plot.
History has shown that episodic RE stories are often received better than mainline plot ones, which is especially relevant now when the series itself is probably older than half of its expected player base.