Steve Burnside was an only child and grew up a good-natured kid although was starved of love and affection, making him somewhat isolated and insecure around others. His father worked for Umbrella as a low-level employee but eventually he became greedy and in 1998 attempted to sell sensitive data and company secrets to the highest bidder. In the end he was discovered and after Umbrella murdered his wife in retribution, he and Steve were captured and
transported to the prison on Rockfort Island where they were confined separately. This incident destroyed the family and Steve was extremely angry towards his father, blaming his greed for ruining his life.
As time went by he became increasingly bitter and decided he could not rely on anyone other than himself, determining that if he allowed himself to trust others he would only be disappointed.
On December 27th when the rival company’s Special Forces team attacked the island and caused a t-Virus leak, Steve was able to escape his cell. Shortly afterwards he bumped into Claire Redfield, but refused to team up because he believed she would only slow him down. Whilst exploring the island he found a message scrawled on the wall from his father asking for his forgiveness and located a computer showing that Umbrella had Claire’s brother under surveillance. Although confident in his own abilities, Steve was also immature, naive and very reckless. He got himself into complications when trying to steal a pair of antique gold lugers from Alfred Ashford’s private military collection and his life was only saved by Claire coming to the rescue and stopping him from succumbing to poison gas. Being a hormonal teenage boy, Steve found himself attracted to Claire and despite his initial coldness, found himself being able to open up about his feelings as they travelled across the island together. He also saved her life several times.
Eventually, Steve came across his father who was now a zombie thanks to the t-Virus. The shock of seeing his father in this state caused him to freeze and the zombie almost killed Claire, but fortunately he managed to regain his composure at the very last second in time to kill it. Although he hated his father for what he had done, Steve still loved him and broke down by his body, telling Claire the sad story of what had brought him to Rockfort in the first place.
Eventually, they both managed to escape from the island thanks to Steve’s ability to pilot the C-130 cargo plane stored in the airport. But the plane was soon re-routed by Alfred Ashford and hours later crashed into Umbrella’s South Pole base in the Antarctic. By now, Steve was falling in love with Claire but his determination to protect her only saw him become more reckless. Although he again saved her from Alfred, he allowed himself to become distracted enough to crash a drilling vehicle into a pipe containing poison gas which flooded the immediate area. But eventually they managed to escape and found a snow plough Steve was able to drive out of the facility and head for a nearby Australian observation base. However, the recently awoken Alexia Ashford used the power of the t-Veronica virus to intercept them. She then injected Steve with the t-Alexia strain of the virus extracted from her own blood.
But like Alexander before him, the virus eroded his brain cells and he became a monster with no self-will. He mutated in front of Claire and tried to kill her with a large axe. But at the last moment, he managed to regain his humanity for a brief moment and stopped his assault, instead using his axe to destroy the Alexia-Pod tentacles holding Claire in place. How Steve momentarily regained his self-will remains unclear, but it may be an effect of the new-strain virus coming directly from Alexia’s blood. In retaliation for this betrayal, Alexia caused one of the veronica tentacles to impale Steve and mortally wound him. As he lay dying, Steve’s human form returned and he confessed his love to Claire before passing away in front of her. His corpse was later secured by Albert Wesker’s men who later managed to extract the t-Alexia variant from his bloodstream.