Tissue-resident memory CD8 + T cells (T RM s) confer rapid protection and immunity against viral infections. Many viruses have evolved mechanisms to inhibit MHCI presentation in order to evade CD8 + T cells, suggesting that these mechanisms may also apply to T RM -mediated protection. However, the effects of viral MHCI inhibition on the function and generation of T RM s is unclear. Herein, we demonstrate that viral MHCI inhibition reduces the abundance of CD4 + and CD8 + T RM s, but its effects on the local microenvironment compensate to promote antigen-specific CD8 + T RM formation. Unexpectedly, local cognate antigen enhances CD8 + T RM development even in the context of viral MHCI inhibition and CD8 + T cell evasion, strongly suggesting a role for in situ cross-presentation in local antigen-driven T RM differentiation. However, local cognate antigen is not required for CD8 + T RM maintenance. We also show that viral MHCI inhibition efficiently evades CD8 + T RM effector functions. These findings indicate that viral evasion of MHCI antigen presentation has consequences on the development and response of antiviral T RM s.