Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
Developer/publisher Capcom Format PC, PS4, Xbox One Release January 24
Writing in a Capcom Unity blog post, Resident Evil VII director Koushi Nakanishi assured fans that the game’s recently released demo isn’t representative of the team’s vision for the finished article. Which is rather a pity given the clutch of smart ideas it introduces to the horror genre. On coming around after events that are clarified later – but which we won’t spoil here – you struggle to your feet in a musty old living room as a chillingly simple objective pops up on the screen: “Get out of the house”.
A TV screen illuminates the room a little with hissing static and an ominous collection of used syringes contrasts starkly with the tea set it shares the table with. Some nervous exploration yields a few items, the occasional encounter with a halfseen figure in a corridor or at a window, and eventually a set of bolt cutters. These grant access to a locked cupboard which contains a VHS cassette, and it’s upon heading back to feed it into the video recorder sat on top of the TV in the first room that the full potential of game’s shift to a firstperson perspective is hinted at.
Now we get to be the cameraman in a lowrent haunted-house show and watch the presenter and producer break into the same house that we’re trying to escape from, and begin exploring the rooms and corridors with which we’ve already become familiar. It’s a surprisingly effective trick that, combined with the fact that you can hang back while your associates creep around each dark corner, results in a sense of empowerment that survival horror games might normally go out of their way to avoid. There are no tank controls here, and we haven’t yet found a gun, so the scarcity of ammo isn’t immediately concerning, but there is a bluntly implemented invisible wall used as a crutch to serve one otherwise effective narrative beat that sees one of your party wander off on their own.
We’re curious to see what the addition of more traditional Resident
Evil elements will bring to this already heady mix. Herbs and zombies are both confirmed, but Nakanishi has stressed that he wants to create horror on a more intimate scale, populating the game with fewer enemies but making each a significant threat – and that reach for intimacy is further underscored by the fact that, just like the demo at E3, the whole game will be playable using PlayStation VR, which makes for a particularly intense experience. While the first Resident Evil has been a significant inspiration for the project, don’t expect to see any familiar faces or locations – VII will revolve around a new group of situations and characters, though it still takes place on the same timeline as the other games in the main series.
Nakanishi wants to create horror on a more intimate scale, populating the game with fewer enemies