Resident Evil VII
Pronounced "Resident Evil... SEVEN!"
After the action-driven and mostly underwhelming Resident Evil 6, Capcom look to be taking the series back to its roots. Much like the original game released back in 1996, the seventh instalment takes place in one location, the pace is often slow and deliberate, and the emphasis is on horror rather than havoc.
There will of course be quite a few new ideas thrown in the mix, but the most drastic one is the perspective. For the first time, Resident Evil has been designed to be played entirely in first-person.
This makes it a perfect fit for virtual reality, though the game can be played with or without it. In fact, the game began development before VR was even considered an option. Even so, Capcom look like they’ll be using the technology to find new and exciting ways to give us all a case of brown trousers.
For example, at one point in the recent Lantern demo, the player has to inch through a crawl space while being pursued by a psychopathic woman. While using the VR headset, it creates a nasty feeling of claustrophobia and dread. Later in the demo, players are strapped to a chair as they witness a murderous family have dinner, with the freakish folk getting right in their face and even trying to force feed them food nastier than McDonald’s.
Capcom don’t want to just make players jump, they want to scare them in ways games haven’t done before. To make them feel uncomfortable. They want to get inside their heads and make it an unpleasant place to be.
Despite the new direction in both horror and perspective, RE7 is still retaining many mainstays of the series. Resource management and healing herbs make a welcome return, and so does puzzle solving.
A simple example of the latter seen in the Lantern demo is rotating an object in front of a light projection to cast the shadow of a spider, which then opens a secret door. So yes, this is definitely a Resident Evil game.
Combat also makes a return, with some of the planned weapons to be shotguns, chainsaws, and good ol’ fashioned flamethrowers, but don’t expect a blastfest. In fact, in all the preview demos seen so far, the player has been left entirely helpless, with their only defense being to either run or hide as they’re hunted.
In the Lantern demo, the player is stalked by a demented old woman named Marguerite, a member of the Baker family who appear to be game’s primary antagonists. It’s their Louisiana plantation mansion where the player has found themselves, cast in the role of a new character named Ethan who is searching for his wife.
Not too much else has been revealed about the story, but of note is that the narrative designer is one of the folks behind Spec Ops: The Line. Links to previous games have been promised, but the main cast is completely new.
With or without virtual reality, Resident Evil 7 looks to bring fresh forms of fear to players everywhere.
"And what did you do today, son?" "Oh, you know, killed a guy, ate his brains." "Mm-hm. And you, honey?"
Platform PC, XboX one, PlayStation 4 Category Survival Horror DeveloPer CaPCom
Due January 24, 2017