Resident Evil 7 has to count amongst the biggest surprises of E3 this year. Not necessarily its existence, there were some fairly substantial rumours circulating that we were going to see what was next for the venerable franchise at the show. No, the surprise was the way it was delivered and the direction the series is about to take.
Resident Evil 7 is a monumental shift for a long-running franchise that has been suffering an identity crisis of late. Since the shift to a more action-heavy approach back in Resident Evil 4, the game has strayed further and further away from what made it so beloved by so many people. As the games have become more and more focused on action, Capcom have tried to keep long time fans interested by trying to keep the horror. Hence: identity crisis.
This new Resident Evil, however, is a completely new experience for both old and new fans of the franchise. It’s a fresh start from Capcom – a chance to take Resident Evil back to its survival horror roots, but do so in a brand new way:
“We’re taking a lot of what we built the franchise on in Resident Evil 1 and the classic survival horror games, and also adding a ton of fresh stuff too. We really view this as the next stage of survival horror. It’s really exciting.”
The biggest and most immediately noticeable change is the move to first-person. Kitchen, the horror tech demo created when Playstation VR was still called Project Morpheus, was actually a precursor to Resident Evil 7. Not in a prologue or prequel kind of way, it was Capcom trying out the new engine and the new way of creating a Resident Evil before actually unveiling what they have been working on:
“Everyone remembers the dog jumping through the window, or the crows coming out from the older games. Usually you’re playing third-person with a hero character, your Leon or Jill. What really amplifies that now we’ve brought you into the first-person perspective, you’re playing as a more normal, everyday, average Joe character. We want to make you that character. We want to make you feel like you’re walking through the mansion.”
With the jump in perspective comes a jump in technology – while Resident Evil 7 will be launched on PC and Xbox One, it’s the PS4 version of the game that is the most intriguing. The entirety of the game is playable with Playstation VR. You can experience the entire game from start to finish as though you’re actually in the game itself.
It’s a really exciting time to be a fan of Resident Evil. Kitchen was a fantastic showcase for what can be done with virtual reality, and I can’t wait to see what Capcom have done with Resident Evil 7 in expanding on the ideas and technology behind the infamous tech demo.
Resident Evil 7 launches on January 24, 2017 on PC, PS4, PSVR and Xbox One.