We finally had our first glimpse of Resident Evil 7 during Sony’s E3 conference earlier this month, and needless to say long-time fans of the series are more than excited for this next installment in the series. It has been four years since Resident Evil 6 was released in 2012, and while the game was good and had a solid story, it was still missing that aspect of fear and survival horror that we have come to expect from the games. That is changing with Resident Evil 7.
Based on the gameplay we saw at E3, as well as the demo that is currently available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it is clear that RE7 taking the franchise back to its horror roots. The developers are working hard to keep the horror alive, recreating the intense fear and uncertainty within the game that players felt in 1996 when the first Resident Evil was released.
The Resident Evil team at Capcom is keeping horror alive in a few different ways with the seventh installment, incorporating new elements to the series that are fresh and unexpected. The first and most obvious differences being that the game will be in first person and will be available on the PlayStation VR. This dramatic POV shift and the addition of a new platform changes the tone of the game completely and the player’s overall experience with exploring the world. In an interview with the game’s director, Kōshi Nakanishi, he explains that “In the 20 year history of Resident Evil, you know that the key pillars of the game are fear and horror, exploration of the environment, puzzle-solving elements, resource management, and combat against enemies. Those are all in this game [Resident Evil 7], but we wanted to start off with the first two – horror and exploration – and get you experiencing those two pillars up front.” Naturally, a first-person shift offers the players a unique experience, especially in horror games, as we are able to put ourselves in the characters shoes more easily, but it is the addition of the PSVR that will really take Resident Evil 7’s gameplay to new heights.
Optimizing the game for PSVR has its challenges, though, as it goes beyond merely putting ourselves in the character’s shoes. We essentially are the character, and with that in mind the development team has to strike a fine balance between that immersive horror experience and making sure their gamers are not dying of fright…perhaps literally. Mr. Nakanishi comments on this as well, saying “You take responsibility if you choose to play in PSVR Mode. Whether you think you’re ready for it or not is up to you to decide. We certainly did have feelings at some points where we thought it was possible to push it too far in VR with horror.”
With this…cheerful image, it is safe to say that I am not ready to play this on PSVR.
Another way Capcom is shaking things up with the newest installment is the removal of quick-time events. These were first introduced to the series in RE4 and happened in abundance in the sixth game. The frequent QTE events arguably had a hand in diminishing the horror in RE6, but now we can expect a more seamless gameplay experience in Resident Evil 7 and will be able to enjoy the atmospheric horror that the developers have created. The removal of QTEs is something the game’s producer, Masachika Kawata says “a lot of people who will be relieved to hear”, and I think fans couldn’t agree more.
Resident Evil 7 is slated to be released on January 24, 2017 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and PlayStation VR.