[Originally posted on When Nerds Attack.]
“You’re about to see something wonderful.” Jack’s freshly charred skin is peeling off his body. But he’s still alive, and strong. He’s clutching your wrist, pulling it to his face. He wraps his mouth around the handgun you just plucked from the desiccated cop now lying dead on the floor. With a resounding pop, a chasm erupts from the top of his skull. His body falls limply to the ground. You survived, but you didn’t win. Jack will be back. He deliberately ate a bullet just to prove a point.
It’s been a long time since Resident Evil has scared me. For the better part of a decade, Capcom remodeled the franchise that coined “Survival Horror” into gun-centric action games meant to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Familiar draws were included to bait fans that remember the fixed perspective, tank controlled days of yesteryear — whether it was tangential ties to the sinister Umbrella Corporation, hulking bio-weapons, or the franchise synonymous living dead. More often than not, though, these nostalgic additions felt like window dressing. While latter day sequels like Resident Evil 6 coated their levels in shadows and foreboding atmosphere, at their core, they were third-person shooters. True horror, the kind that the original trilogy is lauded for to this day, was left behind.
With Resident Evil 7, Capcom has finally returned to the franchise’s roots. It takes inspiration not only from its own past but from other stand-out horror experiences in order to rework and revitalize the genre they helped inform. The result is an expertly paced, incredibly tense hell-ride through a literal madhouse — and it’s actually pretty goddamn scary. Long-time fans have been yearning to hear this for years: Resident Evil 7 is pure survival horror.
Resident Evil VII - New Screens, New Trailer, New Deranged Family Member
Capcom has pulled back a little more of the veil on their dying-in-a-farmhouse simulator, Resident Evil VII, at Gamescom.
In addition to the screens above – which shows us even more of the Baker homestead’s untidy charm – a new gameplay trailer depicts an unknown female protagonist desperately fleeing one Marguerite Baker (you know, Jack’s wife). The gameplay appears to be another playable VHS recording like the one found in the demo – RE7′s modern spin on discovering files.
Who is the woman behind this tape? Just how many people have broken into the Dulvey mansion and filmed their own demises? Will the VR version keep making players sick? We’ll find out in January.
Resident Evil 7′s Most Enigmatic Puzzle Has Players Still Trying to Finger it Out
Earlier this week during E3, gaming’s biggest marketing blitz of the year, Capcom announced Resident Evil 7. They had to outright tell us the trailer we were seeing was related to their 25 year-old franchise, however, since the grimy, atmospheric and unnervingly creepy footage on display bore little resemblance to the hero power-fantasy firefights the franchise has morphed into since the Gamecube years.
For fans that still remember the feeling of unease when you opened a new door in the creaking Spencer Estate, this about-face was exciting as hell. Before we could catch our breath, though, Capcom dropped another surprise on our laps – PS4 owners would be able to experience the first-person horror firsthand with a playable demo available that very night (’course, it took some serious digging to find since PSN’s displays didn’t quite keep up with Capcom’s marketing plans).
The demo, titled Beginning Hour, isn’t necessarily a representation of the greater whole, just in the same way P.T. wasn’t exactly a chunk sliced off of whatever Silent Hills was going to be before Konami decided pachinko machines were a more lucrative market. Beginning Hour won’t even be a playable part of Resident Evil 7 when it releases next year. It’s an entity unto itself that serves as a taste of the new game’s tone and ideas.
You wake up in a desolate farmhouse. It’s dark, dank, and laden with creaking floors, near inaudible whispers, and distant footsteps. You can interact with a few items, like drawers, and explore the small length of the house, mostly running into debris, maggots, and locked doors. Oh, and creepy ass mannequins that, uh… well, let’s just say keep your eye on them.
You eventually come across a chained up cabinet with a VHS tape inside. It’s marked “Derelict House.” Upon booting the tape up, you don’t just passively watch. In a creepy little flair of design, you’re put in the role of Clancy, the cameraman, who’s filming Andre and Peter, the “Sewer Gators” Crew – an appreciable riff on haunted house hunters the likes of those Ghost Adventures fuckwads – as they investigate the abandoned Dulvey House. You’re given some light backstory but mostly spend this segment scrutinizing shadows. Don’t blink, though, and you’ll definitely see this old house isn’t quite empty…
From there, you’re on track to one of a few different endings the demo holds for players.
Capcom Reveals Resident Evil 7: A First-Person Survival Horror Game (in VR!)
Sony’s E3 conference was such a whirlwind, it’s hard to keep my thoughts straight. They essentially shoved a funnel down our throats and didn’t stop feeding us game after amazing game.
In the deluge of video game delights, Sony slyly announced Resident Evil 7, a brand new chapter in the storied horror series that reinvents itself from the ground up. Not only are we back to hard horror, our perspective has shifted to the first-person just to shove our noses in all the photo-realistic creepiness – brought to you by Capcom’s own RE Engine, tailor-made for the game.
You can even immerse yourself in the horror on a whole ‘nother level with full PlayStation VR integration. Sony fans will also be treated to first dibs on the game’s demo, Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour, where you navigate a real fixer-upper of a cottage (to put it lightly) in events that lead into the main game. PS Plus members can access the demo now, apparently (as of this writing, on the East Coast, it hasn’t populated on the PlayStation Store… goddamnit).
Now this might just be the all out horror game we’ve been clamoring for since things took a boulder-punching turn in 2008. Either way, we don’t have too long of a wait to find out: Resident Evil 7 releases for PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC January 24th, 2017.
The Next Resident Evil Will Be Full-On Survival Horror
I feel like we were just talking about Resident Evil (and how it shaped me into the well rounded human being I am today, of course). Well, let’s go at it again. Capcom will bump this blog’s status up to The Green Herb if I give the series enough shout outs (I’m coming at you, man).
Resident Evil 6. Reading that title either forced a complacent shrug from your shoulders – likely coupled with an “Ehh” – or made you roll your eyes so far back into your head that your roommates are frantically calling 911 and/or a fucking exorcist. Well, therein lies the problem.
As easy as it may be to paint Capcom as a faceless, uncaring entity that churns out product regardless of vehement fan input, you need to remember that your dollar bends wills, and after RE6 missed its projected seven million unit sales goal by a margin of two mil, you best believe the Japanese publisher is listening intently to what you want.
Take it from Mr. Michael Pattison, Capcom’s former European Marketing Director, as he told it to MCV: “We have obviously seen the consumer response and the PR response.”
Now presiding as VP of third-party relations at Sony’s European offices, Pattison easily offered up his opinion on RE6, weighing in that the mixed critical and fan reaction to the game cannot go ignored, especially going into Resident Evil 7.
“With Resident Evil 6 specifically, we probably put too much content in there. There were comments from consumers that said it felt bloated,” said Pattison. “The Leon missions went down very well, and because we did Resident Evil: Revelations on 3DS, there was a cry out for us to focus our attention on survival horror, rather than be too many things to all people. You’ll find where we go next will likely be more targeted at our core fanbase.”
Commenting on the general consensus that zombie-oriented, post-apocalyptic media has been flogged like an undead horse, Pattison still believes there’s a deep seeded hunger for quality survival horror games, pointing to a recent A-list hit as a potential guiding factor for RE7’s development team.
“The Last of Us shows a good direction of what the consumers want,” Pattison said. “Tomb Raider  as well; we spoke to R&D and they looked at that and they enjoyed that experience. I think that proves there is still a strong market for that sort of content.”
Far be it for me to mislead or misinform you folks, but I have been hearing more or less the same thing, though in tiny whispers, that Capcom is working on RE7 and that the aforementioned titles are hugely influencing the game’s attempt to regain its former horror glory. Next-gen Resident Evil firmly re-planted in the survival horror genre? Let’s keep calm, keep cool, and try not to rupture something from all the internal screaming like the kind I’m doing right now.