Resident Evil 7 was properly announced during the Sony conference at E3 2016. However, the concept has been in production for years and even appeared in public back in 2015, cleverly disguised as Capcom’s ‘Kitchen’ VR demo. The Kitchen demo logo had a number ‘7’ hidden in it, much like the actual Resident Evil 7 logo, so we probably should have seen that one coming. When you add up the release info with the Kitchen demo AND the recently released Beginning Hours demo, you start to get a decent picture of what the overall game will be like. So, here’s everything there is to know about Resi 7.
Tell me about the story, then
Ok, the plot of Resi 7 is still a big unknown. That’s no surprise, given that it’ll be a very story-driven game. However, we do know that it exists in the same universe as the previous games (Capcom has gone on record about that), and that you play as an everyman character with no combat skills. Who will that be? Well, you play as two different people in the Beginning Hours demo, but… neither are going to be our guy or gal. For starters this demo is only an indication of the mood and themes of Resi 7 - it isn’t a slice of the actual game. Best guess is that you’ll find video tapes showing the fates of the people in both the Kitchen and Beginning Hours demos.
Other plot details? Capcom says that the name is a big clue about the content, and that Resi is going back to its roots. So, literally, evil within a residence - the evil lives in the house. It’s set on a derelict plantation in rural America, which should be more than enough creepy space to contain the entire game.
The Beginning Hours demo focuses on your character attempting to escape a dilapidated farm-house. He finds a video of what happened to some previous ‘guests’, attempts to flee, and gets knocked out by a hillbilly who says “Welcome to the family, son” as he strikes. There are ghosts in the demo, and some kind of sub-human girl who knifes one of the protagonists in a VHS tape you find (which is what happened in Kitchen). It’s all a bit messed up.
What ties it to other Resident Evil games?
Well, as we say, it’s set in the same universe and takes place in the modern day. That implies certain things: the Umbrella Corporation exists, various viruses exist, and the events of the previous Resi games have happened. So, at the very least, we’ll see references to them within the world. However, there won’t be any characters from previous games in Resi 7, and we won’t have the same levels of combat. The hero is just an ordinary person, so they’re not an expert in handling firearms or in close-combat knife-skills. Sure, they’ll be able to swing an axe to defend themselves, but don’t expect there to be a high player body-count here. Resi 7 is more about the scares. Having said that… we know there will be series trademark herbs in there, along with other items, so expect to be recovering health and managing your inventory.
Will there be ‘infected’ or ‘zombies’? Maybe, although the demos suggest this game will focus on ghosts and the supernatural. There’s no telling whether or not the hillbillies in the demo are ‘fully human’ though.
Is it all VR?
Well, yes and no. If you don’t have VR you can play the whole game as normal. However, if you do have a VR set-up (it’s currently confirmed for PlayStation VR and Oculus) then the whole game can be experienced that way. Given that the two demos were created with VR in mind, and Resi 7 is entirely in first-person, it’ll probably be better with the headset on. This means that Quicktime events are completely out, so don’t expect to be pressing X to get terrified.
Is this game the new Silent Hills?
Nope, not really, although it touches on some of the same themes and influences. Resi 7 is inspired by movies like Rec and The Conjuring (there’s even a bit of Blair Witch Project in there), and while the ‘supernatural horror’ element has always been the domain of Silent Hill, this is a very different concept. The Beginning Hours demo borrows plenty of ideas from PT, and has definitely learned lessons from Konami’s project, but Resi 7 was actually in development well before PT was shown, so it isn’t a play to recreate Silent Hills in all but name.
When is it out, and where can I play it?
Resident Evil 7 is due for worldwide release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 24, 2017. The Beginning Hours demo is currently available on PS4 for PS Plus subscribers, so grab it while you can.