20 years ago, Capcom unleashed a terrifying franchise upon the world. 2017 sees its return in a more photorealistic and terrifying way than ever.
Resident Evil is Capcom's most successful franchise, with the main series plot involving many different characters and their roles in the zombie outbreaks, and later, other monsters and biological weapons. Resident Evil was the game that gave the genre survival horror its name. It's a pretty big deal. And now it's coming to the Xbox One.
This is the 27th Resident Evil release and the franchise has taken many twists and turns in terms of style over the years. We've seen light guns, on-rails shooters (RE: The Darkside Chronicles), zombies that aren't zombies (I'm looking at you here, RE4) and we've seen huge, squishy animated biohazardous waste material with teeth for a face (RE: Revelations). The 'main' releases, such as Resident Evil 1-6, also changed with the times, going from true survival horror to an action shooter. With such a dynamic and diverse history, what can we expect from Resident Evil 7?
What platforms will Resident Evil 7 be on?
Xbox One, PlayStation and PlayStation VR. It will not be released on previous consoles because RE7 is built on a brand new engine designed specifically for current-generation consoles. It will also be released on Windows 10 and will feature cross-save PC/Xbox One support. As to whether it will be a Play Anywhere title still remains unconfirmed.
When will Resident Evil 7 be released?
In North America and Europe, it is due for release on on January 24, 2017. It'll come to Japan two days later on January 26, 2017. VR will be exclusive to PlayStation for a full 12 months. What about Project Scorpio? Nothing official, but the full forwards- and backwards-compatible support for Microsoft's next-generation console will ensure at least the Xbox One version will work.
What is the setting for Resident Evil 7?
Set 4 years after the events of Resident Evil 6, in the fictional town of Dulvey, Louisiana. A new protagonist, Ethan Winters, is searching for his wife and comes across a derelict plantation house. Winters is just a regular civilian and doesn't have the special weapons training and CQC experience some of the characters we've known and loved over the years have had. The vulnerability is back.
The core of the game takes place within the mansion and its grounds; they've scaled back the enormity of the threat, and instead localised it to one small area to bring Resident Evil back to its roots — less machine guns firing into hordes of zombies, and more environmental, atmospheric terror interspersed with terrible biologically-engineered things that will kill you. We're looking at a more compact and contained area of infection, with 'deep stage philosophy' — the areas you explore may not be the biggest, but they will be stuffed to the guts with things to find and look at. Capcom has foregone the 'size and scale' to focus more on the depth of the situation the characters themselves are in.
What weapons will you use?
As Winters is just a regular guy and given the location you're in, you're not going to have access to a cache of miniguns and rockets. You will be able to use regular firearms, such as pistols and shotguns; chainsaws and shovels, a woodchipper, circular saws, and all manner of up close and personal weapons. Do expect ammo to be in regrettably short supply.
How will Resident Evil 7 be different to recent games?
It will be in first person and an entirely single player experience. This will be a maiden voyage into photo-realism for Resident Evil, a change they've made for a few reasons. First, and most importantly, they want the game to be truly terrifying. With the shift to first-person, they want the player to be fully immersed in their environments, and they want the player to feel more like this is happening to them.
There will be less gun-fighting and more calculation, and players will have to deal with a limited supply cache, harking back to the days of furious inventory management and puzzle solving. The aim is to make players think on their feet a bit more, be less prepared, akin to the early games in the series. Resident Evil 7 will also utilize 'found footage' material in order to help deliver the story.
Will there be zombies this time?
There will be something... If you've played the Resident Evil 7 First Hour demo (available for free!), you may have fought something in the basement that definitely didn't fit the usual description of an undead brain eater. The game will make references to other events from earlier in the series, so they are related, but in what way isn't exactly clear yet. What's more, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the first game to bring the two brands, Resident Evil and Biohazard together, and Capcom has teased that a clue for the game's plot actually lies in the title. Any sleuths among us?
Are we at least looking at virus vs. parasite?
Again, yes no maybe? In a Resident Evil community interview, producer Masachika Kawata stated that they're doing many new things with Resident Evil 7, not just with the introduction of new characters, but promises that all the things we'll see will be 'true to Resident Evil'. What does this mean exactly? I've no idea either. Everyone's opinion on what 'true Resident Evil' is is probably going to differ. Let's just wait and see.
What kind of diffuculty modes will there be?
There will be different difficulty modes Casual, Normal and Hard, but Hard can only be unlocked by first playing through the Normal difficulty. If you're a Resident Evil Boss, and you enjoy the nerve screaming vulnerability that jumping in at the deep end provides, you can unlock it early by preordering the game.
Will there be DLC?
There will be 4 DLC releases, each their own chapter. One has riddles, another has a playable card game, and we've even heard whispers of a wave-based horde mode. They will each have multiple endings and their own achievements. You can grab the Season Pass below.
Who are the Bakers?
The Bakers are an evil and demented family that reside within the plantation mansion. Each chapter of the game revolves around a part of the mansion, and follows a family member from location to location within the mansion. There seems to be a matriarch and patriarch, a younger man and a wheelchair-bound family member residing within. How they're tied up in everything remains to be seen.
Will there be any special edition releases?
Absolutely. Xbox havethe Deluxe Edition featuring the Season Pass and the following in-game items:
- First Aid Med
- Strong First Aid Med
- Lucky Coin
The Collectors Edition, on the other 'hand'... (this will make sense in a moment)
- Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
- Exclusive metal case
- VHS tape box
- Exclusive lithograph
- 8" tall Mansion music box that plays a rendition of Aunt Rhody
- Creepy note
- Premium packaging....
... and a 4GB USB Drive DUMMY FINGER. It's amazing and available at Gamestop.
What about the VR element?
The VR aspect of Resident Evil 7 Biohazard is exclusive to PS4 for 12 months. Capcom have stated that PSVR is the only announced VR platform for Resident Evil 7 so far. This may come as a disappointment to Steam users, who may wish to play using their HTC Vive/Oculus Rift. Given that it is a timed exclusive means we can't rule out that it will become available on other platforms in 2018. Bear in mind also, Xbox Scorpio is set to launch Holiday season 2017...
One last thing to consider...
Lets talk for a moment about PT — the playable teaser for Silent Hill. Since it was canceled on PS4, other tonally similar games have tried to take on behemoth consoles and also failed. Resident Evil 7 is the first game that shared that PT tonal quality and has actually got to the point of release. Capcom definitely capitalized on the hype that PT aroused, and used it as an opportunity to refresh the failing Resident Evil franchise. It was failing.
What made Resident Evil scary wasn't sheer numbers of zombies on screen, a global bioterrorism threat and making bullet sponges of everything in sight. It was the awkward and awful tank controls for controlling Jill/Chris that made you vulnerable. It wasn't giant androgynous monsters being fought inside a huge facility, it was walking around a corner and suddenly coming face to face with a licker with its visible brain and no eyes. It was zombie dogs jumping through a bloody window at 500 miles an hour when you least expected it. It was walking through a deserted corridor to be grabbed through the window by zombie policeman arms. It was being chased through halls by something way bigger, stronger and more murderous than you.
Gamers and critics alike have been resoundingly unimpressed by the last two full Resident Evil titles. Judging from the hype PT generated, taking Resident Evil into a terrifying photorealistic realm will hopefully be just what Dr. Salvador ordered.