Resident Evil 7 certainly caught the attention of gamers when it was revealed during E3 2016, not least because, with its first-person POV, it’s so utterly different from anything we’ve seen in the series before (and we’re not counting those FPS spin-offs with their emphasis on hot lead over horror).
And according to a Capcom Unity interview with the game’s director, Kōshi Nakanishi, and producer, Masachika Kawata, the game’s not a reboot, but a return the series’ horror roots.
During the interview, Nakanishi stated that:
It’s not a reboot and we’re not throwing away the series’ canonical storyline. It’s the new numbered title in the series and it’s a sequel to the existing mainline series titles. After I say that and you try the demo, you may say “Really?”, because it looks nothing like any of that, but trust me. We need to have a bit of mystery in survival horror, so we’re trying to make you wonder when you play it how could this possibly be connected? That’s part of the appeal.
And when discussing their reasoning for opting for the first-person view – a clear homage to the ill-fated Playstation exclusive, P.T. – producer Kawata said:
If we want people to experience horror and experience it in the most direct, visceral way possible, then literally putting yourself in the position of seeing what the character sees is the best way to do that and so it was our motivation for the first-person camera change.
No mention, then, that the first-person perspective was added for later VR support – but even if that’s the case, it’s difficult to argue with the horror-logic. Gamers only have to look at the heat-poundingly thrilling Alien Isolation to see how effective it can be.
Kawata also spoke of the character players will control:
It isn’t an existing character whose eyes you’re seeing through. I think one of the places we got in the series up until now is you’re kind of playing these superhero characters. They’re fully equipped, powerful people who go into these survival horror situations but they’re ready for them. They can take it on. To bring the horror experience right to the player, we thought now that you’re in first person you’ll feel like you’re there. You can’t be looking through the perspective of a macho, hero character because that’s not you at home. Or maybe you are macho, I don’t know [laughs]. It’s sort of a powerless, ordinary person you’re playing as. We’re not really talking in too much detail about who they are right now, but they’re an ordinary person stuck in an extraordinary situation. I think that really brings the horror right to the fore. You wonder if this person you’re playing as – or you – will be able to cope with this situation. That’s a real feeling of helplessness that helps the horror stand out.
That sense of vulnerability is the core mechanic in any good survival horror, so we’re pleased to see it form a key part of the game. And frankly, it all sounds pretty terrifying if you ask us – in the best way possible.
Prepare for the horror, Resident Evil 7 will be released in 24th January 2017.