Resident Evil 7 will put you in the shoes of an average Joe to crank up the fear factor.
“Just to confirm – 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,” Kawata said.
“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. If you try the demo that’s out on [PlayStation 4] for [PlayStation Plus subscribers], you’ll see.”
Despite the absence of returning characters and the new first-person perspective, Resident Evil 7 won’t be a reboot.
“It’s not a reboot and we’re not throwing away the series’ canonical storyline,” added Nakanishi. “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.”
They also wanted to reassure fans that the game wouldn’t be “some sort of supernatural, occult, ghost story.”
“Don’t worry,” Nakanishi continued. “We haven’t just thrown out Resident Evil as it exists and turned it into a ghost story. It will all make sense in the end. I know it’s frustrating holding back on what we can show fans, but this is really the best way to let you enjoy the game to the fullest when it finally comes out.”
Resident Evil 7 is due for release on January 24, 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.