Resident Evil 7 is something of a triumphant return to form for the series, and VR demo Kitchen seems to have been an important part of that.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is fully VR compatible on PS4, and thanks for that can be laid at the feet of VR demo Kitchen, which Capcom toured a year before.
As the behind-the-scenes featurette above explains, Resident Evil 7 producer Jun Takeuchi wasn’t totally sold on the idea at first – he himself finds VR physically uncomfortable, as our dear EIC Matt does, and probably thought those resources could be better spent elsewhere.
Lead VR engineer Kazuhiro Takahara was convinced, though, and in a very short time he and his team put together the infamous Kitchen demo, first shown at E3 2015 – well ahead of the first stirrings of Resident Evil 7. The first project of its kind, it challenged Capcom to think about horror in new ways, with staffers acting out scenes and prototyping various events to nail down what exactly would make the scenario terrifying.
The demo was a huge success, and the almost viral way word of it spread through E3 2015 attendees was another lesson for Capcom. You can see how it put these learnings to use in Resident Evil 7’s minimal pre-release marketing, which showed off very little of the game itself.
“Don’t show the monster” is such a basic horror rule, and Capcom has been doing Resident Evil so long, that it’s kind of amazing it’s only just figuring this stuff out now. But as we’ve repeatedly pointed out, up until this last one it was pretty clear Capcom had no idea what it was doing with Resident Evil for several years.
Transitioning to first-person atmospheric horror rather than third-person action-fest may have been disturbing for some series fans, but so many classic systems made it into Resident Evil 7, and the result is so much more frightening than other recent releases in the series, that it’s hard not to call it a successful transformation.