Feature Article

Resident Evil 7 Producer Explains What the Full Game Will Actually Be Like

Horror reborn.

When the screen at Sony's press conference went dark and the Resident Evil logo suddenly appeared, we couldn't believe the creepy, deliberately-paced, first-person trailer we'd just seen belonged to the latest incarnation of gaming's longest-running horror franchise. Resident Evil has grown into more of a blockbuster action series in recent years, so to see a game so unabashedly committed to terror--without a single gun, zombie, or bicep in sight--was both surprising and exhilarating.

We later learned, however, that this trailer only showed off a playable teaser that wouldn't be part of the actual game, so we sat down with Masachika Kawata, producer on Resident Evil 7, to learn more about the full experience before it launches next January.

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We now know the trailer shown at the Sony press conference was simply a playable teaser, not part of the full game. So what can players expect from the full Resident Evil 7?

Kawata: So actually, if you take a look at the trailer that was revealed at the Sony press conference and that's online now, there are quite a few images from the main game in there. Going off that, the demo we have on the PlayStation Network right now was specially created to focus on the atmosphere that Resident Evil 7 will provide. It doesn't include a lot of other elements that are in the game. Rather, we wanted to convey just what type of feeling you would get from the game. In the actual game, one thing that you'll notice first and foremost is that the scale and scope of the game is much bigger than demonstrations.

You mentioned the full game will include more mechanics. Can you comment on what some of those mechanics might be? For example, what role will combat play?

One of the main gameplay elements that is not in [the demo] is, as you stated, combat. In the final game, of course, there will be many types of game mechanics including combat, perhaps some gun-play. One of the things I would like to emphasize about this is that it's not always about going in guns blazing. It might actually be to your advantage to try to run away from combat at certain times, or use items against your enemies in a different way. This is to say that trying to survive the horror, the survival horror, is a key element to Resident Evil 7.

The final game is also entirely in first-person perspective. This is driven by the concept of Resident Evil 7, which is a return to horror.

Why did you choose to present the playable teaser in first-person, and will the full game be entirely first-person as well?

The final game is also entirely in first-person perspective. This is driven by the concept of Resident Evil 7, which is a return to horror. At this particular time in games, it was determined that first-person was the most advantageous way to present horror to the player. When confronting the enemy, there's no barrier between you and the enemy. This also applies to exploration and gimmicks and traps and things like that. They felt that it really gets you up close and personal with everything, which adds to that horror element.

So obviously this is a big departure from Resident Evil 5 and 6, both of which focused mainly on action. Why the decision to return to horror?

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One of the main driving factors was listening to the desire of consumers. Consumers have often told us very strongly, very passionately, that they want a return to horror. Also from a creative standpoint, it's kind of refreshing and also easier to make a much more user-friendly and easy to understand game if it's more focused. With previous titles, perhaps they had a very wide reach in terms of content and direction and things they wanted to convey to the player. By focusing and buckling down on the horror, we feel we've created an experience that people can easily get into and enjoy for that aspect. So as we focused on the horror aspect of Resident Evil 7, we conversely focused on the shooting aspect for our game Umbrella Corps. So we feel that being very focused on these elements, we can create different games that are easy to understand for the player and easy to get into.

Will players feel sort of super-powered by the end of the game, or will they be threatened and scared throughout the entire experience?

The game is strictly survival-horror, so there's never a time where you'd get a magic item and become super powerful or anything like that. You're in a situation where you're thinking about, ''How do I make it through this terrifying situation?'' However, you'll find items and weapons and things like that which will give you the advantage over your adversaries, or over the situation depending on what the situation is. It's about how you use it, how you use the scarce items at your disposal to make it through that situation.

The game is strictly survival-horror. It's about how you use the scarce items at your disposal to make it through that situation.

How does this game will tie into the larger Resident Evil universe? Will we see any returning characters or elements that have defined the series over all these years?

Just somewhat jokingly, one of the things we can tell you--the only real thing we can tell you about right now--is that there are herbs in the game. So that just gives you a hint that there are Resident Evil elements in this game. Actually, on another note, within the demo, there is an item that also hints at some connections with the larger Resident Evil universe. Some people have found. We've seen in YouTube videos, et cetera. So again, there's kind of a symbolic relationship to the previous Resident Evil titles within the title that we're just hinting at this time. It also does take place in the Resident Evil universe, in the Resident Evil timeline. However, I really want, when people play the game, to put aside the storyline and elements they know from the previous Resident Evil games and approach this anew.

One of the reasons for setting aside the very famous characters and things like that is to, again, focus on the horror. If you don't know what's going to happen to you, or the person you're taking the role of in the game, it's much scarier than if you're an iconic character who you know is eventually going to make it through the day. It's also harder to read what's going to happen in the story because it's new, as compared to some of the organization and things you might know in the past. We know that people understand and enjoy these elements, and there will be plenty of connections to those for the player to enjoy. But the story itself and the action itself is totally new.

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So just very simply, who is the protagonist?

The hero is you. [Laughs]

Horror games have enjoyed a bit of renaissance recently, primarily in the indie space. I was curious if the Resident Evil team has been paying attention to those smaller games, or has been influenced by them in any way.

The R&D team definitely plays these games and checks out many many different types of games. I haven't played them personally, but I know that the staff has, and they've taken a deep look at some of these. It's actually part of the reason that gave the team the confidence to move to the first-person perspective, these independent games, which have proven that it is a viable perspective for the genre.

So what can Capcom, as a big triple-A developer, bring to the genre in this day and age? We've seen so many small indie games in recent years, so what can we expect from a giant, triple-A horror game?

So a really easy to answer example is, the entire game supports VR. Only the backing of a large staff and resources could probably make this happen. Interestingly enough, with this title, one of the main goals is actually not to make a triple-A game. From the get-go, the goal is to make the best B-rank horror movie type of experience. The reason for this thinking is that we don't want the content of this game to be driven by marketing, which is often the case with a triple-A game. Instead, we want it to be driven by the creator.

Taking the B-rank route allows us to focus more on horror and an intimate experience, try to make that particular experience as enjoyable as possible, rather than reaching for something that's more bombastic or by the line, so to speak. When Resident Evil first started out, even from that era is kind of aiming for the B-class, did have some influence across other areas outside of the game.

It also does take place in the Resident Evil universe. However, I really want people to put aside the storyline and elements they know from the previous Resident Evil games and approach this anew.

For example, the product packages have always been kind of campy looking--like you would see for a VHS, you know? We wanted to retain that, and you can kind of see that in the influence of the key art that we created for this. We wanted to have that kind of B-rank horror feeling. So I feel like, although the scale of Capcom, of course, is larger than an independent developer, we like to hope that the spirit of the individual developers working on the title matches the feeling they have when they're creating their games.

I understand that rumored PT developer Jordan Amaro is working on Resident Evil 7. What value has he brought to the team?

I think the crux of the question is whether or not there are people who worked on the PT demonstration that Konami released. I can say that there are no staff on the team now or before that worked on PT at Capcom. However, we were actually creating Resident Evil 7 before PT was announced, so when they announced it, it was kind of like, ''Oh, they're doing first-person too?'' However, now that we've come this far, we can see that the content of this game is completely different from what the content or the direction that [PT] was moving in. So we just wanted to make a point of that: that they're both in the horror genre, but what you'll actually see at the end of the day is completely new.

I'd just like to add that I, of course, played PT, and I thought it was an excellent demonstration or excellent game, if you want to call it that. I also know from hearing on the backside of the industry in Japan that the staff who worked on it had to work very hard to achieve what they did. I think it looked really great, and it had so much promise, and I was unfortunately very disappointed that it didn't come to fruition. That was too bad that that happened; I'd just like to share the fact that I really loved it.

[Editor's note: During a later interview with GameSpot and Gamescom 2016, Kawata confirmed that Amaro is indeed working on Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and reaffirmed that the team at Capcom was already working on RE7 before PT was released.]

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Scott Butterworth

Yes, his mother is Mrs. Butterworth.
Resident Evil 7: biohazard

Resident Evil 7: biohazard

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jasonanddane

My Thoughts

Man this is so disappointing to me. I am glad they are going back to their roots and the game looks amazing but first person, ugh I can't take it. I been playing Resident Evil ever since 1 and it has always been a third person game, I don't understand why they so suddenly changed it and completely disregarded their fans.

Copy of a game already made?

This look and feels exactly like an existing game called Silent Hill PT. Why are they going for such a completely different feeling it makes no sense and confuses the audience on what to think and makes it hard to see where they are trying to go with all of this. I think most fans fear that this isn't going to be a "Resident Evil" since it sure doesn't feel like or look like one.

Going back to roots doesn't mean changing the whole entire formula.

I don't understand why they are changing their entire formula, I feel the game doesn't play the same as the old ones in the demo (I know it's not the full game), but even other RE demos feel like a enhanced version of their latter. I feel as if Resident Evil is meant to be played in 3rd person, not only because that is my favorite play style but also because you are supposed to be playing with memorable characters, and I feel as if you need to see them.

First person and 3rd person

I have seen in so many other games that you can switch between the two (At least in MMORPGS). Why can't this be implemented this would fit both audiences and tackle the divide. Could be an option such as (Third person { Classic }, or First Person). I feel if other companies could do it with lower budgets than it wouldn't be out of reach for a big company like Capcom.

Conclusion

I am not going to say I would never play the game but at this point it doesn't look like I will even purchase it which is fine with me since I have the RE2 remake to look forward to. The game still has a ton of adjustments to make since it hasn't even been released yet, who knows they could be reading our comments right now and decide hey maybe we should change it so that way we don't put to much stress on the people who got us here today and stay loyal to our brand (Doubtful but optimistic look at FFXIV). Some change is a good thing but completely taking it apart and putting it back together could be a bad thing. This could be a make or break for them either they are going to put a nail in their coffin or they are going to make great success with this game.

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Jakewesker786

I don't like resident evil 7 the way you guys make it I want all the original characters in resident evil and I want all those characters and I want all those characters playable and the resident evil 7 you guys make it's not good and all so make it longer like resident evil 5 you did but for example like 1-1 1-2 1-3 2-1 2-2 2-3 and etc..... but make it until level 20 mix resident evil 1-6 mix them up and put same characters but not the characters that died don't put them only put the characters that are still alive and make it more interesting so that people can buy the game and the resident evil 7 you guys made no one will get that game because it's new people and it's first person view and I don't like so make it interesting and put the same people that are still alive and make all the characters playable as well and make it hares and longer and put mercenaries as well....... please.....

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inkedvayne

I for one find this exciting. It is NOT the year 2001 anymore. If you really want games to not evolve and stay the same I can find several places to buy copies of old games for you. I like the fact that the industry is not attempting to stay in the same stale old ways and are at least attempting to try something different. Embrace the change!!

"When you're finished changing, you're finished" -Ben Franklin

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Lenneth

@inkedvayne: Don't talk about something you certainly don't understand you have no idea how drastically they changed the franchise to appeal for major audiences and no this is not exciting, this is not RE at all and no one needs an ignorant novice gamer like you telling us to play older games to remember the glory of the franchise, they don't have to make something different what they have to do is bring back the essence of the franchise in both story and gameplay.

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inkedvayne

@lenneth: Well that comment tells me everything I need to know about you. Straight to insults and dismissing someone else's thoughts with no hesitation.....which of us is ignorant?

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Lenneth

@inkedvayne: Are you retarded or what? i just said exactly what you are ignorant and i could even add something to that maybe i could say you're stupid too because you don't know this franchise and yet you have the guts to puke a lot of crap that no one cares about, if you disagree with my statement then where is your answer? you only sent that reply to show how stupid you are you novice gamers never change and let me tell you that i'm not tolerant with novice gamers at all you all never learn to keep your opinions for yourselves instead of doing a unbiased critic, now scram the sight of idiots like you make me puke.

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JohnnyUtah87

"At this particular time in games, it was determined that first-person was the most advantageous way to present horror to the player." This says it all,money hungry,copy cat leeches is all capcom are anymore

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andyng211

Making RE a first-person game is the stupidest thing Capcom ever done. I'm saying bye-bye to the series for good until a real RE is made.

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Dieknochenblume

I think this was just a business stunt. Capcom was getting a new horror IP for VR going on, possibly as a project at the most due to the popularity of indie horror, while suddenly PT came out and blew everyone out of the house. Capcom decided to invest heavily on the concept to cash in on PT's success, and then later toyed with the idea of turning it into a 'renewal' for a decaying series. Two birds, one stone.

The playable teaser idea is an obvious steal, but it was also a test ground to see where the product was going. If the audience liked it, then they would've kept it PT'esque, but due to the backlash, they're just trying to rush a RE-like coating on the game. "Hey, it's got herbs!". They're going to rush a combat system and such. Anyone played Deadly Premonition? That crime investigation game was done when the producers decided it needed combat, so they added super dull and unnecessary combat scenarios that dragged the game down. Let's see if they have enough time to make it look like it was planned from the beginning.

It's pretty clear once they said we should forget about characters and story continuity. That's the big telling point. Let's see.

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greenbasilisk

I will be highly disappointed if they did a total revamp and got rid of all the characters from the Resident Evil universe. I just want a Resident Evil game. I actually really liked Resident Evil 6. Sure, it's great to go back to Survivor Horror..but I also enjoyed the characters from Resident Evil 7. Thank god they're making an Evil Within 2....because ..the Evil Within was awesome! !!

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Warlord_Irochi

Well, we also know (due to a photograph found in the demo) that the game seems to take place in the forest close to Racoon city. Or at least the house where the demo takes place.

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darksparda4

They made bad choice. They are returning to roots that are not Resident Evil but more reminiscent of Silent Hill. I'd much rather they went for the tone of the classic games or at least the sort of tone set by Lost in Nightmares. Revelations 2 leads the way for a potentially very successful spin-off series if they keep following that formula. More fans would be happy with RE7 if they keep the concept of Lost in Nightmares while pulling back to the sort of enemies that were in the classics (so no hulking beasts except for the few bosses, no melee context moves, no enemy ammo drops, traditional RE weapon/ammo progression).

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supercakman

@thig53:Yeah, honestly? I kind of agree with you about the 7 in the title being unneeded. They should have just gone with Resident Evil: Biohazard. It rolls off the tongue better.

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Lenneth

@supercakman: Honestly you don't know what you're talking about RE is not a franchise based solely in horror RE was unique because of the survival and how elements like scenarios, bcg musics and OST blended perfectly, this first person camera view is something to help with the immersion but its not necessary in the first place the franchise don't need it, what capcom needs to do is bring back the gameplay that made the franchise unique and storywise the viral outbreaks and all the cataclysm related to it, not this kind of horror that absolutely doesn't fit in the franchise.

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supercakman

@lenneth: The series has not been relevent since RE4. If you want to play something similar to the early titles, go play the REmake or the DLC for RE5 that took place in the mansion and had preset camera angles.

I'm honestly kind of confused as to what you're saying made up the series though. You're saying the game was made up of elements like "Scenarios, background music, and original soundtracks"? So... a plot, music, and music? What the hell are you talking about?

Now, as for Masachika kawata, I agree with you that he hasn't had a good track record. It's partly his fault that RE5 and 6 took the direction that they did. I haven't forgotten about that. What I AM saying is that pretty much everything in this article- about the B-Grade Horror, the elements of combat still existing but not being the focus, the pure focus on the horror atmosphere... There's honestly nothing here that's a bad sign.

If you're talking about there not being zombies, I can assure you that this game WILL have them. Read what they've been saying about it. You're still going to be fighting bioweapons. They're just going to be more intimidating and less based on huge amounts of ammo.

As for the first person perspective... I could take it or leave it. It's not why I'm excited. But I have no problem with it! I'll be interested in seeing what they do with it!

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Lenneth

@supercakman: Please honey i don't need your ignorance i don't want to remember the glory of the franchise only when playing the previous games as a horror fan like many others i want capcom to bring the franchise back, i see that you're not very smart tell me since when you play RE? you misunderstood me totally when i mentioned the scenarios i was talking about the atmosphere and i wonder how you could possibly think that i was talking about the plot considering that is completely different and you dont even know the difference between bcg musics and OST of course they are musics duhh, Masachika kawata have a pathetic record only saying that ''its not good'' is a compliment he brings shame for the franchise if you don't hate him then you're no survival horror fan, and no RE was never focused on horror the franchise was not made to scare the hell out of you like a psychological horror game would normally do RE was focused in survival and no honey i'm not worried if there will be zombies or not in this game you see i look at things in a wide scale and when i played this teaser i realized that this horror that you are talking about have nothing to do with viral outbreaks and all the cataclysm related to it, you're simply inside a house with paranormal activities with a sunny day in a calm place, you know what this franchise is about don't you? i don't want to waste my time with a clueless novice gamer.

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supercakman

@lenneth: Is... Is english your second language? Cause if it is, that's totally fine. But I'm having a difficult time understand what you're even trying to say here, dude. Your grammer is all over the place. "Scenarios" doesn't mean "Atmosphere." It means the events going on. The situation. The plot. But as for atmosphere, the atmosphere was GREAT in the game! It harkened back to early RE games. Claustrophobic buildings where the unknown could be lurking around the corner. I think YOU'RE the one not looking at "the big picture" here because this feeling of helplessness is exactly what's been missing from the series since RE4. It's true that the series never really went far into the paranormal, but like I said, I do NOT think this game is going to be about ghosts. I just think it's going to be a more intimate Resident Evil instead of the world-sweeping ones of recent. Put us in a mansion, or, hell, a small town, and develop from there. Ease back the ambition, because the more "ambitious" the series gets, the shittier it got. Resident Evil 5 and 6 were atrocious. I can't fathom anyone deriving enjoyment from them.

Like, you still haven't answered my question- What direction do you want the series to go in? Were you one of the people who liked RE5 and RE6?

I'm gonna ignore the personal attacks about my "gamer cred" because **** off, we're talking about what would make a good video game. I've been playing the series since the beginning. Hell, I started with Sweet Home, if you want to go way back. I'm under no delusions that this would be a "different" resident evil game. What I'm saying is that this series NEEDS change because it has been garbage as of late. Revelations 1 and 2 were alright, but they felt uninspired. Apart from cool monster designs, they brought nothing new to the table and wouldn't be able to continue on as they were.

I get that this is a big tonal shift. I'm saying that I LIKE the tonal shift.

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Lenneth

@supercakman: Yes english is my second language do you have anything against that? i know it's not perfect but i know it's not bad either so you can spare me of your ignorance AGAIN i don't need it, fine by me if you want to look at the scenarios that way you new gamers can be such a bother talking about futile things and how the atmosphere was great? do you even paid attention to what i said before? there's no consistence in that atmosphere there's not even a background music to back it up only ocasional random objects falling and some noises here and there, this is not the atmosphere of a survival horror game and not a decent psychological horror atmosphere either this is not good at all, that's great how you could feel anything? you forced yourself to feel any immersion in this game? it was empty for me and i'm a gamer who played many horror games i could feel any immersion if this game gave me any chance for it, you said this game will not be about ghosts? see how clueless you are? a ghost appeared in the stairs it was related/possessed with the mannequins in the upper floor... you know nothing i couldn't expect anything of a novice gamer anyway, now you're making me laugh you're really said the feeling of helplessness from RE4? you mean RE4?! that game even have a merchant to sell an arsenal to you it is the worst example of survival that you can find in the franchise, you ask me something funny do i really have to answer what direction i want the franchise to go in? you offend me by talking about pseudo RE games i hate them i'm a veteran of the franchise i played RE since the first game back in 1996 i want it to return to the origins of course with the survival horror, the lack of resources, the background musics, the unexpected events, the noises, the tension AND all that while being part of a cataclysm related with the viral outbreaks that's something that disappeared with RE3 in the main segment, tell me why you lie? you're no veteran of the franchise you don't even care about the survival horror and your simpathy towards this game proved that, the series don't need to change it needs to go back to its origins that's different you know that? if you don't consider all the nonsense that RE4,5 and 6 brought it would make things easier to undestand.

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Thig53

@supercakman: because the 7... It wont be like this if this RE wasnt the main title... I hope you understand now

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Thig53

The title should be Resident Evil: Biohazard instead added "7" on it. I dont care if the game's gonna be 1stperson but please not in the numbered title...

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pistolone

For those who want the third person mode implemented in RE7 due to motion sickness or simply becuase you like it better here's the petition https://www.change.org/p/capcom-third-person-view-mode-on-resident-evil-7?recruiter=54737904&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg&recuruit_context=fb_share_mention_control&fb_ref=Default?

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AccuKORE

@rebfaction: I take it you've never played Resident Evil Survivor?

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JohnnyUtah87

@accukore No,we have,it freaking sucks...tell me,is that your big defense for this game? If so,please try again:

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supercakman

This article fills me with so much hope. It sounds like they're actually going to be making a good horror game for the first time in forever.

I honestly can't understand why people are upset about it. Everything he's saying in this article sounds like good news.

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darksparda4

@supercakman: because RE was never a horror game it was survival-horror yes but it was different from the type of survival-horror in Silent Hill and games like outlast. In RE you were never a helpless, ordinary person. You may have been trapped in a place filled with creatures that wanted to kill and eat you but you were also trained to protect yourselves and you found numerous weapons to complement your pistol with ammo around to be discovered (or made as in RE3).

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Lenneth

@supercakman: That person is Masachika kawata he is hated by many horror fans like myself, he is an idiot who thinks that RE have to abandon the horror to appeal major audiences.

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Lenneth

This article shows how lost they are...they talk about the first person camera bringing more horror but RE was supposed to rely solely on horror on the first place? what defined RE as a unique survival horror was a combination of elements like the camera that shows the character that brings originality, the OST,BCG musics, the tension and more, when i played this teaser i don't felt anything there's nothing....only two or three objects that fall out of nowhere and can possibly scare you nothing more...as a fan of the franchise i'm not surprised capcom messed up so many times already.

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Lenneth

Hello people! i browsed through the comments here and unfortunately i have seen a lot of comments about the camera view or complaints about the people who said that this is not RE at all... so they are wrong? as a long RE fan since late 90's in love with the typical survival horror that every fan of the franchise cared i still can't believe that i saw a game of the franchise with paranormal events, oh god the camera guy disappearing out of nowhere and the mannequin that appears in a blink of an eye near the staircase is just something that couldn't happen in a RE game, and the guy who knocked out the protagonist when he/she finally left the house saying ''welcome to the family'' is funny... God save capcom please they are completely lost.

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chicken-wannafly

FPS is fine but please bring back my beloved heroes Chris, Leon, Clare , Jill .... . I need a real hero not an anonymous "the hero is you" protagonist

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JohnsParadox

I feel like the Evil Within has been the true successor to Resident Evil and survival horror. I felt like I was going to die at any minute in that game and that was before even attempting Akumu mode and one hit kills. Now that was an intense ride! I'll play this but not digging the direction.

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Shunten

But why oh why didn't they do a full reboot?

That being said, a lot of what I'm reading here makes me hopeful for the future.

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nyran125tk

Personally I think an option to be able to go 3rd person or 1st person, is important for all games. But that aside, I'd love to play RE in first person. If it's done right. Same with Silent Hill.

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hey_dan

The demo looks great, but I think they should had created a new IP, if RE 4, 5 and 6, changes the serie, I think this ones says... f u c k RE at once, at least from what we have seen and what says on this article...

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SavageRodent

People saying this is a clone of Outlast or PT, I highly doubt it is. For one there is combat, which is a big plus for me. That's what makes a true survival horror. Hopefully they have item management and item boxes.

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DarthLod

@savagerodent: Item management and boxes is in the demo.

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SavageRodent

@DarthLod: Item management is indeed in there (or what little of it there is). I'm hoping for management that makes you think what to take with you and what to leave in the box. Scarce items and low inventory space are also pluses to me .

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CrazzyJimmy

My problem with the game is that I don't want it to end up being a clone of "Outlast" or any of the other games. I enjoyed the rise up from Resident Evil 1 up to Resident Evil 6 because it felt like an escolation of story. Yes the horror aspects weren't there as much, but that's because Leon and Chris faced these horrors multiple times. This game feels like it should have been its own game franchise, but instead they called it "Resident Evil 7" to get that franchise money.

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SprSynJn

There are six titles in the main storyline with many more that branch off. All in third person. Why is it hard to understand why people are complaining about a sudden change when they kept it in numerical order for this title as well? Had they called it a reboot or something similar there would be much less salt going around.