Resident Evil 7 news and release date: RE7 is already breaking records

The demo for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has broken download records, with 2 million people downloading the promo in North America, despite it only being available to PlayStation Plus subscribers.  

The amount of downloads for Resident Evil 7’s demo – ‘The Beginning Hour’ – makes it the most downloaded demo in PS4 history. Well, for the first seven days of release for North America. Still, a lot of people downloaded it.

Instead of a scooped-out section of Resident Evil 7, the demo is intended to act as a prologue to the final game. Said game will reportedly feature a different protagonist, although the demo’s first-person perspective and ability for players to experience events using PlayStation VR will remain in place.

One of the most popular mysteries stemming from the demo is the inclusion of a dummy finger. Seemingly useless, certain players have spent a great deal of time trying to find a purpose for the item. Last week, Capcom sent a message to Resident Evil Ambassador program members with an image of the finger and the text: “The path for now is closed, but patience…” Does Capcom have a plan for the finger? Is it jumping on internet attention to stir interest for the game? Will it ask fans to mail in their severed fingers? *shrugs*

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Resident Evil 7: Everything you need to know

The VR demo of Resident Evil 7 at E3 2016 was a marked departure from the last couple of entries to the long-running horror series. For starters, the perspective had been shifted to the first person. Tonally, the scenes on show were much closer to the psychological terror of Silent Hill than the guns-n-zombies of the Umbrella Corporation. 

It turns out the ghost-house ambiance of the E3 demo might not be entirely reflective of the final product. In an interview with Capcom Unity, director Kōshi Nakanishi explains that his team hasn’t turned the series into a ghost story.

“I’ve seen from initial reactions of what we’ve put out that people are getting the impression that we’ve taken Resident Evil and turned it into some sort of supernatural, occult, ghost story,” he said. “I think you can look at the trailer or the demo and get that impression, but don’t worry, 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.”

While it may not be an out-and-out ghost story, Resident Evil 7 will shake up the recent tendency of the series to favour action over horror. A large part of this will be down to the character you play, as producer Masachika Kawata explained:

“I think one of the places we got in the series up until now is you’re kind of playing these superhero characters,” said Kawata. “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].”

One more piece of information dropped in the interview is that Resident Evil 7 won’t feature any Quick Time Events (QTEs). “I know there are a lot of people who will be relieved to hear that,” commented Kawata.

Resident Evil 7: Release date

Capcom will be releasing Resident Evil 7: Biohazard on 24 January 2017 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. PlayStation Plus members can download a taster demo now.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard / BIOHAZARD: Resident Evil 7

The full name for Resident 7 in the West is Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Keen fans of the series will catch on that BIOHAZARD (or Baiohazādo) is the series’ moniker in Japan. In fact, the new game’s Japanese name is Baiohazādo 7 Rejidento Ībiru, or Biohazard 7: Resident Evil.

So why the sudden meeting between Japanese and Western names for the series? In an interview with Capcom Unity, the game’s producer Masachika Kawata explained that Capcom is making an active effort to merge the two titles: “We really want to have the big, impactful feeling of the series being in one place right now, and having one future it’s heading towards,” he said.

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Resident Evil 7: Virtual reality

Clearly drawing upon modern horror influences such as P.T. and Outlast, the Resident Evil 7 demo at E3 2016 seemed like an evolution of Capcom’s horrific The Kitchen PlayStation VR demo.

It was revealed during Sony’s E3 conference that Resident Evil 7 on PS4 will be entirely playable in PlayStation VR from start to finish. If you decide not to immerse yourself in VR, however, you’ll get exactly the same gameplay, just on a more traditional screen setup.

First-person VR is a dramatic shift in perspective for a Resident Evil game, but more generally it’s also an interesting hint at how VR games could be structured in the future – as an optional way to experience the game rather than a requirement. It makes sense in the short term, at least, when the hardware isn’t ubiquitous. 

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