Resident Evil 7 is a huge change from previous outings and it's coming to both TV and VR gamers
I’m genuinely apprehensive about the new Resident Evil 7. It’s partly that I loved the series in its heydey and want a return to something more horrific and less like an action movie, or at very least the balance struck in the early sections of RE4. But it’s mainly that the new game is going to be fully playable in PlayStation VR and it looks terrifying.
Yes, in a surprise announcement, Resident Evil 7 just jumped to the very top of any sane person’s most wanted PSVR title.
The game wasn’t really on anyone’s radar, but that one announcement now makes it hugely anticipated. And with it being released early next year, January 24th 2017 to be precise, we’ve a surprisingly short wait to see just what a triple-AAA title can do while both being playable on a TV and in VR.
^ The main Youtube trailer doesn’t concentrate on the VR experience, play this one to jump straight to the correct part of Sony’s keynote to see the game in action
Resident Evil 7 isn’t a PSVR exclusive, but instead a hybrid title of which we’ve seen very few examples to date. Fallout 4 is being converted to run in VR, while games including Battlefront and Final Fantasy XV will have short VR experiences, but there’s nothing else with Resident Evil’s history to be given this kind of full dual-development treatment.
It may be called Resident Evil 7 but this looks a long way off any of its predecessors. It’s a full-on creepy horror game, played in the first-person of course and without a single gun in sight (in the brief demo at least). No flashy outfits, clunky dialogue, over-the-top villains, biomechanical nasties or grenade launchers to be seen.
The demo dwells instead on some gruesome ickiness of an abandoned kitchen and centres around the well-tested found footage schtick of a VHS tape. The undead barely make an appearance at all, but the psychological horror is ratcheted up to 11, with everything seemingly set around a single family home gone very wrong.
Resident Evil’s slow pace and the new title’s emphasis on agonisingly-paced horror should mean the sometimes claustrophobic, limited viewing angle of PlayStation VR should work well here. The tight environments and Resi’s traditional insistence that you can’t both move and shoot at once should also help keep things on a level playing field between TV and VR players.
Resident Evil 7’s strong horror theme means it won’t be for everyone. But this just become the most important game in development for PlayStation VR or arguably any Vr headset and its critical success will be key to more developers attempting dual development of big-brand titles.