Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, known in Japan as Biohazard 7: Resident Evil, is the eleventh main entry and the newest main installment in the Resident Evil series of survival horror games, developed and published by Capcom for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game was released worldwide on January 24, 2017 except in Japan where it was released two days later.
The story follows Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife Mia, which leads him to a derelict plantation inhabited by the Baker family. Ethan makes use of weapons and tools in the fight against the Baker family and creatures known as the "Molded". Healing herbs are used in the event of injury and there are puzzles that may be solved to further the story. Instead of being action-oriented like most recent Resident Evil games, the survival horror element present in earlier installments took priority. Thus, it was decided that a first-person perspective be included. It is the first commercially released game developed in the "RE Engine".
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the first main installment to be played from a first-person perspective (some of the earlier spin-off games utilized a similar viewpoint). The player controls the protagonist Ethan Winters who, although he is a civilian who offers few combat skills, is able to arm himself with a variety of different weapons including handguns, shotguns, axes, flamethrowers, explosives and chainsaws against enemies including the Baker family, and a newly introduced type of creature known as the "Molded". Additionally, he is able to quickly turn 180 degrees to avoid enemies, as well as block incoming attacks to reduce damage. Various portions of the game are spent being pursued by members of the Baker family, who if engaged in combat, can only be temporarily incapacitated. However, these encounters are entirely avoidable by means of stealth, or simply running away.
Unlike many recent Resident Evil installments, the gameplay emphasizes horror and exploration over action. The inventory uses a grid-based system with an initial capacity of twelve slots, but may be expanded several times over the course of the game. An item can occupy up to two spaces, and four items may be assigned to the D-pad. Item boxes may also be used to manage and store items for later use. Items in the inventory can be used, examined, or combined with other items to increase their usefulness. Many of the game's puzzles require that items be examined under certain conditions in order to reveal secrets. Although the game features an autosave system, tape recorders can be used to manually save the game's progress, which depending on the given difficulty level, may require the use of a cassette tape. Videotapes are scattered for Ethan to find, which place the player in the perspective of a different character, oftentimes revealing plot information or clues needed to solve a puzzle. Certain features such as Quick time events (which has been used since Resident Evil 4) are entirely absent.
The PlayStation 4 version of the game is also playable in VR using the PlayStation VR headset, with the core gameplay mechanics remaining identical. After a year of PSVR exclusivity, compatibility with VR devices for other platforms will be released in 2018.
The game is set four years efter the events in Resident Evil 6 in "modern times" (year 2017) and follows Ethan Winters who is drawn to a derelict plantation in Dulvey, Louisiana, by a message from his wife Mia, who has been missing for three years. Exploring a seemingly abandoned house, Ethan finds Mia imprisoned in the basement. During their escape, Mia is possessed by an unknown force and attacks Ethan, forcing him to kill her. After receiving a call from a woman named Zoe offering assistance, Ethan is attacked by a revived Mia, and then subdued by Jack Baker, patriarch of the Baker family. Ethan is held captive by Jack, his wife Marguerite, their son Lucas, and an elderly wheelchair-bound woman. Although Ethan escapes his captors, he is repeatedly confronted by Jack, who demonstrates the ability to regenerate from fatal wounds and dismemberment.
Zoe again contacts Ethan, revealing she is the Bakers' daughter. Zoe informs Ethan that she, her family, and Mia are all infected with the same ailment, but can be cured with a special serum. Ethan makes his way to an old house to retrieve the serum ingredients, where he is forced to kill Marguerite. After recovering the ingredients, Ethan begins experiencing visions of an unknown young girl. Lucas captures Zoe and Mia before Ethan's return, and forces him to navigate a booby-trapped barn to find them. Ethan outwits Lucas, causing him to flee, and frees Zoe and Mia. Zoe then develops two serum doses, but Jack, now heavily mutated, attacks the group and Ethan uses one dose to permanently kill him. Ethan must then choose to cure either Mia or Zoe. Choosing Zoe leaves Mia heartbroken, despite Ethan's promise to send help. As he and Zoe escape on a boat, Zoe reveals that the Bakers were infected after Mia arrived with a young girl named Eveline when the wreck of a tanker ship washed ashore. To prevent their escape, Eveline psychically kills Zoe, and Ethan is knocked from the boat by a creature. If Ethan chooses Mia, Zoe gives a bitter farewell to him and Mia. As he and Mia escape on a boat, they come across the crashed tanker where they are attacked by the creature and knocked from the boat.
Regardless of the player's choice, Mia ends up on the wrecked ship and searches for Ethan while experiencing visions of Eveline, who refers to Mia as her mother. Eventually, Mia's memory is restored, revealing that she was a covert operative for an unnamed corporation that developed Eveline as a bioweapon. Mia was escorting Eveline as she was being transported aboard the tanker when Eveline escaped containment and sank the ship. She then infected Mia in an effort to force her to be her mother. After finding Ethan, Mia gives him a vial of Eveline's genetic material. If Ethan cured Zoe, Mia succumbs to Eveline's control and attacks Ethan, forcing him to kill her. If Ethan cured Mia, she resists her control long enough to seal Ethan out of the ship to save him.
After leaving the shipwreck, Ethan discovers a hidden laboratory inside an abandoned salt mine. There, he learns that Eveline is an E-Series bioweapon capable of infecting people with a psychotropic mold that gives her control over her victims' minds, resulting in their insanity, superhuman regenerative abilities, and various mutations. Eveline grew up obsessed with having a family, influencing her to infect Mia and the Bakers, and lure Ethan to the Bakers' home. Lucas is also revealed to have been immunized against Eveline's control by the organization in exchange for providing observations on her. Using the lab equipment and Eveline's genetic material, Ethan synthesizes a toxin to kill her, and then proceeds through a series of tunnels that lead back to the Baker house. Eveline assaults Ethan with hallucinations, but he overcomes them and injects Eveline with the toxin, ending her facade and revealing her as the elderly woman in a wheelchair, who has been rapidly aging since her escape. Eveline mutates into a large monster but, aided by the arrival of a military squad, Ethan is able to defeat her. With the threat over, the squad and their leader, who identifies himself as "Redfield", extract Ethan by helicopter. If Ethan did not cure Mia, he throws his phone containing her last message to him from the helicopter, saying "goodbye". If Mia was cured, she is found alive aboard Redfield's helicopter. As the helicopter flies away, it is shown to be branded with a variation of the Umbrella Corporation logo.
Beginning Hour (standalone demo)Edit
Beginning Hour begins in a dilapidated abandoned house where the unnamed male player character is given the goal to escape. The player can explore, interact with objects in the environment and also pick up some objects and put them in the inventory. The player can find a picture of a helicopter that sports the Umbrella Corporation logo. By exploring, the player finds a S-VHS tape containing a video recording dated June 30, 2017. The recording was made by a cameraman named Clancy Javis who along with the producer and the host of a paranormal television show enter the same abandoned house the player character is in, to capture footage for their show.
Player control then switches to Clancy. The producer explains that the house belonged to the Baker family who disappeared three years ago. He also says there were bad rumors about their son, Lucas. When the producer goes missing, Clancy goes looking after him but he is startled to find his bloodied corpse hanging by a hook on the wall and falls to the ground. As an unknown party begins stepping closer to Clancy, the tape recording ends. Control then resumes to the present where the main character continues his attempt to find a way to exit the house, until he gets attacked by a person, whose picture appears on the walls of the house, telling him "Welcome to the family, son!".
The ending's details vary slightly depending on the order the player explores the house and interacts with objects. The playable part of the demo is book-ended by scenes from the KITCHEN demo, which reveal what happened to the host and Clancy. The host is first stabbed to death by a monstrous looking woman carrying a knife before she starts ominously approaching Clancy, implying he will have the same fate (in the full KITCHEN demo, Clancy indeed dies).
Following the release of Resident Evil 6, producer Masachika Kawata noted Capcom had a lot of internal discussion regarding the direction of the next installment. Capcom staffers recognized that the scale of the last game, which had bioterrorism attacks happening across the world, had grown out of hand and, as a result, what made the series special had been lost. To regain that, Kawata's boss, Jun Takeuchi, who is the executive producer of the game, requested that the series be "stripped down to its core": horror. The developers figured scaling back the game to one location and using a first-person perspective to immerse the players in the environments would be the best way to achieve that.
Development began around February 2014. The game is built on a new engine named "RE Engine", which includes Virtual reality development tools. Kawata explained that the decision to make the game first-person was made well before VR was even considered. A year before the game's announcement, Capcom presented to attendants of E3 2015 a first-person horror-themed VR demo called KITCHEN, which ran on the same engine. While Resident Evil 7 had been in development long before KITCHEN, with the latter the developers saw the opportunity to evaluate how the RE Engine and its VR capabilities would be received by the public. As a hint to the demo's relation to, at the time unannounced, Resident Evil 7, the logo of KITCHEN had the letter "T" designed so that it resembled a "7", but Kawata said that it went largely unnoticed. Four months later, in the company's annual Integrated Report, it was stated that the Resident Evil development division of Capcom (Development Division 1), would be focusing on creating experiences for the VR market. These included both a new VR engine and games for the eighth generation of consoles.
The game was directed by Koshi Nakanishi, who previously helmed Resident Evil: Revelations, leading a development team exclusively from Capcom Japan numbering at about 120 staff. However, for the first time in the series, the narrative designer was a westerner, Richard Pearsey, writer of the two expansion packs of F.E.A.R. and one of the narrative designers of Spec Ops: The Line. Discussing first-person games similar to Resident Evil 7, Nakanishi explained that they played "all the first person horrors out there like ... Outlast" but decided in contrast to offer weapons to the player so that they could fight against the enemies. At the time of the game's reveal, development was around 65% complete. Some of the creature models in Resident Evil 7 were first created in physical form – a number of them from actual meat – by make-up artists, to then be scanned through the employment of photogrammetry. This technology developed over half of the general assets of the game, but posed a problem in researching the setting of Louisiana because its considerable demand for equipment made it unviable for transport, which required Capcom to model by hand.
The game's original score was composed primarily by Capcom's Akiyuki Morimoto, Miwako Chinone, and Satoshi Hori, with additional contributions from Brian D'Oliveira and Cris Velasco. The game's theme song, an arranged version of the traditional American folk song "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", was written by Michael A. Levine and performed by Jordan Reyne. An official soundtrack was released digitally by Sumthing Else Music Works alongside the game on January 24.
Release and marketingEdit
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in North America and Europe on January 24, 2017 and in Japan on January 26. In October 2016, Capcom launched a ten part video series called The World of Resident Evil 7, teasing pieces of the game's contents. A cross-save feature between Microsoft Windows and the Xbox One was confirmed in November 2016. If bought on either PC through the Windows Store or on the Xbox One digitally, it is playable on both platforms through the Xbox Play Anywhere program, making it the first game published by a third-party to be a part of the program.
The internal marketing team at Capcom collaborated with creative agency "iam8bit" to produce an escape room called Resident Evil Escape Room Experience, in which groups of six are guided through a series of rooms by Umbrella Corporation employees. It was held at a gallery space in Echo Park, Los Angeles. In London, a similar event was hosted in concurrence with the release.
Purchase of a GameStop-exclusive Collector's Edition included an eight-inch model of the Baker mansion, which when opened functions as a music box playing the main theme rendition of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", a mannequin finger-shaped 4 GB USB flash drive contained within a VHS tape box, a SteelBook Case containing the game, a lithograph of the Baker family, and a note. The UK version added the "Survival Pack: Action Set" DLC, a 20th anniversary artbook and a seven-inch replica of the mansion, but did not feature the music box. U.S. pre-orders on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One came with a code for a free digital download of Resident Evil: Retribution. A 4D candle with the scent of the Baker House Mansion was made to enhance the virtual reality experience.
On June 14, 2016, shortly after the game's reveal, a playable teaser named Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour was released for PlayStation Plus subscribers in the PlayStation Store. The demo takes place in a dilapidated house, which the unnamed male player character needs to escape. Depending on the actions taken by the player, the teaser may have four different outcomes.
Capcom later revealed that the teaser was a standalone experience and not a segment of the game, which has a different main character, more variety in its environments, and additional mechanics, such as combat. It takes place after both KITCHEN and Beginning Hour. By July 2016, the demo had been downloaded over two million times. An update called the "Twilight Version" was released on September 15, 2016, and gave access to new rooms and items to find. Along with the new version, Capcom also released a trailer for the game. Another update called the "Midnight Version" was released on December 3, which unlocked additional areas of the house, along with several new items to find and a puzzle concerning a riddle in the Twilight Version. The demo was released for the Xbox One on December 9, as well as on December 19 for PC.
A playable demo called Lantern was made available for attendees at Gamescom 2016, as part of revealing the first Resident Evil 7 story trailer. It makes use of found footage and first-person narrative as it tells the story of a young woman by the name of Mia hiding from an agitated old lady holding a lantern. The old lady is Marguerite Baker, who was first mentioned in Beginning Hour.
The first downloadable content (DLC) package for the game, titled Banned Footage Vol. 1, was released for the PlayStation 4 on January 31, 2017. Banned Footage Vol. 1 includes two scenarios, called "Nightmare" and "Bedroom", and a new game mode, titled "Ethan Must Die". On February 14, Banned Footage Vol. 2 was released for the PlayStation 4, which includes two additional scenarios, called "21" and "Daughters", and a new game mode, titled "Jack's 55th Birthday". Banned Footage Vol. 1 and Banned Footage Vol. 2 were released for the Xbox One and PC on February 21. Not a Hero – a story chapter where players control Chris Redfield – arrived as a free download in late 2017.
An "Gold Edition" of the game was announced on early September 2017. It features all the content from the original version as well as all three DLCs: Banned Footage Vol. 1, Banned Footage Vol. 2 and a new DLC, End of Zoe.
Resident Evil 7 received generally favorable reviews, which praised the gameplay, graphics, design and the particular change from action-oriented combat and effects to an approach more grounded in horror. PlayStation VR was hailed for increasing player involvement. However, it was also subject to complaint, with decreased resolution and physical discomfort cited as its chief offenses. Further criticism was directed at the game's boss battles and the final chapter of the game. It had the third-best sales debut in the series and has shipped over three million copies.
- This main installment marks the first time the series' Japanese name (Biohazard) and its Western name (Resident Evil) are both included in the title.
- Although the word "Tentsu" is shown on the file items, the game does not clarify if it is the name of the unknown organization that created Eveline or not.
- The horror game's first-person presentation has drawn comparisons to Konami's canceled Silent Hills title and its P.T. teaser demo. In respone, Capcom stated that Resident Evil 7 was in development long before the reveal of P.T., and has dispelled any rumors about staff of P.T. having been hired to work on Resident Evil 7.
- Additionally, the standalone demo, Beginning Hour, has been noted for its similarities with Sweet Home, Capcom's 1989 licensed horror game that inspired the original Resident Evil. These similarities to Sweet Home include the plot of a film crew going to an abandoned house, a paranormal female presence in the house, and a tragic tale involving a family that once lived there. The elements of survival horror in the game's Lantern demo was considered reminiscent of Alien: Isolation.
- The title of the DLC new game mode, "Ethan Must Die", is most likely a nod to the high difficulty mode "Dante Must Die" in the Devil May Cry games, also developed by Capcom.
- ↑ http://www.gamesradar.com/many-are-calling-resident-evil-7-the-new-silent-hills-but-its-so-much-more-than-that/
- ↑ http://www.shacknews.com/article/95664/the-facts-clues-and-theories-of-resident-evil-7
- ↑ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-08-23-resident-evil-7-disturbing-new-demo