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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. The game is slated for a January 24, 2017 release on PC, PlayStation 4 (with PlayStation VR support) and Xbox One.
The game is set after Resident Evil 6, "in modern day", and features a new main character that does not have the combat skills that most of the main characters of recent games display. Although connections to previous games in the series exist, there will not be any returning characters. The game's setting is described as a derelict plantation mansion in rural America. The title of the game, which for the first time contains in it both the "Resident Evil" and "Biohazard" brand names of the series, is said to be a clue to what's behind the game's plot.
On June 14, 2016, shorty after the game's reveal, a playable teaser named Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour was released to the PlayStation Store, exclusively for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
The demo 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).
Capcom later revealed that the teaser is a standalone experience and not a segment of the final game. The final game will have a different main character, more variety in its environments and additional mechanics, such as combat. It will also take place after both KITCHEN and Beginning Hour.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard will be the first main series installment to be played from a first-person perspective (earlier spin off games utilized a similar viewpoint) and players will be able to use weapons and fight back against enemies although the developers say they should not expect a "gun fest". Other popular elements of Resident Evil games such as puzzle solving, resource management and healing herbs have also been confirmed to feature in the game. Quick time events on the other hand will be entirely absent.
The PlayStation 4 version of the game can also be played from start to finish in virtual reality using the PlayStation VR headset, but gameplay remains identical between the two modes. It is currently unconfirmed if the PC version will have any support for VR headsets.
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 was "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 VR development tools. Kawata explained that the decision to make the game first-person was made well before they thought about VR. 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 the at the time unannounced Resident Evil 7, the logo of KITCHEN had the letter "T" designed with a small gap to it so that it looked like a "7", but Kawata said that went largely unnoticed. Four months later, in the company's annual Integrated Report, citing positive reception of the KITCHEN demo, 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.
In interviews following the game's announcement at E3 2016, the game's director was revealed to be Koshi Nakanishi, who previously directed Resident Evil: Revelations, leading a development team exclusively from Capcom Japan and numbering about 120 staff. However, for the first time in the series, the narrative designer is 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. When it comes to first-person games similar to Resident Evil 7, Nakanishi said they played "all the first person horrors out there like [...] Outlast" but decided in contrast to them to offer weapons to the player so that they can fight against the enemies. At the time of the game's reveal, development was 65% complete.
The game was announced on June 14, 2016 during Sony's presentation at E3 2016. Later that day, a gameplay demo titled Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour was released to the PlayStation Store that could be downloaded and played by PlayStation Plus subscribers. Capcom clarified that the playable teaser is meant to show the direction the development team has taken and will not be a part of the final game. Due to this and the first-person presentation, the game has drawn comparisons to Konami's canceled Silent Hills title and its P.T. teaser demo. Capcom has responded to this by pointing out 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.
- As mentioned above, this main installment marks the first time the series' Japanese name (Biohazard) and its Western name (Resident Evil) are both included in the title.