Capcom could be showing off Resident Evil 7 at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, if a pair of recent tweets from a prominent industry analyst hold any weight.
Serkan Toto, who heads up a Tokyo-based game consulting firm and has a good track record for revealing insider information, announced yesterday that the next numbered sequel in the company’s long-running survival horror series will not only be seen at next month’s show, but reportedly is a return to Resident Evil’s horror roots after 2012’s ludicrously overblown sixth entry.
Toto also mentioned that the development team has hired Konami developer Jordan Amaro, who worked on both Metal Gear Solid V and the now-infamous P.T., widely considered one of the most terrifying games ever made.
While this is still firmly in rumor territory, Toto’s history for revealing or predicting trade secrets lends some credence to the supposed news (though it should be noted he often sticks to mobile market forecasts). Less of an unknown is Capcom’s recent attitude shift towards Resident Evil, which has gone a long way towards appeasing fans with increasing efforts to bring back the horror to the series.
2016 also marks Resident Evil’s 20th anniversary, which has already had quite the celebration this year. January’s remaster of the Gamecube’s Resident Evil Zero was big success, made possible after the Resident Evil HD remake became Capcom’s fastest-selling digital title ever last year, selling over one million copies.
A remake of Resident Evil 2 was also announced in August following years of fan requests, in addition to an ongoing series of developer interviews. Finally, for better or worse (mostly better), Capcom is also taking advantage of the series 20th to bring upgraded remasters of the last three core games in the series — RE4, 5 and 6 — to the current-gen hardware. Overall, E3 would be a perfect time to announce something even bigger for fans to get excited over.
What’s potentially more interesting comes from the connection to “Kitchen,” Capcom’s own PlayStation VR horror tech demo that was shown during last year’s E3. The influence of P.T. was unmistakable, as the whole experience had players virtually tied to a chair in a dilapidated shack, forced to watch as a wraith-like zombie tormented and murdered another character before stalking and psyching you out in first-person.
While it’s anyone’s guess whether the VR experiment has anything to do with a new Resident Evil, Capcom is listed as one of the 200-plus developers currently working on developing titles for PlayStation VR. (It’s also worth noting that longtime Resident Evil producer Jun Takeuchi’s name is listed in Kitchen’s credits, if you happened to be paying attention at the end of the demo.)
If Resident Evil 7 is indeed real, hopefully Capcom has taken its design into careful consideration. At a glance, P.T.’s lasting influence on horror has arguably yielded little more than a resurgence of its first-person perspective a fine approach if developers take the psychology of what made that experience so effective into account rather than just using it as a venue for cheap jump scares. With any luck, having someone that worked on it could help RE7’s team avoid any such pitfalls. In any case, if the news is true, theres certainly potential there for a fresh look on the genre.
Still, fan expectations for Resident Evil it seems safe to say that given the demand for classic RE, an old-school approach has proven to be more successful than the cable B-movie one that made RE6 an enjoyable-if-bloated mess (and whose tone appears to be echoed in this summer’s Umbrella Corps spin-off; perhaps the best possible outcome would be to see RE7 more fully commit to the atmosphere, limited resources (and maybe even the cludginess) of the originals. With any luck, we’ll know more in June.