With its new setting, new characters, new camera viewpoint, and gameplay divergences from its most recent predecessors, Capcom’s upcoming Resident Evil 7 has led some series fans to question whether or not it belongs as a numbered sequel in the Resident Evil franchise. In speaking recently with Game Informer, however, Producer Masachika Kawata was adamant that Resident Evil 7 is best as a true numbered sequel rather than a reboot or spinoff of some sort.
“If you look at just the gameplay that’s been shown so far, you may think of it as a reboot at first, but the story and narrative have shaped up to fit the series as a numbered title,” he said. “It is still a Resident Evil title, which draws on the series’ roots of horror, exploration, puzzles, and combat while offering something new. Rather than playing it safe and sticking with what we’re used to, we strived to create something new that would impact players in a different way with a more immersive, personal experience. We wanted to create a game that really pushes survival horror to the forefront and focus on what makes a game scary, while still being a fun and entertaining experience from a gameplay perspective.”
That focus on scares would seem a departure from Resident Evil 5 and 6’s more action-oriented gameplay. And while Resident Evil 4 still packed some scares, many longtime fans also see that game as the moment Capcom transitioning the series’ focus away from frights and towards copious amounts of running and gunning. For Resident Evil 7, Kawata promised a “horror experience of the utmost quality.”
Kawata said that as Capcom came up on Resident Evil’s 20th anniversary last year, it realized that returning to those horror roots was the most appropriate way to celebrate that milestone. He allowed that Resident Evil 7 still may not be instantly recognizable as a Resident Evil game, but promised that fans will encounter many series “hallmarks,” like “exploration, item management, and puzzles.”