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When it comes to Survival Horror, few games can compare to the terrifying enthrallment, and fearful nostalgia you feel whenever you hear the words “Resident Evil.”
Twenty years and 24 games later, Resident Evil remains the definitive franchise in a genre that made gamers jolt, scream and laugh at the same time, drop their controllers and left them at the edge of their seats during those jump scares (remember the dogs jumping out from the windows?)
With just a couple of months away from the release of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Manila Bulletin Tech News was invited by DATABLITZ for an exclusive interview with the Capcom’s Mr. Masachika Kawata who spilled some secrets and revealed several new details on the upcoming title.
(As the lead producer Mr. Kawata is involved from the initial design to managing progress and now he is doing the rounds in different countries to promote the game.)
ESCAPE, IMMERSION, PURSUIT
To give us an idea of what the game is all about Mr Kawata, presented an overview of the three key elements that set the tone of game—Escape, Immersion, Pursuit.
Kawata said unlike in the last game, the protagonist’s main objective is to escape the terrors and creatures such as the Baker Family to survive.
“Trying to survive has always been an important element of RE, but it has a much stronger importance in this game. In the recent RE games the concept of escape meant defeating the many enemies using many and sometimes powerful weapons you find in the game. In RE7, you have to learn how to utilize the limited resources and limited time, managing these resources and figuring out the best way to use this is more similar to the classic RE games in the past,” says Kawata.
There’s a reason why they also decided to depart from being a third-person shooter and shift to first person and that is to provide a more Immersive experience and as one of the first to use the Playstation VR, Kawata says RE7 will give you the most immersive experience ever.
In the presentation he showed, one of the slides focused on the players hands, which he says brings a new level of interaction when facing enemies and makes it unique from the previous titles.
As for pursuit, I think the best explanation is just to play or watch “Lantern” which places you in the character of Mia. “If you’ve seen or played the demo, the enemy you are facing looks human, yet there’s already a certain element of fear, so imagine when you encounter something “less human!”
For the second part of his presentation, Kawata answered the question “what makes an RE game, an RE game?”
He mentioned several elements; one is Fear of the Unknown. Remember the feeling you get every time you open a door or reach a new location? For RE7, he hints that using these doors can be a way to trap enemies; Exploration, which includes searching for items and their purpose and solving puzzles to advance the story; and Combat, which I believe becomes even more stressful since you are playing an ordinary human unlike the characters in the previous games which had some sort training, or are part of a police force/special ops. So while it’s not as action-based as before, the combat element of RE7 looks to be more challenging. Kawata said while you won’t be facing 20 to 30 enemies at the same time like in RE6, it also not going to be purely one vs one affair.
Finally, RE wouldn’t be complete without the Item Management. Find items, keep them in your inventory and figure out when to use them, but what if you run out of space? That becomes the tricky part and you have to plan and utilize your items properly to progress and more importantly survive!
Kawata also stressed that achieving a new level of photo realism was one of their high priorities so to achieve high graphic fidelity, they created a proprietary engine called the RE to make the environments appear as realistic as possible. Using “Lantern” as an example, Kawata pointed out the overall look which was a bit rougher in texture and with different colors, since you’ll initially be “watching” it through videotape.
Remember how RE always had lots of notes you could read to pick up on backstory and non-essential narrative stuff, well these “videotape missions,” are the new “notes.” So you don’t just read the story, you actually get to experience it as well!