7 Things You Might Have Missed In Resident Evil VII
At a glance, it might seem like the switch to a first-person perspective is a huge change for the series. The early games used fixed camera angles to help build tension by restricting player visibility, which is exactly what the first-person viewpoint does to great effect in existing horror experiences such as Amnesia and PT. Resi itself, while maybe not known for it, is also no stranger to this camera angle – the original games used it to disguise loading and add to atmosphere while passing through doors, plus it’s use of cutscenes in many early titles.
Even from the Beginning Hour demo (which is, apparently, not taken from the main game – it’s a taster of what the experience will be like, rather than direct content), it’s clear to see that many hallmarks of the series that got rubbed off as it performed more and more combat rolls and suplexes have been restored. Inventory management within a limited grid and object-based puzzle solving both return, with Capcom adding that encounters will be stripped back from the mobs of foes in recent games back to fewer, more dangerous enemies. There are even direct references to earlier games buried in the demo, such as the photo in the attic that suggests that the house is under Umbrella surveillance.
While this clearly won’t be Resi as we know it, that’s probably for the best – a formula change has been long overdue and this appears to be about as faithful to the franchise’s roots as it can realistically be given the choice of direction. With full PlayStation VR support promised and solid foundations on which to build based on our experience of this brief, mysterious demo, we’d advise anyone screaming at Capcom for completely changing the direction of the series to consult the history books. The last time it did anything this drastic with the franchise, we got Resi 4 – you know, one of the best games ever made. The series ain’t a Jill sandwich just yet…
1 Master Of Unlocking
During the VHS section, check the floor behind the microwave to find a lockpick. This can be used to open the locked drawer in the kitchen cabinet which, while empty at the time, will also be open when you return to the present day and contain a little something to play around with. Have fun with your new axe… but will anyone ever work out what you’re actually supposed to do with it, if anything?
2 We Do It
The title cards for the VHS sequences feature the code US-00551/90009, which is the SKU for Resident Evil: Director’s Cut (NTSC/U) on PSone. Internet detectives highlighted that the game shipped with a demo of RE2, suggesting that RE7 may come with a demo of REmake 2, or perhaps a teaser for the remake could be the reward for finding the demo’s rumoured ‘true’ ending.
3 Most Haunted
Hidden throughout the VHS segment are multiple possible sightings of a ghostly woman who appears only briefly. These are triggered based on location and camera placement, making sighting pot luck unless you know where to look and when. Some are suggesting this implies a supernatural element to RE7, but it could just as easily be hoaxes for the video, hallucinations or something else entirely.
4 What’s Inside?
Several boxes scattered around the house have the word ‘harawata’ scribbled out and replaced with a 7. Harawata, which translates from Japanese as ‘entrails’ or ‘guts’, is believed to be the in-production codename for RE7. And the name-based secrets don’t stop there – in the logo for Capcom’s VR horror demo Kitchen, which depicted scenes similar to those that bookend this demo, the ‘T’ looks an awful lot like a ‘7’…
5 Down In The Bayou
Elements have hinted at a Louisiana setting, with ‘Ghosts sighted in bayou’ on a newspaper. The icon on the brightness setting screen also features a pelican, the bird on the state’s flag. Online sleuths may have narrowed down the setting further, with one pointing out that converting time codes on the VHS tape screens to DMS longitude/latitude coordinates points to Lake Providence, Louisiana. Both tape and paper reference the fictional town of Dulvey.
6 Sur-Bible Horror
The first note you find in the demo reads ‘I shall dash them against the stones’, seemingly a direct reference to Psalms 137:9 in the Bible. The passage in question deals with wishing divine judgment upon those who commit great sin. A window into the motives of the shack’s messed-up residents, perhaps – they may see their violent acts as justice against a society they see as having wronged them somehow.
7 Check Your Settings
The Brightness Pelicans aren’t the only clue you can find in the demo’s menus. Those worried that the final game could eschew gunplay and ammo management in line with other first-person horror games can rest easy – the HUD option specifically references an ammo count while the Control tab has an option for adjusting aim assist, both inferring the inclusion of ranged weapons in the final game.
Go deeper into gaming’s horror history with our Videogame Nasties special issue, available now