Tuesday (24 January) marks the release of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the latest anticipated entry in Capcom's iconic survival horror series. Nearly 21 years after the classic original and four years after the last mainline entry, the series is returning with new ideas and a different perspective.
Resi 7 is the first major game of 2017, arriving towards the end of a month that typically has very few releases. If you haven't been following the game's journey to launch, here's a guide to everything you need to know about Resident Evil 7.
What is Resident Evil 7: Biohazard?
It is a first-person survival horror game from Capcom coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC. On PS4 the game's story will be playable from beginning to end in virtual reality with Sony's PlayStation VR headset.
Resident Evil 7 takes the series back to its horror roots after three entries that focused more on action, culminating in the poorly-received Resident Evil 6. Fans have been clamouring for this, with some even calling for the series to be rebooted.
This is not a reboot, however. While its ties to previous games in the series are expected to be limited, the story is set four years after the events of Resi 6.
It is also the first numbered entry in the series that plays from a first person perspective. This is a reaction to the revival of the survival horror genre over the past few years thanks to first-person games like Outlast, Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Alien Isolation.
How different is it to previous games?
It's part reboot, part sequel and the gameplay reflects that. The plantation mansion location and how players move around it is reminiscent of the very first game, save points are similar to the typewriters of the past, there are healing herbs, ammo is, of course, scarce, and the puzzles are still unconventional and outlandish.
The first person perspective is new, however, and revolutionary for the series. In third person the horror isn't happening to you but to the character on screen. A first person perspective makes the terror that much more intimate.
Why isn't Resident Evil 7 a reboot?
Following a trend of modern cinema, Resident Evil 7 is a "soft reboot", meaning it hits the reset button in many ways but remains tied to the story before it without continuing it directly. Would it have been better for Capcom to have reset the continuity and start completely afresh? Maybe, but that's a question that will be best answered by Resi 7's story and how it ties to previous games.
So what's the story?
Players are cast as Ethan Winters, a man whose search for his missing wife Mia leads him to a dilapidated plantation mansion outside the fictional city of Dulvey in America's Deep South. This mansion, in a twist that will surprise nobody, is dangerous, terrifying and home to the twisted Baker family.
As he searches for Mia through the house and surrounding locations, he'll discover tapes – much like those in Resident Evil 7's popular Beginning Hour and Lantern demos – which he watches and the players play through, revealing more of the game's backstory.
What happened in the demos?
The first demo, released alongside the game's announcement in June 2016, introduced players to the core concept as they explored a small decrepit house, interacted with objects and played through some found tapes. The Lantern demo, released a few months later, cast players as Mia and included some of the final game's combat.
We have a separate article recapping all the events of the demos.
Any DLC plans?
Of course. The game's season pass will have an "additional story episode" as well as two volumes of "banned footage". We don't know exactly what these will be, but the naming suggests they will involve the VHS tape mechanic in the game.
Banned Footage Vol. 1
- Ethan Must Die
Banned Footage Vol. 2
- Jack's 55th Birthday
Additional Story Episode