Resident Evil 7 will have no cutscenes, VR being re-worked after negative E3 feedback

Well, this is surprising.

We’ve been waiting for some fresh Resident Evil VII: Biohazard news for weeks now, and this is very intriguing, marking another major change being brought to the table. According to a recent interview with RE7‘s producer, Jun Takeuchi, Resident Evil VII will be foregoing cutscenes in favor of real-time, in game story progression. Like the demo, Beginning Hour, where things will instead play out in front of you, the full game will be following the same path. The best examples of this are games like Half-Life 2, and Outlast.

The idea is for the immersion to never be broken, and that we’ll be seeing this world entirely through the eyes of the player character. This can add a whole new level of fear and tension that Resident Evil has never really had before, and I applaud the change. As it is, Beginning Hour only really has one cutscene, the opening, which is then playable at the end of the demo (okay, playable might not be the right word, but you can move your head slightly while watching Pete, the weekend sub, try to help you). It’s a bold move, but I’m betting on it being the right one. This is in stark contrast to Resident Evil 6, which reached zombie opera status with about four hours and fifteen minutes of cutscenes.

The other piece of interesting news is something that I know our editor-in-chief will be very happy about, and that’s the reworking of Resident Evil VII‘s VR mode. Many gaming news outlets reported that the VR version of Beginning Hour, which was present for PS4 VR on the E3 show floor this year, was nauseating and “puke inducing”.  Capcom was very surprised by this, and have since gone back to the drawing board on the VR element to make it perfect. Using one of their most motion-sick prone (press E to pay respects, poor bastard) employees, Capcom is now tweaking Resident Evil VII to account for newcomers to VR, as well as the physical state of the player. Takeuchi states,

“We also discovered that the physical state of the person trying VR, jet lag for example, can really influence the experience. That’s something we have to anticipate and design for.”

They’ve been working specifically on tailoring the movement speed- which is something that the previous VR demo, Kitchen, didn’t get to test on audiences. In Kitchen, the player was completely static, and incapable of moving around, only able to look around from one position in VR, but the Beginning Hour demo allows for full movement, walking around with the PS4 DualShock 4 controller, and head-tracking via PS4 VR. So to accommodate for this, they’re working on slowing down movement speed, specifically for when the player turns at a 360 degree angle. I’m happy to hear all of this, since I was planning on picking up PS4’s VR headset just for this title. There’s a chance the tweaked version will be available for play at next month’s Tokyo Game Show, so we’ll have to wait and see what players there think.

Despite setbacks, Takeuchi still believes that first person, and VR, are the best possible direction to take Resident Evil in if they want the series to be scary again. I’m inclined to believe him.

“VR is a perfect match for a horror game. A player screaming out in terror is the sweetest music to our ears.”

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard releases on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC January 24th, 2017.

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