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Why Resident Evil 7 Went Back To Its Horror Roots

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil VII has launched and, by most accounts, the game turned out wonderfully. That's kind of big news, considering the fact that the last couple of action-heavy takes on the series bombed pretty hard with critics. But according to a recent interview, Capcom had other reasons to head back to the series' horror roots this time around.

The folks over at recently had a chat with the team at Capcom responsible for Resident Evil VII. Of particular focus was the game's return to a more horror-heavy narrative, something that director Koshi Naanishi said just made sense given how bombastic Resident Evil has gotten over the years.

From a business perspective, Resident Evil 6 was a success, but we had pushed that style of Resident Evil gameplay, with the big storyline and the hero characters, pretty much as far as we could. It was a blockbuster scale of game. That almost left us with no choice but to change the series in order to keep it alive, because where do you go after that size and scale of game?

When a game series makes a huge shift in tone, it can frequently be attributed to the reaction of critics and average players. While there was no shortage of outcry concerning Resident Evil's departure from its horror roots, Nakanishi explains that the reason for shifting the tone in Resident Evil VII was scale. Since the original game, the Resident Evil series has slowly but surely included more characters, more over-the-top plots and ridiculous action, more sinister villains and more massive locations. As Nakanishi puts it, there was no way to "go bigger" with Resident Evil VII, so the developer decided instead to go the opposite direction, making the most intimate, small-scale (in terms of locale and scope of action) entry to date.

And here at launch, it seems like that decision has paid off nicely for Capcom. With 47 reviews currently counted, Resident Evil VII is resting at a comfortable 86 on Metacritic. Not that review aggregates are the final say concerning quality but, with that many outlets enjoying the game, you have to figure that Capcom has done something very, very right this time around.

It also helps that Capcom prepared audiences for what they would be getting. Rather than go scarce with the details, they let everyone know from the very first trailer that REVII was going to have a first-person perspective and a hard focus on horror this time around. And rather than drip-feed details, they've instead released multiple demos, giving players a chance to get used to the idea of this new direction for the series.

We haven't had a chance to dive into Resident Evil VII yet, but we bet some of our readers have already gone neck-deep. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.