With rumors of Resident Evil 7 set to be announced at this year’s E3 event, one writer explains what it needs to do in order to win back lapsed series fans.

It’s no secret that Resident Evil 6 isn’t the most popular game in the storied Resident Evil franchise. Trading survival-horror for action-horror, Resident Evil 6 was criticized by fans and critics alike, earning some of the lowest scores for a main series Resident Evil game. Despite this misstep, the rumored Resident Evil 7 is Capcom’s chance to get things right, and restore fan confidence in the series. Here’s how I think it can be done.

First of all, Resident Evil 7 must be a horror game more than it is anything else. Whether that means it still has somewhat of an action focus or if it’s a pure return to survival-horror is up for debate, but as long as it brings scares and suspense, it has a chance of pleasing series veterans.

Luckily, rumors are already pointing to Resident Evil 7 returning to its horror roots. I think that such an approach is the right move, and if Capcom plays its cards right, perhaps a focus on horror will even help to bring in some former Silent Hill fans as well. After all, Konami’s cancellation of Silent Hills has left that fan base disgruntled, and its playable teaser P.T. has proven popular enough to inspire a legion of copycat games, so maybe Capcom could take some notes for Resident Evil 7.

One could argue that Capcom hasn’t made a Resident Evil with the intent to scare the player since Resident Evil 4, and so I think the series is long overdue for an entry with a focus on scares. However, being scary – or at least attempting to be scary – is not the only thing that’s going to be required of Resident Evil 7 if Capcom wants it to be a success.

Resident Evil Capcom Sale

I think that if Resident Evil 7 is going to win back lapsed series fans, it’s going to have to provide a true AAA gaming experience. What I mean by this is that it should be packed with compelling content – enough so that it provides true value to match its $60 price tag. I think that this can be accomplished in the same manner that the Call of Duty franchise does, and that is by providing players with three distinct game modes.

Besides a single player story, co-op could be a good idea for Resident Evil 7. I think that co-op should stay out of Resident Evil 7‘s main story, however, but a dedicated co-op mode like Mercenaries or perhaps a co-op side story could do wonders in adding replayability. The older Splinter Cell games had separate, smaller co-op stories that players could experience, and I think a similar approach would translate well to Resident Evil.

A competitive mode is also something that Capcom should consider. Resident Evil 6‘s competitive mode wasn’t very popular, but if the multiplayer-centric Umbrella Corps is a hit, perhaps Capcom can bundle it with Resident Evil 7 to give fans extra incentive to pick up the game. This could also help Umbrella Corps maintain a healthy community of players for its online multiplayer, and could allow Capcom to include a competitive mode in Resident Evil 7 without having to detract resources that could have went into developing the main campaign.

Resident Evil Spin-off Umbrella Corps Could Be A Good Game - Umbrella Corps Resident Evil 4 village map

If Capcom is able to nail the story, and provide enough replayability to keep fans engaged with the product for a long period of time, then Resident Evil 7 should be a surefire hit. However, one big question remains:  Should Resident Evil 7 play like a classic game in the series, or should it be more in the style of Resident Evil 4?

In my opinion, Resident Evil 7 should have more in common with Resident Evil 4 than, say, the first game. Resident Evil 4 is the highest rated game in the series, and one of the highest rated games of all time for that matter, yet we’ve never had a real followup to it. Resident Evil 5 and 6 were similar, but more straight action games than anything else. Plus, we have the Resident Evil 2 remake on the way as well, and I think it would make more sense for that game be more similar to the classic style of Resident Evil instead of Resident Evil 7. This approach could help Capcom satisfy both fans of classic Resident Evil and those that prefer the over-the-shoulder gameplay that was introduced to the series in Resident Evil 4.

While Capcom’s constant remasters and mishandling of key franchises like Mega Man, and more recently Street Fighter, may upset some, it does seem as though the company is starting to listen to its fans. Perhaps that will extend to the development of Resident Evil 7, and fans can look forward to a true return to form for the granddaddy of the survival-horror genre.

Resident Evil 7 is rumored to be in development for unspecified consoles.