Resident Evil 7 producer Masachika Kawata reveals some of the methods Capcom used during Resident Evil 7‘s development to make it as scary as possible.
Whereas the last few Resident Evil games have favored action over horror, the latest entry in the long-running series, Resident Evil 7, returned the franchise to its horror roots. Perhaps even more than the original games, Resident Evil 7 actively tries to scare players at every turn, and Capcom producer Masachika Kawata recently discussed how the RE7 team made the game so scary.
According to Kawata, who spoke with Kotaku, the main way Capcom was able to make Resident Evil 7 scary was by switching the perspective to first-person. As explained by Kawata, the first-person perspective allowed Capcom to help players better relate to Ethan Winters and his struggle to survive on the Baker family plantation.
“We felt that a switch to first person perspective would heighten the immersion and bring the player closer to this horror, making everything feel more personal.”
Capcom was also able to bring gamers closer to the horror through Resident Evil 7‘s virtual reality mode. By combining virtual reality and the first-person viewpoint, Capcom was able to achieve its goal of making Resident Evil 7 an immersive experience, in turn earning the game high marks across the board for its ability to deliver consistent scares. Of course, the first-person view and VR weren’t the only tools Capcom used to make Resident Evil 7 a scary game.
Another way Capcom made Resident Evil 7 scary was by creating a claustrophobic horror atmosphere. It’s no accident that many rooms and corridors in Resident Evil 7 are cramped, and that the game world in general is not that large. In fact, players can complete Resident Evil 7 in less than two hours if they’re so inclined, but by making the game smaller, both physically and thematically, Capcom was able to make the story feel more personal and “intimate.”
With a story that’s smaller scale, it was easier for Capcom to make fans more invested in Ethan’s plight. After all, he is presented as an average person (with no significant combat experience) that’s simply exploring one rather terrifying location, not partaking in a globe-trotting adventure fighting monsters like some past Resident Evil heroes. Since Ethan is a more grounded, realistic main character, the horrifying things that happen to him are scarier than when the superhero-like characters in the series are in trouble.
So far, reception to Resident Evil 7‘s renewed focus on horror has been mostly positive. The game has shipped 3 million units since it launched less than a month ago, and is on track to meet Capcom’s projections. Fans can expect the positive response to Resident Evil 7 to inform the development of future games in the series, which will likely try to bring even more scares to the table.
Resident Evil 7 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.