Capcom launched Resident Evil 7 last year, and it was, yet again, a complete, thorough, from the ground up rethinking of the long running horror series. Eschewing the third person camera, as well as the increasing action focus, that the games had begun drifting towards with the last few games, Resident Evil 7 returned to its horror roots, also placing players in a mansion, from a claustrophobic first person point of view.
It won rave acclaim, won a fair few awards, reversed the negative critical and player reception from Resident Evil 6, and even managed to sell a few million copies. That said, its sales paled next to Resident Evil 5 and 6, both of which had sold over 7 million copies each. Would such a step down in commercial performance not give Capcom the idea that the action style of Resident Evil might be the better one to pursue?
Speaking with GamesIndustry, Capcom Europe COO Stuart Turner noted that while Resident Evil 7 sold less than 6, it was just as profitable, due to lower development costs- and in the end, its critical success plus it being the kind of game Capcom wanted to make made it all worth it for the company anyway.
“While we have shareholders to appease, it’s not just about commercial performance,” Turned said. “There is an artistic element that always comes in where we know this is the right way. And while if we compare RE7 to RE6, the absolute numbers are not the same, in terms of the profitability… it’s completely fine. It ticked all of our boxes internally. It was really well received. And in some respects, getting some very good review scores counts as much for Capcom as a game that sells millions and millions and millions. We’d prefer a game that got a 9 and sold less, than got a 6 but sold more.”
That said, it’s not like Resident Evil 7 hasn’t been doing well, either- while its upfront sales are lower, Turner notes that it continues to sell to this day, and is even still the killer app for the burgeoning VR platform.
“We are less focused on Day One sales these days, too,” he said. “We are looking much more at the long-term. And in that case RE7 is performing amazingly. Even now, after almost two years, it’s still the VR flagship title. That helps keep the game selling well.”
Given how fantastic Resident Evil 7 is, and how many great games Capcom has been making over the last few years, after almost a decade of aimlessly trying to replicate big budget western blockbusters, I am glad their gambit has paid off, and that the game is doing well. Resident Evil 7 is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.