Despite how different it seems, Resident Evil 7 isn’t a reboot.
Resident Evil 7 producer Masachika Kawata and director Kōshi Nakanish shared more information on the first person horror title on the Capcom Unity blog. It stated before that the demo wasn’t part of the full game and that the latter would have a different protagonist.
Kawata clarified that this character “isn’t an existing character whose eyes you’re seeing through. I think one of the places we got in the series up until now is you’re kind of playing these superhero characters. They’re fully equipped, powerful people who go into these survival horror situations but they’re ready for them. They can take it on.
“To bring the horror experience right to the player, we thought now that you’re in first person you’ll feel like you’re there. You can’t be looking through the perspective of a macho, hero character because that’s not you at home. Or maybe you are macho, I don’t know [laughs]. It’s sort of a powerless, ordinary person you’re playing as.
“We’re not really talking in too much detail about who they are right now, but they’re an ordinary person stuck in an extraordinary situation. I think that really brings the horror right to the fore. You wonder if this person you’re playing as – or you – will be able to cope with this situation. That’s a real feeling of helplessness that helps the horror stand out. If you try the demo that’s out on [PlayStation 4] for [PlayStation Plus subscribers], you’ll see.”
That being said, even without any characters returning, Resident Evil 7 will indeed be a part of the series’ canon. Nakanishi revealed that, “It’s not a reboot and we’re not throwing away the series’ canonical storyline. It’s the new numbered title in the series and it’s a sequel to the existing mainline series titles. After I say that and you try the demo, you may say ‘Really?’, because it looks nothing like any of that, but trust me. We need to have a bit of mystery in survival horror, so we’re trying to make you wonder when you play it how could this possibly be connected? That’s part of the appeal.”
Resident Evil 7 is out in January 2017 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. It will also have a VR experience releasing exclusively for PlayStation VR.