The Resident Evil franchise is in a second golden age, and it seems like nearly everything Capcom is doing with the survival horror series is going exactly as it should. Resident Evil Village is coming up next, and based on what we know of the game so far, it feels like things are going to get even better. In case the tons of Village features we’ve done over the past couple of months didn’t clue you in, we’re pretty excited about getting our hands on the game. But there’s still a lot to talk about, and in this feature, that’s what we’ll be doing.
Resident Evil Village is going to pick up a couple of years after the events of Resident Evil 7. Ethan Winters returns as protagonist, and though he’s been living a peaceful life with his wife, Mia, and their infant daughter Rose, things quickly go wrong for him once again. Good old Chris Redfield arrives at their house one fateful night with a squad of soldiers, and now seemingly having gone rogue, shoots and kills Mia, kidnaps Rose, and leaves. To find and rescue his daughter, Ethan picks up Chris’ trail, traveling to a mysterious village in Europe, where he must face entirely new threats and nightmares.
Everything that Capcom have shown of Village so far indicates that it’s going to feature a pretty healthy mix of new and returning characters. Where the latter are concerned, as we’ve mentioned, Ethan, Mia, and Chris are going to feature in the story once more. In terms of new characters, we have everyone’s favourite tall vampire, named Lady Dimitrescu, as well as her witch-like daughters who seem to have the ability to dissolve into swarms of bugs. Lady Dimitrescu seems to answer to someone higher up in her coven named Mother Miranda, while a man wearing shades an a hat named Heisenberg is also going to figure into the story somehow. Clearly, it Resident Evil Village is aiming to have a vast and diverse cast of characters.
Exploration has been a fundamental pillar of Resident Evil for as long as Resident Evil has been around, and though the series moved away from that to a great extent during the Resident Evil 4-6 years, exploration has been a crucial part of the experience once again starting with RE7. With Village, it seems like it’s going to be emphasized even more. Capcom is suggesting that RE Village will put more of an emphasis on exploration than its predecessor, which is something that any series fan will be glad to hear. The titular village where the game is set looks like it’s going to be a pretty large environment, with many places within it that will be pretty big themselves, such as Lady Dimitrescu’s castle.
Length can be a tricky thing to nail down for horror games in particular, so it makes sense that there are plenty of questions about exactly how long Resident Evil Village is going to be. Capcom haven’t really given a specific answer to that question, unfortunately, but they have said that it’s a much larger game than Resident Evil 7, which, in turn, would obviously mean a longer runtime. Resident Evil games have been quite long in the past, especially with the likes of RE4 and 5, and while it seems unlikely that Village will be that long, we can at least safely assume that it is nonetheless going to be a pretty meaty adventure.
Resident Evil Village is looking to improve upon RE7 in more than a few ways, and combat, it seems, is one of the areas where players can expect to see improvements. Different enemies will require different strategies, while some might not even be killable, forcing you to simply get as far away from them as possible. Exploiting the environment is also going to be an important part of combat, while melee mechanics are also being improved. On top of the return of the block mechanic from RE7, Ethan will now also be able to kick enemies away from himself as a crowd control method or to make room for himself in tight situations.
A lack of enemy variety was one of the biggest issues with Resident Evil 7. There were a few different kinds of Molded, but, well, they were all Molded, at the end of the day. Capcom seem to have taken those criticisms to heart, and Resident Evil Village will not be lacking in enemy variety. Already, we’ve seen zombies, werewolves, witches, vampires, giants, and more, and it’s safe to assume that there’s plenty more yet that Capcom are keeping under the wraps.
Resident Evil Village is wearing its RE4 influences on the sleeve, and one of the most blatantly obvious examples of that is the inventory system. Item boxes are being replaced, and Village will instead have an inventory briefcase mechanic like RE4, which will entail a Tetris-style minigame of fitting all of your items and weapons and ammo and what have you into a single attache case.
Something else that Village is lifting straight out of RE4 is a merchant character. Known here as the Duke, he will feature in Village heavily, crossing paths with Ethan time and again in various different locations throughout the game. Players will be able to purchase everything from weapons and ammo to health items and upgrades from the Duke, while you will, of course, also be able to sell items to him in case you’re ever running short on cash.
Resident Evil 7 featured several bobbleheads scattered throughout the game, which served as collectibles of sorts that players could seek out and destroy in a bid for 100% completion. They returned in Resident Evil 2 as Mr. Raccoon toys, and in Resident Evil 3 as Charlie Dolls. They will be back in Resident Evil Village as well, this time as goat totems. These will be scattered throughout the game, and finding and smashing them will earn you secret prizes.
PERFORMANCE, RESOLUTION, AND RAY-TRACING
Given the fact that Resident Evil Village will be the series’ debut on ninth-gen consoles, you’ll probably be expecting impressive visuals and performance, and it seems you won’t be disappointed. Capcom have confirmed that the game will run at native 4K and 60 FPS on PS5 and Xbox Series X, in addition to supporting ray-tracing. RE Engine games tend to look incredible as it is, so we’re quite excited to see how much better they’ll look on better console hardware. Of course, it remains to be seen how the game will run on Xbox Series S and on PS4 and Xbox One.
SSD AND 3D AUDIO
The PS5 and Xbox Series X both have particular features that the other doesn’t have. In the case of the former, we have things such as the 3D audio engine Tempest, which is something that Resident Evil Village will be making full use of. 3D audio is something that can be put to great use in horror games in particular, so the potential there is definitely exciting. Meanwhile, Capcom have also said that thanks to the SSDs in both PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, Resident Evil Village will “virtually eliminate load times”, making more a much more seamless and immersive experience.
The DualSense’s unique haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are another area where the PS5 has a leg up over its competitors, and those features, too, will be implemented in Resident Evil Village. Capcom haven’t shared the specifics of exactly how that will be done, but the game’s PlayStation Store page states that players will be able to “feel the weight and pull of weapon triggers” thanks to the adaptive triggers, and that the controller’s haptics will “simulate the feeling of firing a real gun.”
RAY-TRACING ON PC
If you have the hardware for it, PC will obviously be the best place to play Resident Evil Village as far as performance and visuals are concerned. It’s been confirmed that the game will utilize AMD ray-tracing on PC (whether or not this means that Nvidia RTX won’t be supported hasn’t yet been confirmed). Meanwhile, the game will also support AMD’s FidelityFX, which provides screen space reflections, ambient occlusion, variable shading, and downsampling solutions.
Resident Evil has tried its hand at multiplayer experiences on a number of occasions over the years, and very rarely has it done so successfully. It doesn’t seem like Capcom are giving up though, because they’re also releasing the PvP multiplayer game Resident Evil Re:Verse. Featuring several characters, monsters, and locations from the series’ RE Engine releases, Re:Verse will see players taking each other on across various maps, while utilizing each character’s unique abilities, and also being able to turn into bioweapons. Anyone who purchases Resident Evil Village will also get access to Re:Verse for free, to if you’re curious about how that multiplayer game lands, you won’t have to pay extra money to try it out.
Capcom is one of the few publishers in the industry that still releases pre-release demos of games. Resident Evil in particular always seems to get demos, and Village is no different. It already has a visual demo called Maiden, which is available exclusively on PS5. Featuring no combat, it’s supposed to be more of a visual showcase of a small section of Lady Dimitrescu’s castle. Meanwhile, a second demo will also be releasing across all platforms this Spring, which means it should be out by the end of April at the very latest.