The beginning of 2017 has been defined by redefinitions. Franchises and systems that have languished from a lack of direction have been stripped back to their roots, condensed to their basic elements, and rebuilt anew – learning from everything that has unfolded since their inception.
The first example we saw of this reinvention was Resident Evil 7. It’s no secret that the series has been struggling to maintain relevance outside of its ever dwindling fan base. After Resident Evil 4 brought the franchise back from impending doom, it seemed that with each new series entry the core essence of Resident Evil became more and more diluted. It got to the point where a game like Revelations prompted comments like “It’s actually scary!”, since this was the exception rather than the rule. Capcom eventually came to realise that this wasn’t what the fans wanted, and sought to recapture the identity the series had lost – they absolutely nailed it with Resident Evil 7.
I was genuinely concerned for Resident Evil 7 when it was first unveiled. The first-person horror genre had drifted from being an interesting emerging subgenre to one that was flooded with jumpscare rollercoasters and “me too” imitators of Amnesia. A cynical RE fan could be forgiven for suspecting that Capcom would take the easy route and follow the crowd. Thankfully they didn’t, and in doing so succeeded in bringing Resident Evil to a new perspective that retained what fans had long been yearning for, whilst simultaneously shedding the convoluted storyline that had acted as a barrier to potential newcomers from jumping in.