Resident Evil 7 producer and director Masachika Kawata is no stranger to the series, having worked on most of the major titles since Resident Evil 3: Nemesis back in 1999. Now at the helm of the highly anticipated seventh entry in the main series, he discusses the ideas and philosophies behind the creation of this new beast, as well as explaining where things may have gone awry in recent years.
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When quizzed about the last few entries in the series being very arcade-like, with co-operative modes and over-the-shoulder combat, Kawata acknowledges that the series has attempted to conform in the past. But not anymore apparently, as he explains “why should we make something that everyone else is making, y’know? We’ve got a great chance here with this horror franchise to make it a really focused experience in single player.” He also adds that the style of the game made this an easy decision, explaining that “it doesn’t need all these other things for that experience to succeed – especially because it is traditional horror.”
Kawata also talks about the very claustrophobic feeling of the demo, echoing the franchise’s earlier titles by stating that “you can call it a return to roots, but return makes it sound like we’re just looking backward, but we also want to look forward to the future of the series and take this chance to turn the spotlight on a more focused, more intimate scenario.” Addressing the game’s switch to a first-person camera angle, Kawata explains that “a lot of games these days are focusing on the experience and the believability, on the immersiveness of their world… it just seemed to make sense to us that we wanted to have people feel like they’re actually jumping into the Resident Evil universe.”
He also describes how the creation of a bespoke engine for the game has made this style change possible, commenting that it enables them to “create visuals that look photo-realistic and get [a] good performance.”