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Resident Evil 7 was almost a service game full of microtransactions

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A Resident Evil online and in kit form, did you dream about it? No? Well, at Capcom, we thought it was a great idea and it almost happened.

Resident Evil 7 has marked the spirits during its release sinceit operates a real turnaround for the series. To contextualize, at the time, Resident Evil is in perdition in the eyes of a good part of the players who have difficulty swallowing the very (too much?) action direction that the license takes. Resident Evil 5, 6, Revelation 2, not to mention the multiplayer spin-offs, such as Umbrella Corp, have received a more than mixed reception and fans are asking for a return to the roots.

Here comes Resident Evil 7, a pure survival horror which opts, for the first time in the history of the license, for a first-person view (except for the Chronicles and Dead Aim episodes). As a bonus, the software is fully playable in VR and guarantees a high-end horrific experience. As a result, Resident Evil 7 is a hit, but above all a critical success. However, we were close to getting a service game.

Resident Evil 7 GaaS Golden Edition: 35 DLC, 20 skins and Battle Pass season 1 included

The anecdote is Jun Takeuchi, executive producer at the time, who tells it during a podcast on Youtube. The man reveals that Capcom was pushing for Resident Evil 7 to meet the specifications of the perfect service game.

Around that time there was a big push at Capcom, a marketing push, that said “we have to make games that gamers demand”.
So we were told “do this, do that”, “online multiplayer” here, “downloadable content” there. “Game service! Microtransactions! Make a Resident Evil game that checks all these boxes!”. It was really hard for the filmmakers back then. Seriously, there were so many requests…

So Capcom wanted to put everything they could into GaaS. A juicy market (which still is, by the way) capable of bringing in a lot of money if it is well done (Fortnite, Destiny 2, Warzone, etc.), or, on the contrary, completely fail and tarnish the reputation of a studio or publisher. As was the case recently with Marvel’s Avengers by Crystal Dynamics (for Square Enix) or the sad Babylon Fall by Platinum Games (still for Square Enix).

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In-extremis rescue

But at Capcom, they believe in it and they want to capitalize on a franchise which, however, doesn’t have the profile at first sight. The development of Resident Evil 7 had even begun in this sense before Takeuchi was called to the rescue and saved the ship from sinking.

Finally, our president, [Kenzo] Tsujimoto intervened. He had heard about all the unsuccessful attempts at that time. So that was one of those unforgettable moments for me.
The president called me into his office and said, “Resident Evil 7 is in very bad shape. Takeuchi-kun, come in and help me with it!”. That’s how I ended up working on Resident Evil 7.

So Jun Takeuchi found himself in charge of the project and soon recruited Koshi Nakanishi as director. The duo works hard to turn things aroundand the continuation, we know it: Resident Evil 7 is finally a success.

When we started working on Resident Evil 7, we came back to this question “what is horror?”. I talked about it a lot with Koshi Nakanishi [réalisateur à l’époque]. We even talked about it before we started working on Resident Evil 7.
First of all, we felt that the roots of Resident Evil are in horror. The idea of multiplayer was removed pretty quickly. If we did it right, we could create an exciting horror multiplayer game, but we didn’t really have any good ideas at the time, so we just put it aside.
We went through the list of things we asked for and deleted them until we had marketing’s worst nightmare: a regular old single player horror game.

Towards more Resident Evil multiplayer?

Later, Capcom will try again the multiplayer experience by implementing an asymmetrical multiplayer mode in Resident Evil 3 Remake. The game mode remains honest, but will not find its audience. Despite everything, another multiplayer mode is planned for Resident Evil Village, RE:Verse. This part of the game will offer death matches where it will be possible to play as heroes and iconic enemies of the license. RE: Verse is expected later this year along with another major update.

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For now, no multiplayer experience has worked with Resident Evil despite attempts. Only the co-op (available in Resident 5, 6, Revelation 2 in particular) managed to offer something nice. We won’t teach Capcom how to do its job, but it might be time to let go of this saga, especially since the Monster Hunter license is a hit in this field and Monster Hunter World and Monster Hunter Rise won’t tell us otherwise.

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