In an interview with Metro, Resident Evil 7 Producer Masachika Kawata said, “The reaction at E3 was really the best we could’ve hoped for,” and the return to horror was based on fan feedback as well as Capcom wanting to return to the series’ roots, especially with the 20th anniversary happening. “I think the timing was good, I think the fans were really hungry for a return to the roots as well,” he added.
Although Resident Evil 7 is quite different from recent entries in the series, it isn’t a full reboot because they didn’t want to discard the investment fans have in the franchise. “We want to take it in a new direction, as much as we can, while at the same time saying, ‘This is still that same universe that you know and love,'” Kawata said.
Despite the big change to first-person, Resident Evil 7 will still have familiar elements, including green herbs and inventory management:
You mention green herbs, that’s just one of the things that are going to be featured in it that will make you think of past titles. And even the gameplay system, even though it’s being substantially refreshed and updated we are keeping that link to that legacy – whether it comes from stuff like inventory management and so forth it’ll be the sort of thing you expect from a Resident Evil game. Even though we haven’t necessarily shown off all those aspects just yet, in the content we’ve shown you so far.
Later on in the interview, Kawata said they know what people want from Resident Evil, and it includes puzzle-solving and exploration:
[…] rest assured, we know what people want from Resident Evil: it’s exploration, puzzle-solving, managing limited resources, and combat in a horrifying situation. And you know, we’re gonna get there.
As mentioned above, Resident Evil 7 will have combat, but the main character isn’t “one of these gun-toting heroes that we’ve sort of gone towards in the recent entries. It’s very much a normal person, a normal guy who’s put in an extreme situation and has to survive.”
Resident Evil 7 releases on January 24, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The full game will be playable in PlayStation VR and, if you tried out a VR demo recently, Capcom has made improvements to help reduce nausea, including optimizing the walk speed, separating the horizontal axis movement to the vertical axis movement, and restricting the camera turning to set angles you switch between.