What Resident Evil ViIIage Needs to Do
When it comes to horror-survival games, few have the right to challenge Resident Evil's place at the top of the genre in terms of influence. Much is owed to this hallowed IP, including a loosely-based (but lucrative) film franchise, book, and graphic novel series. The Resident Evil franchise has had more crossovers into different forms of media than any other zombie-based video game likely ever will.
With Sony's recent digital conference revealing Resident Evil Village and a subsequent message from the developers announcing more plot details, there's plenty of hype surrounding the franchise's eighth mainline installment. However, the franchise has a complicated history. Following a few less than well-received titles, Resident Evil 7 was praised for its return to form. This will also be the first new Resident Evil game following the critically acclaimed remakes of RE2 and RE3, meaning RE8 has a lot to live up to. With that in mind, here are three things we'd like to see from the latest addition to the Resident Evil series.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
A Puzzle Overhaul
It’s not a stretch to say the Resident Evil franchise has had some pretty spotty puzzles in its history. The series' in-game architecture is undoubtedly beautiful, but it's often been the source of some puzzles that haven't lived up to their full potential. Resident Evil 7 granted fans a unique respite from the usual "Find a thing that is not a key and put it in a thing that isn't a keyhole" approach to game progression with its use of shadows to unlock areas. This was a better approach, but not something that needs to come back in the exact same form.
It would be great if RE8 incorporated puzzles that took advantage of both the next generation of hardware and the undoubtedly jaw dropping visuals revealed in the trailer. It could take inspiration from something like the critically-acclaimed 2016 puzzle game The Witness, which was praised for its beautiful visuals and steep learning curve that made solving puzzles incredibly fulfilling. Such an approach would provide a refreshing take while highlighting the new bells and whistles of the PlayStation 5.
More Psychological Horror
Somewhat alarmingly, the "Special Developer Message" delivered a note about focusing Resident Evil 8 on action -- an ill omen, particularly for those who remember the direction the franchise took for Resident Evil 5 and 6. These games placed an emphasis on mindless running and gunning and had a distinct lack of horror, which led to them being more controversial than past entries.
The best parts of the survival-horror genre are the beats between the set pieces -- the quiet moments of tiptoe-ing through an unfamiliar corridor with the shuffling feet of the undead creaking behind weak wooden doors, and the muffled groans of an unseen monster awaiting you in the darkest part of the room. These add to the tension necessary for a successful Resident Evil game. With that in mind, a more balanced approach to action could take the form of puzzles that have to be completed while fleeing or shooting enemies with a timer -- a proven strategy for building those heart-racing moments where players just barely earn their survival.
The Death of Chris Redfield
The announcement features the line "His story comes to a close," which could hint that a major character won't be making it out alive. While it is completely possible this refers to the protagonist Ethan (who is returning from RE7), closing out Chris Redfield's story would provide an opportunity to increase the focus on less developed but still prominent characters in the Resident Evil lore.
Characters like Rebecca Chambers and antagonist Wesker could be given expanded backstories that explain what they've been up to during or after their main series appearances. It would also be nice to hear about past main characters like Carlos Oliveira.