Capcom asked its developers to start work on Resident Evil Village six months before Resident Evil 7 was due for release – which left the team unsure about the direction they wanted to take, before the first-ever first-person Resident Evil game saw a positive reception.
Revealed in our IGN First feature about the making of and inspirations behind Village, director Morimasa Sato explains: “We were still busy developing Resident Evil 7, but my boss told me to start planning for the next entry in the series. At the time, we had no idea how users would react towards the new horror experience and characters of 7 yet.”
It’s not hugely unusual that a major series would see plans for a sequel put in place before the preceding game is released – but Resident Evil 7 was a major departure for the series, meaning Village’s developers were left waiting to see the reaction to it before fully committing to a straight sequel, rather than another reinvention.
“We had no idea how the change of perspective would be received, so at first we were quite worried. But when we released Resident Evil 7 about half a year after the development of Village started, it was received very well. This helped us decide to make Village a direct sequel,” Sato says.
That success meant Village moved forward as a first-person game and continued the story of RE7 protagonist Ethan Winters – but the team had already planned the addition of a village setting, inspired by Resident Evil 4. That mixture of old and new has led to Sato describe the game as the ‘offspring’ of RE4 and RE7, rather than a reboot of one, or a simple sequel to the other. It’s meant as a pure blend of the two.
You can read much more about that in our extensive interview with Sato and producer Tsuyoshi Kanda, and there’s plenty of exclusive Resident Evil Village info for you beyond that. Right now you can read our IGN First hands-on preview of the game’s first five hours, meet the game’s main villains, and check out the first footage of the game on last-gen.