When it was first released in 2017, Resident Evil 7 was a much-needed rejuvenation for the classic horror franchise. Capcom departed from its usual formula in a big way and even took the opportunity to embrace new experiences with PlayStation VR. This risk paid off and a large proportion of fans and critics embraced the changes, with a keen eye on what the next game might bring.
Two years on from Resident Evil 7's release, and shortly after a very successful Resident Evil 2 remake, we think it’s a good time to peek around the corner and have a look at what the future of the franchise might look like.
Whether it’s called Resident Evil 8 or not, we know that Resident Evil 7’s executive producer Jun Takeuchi has said plans for a sequel are “already in motion.” In light of that, we’ve gathered everything we know about Resident Evil 8 right here.
[Update: Capcom is reportedly inviting Resident Evil Ambassadors to test an unannounced new game. Could it be a new Resident Evil? Read on to find out more.]
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Another addition to the hugely successful survival horror franchise
- What can I play it on? Nothing confirmed just yet
- When can I play it? It's not likely to be any time soon
Although we know that work has started on Resident Evil 8 in some form, we don't have any details about the game just yet or when we can expect to see it released. If we're going to hear about it any time this year, E3 2019 would be the perfect time.
News and rumors
Testing on an unconfirmed title
Capcom’s Division 1, has reportedly sent emails to Resident Evil Ambassadors in Japan, inviting them to test an in-development game.
The email, translated from Japanese to English and published by fansite Biohaze, reads:
“To all Resident Evil Ambassadors, thank you for your patronage regarding the Resident Evil series. Today, we are letting you know that we are recruiting testers for a game that’s in development!
“We are interested in incorporating the feedback of all Ambassadors into our development, so please read the details below and, if you are interested in participating, click the entry button.”
Could this mean Resident Evil 8 is in the works? Well, it's not entirely clear as the email doesn't make reference to any specific game. It's actually not even certain the game is in the Resident Evil franchise. However, the fact that the email has been sent to Resident Evil Ambassadors with thanks for being fans of the series does make it seem likely that new game will be in the Resident Evil universe even if it's not Resident Evil 8.
Capcom has numerous unannounced titles in development
Resident Evil fans hoping for a new entry in the series will be feeling their hopes rising after a 2019 financial briefing from Capcom which confirmed the publisher has "numerous" unannounced titles in development. The games are being developed on the RE Engine used for Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 so it's highly likely Resident Evil 8 could be one of them. This is especially possible as Capcom has said that it will be using the engine into the next generation of consoles.
Work has already started
Though we haven’t received any kind of release date or name for the next Resident Evil game, we do know that the development process has started.
We’ve known this since early in 2017 when Resident Evil 7’s executive producer Jun Takeuchi confirmed it. In an interview for an official “making of” Resident Evil 7 documentary, Takeuchi said that work on the next game is “already in motion.”
It’ll build on the work of Resident Evil 7
In the same interview Takeuchi also ruminated on what the game might look like.
The first thing that he confirmed was that Resident Evil 7 was the start of a new direction for the series and that it was “the start of a new kind of survival horror, and of a new series.”
“We’re already thinking about various plans for the next game,” he revealed, “but we also want to see how we can continue to evolve survival horror itself. In the next few years technology will continue to advance and what players want may also change.”
It is, admittedly, hard to draw any solid information from this. When Takeuchi spoke in this interview it’s clear that planning was still in the very early stages and it’s quite possible that things such as plot and setting were still yet to be nailed down.
While we’d surmise that Resident Evil 8 will build on the fresh new feel of Resident Evil 7, Takeuchi’s comments on wanting to evolve the genre as well as capitalize on changing technologies and player desires suggests that the team aren’t locking themselves into a formula just yet.
Just as Resident Evil 7 integrated virtual reality in an interesting experiment that played on the new first-person perspective of the game, Resident Evil 8 could do the same all over again. We could see another perspective change, the team could find new ways to integrate virtual reality technology, or it could even delve into new augmented reality technology.
Part one of the "making of" documentary gives a good insight into the kinds of gameplay experiments the team were looking into.
It seems that Takeuchi is telling fans not to assume there’s a new formula from which the developers won’t waver. Resident Evil will be taking a survival horror approach to the creation of survival horror – adapt, change and stay on your toes because you don’t know what new technology or fan request is around the corner.
One thing we do know, however, is that the Resident Evil team will “always want to create horror experiences where the characters overcome a difficult situation.”
Takeuchi said he believes this is what survival horror is “all about” before adding that “the next Resident Evil game, and the one after that, every future Resident Evil, will feature characters getting through crises like this.” It’s this essence of “core survival horror concept of people overcoming the odds” that Tekeuchi says the series will “always retain.”
From this, at the very least, we can assume that the future of the series will place a heavier focus on the survival horror elements showcased in Resident Evil 7, rather than delving back into the more action-heavy gameplay of releases such as Resident Evil 4.
Shinji Mikami could come on board
As the director of the original Resident Evil and the fourth installment, Shinji Mikami is hugely beloved by Resident Evil fans and inexorably tied to the series. He hasn’t, however, been directly involved with it since Resident Evil 4.
That could change though. In an interview with PCGamesN Mikami was asked if coming back to direct Resident Evil 8 was something he’d consider. He would, of course, have complete creative freedom to with the game as he’d like. His answer was short and far from finite: “I might.”
Now that work on Mikami’s latest project, The Evil Within 2, has finished up perhaps working on Resident Evil 8 is something he’d consider. At the very least we know he’s not resolutely against it.
What we want to see
We loved the Molded in Resident Evil 7 but we’d love to see a little more variety in Resident Evil 8. Dangerous and scary enemies are a given but there’s something about having a wide range of terrifying character designs that makes turning every corner even more frightening. Who knows what you’ll have to face next?
A different location
This actually plays into our request for more varied enemies. Naturally, we’d love to see a new location in Resident Evil 8. To keep fans of the series on their toes it’d be interesting to see something that’s a little more open or a little more varied. New locations tends to mean new opportunities for new enemies so we think these demands feed into one another quite nicely.
The ending of Resident Evil 7 left us with some questions and though many of them have been answered in the DLC that followed, not all of them have. As Resident Evil games go, Biohazard was quite isolated in terms of its place in the wider series universe. Though we understand the desire for a fresh start, we’d love to see a little more exploration and integration there. At the very least it would be nice to see a few more knowing nods to fans.
Resident Evil 7’s foray into VR was terrifying and an excellent example of how to develop for the platform. We wouldn’t be against Resident Evil 8 delving back into this once again, lessons learned and technologies advanced.
- These are our picks of the best horror games you can play right now