While we’re just days away from an extended look at Resident Evil 8 and months away from the release of the game itself, we actually don’t know that much about the sequel. Most of what we do know (or assume to know) comes from speculation, trailer analysis, and a few key pieces of official information.
That’s why it’s hardly a surprise that fans have been adamant to tear into every piece of Resident Evil 8 media in the hopes of finding something new to talk about. It’s also part of the reason why fans are currently obsessed with Resident Evil 8‘s vampires.
Ok, so there are…other reasons why some fans are obsessed with Resident Evil 8‘s vampire lady that we won’t dive into here. It should also be noted that we don’t actually know that the character seen in recent Resident Evil 8 trailers is a vampire. That’s another one of those reasonable assumptions fans are making.
Assuming she is a vampire, though, then the Resident Evil trailers we’ve seen so far have featured witches, werewolves, and vampires. It’s enough to make you believe that the Resident Evil team is abandoning zombies in favor of classic movie monsters.
Actually, that appears to be exactly what happens, and that change in philosophy tells us quite a bit about what to expect from Resident Evil 8 and the future of the franchise.
It’s no secret that Resident Evil 7 was different from most other games in the franchise, but lost in the discussions about the game’s setting, characters, and first-person gameplay was the fact that there weren’t really any zombies in Resident Evil 7. You could argue that a couple of the creatures in the game are zombie-like creations, but the title notably lacked traditional zombie creations.
Isn’t that odd? After all, we’ve had Resident Evil games with different camera perspectives, different settings, and different characters, but the vast majority of Resident Evil games have featured some kind of traditional zombie in some form. Even Resident Evil 4‘s villagers were zombie-like in their movements and mentality.
What’s maybe even more interesting is what the zombies were essentially “replaced” with. Resident Evil 7‘s monsters ran the gamut, but the vast majority could be traced back to some kind of genetic experiment that resulted in creatures with supernatural abilities and Evil Dead/Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes. Despite some thematic differences, it’s important to keep in mind that the wellspring of these horrors was the same kind of genetic experimentation that gave us Resident Evil‘s zombies.
For the moment, let’s assume something similar is happening in Resident Evil 8. That is to say that we should assume that all of the monsters we’ve seen in Resident Evil 8 so far are the result of the kind of experimentation that has led to the majority of Resident Evil creatures so far (at least in some way). In that instance, scientific experiments (not zombies) are the threads that tie the games together and not zombies.
Even if that is what’s happening, though, it still doesn’t answer the bigger questions about why Resident Evil is suddenly populated with classic monster archetypes straight out of the Universal horror films.
There’s a very good chance that’s exactly what Capcom is going for, and I don’t mean just as a wink and a nod. No, it really looks like they’re trying to build a world where Resident Evil becomes essentially the Universal Studios brand of horror video games. That is to say that they’re trying to create a world where Resident Evil is even more of the definitive name in horror gaming as well as a world where any kind of horror experience is within the realm of reason.
If that is their move…then it’s a very smart one. At a time when the market for horror games means that very few companies can produce Triple-A single-player horror titles, the continued success of the Resident Evil series shows that it’s one of the genre’s few surefire hits in that respect.
That being the case, then why should Capcom limit themselves to any one particular corner of horror? It’s not like there is a ton of competition out there that may have the same setting and ideas as they’re interested in. While zombies and certain storyline tropes helped distinguish Resident Evil from a thriving horror market in the past, they only limit the potential of the series now.
Business cynicism aside, this is a smart creative move for Capcom. The Resident Evil series has been the hallmark of gaming horror for years anyway, so why not have it become the home of popular horror character archetypes and anything else the team can dream up?