Since it's unveiling at E3 a few days ago, I've had trouble getting Resident Evil 7 out of my head. What I thought would be a new horror IP turned out to be the next entry in a franchise that, admittedly, lost it's horror roots along the way. However, even after watching the trailer again, I couldn't really shake the feeling that this didn't really seem very Resident Evil-ish. Maybe playing the demo would help?
As it turns out, that didn't really help my issue. It felt like the beginning of a really good horror game, to me at least, but it still didn't feel like a Resident Evil title. Granted, all we have seen of the game so far is a short trailer, and a short demo that basically acts out the trailer, so our knowledge of the game is very limited. For all we know, this demo could be like P.T. and not be directly connected to the main game at all.
I put my controller down and headed off to work, where I honestly have way too much time to ponder things. I kept thinking of the demo and the more I thought about it, the more something felt... familiar. Like the feeling of wonder and tension I felt exploring the demo reminded me of an older Resident Evil game I had played. Fair warning, there is no evidence whatsoever I have to support this theory, it's all based on a hunch and the little things I saw in the demo. If you are still interested, I think I have an idea of what we might see in Resident Evil 7.
What did the demo show us? A house in the middle of nowhere that has supposedly been deserted for three years. Something sinister caused the family to go missing, and their son was called "a bad seed." Three men travel to the house in order to record some sort of "Haunted House Hunters" type show and it all goes wrong for them. Really... really wrong. The character you control in the demo is most likely the camera man from the group, since he is the only one you don't see die. Right before you escape the little disgusting house, you are caught by a man (who turns out to be the father of the family if you look at the portraits), who then says "Welcome to the family" and presumably knocks you out.
The weirdest part of the whole demo, is it's missing out on the one thing that is indicative of the Resident Evil series, zombies. It felt more like Outlast, where instead of killing zombies and conserving resources, you are just exploring a poorly lit area hoping to escape. The man that knocks you out at the end really threw me off, since he seemed far from a zombie. Until I thought about it some more. When in the Resident Evil series have we seen human-like enemies, who mostly retain their knowledge and humanity, but are still infected with something?
That's right, my theory is Las Plagas, the parasites from the brilliant Resident Evil 4, returns to terrorize us once more.
Honestly, my first reason is nothing more than a feeling, and could certainly just be a coincidence, but the tension I felt exploring the house, seeing how run down and dilapidated it is, reminded me of the homes in the village you enter when you first start Resident Evil 4. They were clearly not taken care of in a long time, but still lived in, like this new house, plus it helps that they are both located out in the middle of nowhere. The kitchen is where it felt most like the village, because that's where you see rotten meat, maggots and animals brutally murdered (check the microwave). Again, it was nothing more than a familiar feeling, but I feel like it's at least worth mentioning.
The man at the end is what intrigued me the most. Like I said, he clearly wasn't a zombie so what could be wrong with him? How would it tie into the Resident Evil series? Well Las Plagas would answer that, because you don't turn into a traditional zombie when infected by them. You keep your intelligence, your emotions, all that, even though you are being controlled by it.
In Resident Evil 4, you learn that people who get infected by Las Plagas undergo changes over time, instead of it being instantaneous. You become paranoid, violent, and disillusioned as the parasite takes hold. What if that happened to this family? Either they were experimented on by some organization (probably Umbrella *gasp*) or they somehow stumbled upon more fossilized Las Plagas, like what happened in Resident Evil 4. So, maybe the husband, or the kid since he is called a bad seed, becomes infected and then proceeds to infect or slaughter the rest of the family. Why he stays there, it's hard to say. Maybe he is mining up more of the Las Plagas, in order to spread the infection to anyone he comes across.
The most fascinating part of this theory is the implications on what the game could be like. If the "infection" in this game is Las Plagas, they could do something really special and freaky with the gameplay. Like I said in the beginning, the character you are controlling doesn't get killed in the end of the demo. The man says "Welcome to the family", and then knocks you out. Maybe, after that, he infects you with Las Plagas like Leon was in Resident Evil 4. That would explain what he meant by "Welcome to the family" (read as "Welcome to the hivemind."). For the rest of the game, you are experiencing first hand what it's like to be infected with the parasite. You can hallucinate (similar to what they did in Dead Space), you become randomly prone to violence or anger, and you slowly descend into madness. Along the way, you figure out what's going on, and maybe, just maybe, save yourself from a fate worse than death.
It would be a concept not explored yet by the series, since you most likely won't be shooting your way through hordes of infected. The game could be like Outlast, where your objective is to hide, survive, and pray you can make it to the end. With the game being VR compatible, that would be one hell of a ride, and an entry I think would bring the Resident Evil series back to greatness.
Note: In an interview with GameInformer, it was discussed that the demo we experienced will not be in the main game. Also, the character we control for the demo isn't the one we control for the main game. While this does take a little bit away from my theory, the main point still stands, I think RE7 has to do with Las Plagas. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed my little theory.