Resident Evil: Village – Initial Thoughts

After a few months of rumours and speculation (most of which turned out to be spot on), Capcom announced the next chapter in the Resident Evil series at the PlayStation 5 event on June 11th: Resident Evil: Village.

Set a few years after the events of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Resident Evil: Village stars Ethan Winters, who seemingly just can’t catch a break and winds up in one of the creepiest villages imaginable. The game appears to be yet another shift in tone for the series, focusing on more supernatural elements like werewolves and witches as opposed to the virus-related disasters of previous games.

There’s a lot to digest in the debut trailer for Resident Evil: Village, so let’s go over a few things I’m really excited for, along with a couple of personal concerns.

The Setting

Resident Evil has accumulated its fair share of iconic characters over the years, but none quite so memorable as the settings themselves. From the Spencer Mansion to the Baker Estate, Resident Evil has mostly nailed its setting, and it looks like Resident Evil: Village will continue this trend.

With a super creepy village set against a huge, gothic castle, the new entry’s setting reminded me instantly of Resident Evil 4. While the new environments might not be wholly original, they’ll almost certainly be crammed with secrets to unpack thanks to the power of next-gen.

It’s almost like they’re priming us for a Resident Evil 4 remake… Funny, that.

Chris Redfield’s Return

Resident Evil: Village’s trailer ended on a bit of a bombshell, showing Chris Redfield (who, after yet another redesign, is thankfully instantly recognisable) brutally shooting Resident Evil 7’s Mia right in front of Ethan. It’s a shocking turn for our boulder-punching friend, who until this point had a heart of gold and always tried to do the right thing.

Given that Mia spent most of Resident Evil 7 under the influence of the evil Eveline, it’s safe to assume that she’s not quite free of the entity’s grasp. Chris’s actions might well be part of a wider, more noble effort to save Ethan (and indeed, humanity), but it’s definitely odd that he wouldn’t at least try to save Mia before abruptly ending her life.

Wait… Chris Again?

On the flip side, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed to be seeing Chris Redfield appear in the series yet again. After appearing in some capacity in Resident Evil 5, 6, and 7, I’d have hoped that Capcom would shine a light on some of the other iconic characters. Surely Leon would have been a better fit in a village setting, right..?

Having said that, since Resident Evil: Village carries on the story of Ethan Winters, it would make sense that Chris would be the one to make a return. After saving Ethan from Eveline at the end of Resident Evil 7, we can assume that Chris would have kept in touch with with Ethan, and makes his appearance a little more plausible.

Breaking New Ground

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard felt like a fitting reboot for a series that was – at the time – in dire need of a refresh. It took the series in a bold new direction whilst maintaining all the elements that made it great in the first place. But it also felt like quite a contained story; Eveline and the Baker family were defeated, and although the game introduced Blue Umbrella, there wasn’t really anywhere else to take the story.

This is what makes Resident Evil: Village so exciting. It’s taking the series in yet another new direction, with classic folktale elements making their debut in a series that’s normally largely based on science (well… a loose definition of science). I’ve no doubt that the events that transpire in the village will somehow be linked to a new virus, but it’s nice to go into a new Resident Evil title with absolutely no preconceived notions.

“Upping the Ante On Action”

Ah yes… ‘Action’, the one word that long-time Resident Evil fans fear more than anything. Prior to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Capcom’s relentless focus on action over horror caused the series to go into decline (at least in terms of critical acclaim). In a developer message for Resident Evil: Village, producer Tsuyoshi Kanda stated that the game would be “upping the ante on action a bit”.

It’s a statement that doesn’t particularly fill me with confidence, but based on the trailer, it looks like Resident Evil: Village will still retain the same sense of fear and suspense that was so prevalent in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Here’s hoping, anyway.

What’re Yer Buyin’?

One of the most iconic elements of Resident Evil 4 was the merchant character. Dotted throughout the environments, this shady dealer was always on hand to sell an absurd range of weaponry to Leon Kennedy in exchange for gold. Oddly, the character never appeared again since, but he may well show up in Resident Evil: Village.

At one point in the debut trailer, we see a rather well-kept gentleman with wavy, grey hair and a pair of fabulous sunglasses. This could very well be one of the game’s villains, or perhaps an eccentric ally, but there’s something about the look of this character that screams merchant. The game is clearly taking a lot of inspiration from Resident Evil 4, so it’s not completely out of the question.

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