Resident Evil Village: How Capcom Is Balancing Action and Horror

During the first years of the Resident Evil series, the franchise was focused on a singular purpose: scare the living daylights out of anyone who dared to enter its claustrophobic spaces, ratcheting up the tension in ways we had never seen before. But then the series shifted. According to Game Informer’s own Blake Hester, Resident Evil 4 introduced action set pieces that were incredible yet set the series off on another direction. Resident Evil 5 and 6 suffered from an identity crisis and left fans wondering what would come next for the beloved horror series. 

Resident Evil 7 was the answer, and it brought the franchise back to what fans of the classic games pined for: good ole fashioned ‘ say a prayer and hope for a quick death’ level of horror. But now Resident Evil Village is just around the corner and fans are left to wonder how Capcom will handle balancing the horror hardcore fans hope for with a palatable action experience that appeals to the wimps of the world like yours truly. Strap in folks, because we asked Capcom exactly that:

In our talks with the development team, it became clear early on that they are attempting to give Resident Evil Village a different feel from Biohazard without completely abandoning what people loved about their introduction to Ethan Winters.

During our cover story interview, Tsuyoshi Kanda, the game’s producer said: “The objective of Resident Evil 7 was going back to the root of horror and trying to make a title that has a lot of confined space with a lot more depth. The objective of that was to make it as immersive as possible…But it’s always an objective for us to want to reach a larger audience and make a title that is entertaining for everybody. So, when we looked at the aspects of horror, one of the lessons we took away is that this isn’t something that is black and white, it’s always going to have some variation or modification and figuring out ok this worked for seven but rather than replicating it, let’s find a variation that works for a wider audience.”

And how is the team at Capcom managing this? As you’ve seen from the last few weeks, the developers are adding an updated upgrade system, more active enemies in the Lycan, and an additional verticality to the play space to keep the gameplay feeling fresh. 

But with a new emphasis on more actiony elements, there’s always the temptation to go overboard with the scares in order to compensate… But how does the team strike a balance? 

On the topic of making a game too scary, the developers said: “Yes, we are always worried about that. We’re always conscious of it especially because as we’re developing the game, we actually become numb to it. It’s very hard for us to figure out what’s the right level because we’re so close to the project and we’re working on it on a daily basis…We have to take a step back and make a judgement call of is this too scary. We do a lot of trial and error with other Capcom staff to make sure we’re not pushing the envelope too much. It’s always trying to figure out the balance of how much horror is the right amount.”

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. “They’re taking the scary out of Resident Evil Village!” But fear not true believers. Morimasa Sato and his team have you covered.

“What you saw in seven with its peaks and valleys is what you can expect to find in Resident Evil Village as well. Those kinds of shocking moments that really defined the game. Those are definitely still there, which is why we think that people who play RE Village will definitely be satisfied.”

Enjoyed this early look at Resident Evil Village? Be sure to check out our content hub below as we take a deep dive into our cover story on The GI Show, walk you through a tour of the new village, and show off how the new upgrade system works!