Today’s release of Resident Evil 7 marks a major shift for Capcom’s biggest franchise. In addition to changing to first-person, the game’s plot is distinct from the rest of the series, shifting from global zombie outbreaks to the horror of a single psychotic family. With the developer unwilling to give any clues, fans have wondered if or how the scenario in Resident Evil 7 ties in to the wider RE universe that has been growing for 20 years now.
It goes without saying, but this post contains major spoilers for Resident Evil 7. If you’re planning to play the game and don’t want plot elements ruined for you, please do not read any further. If you’d prefer to read some spoiler-free words about the game, consider checking out our review instead.
So first things first: Yes, Resident Evil 7 does take place within the wider Resident Evil universe, and it does eventually tie in to other events from the series in a way that makes sense. But the game does a good job of keeping the greater picture just out of view, not revealing any information about what’s going on until well past the halfway point.
About six or seven hours into Resident Evil 7, after seemingly “escaping” from the Baker mansion by boat as Ethan, players will find themselves in control of Mia, the missing love interest Ethan was searching for. Mia is suffering from a convenient bout of amnesia and has been unable to answer Ethan’s questions about how and why she ended up with the Bakers. But as she explores a crashed ship in the bayous near the house, she begins to make sense of what’s going on.
In an eventual full-on flashback (presented via VHS tape), Mia remembers that she had been keeping a big secret from Ethan: She is actually a secret agent for a mysterious organization that deals in bio organic weapons (or BOWs) — you know, precisely the kind that have plagued the Resident Evil universe since its inception.
Mia and her work partner were on the ship attempting to deliver a horrific creation to the South American branch of the company. This creation, known as the E-Series, takes the form of a little girl named Eveline. As a lab-created being, Eveline has become obsessed with family, so Mia had to pretend to be her mother.
Eventually, Mia lost control of Eveline, and the “little girl” rampaged through the ship, using her mind control powers to kill off crew members and creating the “molded” monsters you’ve seen throughout the game. This is what causes the ship to crash and, eventually, Eveline and Mia to end up with the Bakers.
All of these events fit much more neatly into the wider Resident Evil universe than a simple cannibal family, but Capcom also throws in a much more direct bit of fan service during the ending.
In the final fight against Eveline, Ethan will find himself woefully overpowered and near death, as a massive, monstrous E-Series creature looms above him. As the monster rears back to attack, Ethan will notice a weapon case that has been tossed down beside him, and a voice will urge him to use it.
The gun is named the Albert-01R, presumably a reference to reoccurring series antagonist Albert Wesker. It uses ammo that’s pumped full of anti-BOW serum, allowing Ethan to finally take out Eveline once and for all.
In the game’s final moments, none other than Chris Redfield, a mainstay hero of the series, comes down from a helicopter and takes Ethan away from the wreckage of the scene below. Here’s the most intriguing part, though: The helicopter is adorned with an Umbrella logo.
Umbrella Corporation is, of course, the big, evil medical conglomerate at the heart of many of Resident Evil’s creations, including the initial Raccoon City outbreak from the first three Resident Evil games. But Umbrella hasn’t existed within the RE universe for some time, having been shut down some time after the events of 2000’s Resident Evil: Code Veronica.
Notably, Chris introduces himself to Ethan as merely “Redfield.” So maybe it’s not actually Chris at all? Who is this new version of Umbrella? Or is he just borrowing a really old helicopter? It’s impossible to say right now, but Resident Evil 7 certainly plants some seeds for the series’ future while providing a smooth jumping-on point for players unfamiliar with what’s come before. Hopefully we’ll get some more details in the game’s upcoming downloadable content.
For more on Resident Evil 7, you can check out the first 90 minutes of gameplay in the video below.