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Resident Evil 7's demo content won't be in the main game, but a new hero will

Capcom moving away from 'macho superhero characters' for the new Resident Evil

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The demo for Resident Evil 7 biohazard that's now playable on the PlayStation 4 is a unique piece of content that won't be included as part of the final release, Capcom's Koshi Nakanishi told Polygon in an interview at E3 today. The teaser, Nakanishi said through a translator, is intended to give Resident Evil fans a taste of what next year's survival horror game will be. Just don't expect it to be in the main game.

Resident Evil 7's teaser is "fully representative" of the kind of experience players will get when the game hits PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One in January. But the developers say they didn't want to spoil the game's content, so they created the one-off demo.

And unlike other horror games with playable teasers, Resident Evil 7's creators say they don't intend to pull their demo from the PlayStation Store.

"Although, you never know," Nakanishi said. "You might as well get it while you can."

When Resident Evil 7 does arrive next year, it will do so without much of the series' baggage. Its main playable character won't be of the "macho superhero" type — think Resident Evil 5's buffed up Chris Redfield or Resident Evil 6's Leon Kennedy. Instead, it will be someone "totally new," producer Masachika Kawata said. But it won't be someone helpless.

When asked how Resident Evil 7 compares to its horror game contemporaries, like first-person horror games Amnesia and Outlast, Nakanishi said both are great experiences, but they left him feeling frustrated. He wanted to have a weapon, to feel powerful enough to strike back, he said. Resident Evil 7's playable character will have the means to fend off his or her foes.

"While we don't show that aspect of Resident Evil 7 in the teaser demo, that's something that's in the full game," he said.

Resident Evil 7, which takes place after 6 in the series timeline, is set in the same universe as other titles in the franchise, Kawata confirmed. It will feature some familiar Resident Evil mainstays, like healing herbs. It will also include elements of the series' Japanese and Western titles — a biohazard event and the presence of evil — hence, the unusual name.

But Capcom is getting back to the franchise's horror roots, and it really means it this time.

"We had a lot of internal discussion about where to take this series [after Resident Evil 6]," Kawata said. "My boss, Jun Takeuchi, requested that we strip it down to its core — and the best way to express the horror directly is in first-person view."

Despite the game's stripped-down presentation, Resident Evil 7's team size hasn't shrunk. Kawata said about 120 developers at Capcom are working on the game.