Resident Evil 9 needs to avoid one thing the remakes do
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Featured Image Credit: Capcom
It’s no lie to say Resident Evil VII saved the fading horror franchise. After starting out as the scariest thing on the original PlayStation, the series evolved like one of its many viruses, turning into a triple-A behemoth that arguably peaked with 2005’s Resident Evil 4. As with any peak, what followed was a decline, but things changed in 2017.
On a related note, here’s our review of Resident Evil 4:
The series switched to a first-person camera, and this played a huge part in ramping up the horror. Don’t let me be misunderstood, this wasn’t the only factor in re-scarifying RE, but the new perspective made the Baker Incident all the more immersive. It also allowed for a thrilling VR mode.
So successful was the tale of Ethan Winters and its POV that the direct sequel, Resident Evil Village (which is also excellent by the way), kept the mechanic alive, going even further to make the most of it with sections seemingly inspired by theme park rides. RE8 kept the horror well and truly alive despite embracing more action in its gameplay, especially with the terrifying House Beneviento sequence.
Now, at time of writing I see absolutely no reason for Resident Evil 9 to not stick with the first-person viewpoint. The Winters Family may have brought their story to an end in the Shadows of Rose DLC, but it’s unlikely that the camera angle most associated with them is also going away, even if the added content brought third-person modes with it, including for the main game.
The primary reason for this firm belief is simple: it maintains the continuity between the new original games and the remake titles. RE2, 3 and the most recent title 4, all feature third-person as the standard camera angle, and this is one of the core ways they keep their own shared identities as reimaginings from 7 and Village. While this may sound innocuous, one can never underestimate the power of branding in all of its forms.
Add to that the sense of fear first-person can bring, and the ease with which it translates to VR, and you can’t really make a strong enough argument for ditching the series’ newer perspective.
Now I know there’s talk of Resident Evil 9 releasing with both first and third-person modes, which I would totally appreciate given how well Village plays with both of them, but ultimately this would prove the case that Capcom need to keep the more immersive angle as a key part of their new original line. After all, the three recent remakes don’t include first-person viewpoint (outside of weapon scopes and other select areas), and I can’t see a potential reimagining of RE5 (which I’m all for) differing from the POV present in them either.
In short, the first-person perspective helped establish a new direction for the Resi franchise in more ways than one. It added a profound sense of immersion and, therefore, horror. To differ from it now would muddy the waters between brand new titles and the remake games. As for offering both, I’m all for it, but if Resident Evil 9 is to be as successful as its direct predecessors, then it can’t go entirely third-person.