THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE RESIDENT EVIL 7 BEGINNING HOUR DEMO. IF YOU HAVE PLAYSTATION PLUS, I SUGGEST YOU GO PLAY IT INSTEAD OF READING THIS, I THINK IT’S QUITE GOOD.
This week at E3, Capcom revealed Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (seemingly sometimes stylised as RESIDENT EVII_ or whatever nonsense they think looks cool) along with releasing a demo titled “The Beginning Hour” to PS+ subscribers. The demo starts with you waking up in a deserted house’s living room, the walls are peeling away, the lights don’t work, and a TV is flickering with static and deafening you with white noise. Typical modern horror fare. It gives you a simple objective, or so it seems, “Get out of the house”. But here comes the twist. No-one’s done it. At the time of writing it has been three days since the release of this demo and from what I can see not one single person online has managed to do it. As of now, we have found two possible “endings”. The first involves you finding the key to the front door of the house and attempting to walk out of it, only to be met by a tap on the shoulder and a knockout blow from a seemingly zombified character fans have dubbed “The Family Man” (he is unfortunately not Guile from Street Fighter, as far as we know. Crossover potential, Capcom?) as he utters the sentence now eternally burned into my brain “Welcome to the family, son”. The other “ending” involves you opening the stairs to the attic and answering a phone (curiously situated beside a photograph of a helicopter with the Umbrella logo on it) after which you receive the familiar greeting from the high-functioning zombie dad. This all seems pretty standard until you realise that neither of these ending take nearly an hour to get to. Two other confusing factors are the axe and dummy finger items, both of which seem to do absolutely nothing, which has of course driven certain corners of the internet completely insane, myself included. Add to this mixed messages from Capcom on whether or not they actually do anything and it makes you wonder if this risk was really worth it for Capcom, leading their most die-hard fans to be bored half to death by attempting to use various items on everything in the house they can find. If this ending is patched in then they will have left these scavengers very disillusioned with the game. No-one knows whether or not they’re working towards something, yet they keep going.
The situation of course calls to mind Kojima’s 2014 experiment PT, but the key difference is that PT was solved within the day by accident on a livestream. PT was meant to be this grand collaborative scheme, which this might finally be. But right now, we’re waiting to see the rest of this beginning hour.