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"Welcome to the family." - Mr. Baker, Resident Evil VII: Beginning Hour
As a horror fan, it was the first time I heard those words that I truly jumped. Even with my soda in hand, my bedroom light on, and my headphones on. I screamed for the first time in absolute horror. Little to no avail, not even putting my hand over my mouth suppressed the shriek that emitted forth. I was among the millions playing that found themselves jumping at even the slightest groan of the old wood floors in the Baker house.
It was the first time I found myself truly mortified by a game. The first time I felt all sense of security stripped from me as I helplessly scurrying through that old farm house checking every corner that I could. It was also the first time I'd ever begun to question each decision I ever made. What if I picked up the bolt cutters first? What would happen to the fuse I would need in order to open the attic door? What would happen if I decided to not answer that ringing phone? Would Mr. Baker cave my skull in once more and prepare me for their family dinner?
It wasn't the first time I've found myself spooked however, but it was one of the very few times I'd ever found myself screaming "Oh... Shit! shit!" and muttering some "what the Hell" lines under my breath. I was also one of the many who soon watched the tape that played show its reel before informing me that Resident Evil VII is coming soon.
What Drives Resident Evil VII's Horror Element is Immersion and Fear
How far would someone go to be scared? What drives the sensation of fear to the deepest parts of our brain? What makes us feel so insecure that we may abandon all hope and push forth knowing that our last attempt could be the death of us? This is something Capcom has grasped at quite well with Resident Evil VII. It forgoes the old school jump scares, story-arch's, and instead picks up several new features to bring in the old horror-survival feel to it.
Since much of what we know about Resident Evil VII is through demo videos, trailers, and the demo itself, we have only a few things to go by on to prove just how far this game will go to scare us. We know that one of the elements that they drive on is the idea of pushing one past their own comfort zone. Whether it's opening a fridge full of heads from dead persons or the crock pot full of who knows what and the cockroaches hidden within.
However, those aren't the only things that Resident Evil VII does to scare us. It pushes us past our comfort zones. Remember those dead bodies we saw? What if we had no choice, but to become apart of them and perhaps pull a moment from The Walking Dead where our protagonist has to don the blood or flesh of those whom died? What if we must find ourselves digging through the mutilated corpse of a human that has been carefully crafted to look like a mannequin? That's the reality that this latest title could push us into as the game will attempt to peel off any sense of security we have. It'll shred our worst fears into our greatest reality whether we want it to or not.
That is the very thing Resident Evil VII intends to do: Strip us of all control and the sense of security we have.
Resident Evil VII in Virtual Reality Will Create an Even Deeper Sense of Horror
The game already makes us feel as vulnerable and disturbed—and that's without VR. With VR, Resident Evil VII will be able to push this immersion even further by allowing players to feel truly placed within the world of the game. What if you had to lean over to look into something? What if you had to get on your knees to actually open a cabinet with your own hands and lift an unknown object with your arms? What if to aim you actually had to position your arms just right before attempting to shove your assailant off you?
Thanks to Virtual Reality and the potential of headsets like PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, that is a reality you may have to face within this game. The idea of VR is to immerse a player deeper into a game than ever before. With the technology behind Resident Evil VII I wouldn't doubt if I hear of people having heart attacks or even panic attacks after an encounter. Not because they are playing a game, but because of the fear induced immersion they experience. The sense they have lost all control as they helplessly run through the Baker Plantation.
Because of the realistic approach to what horror is, Resident Evil VII has the chance to drive fear into the very core of a person. As Mr. Baker once said... "Welcome to the family."