When Resident Evil 7 was announced at E3 2016, it was during Sony’s press conference, and the game was primarily pushed as a PlayStation VR title. Considering this, one may be surprised to learn that the game wasn’t originally conceived with virtual reality in mind. In fact, VR was added at some point during the middle of the game’s development, headed by RE Engine developer and eventual lead VR engineer, Kazuhiro Takahara.
Takahara revealed this surprising piece of information in the latest “Making Of” Resident Evil 7 video released by Capcom. According to Takahara, there was growing interest at Capcom in virtual reality technology, and he thought it would be a good opportunity to add virtual reality to Resident Evil 7. However, Takahara first had to convince Resident Evil 7 executive producer Jun Takeuchi that virtual reality would be a good fit for the game.
Takeuchi finds it difficult to play games in virtual reality for an extended period of time, but Takahara started working on what would come to be known as the Kitchen demo regardless as a way to sell the concept to the development team. Creating the Kitchen demo and then adapting the RE Engine to support VR took two and a half months, but it seems as though the end result was worth the effort.
The Kitchen demo was first shown at E3 2015, but at the time, it wasn’t marketed as a Resident Evil game. Even so, the Kitchen demo started to generate buzz, with Capcom claiming that it was one of the most popular PlayStation VR demos that year. Perhaps Capcom held off on confirming the Kitchen demo to be Resident Evil-related, as it wasn’t entirely sold on the game’s virtual reality concept just yet, and wanted to make sure that it resonated with horror fans first.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if future Resident Evil games will support virtual reality. After all, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are continuing to grow their user base, and it appears as though Xbox and Nintendo are at least considering virtual reality as well. When Resident Evil 7‘s PlayStation VR timed-exclusivity winds down and the game makes the jump to other VR headsets, its success on those platforms could determine the franchise’s virtual reality future.
Resident Evil 7 is available now for PC, PS4, PlayStation VR, and Xbox One.