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How Resident Evil 7's devs cultivated horror from reality

March 29, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon

March 29, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon
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More: VR, Console/PC, Design, Video

"At an early stage, I felt that in order to make a scary game, the team needed to have some scary experiences."

- Director Koshi Nakanishi explains how his team fleshed out Resident Evil 7 from a concept to a survival horror game.

In part two of the Making Of series detailing Resident Evil 7’s development process, the game’s developers share how they created both the game’s tense atmosphere and its compact setting from real-world places and experiences.

While the first part in the series touched on how the game took inspiration from the original Resident Evil, this latest video offers developers some useful insight into how the Resident Evil 7 team fleshed out the game’s initial concept into the final product.

This process saw the team scouring Google Earth to find a setting that matched their vision for the game. Eventually, some of the game's developers would make a trip to rural Louisiana to capture visual concepts and research the architecture and environments that would feed into what became Resident Evil 7's Southern gothic setting.  

Another part of that process included sending members of the development team into some of Osaka's famous haunted locales with a video camera to experience the kind of tension sought by Resident Evil 7

“We used a GoPro to film various scenes and we used those experiences to feed back into the game development,” said Nakanishi.

"That actually fed into the idea of the found footage in the game," he explained. "I called it a test of courage, but the scariest things were when you go around a corner and jump at your own shadow or someone behind you steps on a branch and cracks it and you jump out of your skin. We used some ideas from that experience in the game too."

The now-infamous dinner scene that first introduces players to the game’s antagonistic Baker family was likewise born from recording sessions. Once the developers had decided on the concept, some members of the team recorded themselves acting out the scene, complete with paper props and a camera cast in the role of the player.

That clip, as well as a look at more of the inspirations that powered Resident Evil 7, can be found in the full video.

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