With Resident Evil 8 being set within a village that looks similar to Resident Evil 4, it feels like it is trying to re-capture lightning in a bottle.
Over the past twenty-plus years, the Resident Evil series has retreaded old plots and themes over and over, from evil organizations to mutated monstrosities. The series has also taken itself into multiple directions in terms of its various locations, from haunted houses, to police stations, to secret underground laboratories. But in recent years, the series has chosen to somewhat go back to its roots, first with Resident Evil 7‘s strong emphasis on classic horror and the return to a familiar haunted house setting. In many ways, Resident Evil 7 felt like a return to form, by setting the game within a single family’s home and focusing on a smaller-scale threat similar to the 1996 original.
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In the past two years, the series decided to double-down on its origins by releasing the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Both games are remakes of the PlayStation 1 titles of the same names, but also attempt to modernize the titles with updated graphics and gameplay mechanics in order to introduce them to a new generation of gamers. And now in 2021, the series looks to be further retreading old ground with Resident Evil 8, at least in terms of its setting and themes.
Reminding Players of an Old Classic
Resident Evil 8, which is set within a mysterious mountain village, clearly takes inspiration from the series’ fourth major outing, Resident Evil 4. In many ways, Resident Evil 4 feels like the peak of the series as it redefined the survival horror genre by innovating the modern over-the-shoulder camera that continues to still be used today, and reinvigorating a gaming genre that had began showing its age around the time of its release. The title takes the player into a far different setting than prior installments, where in which Leon Kennedy is tasked with rescuing the U.S. president’s daughter from a rural village in Spain. And now, Resident Evil 8 appears to be moving in a very similar direction as the GameCube classic, with it also being set within a rural village (and even going as far as having the subtitle of “Village”).
But with the series retreading a similar location again, will it work in the game’s favor just as well the second time over? Or was Resident Evil 4‘s village setting simply just lightning in a bottle, and unable to be replicated? It’s a fair question to ask, as the series hasn’t always done well with retreading old plots in the past. Resident Evil 6 attempted to appease both old and new fans alike by offering three separate campaigns that each gave unique experiences, and that ended up backfiring.
Setting Itself Apart
It’s unclear how great of an importance Resident Evil 8’s village setting will be to the overall game, or how similar it will be to Resident Evil 4‘s village. As players may recall, the village only takes up roughly half of the fourth game, with Leon eventually finding himself in completely different locations later on in the title. One may hope that 8 will set itself apart by introducing unique story and gameplay elements, and judging from the footage seen thus far for the game, it already looks to be holding a great number of differences. For one, the title appears to be leaning heavily into the new werewolf enemies, and also potential witches, which have never before been seen in the franchise.
But on the other hand, the game’s trailer gives off vibes very similar Resident Evil 4‘s, with the residents themselves looking eerily similar to the ones from that old classic as well as possible hints of the Merchant character’s return. It very much so feels like the developers are trying to recapture the original feel of the classic title, which is likely because it’s rumored to be getting remade next.
Hype for Resident Evil 4 Remake
With Resident Evil 4 likely get the full remake treatment next, it’s understandable that Capcom wants the newest installment to carry similar vibes as the upcoming remake. The similarities between Resident Evil 4 and 8 will make them pair nicely with one another, in the same way that Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 do. In fact, it could be possible that the two games actually share more in common with each other than the trailers have let on; for all that fans know, the games could have a far deeper connection with between each other than players fully realize. Whether that theory is true or not, it is undoubtedly interesting that both games are set within a village, and are set to release so closely to each other.
Resident Evil 8 will release in 2021 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.
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