This isn’t a weird scenario; oftentimes, successful video game franchises are consistently being worked on, whether it’s by rotating teams or by splitting the team during the home stretch. Resident Evil itself is consistently part of this, with titles like Resident Evil 7 changing course drastically based on the reception that its predecessor sees.
Resident Evil Village, it would seem, was under the knife for similar reasons, as it entered the earliest phases of production some 6 months before Resident Evil 7 even released.
We were still busy developing Resident Evil 7, but my boss told me to start planning for the next entry in the series. At the time, we had no idea how users would react towards the new horror experience and characters of 7 yet.Morimasa Sato on Resident Evil Village
This often means that any plans for the next game are subject to change. One might wonder what the point of that is, but it’s pretty simple: if things go well, you’re already one step ahead of the curve.
For Resident Evil Village, though, this was further complicated by the fact that its predecessor was changing the landscape significantly. If it failed, then Resident Evil would have had to change yet again.
We had no idea how the change of perspective would be received, so at first we were quite worried. But when we released Resident Evil 7 about half a year after the development of Village started, it was received very well. This helped us decide to make Village a direct sequel.Morimasa Sato on Resident Evil Village
Should Resident Evil 7 have failed, nothing about Village would have remained. The perspective aside, the plot and setting are intrinsically tied to Ethan Winters and his journey from fish-out-of-water protagonist to experienced hero.
However, that wasn’t the case. Resident Evil 7 lit a new fire under the franchise, and this shot of energy lead to a frankly humongous increase in interest. I think it’s safe to say that we have 7 to thank for most of the upcoming projects. Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 may have still seen the light of day, but likely not as swiftly as they did.
Regardless, players will finally get to see the next stage of Ethan’s story when Resident Evil Village comes out on May 7th.