Much like Capcom did with the pre-release of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the new RE title, Resident Evil Village, launched its first short demo this past week exclusively on the PlayStation 5.
Described as a “visual demo,” Maiden offers players a 20-minute or so introduction to the new, horrifying world of the vampiric homestead of Castle Dimitrescu. As done before with Beginning Hour—the short visual demo preceding Biohazard—Maiden drops players into a drawn back version of the full game. With no combat or survival mechanics to speak of, Maiden is merely a short visual experience designed to show off Capcom’s intense sound design and magnificent graphics while giving us a glimpse into the lore and the world that protagonist Ethan Winters will soon find himself trapped in for Village—and to that end it does so magnificently.
Acting as a horrifying form of a video game escape room, Maiden starts players in the gruesome dungeons of Castle Dimitrescu. With no concept of where, when, or even who you are currently, Maiden asks merely that you try to escape our grisly fate to come. Bets on how that is going to go?
The first thing asked of the protagonist is to get out of the cell. Fortunately, some other poor soul has left a scrawled note of cryptic instructions forewarning of bloody trials, a seemingly doomed fate, and, most terrifyingly, to look out for “them.” The fear level is ratcheted up quickly from here as ominous bangs and wails can be heard amid your search through a gruesome dungeon complete with grisly torture equipment and the bloody corpses of its less fortunate previous inhabitants. You don’t want to meet the same fate as the mutilated hanging man though, so get moving, or whatever is snarling and clawing behind that plywood might just get you too!
From there it is much like the Biohazard demo and any of Resident Evil’s famous puzzle sections: your path toward escape is blocked by a series of overtly complex locked doors that require mysterious items scattered throughout the world to open. For the team at Capcom, of course, this just allows them to force us through a number of uncomfortable rooms and scenarios where the presence of the next around-the-corner scare is always lingering at the forefront of our minds.
The discomforting presence of threat is felt throughout Maiden as Capcom really gets to work showing off its exceptional sound design, and that is really the best part of this experience as every little bang and clatter resonates around Castle Dimitrescu’s bizarre and bloody halls. It’s hard not to feel like you’re being watched as mocking giggles and insidious whispers follow you through grand halls from the corners of dark balconies and foreboding overlooks. Let me assure you, this is not one to be brazenly approached while alone in the dark of night.
Maiden is also utterly gorgeous—as difficult as that might be to tangle with when that “beauty” is largely reserved for gore-filled caverns, mutilated corpses and blood-oozing wine barrels (which people are definitely trapped inside). The horror for this game is going to be Capcom’s most gruesome yet as it comes shining bright to us in the Ps5’s powerful 4K resolution and ray-tracing capabilities. Getting chased by sexy vampire bug women never looked so good.
Much like the demo to Biohazard, I have no doubt there is much to find here with Maiden, and over the coming weeks it’s likely the community will find more and more lore and easter eggs as it digs deep into every corner of Castle Dimitrescu. Currently, there are items gathered that appear to have no use and suggestions of other items in letters that, as of yet, do not appear to exist also (or at the very least have not been found yet). The short Biohazard demo saw continual updates with new items and parts added until the game’s full release, so it is entirely possible that Maiden doesn’t include the full picture quite yet and may see more added in the four-month lead-up to Resident Evil Village’s full May 7 release.
While Maiden is currently exclusive to PlayStation 5 users, Capcom has also announced a separate demo for all platforms to come in spring 2021.
Capcom Debuts Resident Evil Village Gameplay Too
Along with the demo drop, Capcom also showed off a short gameplay trailer that gives an exciting glimpse into what we can expect in May. Among the bug swarm giant vampire wolverine women, werewolves, giants and sword-waving ghouls, long-time fans of the Resident Evil series will be most excited to see the return of some of the most classic and beloved elements of the franchise.
Yes, the brilliant Resident Evil 4 inventory cache is indeed back with the added inclusion of a crafting system, and Village also appears to have an RE4-like mysterious merchant of its own (although this “Duke” is much, much bigger than our cloaked, purple-eyed friend).
The first-person viewpoint and combat system of Biohazard also makes a return to Village, although I’m sure we’ll see a few nice refinements on the new RE formula this time around. The gameplay trailer also suggests quite a bit of action amid the puzzles with giant hammer-wielding werewolves and mobs of beasts joining the hunt for series sophomore Ethan Winters.
Resident Evil: Biohazard brought the acclaimed franchise back with a soft new reboot and change of direction, opting for first-person gameplay instead of the traditional over-the-shoulder third-person viewpoint. Up until the very end of Biohazard, it seemed as though 7 was entirely disconnected from the storied Resident Evil world, but fans were granted a last-minute shock at the sudden appearance of Umbrella and series long-timer Chris Redfield appearing to work for the franchises long-standing evil corporation. With Biohazard’s protagonist Ethan Winters returning and supposedly closing out his narrative in Village alongside Chris, fans will be looking for answers to what is going on in this new RE world.
Capcom have remained tight lipped about what Ethan is doing with Chris in Castle Dimitrescu, but in the short gameplay trailer they debuted a few of its new inhabitants. The Internet went wild this week for RE’s newest villain, the tall vampire woman, who we know very little about other than that she is 1) tall, 2) a vampire, 3) has wolverine claws and 4) appears to be a sibling to Lucas Baker from Biohazard. How those tall vampire genes skipped Lucas is anyone’s guess though.
For Resident Evil Village, Ethan will be coming up against this order of female vampires, and we can only guess that somehow their vampiric tendencies have some connection to the series T-virus or the E-Necrotoxin of Biohazard.
Resident Evil 4 Remake Changes Directions
In other recent Resident Evil news, reports have come in this past week of a delay to Capcom’s Resident Evil 4remake announced last year, with VGC suggesting that the game is “undergoing changes” in its development.
These changes are reportedly to move the game more into line with the much popular RE2 and RE3 remakes of the last few years rather than just a straight remaster. These remakes were successful in taking inspiration from their classic originals while also creating ingenious new gameplay and style elements to form a wholly new and brilliant narrative experience.
Reportedly, the original team, M-Two, working on the RE4 remake wanted to keep things close to the original, but disagreements arose, and Capcom have instead opted to change course with a new team from Capcom Division 1 to emulate the style of the last two remakes. This Division 1 team is likely to contain veteran members previously involved with the development of the original Resident Evil 4.
With series cop-hero Leon Kennedy and Ashley Graham expected to be given a new treatment, the RE4 remake is now not expected until 2023.