E3 resulted in the PSN Release (sorry, everyone else!) of the Resident Evil 7 demo! After being disappointed with RE6 and the general direction the series was going, I dutifully yet skeptically downloaded it without really knowing but the title. “We’ll see how shitty it is…”
Oh My Goodness…
After trying it out and gauging the community response…let’s just say…this isn’t a demo, this is a cultural event.
What a pleasant surprise. The series, or this demo at least, seems to have returned to it’s roots because it’s creepy as shit. It trades in the the globe-trotting and Michael Bay-esque blockbuster set pieces to put you in a dilapidated plantation house with no weapons and a meager flashlight that seems like it’s going to fail any second. This, my friends, is much closer to the Resident Evil I grew up with. What’s even more interesting is that this demo is in a similar vein as Silent Hill Playable Teaser (P.T. for those in the know); while showcasing the technology, tone, and setting of the game, this is a stand alone experience. To be clear, this is not a piece of RE7, but this content WILL tie-in to the game’s storyline.
I’m a long time fan. In fact, I’m such an OG Resident Evil fan that my brother and I went to rent the game from Blockbuster and couldn’t because we didn’t have a memory card for our Playstation. PS games didn’t even come in CD jewelboxes yet. Haha. So yeah, you can understand my attraction to thing demo. In my heart, Resident Evil should be terrifying. This demo delivers…
So…I’ve played it. More than once…still playing it, in fact. Mainly because there’s more than meets the eye here.
Download it from PlayStation Network right now!
Just do it, sucka! Don’t read up on it (yet!) just download it, shut the lights off, and play.
You’ll find it’s fairly straight forward. There’s some light exploration that needs to happen for you to get to the end of the demo, but it should take you maybe 15-20 minutes to do so.
If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who doesn’t have a PS4 or the time to download/play it, you can watch my playthrough on YouTube from here! Again, keep in mind this isn’t a slice of RE7’s existing content. Instead, we’re experiencing a piece of the story that players buying the full game will only see references to.
If you have any real interest in this topic, I highly suggest you stop reading and play the game or watch my playthough right now!
While you’re waiting… check out what the OG Resident Evil box used to look like!
Okay…so did you do as I asked? It’s not bad, right? Creepy, but somewhat straightforward. It’s interesting enough, as well as spooky enough, to get me to play the game when it comes out. When I finished it, my reaction was “huh…neat!” I was confused by some of the stuff in the demo (like the fuse box) but didn’t really think anything of it.
I watched this and this trailer and noticed some things that weren’t in the demo. Casually interested if I had missed a detail or two, I played it again (and you should too!). Knowing what I know about the fireplace from watching the VHS tape, I decided to see what happens if I just went for it (and you should too!).
Notice anything…..different? Check the table in the secret room…go ahead, I’ll wait.
Oh shit! You just went down the rabbit hole, son!
So, I’m assuming you answered the phone and received a cryptic message, like:
“I know who you are.”
followed by one the these three phrases:
“You have the power to choose. But the outcome of that choice may not be what you expect.”
“You have to say goodbye eventually. But will you be ready?”
“Memories hold the truth, don’t let appearances mislead you.”
What. The. Eff. You’ll probably play again, which in case you didn’t find them before, you’ll want to check out the:
- Both “Dash against the stones” notes
- Helicopter Picture
- Your ability to stop the VHS Tape early
- Ghost girl
- Headphones/Ear Muffs
I don’t want to give away any more than that, but if you’re stumped, check out the Resident Evil Subreddit, probably the #1 source for information and discussion
So…the next part of the mystery. What’s behind the boarded up doors? What about the door outside the VHS room? What do you do with the…other…items? Is there a way to get into other parts of the house? Can you escape without getting “welcomed” to the family?”
Welp….Nobody knows! You’re just as stumped as everyone else! Hahaha trololololol!!!
Just kidding. Well…at least I hope not. There’s the distinct possibility that we’ve reached the end of the road. Everything else in the game may just be there to simply antagonize you and drive you crazy with questions. It’s possible…some people are straight up pissed and are circulating petitions to demand answers from Capcom.
Others have dedicated entire days dedicated to meticulously purpose hunting for places to use the items. People will tune into these live streams as well (here’s another from the same user with 1000 people watching as I write this).
It’s exciting, really. In this day and age, how many mysteries do we really have? I want to bring up Silent Hill P.T. again…this game had a similar draw for people. Being put in a highly interactive and slightly random situation with no instructions is a great recipe for exploration. The more effort people put into it, the further they got and the more they discovered. Some of the solutions were super unconventional, like finding items in the option screen (?!?) or saying certain words into the microphone connected to the PS4 controller.
It was super difficult to solve, and even today, months after P.T. came out, there still isn’t a consensus on how to consistently solve the final puzzle. Pretty wild, right?
Well, now that there’s an opportunity to try this again, everyone’s jumping on it. Interestingly enough, P.T. managed to get solved within 24 hours, whereas RE7 has been out for roughly a week. I’m sure the hype will die down eventually, but for me, it’s super exciting. I did not have a PS4 when P.T. a thing, so I’m quite happy being a part of it. I’m in the camp that there’s more to this demo so I’m following these threads like a hawk.
When you think about it, this is a really interesting social experiment. You have people indirectly working together trying to solve a puzzle. The only tool we have, aside from our curiosity, is collective intelligence (aka the Internet). So, not only do we have to find a way to make progress, not only do we have to cooperate, but we have to intelligently find a way to organize these thousands of voices into something decipherable. The Reddit post seems to do a decent job of that, but if you’ve seen any of the live streams, the comments sections get out of hand in a matter of seconds.
With so much attention on solving this demo, it also brings a rush of adrenaline. I think that’s why the live streams are so popular; not only do gamers want to be “the person” who figures it out, but everyone also wants to be there when it happens. Sure, the internet is a fickle place so it’s not like the person who discovers the secret is going to do a talk show circuit and get a book deal. But, on the other hand, as I was watching a stream yesterday, the player revealed that he received a $500 anonymous contribution. Wow…and he hadn’t even solved anything!
Tips and info
So, I’ve mostly given up on the demo (due to time constraints) but that doesn’t stop me from theory-crafting. I came up with a few more ideas I won’t be able to try, but I also want to talk about ideas that failed. If any of you decide to try your hand at this, hopefully this saves you some time.
- Quitting the game (via the options menu) during one of the phone calls.
- Hitting stuff with axe or having it ready when you’re “welcomed”(hasn’t yielded any results yet).
- Trying to get ghost girl to appear in all 7 locations in one runthrough (hasn’t happened yet).
- Doing anything with the dummy finger (pot of food, piano, fireplace, hitting with axe, etc)
- Sneaking you way to the back door.
- Exiting the intro and outro videos via option menu (it skips it entirely).
- Getting anything in the “real” world to affect the “VHS” world.
- Following/walking past Andre in the kitchen/basement.
- Lockpicking the cabinet in “VHS” world.
- Switching PS users when Pete indicates his dislike for you (I only have one controller but the game locks up until you log out of the secondary account and return to your normal user account. Strange, but I can’t continue to follow up on it).
- Leaving the house after entering the kitchen in “VHS” world.
- Singing or playing the Aunt Rhody song via a microphone over the basement hold, growling door, piano, headphones/earmuffs.
- Calling out to Pete, Andre, or any other name that we know from inside/outside the hole.
- Using anything considered a “glitch” (disappearing doors, avoiding getting “welcomed” after answering phone) to progress.
- Shutting off the audio (as hinted by the headphones/earmuffs?)
- Changing the date and time on the PS4 to reflect in-game dates.
- *feel free to try these ideas, but no one has yielded anything yet. P.T. needed things to be done in a very specific order, so keep that in mind.
- There are several references to Louisiana (newspaper, timecode from tape interpreted as latitude/longitude)
- Clancy’s tape starts at 10:23pm on 6/1/2017 and the clock in the house is stuck between 10:35-40.
- There is something going on with perspective with the two playable characters. Clancy is able to climb the ladder and hold his hands up while still “filming.” The character you start the game as is also able to use both hands while maintaining the flashlight beam.
- After grabbing the VHS, when passing the doll room, you can hear a growling sound. I believe this is the girl from the end of the video and that the boarded up door she is behind leads to the basement.
- You can continue to enter the “VHS” world as well as acquire the lockpick, though it doesn’t seem to do anything aside from unlock the drawer. You can also stop the tape by accessing options menu.
- You can unlock the backdoor without opening it.
- The kitchen in the end of the demo is not the same as the kitchen in the house. Neither is the front door and the fuse box is also in a strange place.
- The ghost girl appears in 7 “VHS” world locations: outside between the swing and the house, hanging from the rafters when you enter (not with a rope, she’s just up there), in the doorway if you look behind you, outside one of the kitchen windows, on the stairs, in the corner of the doll room, and at the top of the ladder as you descend.
- Most mannequins can be destroyed with the axe except for the three upstairs.
- These strange, very loud “clicks” happen throughout the demo. To me, they’re just random and I haven’t been able to use them in any specific or consistent way, but others are not so convinced.
I’m captivated. I love trying to solve puzzles and this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time playing a video game. Sure, there’s always the chance that there isn’t anything else to the demo. Maybe I’m just wasting my time? Who knows…who cares? I think it’s fascinating; not only is trying to solve the demo intriguing, but the community response is just off the charts. If you’ve never done it before, I recommend checking out one of the live streams just to say that you’ve seen it.
Soon, this demo will also be released to PC and Xbox users, so we’ll see if expanding the user base can reveal anything new. Hopefully, there really is something to discover, because if not…well, that’ll be a whole new social experiment =). Don’t touch that dial…ahem I mean…welcome to the family!
Lastly, I want to make a comparison. Each game has a “OMGWTF IN YO’ FACE!” moment that you can still experience by watching playthroughs. Which one do you think is scariest?
Ugh…I leave you with those wonderful images! And let me know if you find anything!!!
The only me is me…are you sure the only you is you?