Despite switching to a first-person perspective and ignoring all of its established characters in favor of newcomer Ethan Winters, Resident Evil 7 is not a spin-off nor a standalone entry to the series. Even the number at the end of its title unequivocally establishes RE7 as the next installment in the ongoing saga. However, prior to the game’s launch, publisher Capcom would only confirm that the events portrayed in RE7 take place after the conclusion of Resident Evil 6. Thankfully, RE7 is now available publically, which means we know a whole lot more about how this game ties into the rest of the series.
Though RE7 contains quite a few subtle references to series lore, the biggest connection is Ethan’s missing wife Mia–who, as it turns out, is partially responsible for the horror inflicted on both Ethan and the Baker family. Of course, the game hides this for well over half the campaign. Early on, Mia appears dazed and detached seemingly as a result of battling some demonic possession that causes her to repeatedly attack Ethan.
When Ethan and Mia eventually escape from the Baker’s plantation, however, we discover Mia wasn’t possessed by a demon, but rather, by a bio-organic weapon in the form of a little girl named Eveline. Prior to the start of the game, Mia was charged by her employer–a mysterious, unnamed corporation–with protecting Evelyn during a covert transport operation. Unfortunately, something went wrong, and Eveline used her considerable powers–including an organic form of mind-control–to destroy the ship they’re traveling on. The wreckage eventually washes up in the bayou, not far from the Baker’s place.
But here’s the interesting part for series fans: while aboard the ship, you can find a document that references the Umbrella Corporation, and at the very end, Ethan flies away in a helicopter with an obvious Umbrella Corps. logo plastered on the side (though interestingly, this logo is clearly blue and white instead of the traditional red and white). Interpret that how you will, but it certainly seems to imply a rebirth of Resident Evil’s long-time villainous conglomerate despite its apparent destruction well over a decade ago at the end of Resident Evil: Code Veronica.
Outside of Umbrella’s resurgence, there’s at least one other major piece of fan service: a brief cameo by Chris Redfield. During the final boss encounter, Ethan suddenly discovers all his weapons are utterly ineffective. Thankfully, an unseen person tosses him a special pistol called the Albert-01R (no doubt a reference to infamous series villain Albert Wesker) at just the right moment. After he finishes off the boss, Ethan’s savior introduces himself as “Redfield” before climbing aboard one of those Umbrella-branded choppers. The character doesn’t actually look all that much like the Chris Redfield we’ve seen in previous games, though, so feel free to start developing wild conspiracy theories.
Inevitably, fans will discover more references and Easter eggs in the coming months, but until then, be sure to check out our official review, as well as our video compilation of GameSpot employees screaming at RE7 in VR.