With Resident Evil Village out and Resident Evil 9 reportedly in development, we’re still locked into the story that began with Ethan Winters and the Bakers in 2017. Despite how well Village was received, there are still a few things we’d like to see in the sequel along with some different approaches to the survival horror formula. Let’s take a look at some of them here. Be warned: Spoilers for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Resident Evil Village await.
Ending the Current Trilogy
Resident Evil 7 marked a new beginning for the franchise, both in story-telling and perspective, while Resident Evil Village served as a great follow-up that expanded on the mythos of the Mold and their relation in the overall lore. To that end, Resident Evil 9 should be an effective end to the trilogy – a conclusion to the Mold, The Connections, whatever is going on with the BSAA, the journey of the Winters family, so on and so forth. Rumors indicate that this will be the case as Capcom foregoes numbered entries going forward but anything is possible.
More Screen Time for Classic Characters
Given how much of the marketing had Chris Redfield front and center before Village’s release, he wasn’t present all that much in the actual game (save for the short sequence at the end where he’s playable). If nothing else, we’d like Resident Evil 9 to offer some more screen time for classic characters like Chris, Leon or even Jill. That’s assuming they even appear at all but still. Heck, even an extended cameo from Ada would be cool, even if she doesn’t get her Bloodborne-style hunter outfit that was originally planned for Village.
Zombies and Tyrants
If Resident Evil 9 truly marks the “end of an era” so to speak, then it’s not enough to just have a classic character or two show up. We’d love to see the classic zombies or even baddies like the Tyrant make an appearance. It would only be fitting, plus if the BSAA ends up being a major antagonist, then the return of classic foes offers a nice wild card of sorts.
A Protagonist With a Face
We’ll admit – Ethan not having a face or really much of a personality at all in Resident Evil 7: biohazard was a fun meme for a while. Of course, then Capcom decided to give him some modicum of personality but lean even further into the meme of Ethan No-Face. It’s even weirder when you consider that such an approach actually made designing his outfit and overall look that much more difficult. Long story short, and as ridiculous as it sounds, a protagonist with a face in Resident Evil 9 would be welcome, even if it ends up being Rose.
From start to finish, Resident Evil Village is a fast-paced roller-coaster ride that keeps the action coming. It offers a number of unique environments with a steady clip of interesting things happening. To that end, it wouldn’t be so bad for Resident Evil 9 to return to a more deliberate pacing, creating more atmospheric horror that builds over a longer period of time. Not exactly full-on psychological horror a la Silent Hill but a bit of a slower burn instead.
More Claustrophobic Environments
Speaking of striking a balance, a return to a more confined, claustrophobic environment would also be great, simply as a change of pace. Resident Evil 9 doesn’t necessarily have to take place in a single building but could instead follow the Resident Evil 7 approach – which is to flesh out and add depth to a smaller overall location. If this can be balanced with the increased scale of Village, providing a good variety of levels to explore while keeping the overall setting consistent, it would be ideal. Plus, it’s still possible to have big set-piece moments when taking this approach as pretty much every classic Resident Evil title has proven.
More “Survival” Gameplay
Gameplay-wise, the survival elements of the formula need to make a comeback. In Village, it’s easy to gun down every single enemy in sight even on Hardcore since you’re constantly receiving ammo and crafting more. In the older games, you had to think carefully about whether to shoot a zombie or avoid them and conserve resources in the process. The 2002 remake of Resident Evil even had this cool mechanic where some zombie corpses had to be burned to prevent them from turning into Crimson Heads. Of course, the fuel required for this was limited so you had to think carefully about which corpses to burn. These kinds of strategic elements would work well with a slower, more deliberate pace.
Inventory System Changes
Inventory management is one of the core parts of a Resident Evil game. Having to decide which resources to take with you, what to prioritize and so on added to the survival horror experience. Resident Evil 7 understood this fairly well but all pretense of inventory management went out the window in Village thanks to the over-sized attache cases. This allowed for carrying multiple weapons, ammo types and healing items without any worry or concern for space. And while you could say that fit the more action-heavy approach, it still felt comparatively easier than, say, Resident Evil 4 in this regard. Hopefully, Resident Evil 9 overhauls the inventory system entirely, or at least makes it more restrictive and forces the player into some tough choices.
Having to change the position statues in Castle Dimitrescu or complete the various Labyrinth puzzles in Village is fairly easy. Of course, saying that the next game should have tougher puzzles is a bit of a double-edged sword. Not everyone wants to go back to the days of frustrating trial and error. A good balance would be something akin to Lucas’s Party Room from Resident Evil 7 – fairly self-contained but still somewhat challenging for the average player to figure out while also being cleverly designed.
Co-op in Mercenaries
There’s nothing that says Resident Evil Village won’t get this sooner or later. But not having co-op support for The mercenaries is kind of a downer, especially when it’s something that previous iterations of the mode offered. If The Mercenaries ever makes its way into Resident Evil 9, then hopefully it offers co-op support right out of the box. If anything, it would be far more preferable to all of the PvP spin-off modes that have been produced.
Multiple Choices and Endings
Resident Evil 7 offered the choice of curing either Mia or Zoe, which could alter the fates of both and somewhat change the ending. While not an earth-shattering choice (especially since Mia canonically survives anyway), it was still fairly important and could influence the narrative. With Village skipping out on these kinds of choices, it would be interesting to see if Resident Evil 9 went back to them, perhaps offering multiple endings as well. If rumors of it being the last numbered entry in the series are true, that it wouldn’t be so bad to have it end in different ways, perhaps setting up other titles in the process.
Of the many things that could add replay value to a game, a randomizer is perhaps the most intriguing. By mixing up the locations of different items and weapons, it has the potential to significantly disrupt a typical play session. While mods have added randomizer modes to past Resident Evil titles, there hasn’t been an official version of this included in any of the games till date. Imagine if Resident Evil 9 had a randomizer mode while also utilizing the system of unlocks from Village.
Proper VR Support
One of the most fun (and scary) parts of Resident Evil 7: biohazard was playing the game in VR. The environments and slower pacing made for the perfect VR horror experience. It was kind of a bummer not seeing a VR mode for Resident Evil Village (never say never, of course) but also somewhat understandable. With the technology having improved steadily over the years and the PlayStation VR 2 on the horizon, it would be nice to see Resident Evil 9 having some kind of VR support.