Resident Evil 7 Is Already Profitable Despite Risky Design

2017 is off to a strong start with several well-received games spanning a diversity of genres. Perhaps the most notable title is Resident Evil 7, a horror game with big ambitions and a lot to prove. While under a ton of pressure to perform, it has done just that, serving as a reminder of what Capcom can achieve when it's at its best.

Speaking during its recent investor Q&A, Capcom revealed that it has sold over 3 million copies of Resident Evil 7, a total large enough to deem the title financially profitable. The company reasonably expects the title to accumulate 4 million units sold within the fiscal year.

The 3 million sales milestone is a significant accomplishment given Resident Evil 7's bold risk-taking. Following middling reviews for Resident Evil 6, which was designed to capitalize on a surging interest in action games, Capcom dared to make the next title in the series appeal to the same senses as the original award-winning Resident Evil games, perhaps at the cost of mainstream appeal.

Resident Evil 7 emphasized atmosphere over action, horror over instant gratification, and concise delivery over an inflated feature set. All these things could be seen as a mistake for a mainstream developer, but Capcom thrived on it. The result was something that won over most game reviewers, and left a strong impression with consumers.

This type of risk-taking is uncommon in the current realm of gaming development. Risk aversion is a huge threat to new IP's and experimentation. Usually, we only see this kind of deviation from indie titles which have the benefit of far lesser development costs.

This is best demonstrated by looking at 2017's most anticipated games. Whether it be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Persona 5, Splatoon 2, or even Shenmue 3, developers and consumers alike gravitate toward the familiar. But there is some welcomed deviation if you look for it, such as the case of Prey, Horizon Zero Dawn, and For Honor.

With this success, other publishers will be encouraged to experiment for themselves. After all, even the safest of game releases (i.e. Call of Duty and Madden NFL) are currently down trending. This could become a new theme for the generation.

Capcom is currently working on post launch DLC for Resident Evil 7. It recently released story content that provided perspective on previously unplayable characters, in addition to challenge mode style content.