The Resident Evil Village limited-time demo is confusing, terrible marketing

During the Resident Evil Village Showcase April 2021 stream, the previously leaked gameplay demo was announced. I have an unabashed love for Resident Evil, so I was on a hair-trigger leading up to the showcase. Capcom did an excellent job with the Beginning Hour demo for RE7, and I hoped we’d see something similar with Resident Evil Village. I wasn’t a huge fan of the limited nature of the Resident Evil 2 one-shot demo. I thought Capcom had listened to the poor fan reaction to the time limit when the Resident Evil 3 demo allowed for unlimited plays. Unfortunately, for RE Village, things have swung in the opposite direction. The result is a confusing marketing blunder that has me wondering if anyone even discussed the plan for this demo release aloud before implementing it.

The Resident Evil Village One-Shot, Limited-Time, PlayStation-exclusive* demo

Resident Evil Village Demo Schedule

The time limit for the Resident Evil 2 One-Shot demo was a disappointment, but the rules were straightforward, and it released on all platforms simultaneously. You got to play for 30 minutes or until you reached the door in the library leading to the second floor of the RPD lobby. If you took less than 30 minutes to get through it, you got to restart and play again until you hit the 30-minute mark. It was available in the two weeks leading up to the full game’s launch, which means a ton of people got to try it out (5 million according to one Capcom report). People loved the RE2 demo, but it received massive criticism for being limited to 30 minutes of playtime.

Perhaps not realizing that the Resident Evil name and hype around the remake of one of its most popular entries is what led people to download the RE2 demo, Capcom has honed in on the limited-time aspect when releasing Resident Evil Village’s demo. In a stroke of bizarre marketing, the RE Village demo is being released in three waves.

Resident Evil Village All Platform Demo Schedule

The first two waves are PS4/PS5 early access exclusives. The Village and Castle gameplay demos are limited to 30 minutes of playtime each, and can only be played during a specific eight-hour period, one on April 18 from 8 pm to 4 am EDT, and the other on April 25 from 8 pm to 4 am. The third wave, which will be available on all platforms, combines the two demos and is limited to an hour of game time which must be started between May 1 at 8 pm EDT and May 2 at 8 pm EDT.

How does this make any sense? I’m no marketing maven, but limiting how long you can play the demo to 30 minutes and then forcing people to play it within an 8 hour timespan seems counter-intuitive. One or the other might instill the Fear of Missing Out on which sociopathic marketers thrive. However, both are just going to make people frustrated.

Having to plan your evening around playing a demo for 30 minutes is ridiculous, especially since PSN went down when the Maiden demo was released. Will we get an extension to the eight hours if that happens again, or will we have to hope it comes back up before the clock strikes four am and our PS5 changes back into a pumpkin?

Fortunately, we can at least preload the demo, and I am. Despite this weird, anti-consumer behavior, I’m a sucker for Resident Evil. However, I can’t say I’m not disappointed by Capcom disrespecting its fans’ time, and I really hope this poor marketing isn’t indicative of the quality of the game itself.