The Baker family aren’t your typical Resident Evil villains. The morbid, twisted motley crew of shared DNA are a world away from the shade wearing, mutating antics of the devious Albert Wesker or for that matter, anything you’ve ever encountered before in the series. Although their actions are despicable and heinous they at least appear human right, but are they? and where do they fit into the series?
When you think of its location and its antagonists, Resident Evil 7‘s Beginning Hour might appear to be a weird and macabre concoction of P.T meets the infamous Sawyer Family. A more thorough examination shows the Baker family to share very similar traits to that of the sadistic, cannibalistic all American family.
First up there’s the games location, a large dilapidated farmhouse that sits atop an even larger plantation in rural southern America. The Sawyer family resided in a rural Texas, where its family members would work at the local abattoir killing animals for their meat, often bringing their kill home with them until the abattoir was eventually closed down. But when the meat ran dry, the twisted family began to crave a different kind of meat and would perform despicable and evil acts to get it. Within the Beginning Hour, animal carcases are visible throughout the interior of the farmhouse but featuring more prominently towards the back door where the player character locates the bolt cutters to access the V/H/S tape. Dead animals can also be found inside the kitchen area, with a dead raven or crow lying inside a microwave, while cooking pots are bristling with either rotting animal or human flesh.
Aside from the obvious dead animal fetish, the family consists of Jack Baker, his wife Marguerite Baker, their son Lucas Baker and another child, we have yet to be introduced to. From what we’ve seen of him so far the demeaning father of the family appears to be as demented, deluded and psychotic as that of Drayton Sawyer, the eldest brother of the Sawyer family. Then there’s Marguerite who portrays herself to be a heavily unhinged individual, constantly shouting throughout the latest trailer like a crazed lunatic. Lucas, like much of the younger siblings of the Sawyer family, is both verbally and physically abused by his bully of a father. In the trailer we see Jack lose his patience with his young offspring, slicing his arm severely in the process while another unknown individual sits head tilted back and motionless in what appears to be a bed robe. In truth, the whole grisly dinner scene is oddly reminiscent of a significant moment towards the conclusion of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when the family attempts to get a comatose Grandpa Sawyer to brutally murder the unfortunate Sally Hardesty with a mallet, despite appearing to be barely breathing himself.
In the latest bizarre trailer, the Baker family is attempting to feed the games protagonist Ethan human flesh. Of course, this could just be animal meat but I would bank my life on human flesh. Why? we don’t yet know. All we know about the Baker family is that they disappeared back in 2014 for reasons unknown, leaving their Louisana farmhouse abandoned. Over the years that passed, residents in the area would see family members in and around the plantation, prompting locals to believe the house to be haunted. The farmhouse would become known as the “Dulvey Haunted House”, which would lead presenter Pete, cameraman Clancy and producer Andre to the location to investigate the house which we see in Beginning Hour.
Forget your lickers , giant cobras or executioners. Whatever way you perceive the Baker family, they will be like no enemy you will have ever faced in a Resident Evil game because this is no ordinary Resident Evil game. A large percentage of the series, fans have been left disappointed and mystified at the route Capcom appear to be taking. After the somewhat mixed reception predecessor Resident Evil 6 received after its release in 2012, they have the right to feel slightly aggrieved, it’s a fan’s right. Despite its obvious capability to scare us with a family consisting of inhumane, sadistic individuals, the return of item management and those little green herbs, this isn’t Raccoon City, you won’t play as Leon S Kennedy with players thrown into a first-person perspective instead of the over the shoulder camera angles we’ve come accustom to with Resident Evil 4, etc. It doesn’t feel like a Resident Evil game in any way shape or form but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a successful return to the much-beloved series does it?
Capcom Unity has insisted that the latest chapter in the series will follow directly on from the conclusion of Resident Evil 6 and that it will not consist supernatural elements with the games director Kōshi Nakanishi claiming, “we haven’t just thrown out Resident Evil as it exists and turned it into a ghost story. It will all make sense in the end“. While I don’t doubt that the developer will find a way to tie the 2 games together it still takes nothing away from the feeling players have been receiving while experiencing the demo, after all, a demo is a taste of what’s to come. After the mishaps of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and Umbrella Corps we deserve a great Resident Evil game to sink our teeth into and biohazard could yet turn out to be the game to atone for past errors, whether it feels like your typical Resident Evil title or not.
With Beginning Hour, Capcom has done an exceptional job of drip-feeding players information about what could be included in the full game when it releases January 24th, 2017. Resident Evil will always contain mind racking puzzles, iconic firearms such as handguns and ammo boxes, they remain staple features of the series and through the demo, those features have begun to appear but quite how the demonic family play into the series and come together with the disappointing sixth installment remains to be seen. The more I play through the short teaser demo, the more I learn about biohazard and its inhabitants it seems Capcom are pulling away from what we have come to know and love but that doesn’t make Resident Evil 7 any less scary a game, in fact, it could quite possibly become the game we’ve been longing for and with VR in mind, most likely to be the messiest one yet.
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