We are family! (Case Study: Resident Evil 7)

by Arno Görgen

The game begins with a cutscene that has the feel of a video recording: a woman, Mia, stands on a ship against the railings and cheerily greets her husband. She tells him that she is there working as a babysitter. The video cuts off abruptly; we see dirtied hands in a dark room tampering with an old laptop. A new video appears on the screen, showing the same woman again, but this time she is upset and afraid. Her last sentence is: “…if you get this, stay away.” In the next shot, we see a bird’s eye view of a car driving through a rural area and overhear a telephone conversation. In it, Ethan explains that his wife Mia has contacted him after three years and that he is now on his way to Dulvey, Louisiana to pick her up. There, he finds an abandoned house in the swamps.

Game name: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard [hereinafter RE7].
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Director: Koshi Nakanishi
Narrative Consultant: Richard Pearsey (first western writer of a RE game)
Year of release: 2017
Platform: Windows; Xbox One; PlayStation 4; Nintendo Switch (for the analysis, the PS4 version was played)
Setting: Horror
Genre (ludic): Action-Adventure
Gameplay: Stealth; Survival;

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Avec les anges si purs / La mer / Bergère d’azur, infinie (BioShock 2)

by Eugen Pfister

The futuristic city of Rapture, which is the size of Manhattan, lies several thousand metres below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, hidden from the eyes of the world. Built on the initiative of a visionary private investor shortly after the Second World War, the city’s gigantic glass and steel structures and elaborate neon signs bear witness to unimaginably advanced engineering and former wealth. By the end of the 1960s however, Rapture is almost completely deserted. Much of the city has been lost, lying in rubble on the ocean floor. A few neighbourhoods, though, still show signs of partial life: light attests to a working power supply, fresh oxygen continues to be pumped through the alleys and streets. Here, in the Atlantic Express Depot, I find a tape recorder on a fallen filing cabinet beside a packet of industrial rivets. I play it and hear a woman’s voice, pleasant and sonorous, with a deliberate enunciation to each word  – Dr Sofia Lamb.“In ethical psychiatry, we must account for the role of evolution. Depression, fits of panic, sexual pathos — all responses to ancient selection pressure. The irony is that this theory is why Ryan’s people invited me here. They mistake my study of natural law for the worship of competition. Remember, Eleanor — one must know the beast before it can be slain.” Before I can even finish listening to the tape, I hear the confused voice of a young woman from the neighbouring workshop: “H-hello? Is there someone in the hall? Moments later, crazed mutated Splicers descend upon me. These are grotesquely mutated people, their faces disfigured by bulging growths, their limbs strangely asymmetrical. I shoot two with my rivet gun, another I pierce with my drill. All this in brutal contrast to the voice I have just heard.

Name: Bioshock 2
Developer: 2K Marin
Publisher: 2K Games
Lead Design: Jordan Thomas
Year of release: 2010
Platform: Xbox360, Windows, Mac OS, Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Setting: retrofuturism, alternate timeline, science Fiction
Genre (ludic): First Person Shooter

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We are family! (Fallstudie 41: Resident Evil 7)

von Arno Görgen

Das Spiel beginnt mit einer Cutscene im Look einer Videoaufnahme: Eine Frau, Mia, grüßt glücklich ihren Ehemann Ethan von der Reling eines Schiffes aus. Sie erzählt, dass sie dort einen Babysitterjob erledige. Das Video bricht ab; man sieht in einem dunklen Raum schmutzige Hände, die sich an einem alten Laptop zu schaffen machen. Ein neues Video beginnt, darin ist die gleiche Frau wieder zu sehen, dieses Mal ist sie jedoch aufgeregt und ängstlich. Ihr letzter Satz: „Wenn dich dies erreicht, such mich nicht.“ In der nächsten Einstellung sieht man aus Vogelperspektive ein Auto durch eine ländliche Gegend fahren, während man einem Telefongespräch lauscht. Darin erklärt Ethan, seine Frau Mia habe sich nach drei Jahren bei ihm gemeldet, er fahre sie jetzt in Dulvey, Louisiana abholen. Ethan findet dort ein scheinbar verlassenes Anwesen in den Sümpfen vor.

Spielname: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard [im folgenden RE7]
Entwickler: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Director: Koshi Nakanishi
Narrative Consultant: Richard Pearsey (erster westlicher Autor eines RE-Spiels)
Erscheinungsjahr: 2017
Plattform: Windows; Xbox One; Playstation 4; Nintendo Switch (für die Analyse wurde die PS4-Fassung gespielt)
Setting: Horror
Genre (ludisch): Action-Adventure
Gameplay: Stealth; Survival;

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