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'Resident Evil 7: Biohazard' may see the return of a classic villain

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a radical departure for the horror series, eschewing its most recent action-heavy gameplay as well as the protagonists fans have expected to see since the series first began in 1996. But it appears that at least one familiar face will be returning for the scare-fest, and it’s a character we didn’t expect to ever see again.

Warning: Spoilers for Resident Evil 5 to follow!

In a recent interview with Game Informer, Resident Evil 7 producer Masachika Kawata was adamant that the game isn’t a reboot for the series, though its first-person perspective and renewed emphasis on terror could leave one to think that.

“If you look at just the gameplay that’s been shown so far, you may think of it as a reboot at first, but the story and narrative have shaped up to fit the series as a numbered title,” Kawata said.

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Just how will it connect to the previous games? If a recent datamine of the Resident Evil 7 demo is to be believed, it will see the return of antagonist Albert Wesker. His last name is never mentioned directly in the code, but his first name is mentioned repeatedly and one of the files contains the line “LastBossGetAlbert.”

This would seem unlikely from a narrative perspective, as Wesker turned into a giant monster and was then blown to bits with a rocket launcher at the end of Resident Evil 5, but in a world filled with mutating pseudo-zombies, chainsaw-wielding maniacs, and Jill sandwiches, anything could be possible.

Wesker could be joined by another returning character, as well. Back in October, the Resident Evil Twitter account released a short video containing a female voice — though it’s not immediately clear if it belongs to a previously seen character or someone created specifically for the new game.

For more on Resident Evil 7, check out our own interview with Kawata at PlayStation Experience 2016. The game is out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on January 24, 2017.