The lights are on
Resident Evil 7 marks a new chapter for the franchise, but that doesn't mean it abandons its roots. In many ways, it feels like classic Resident Evil, but from a modern perspective. We talk about those aspects in detail here, but there is another way 7 connects to the larger Resident Evil franchise: its story.
Resident Evil 7 takes place in the canonical Resident Evil storyline. Its ties are subtle, but they do exist. Below, you will find a list (with screens) of everything we saw that ties 7 to the chronicle of a little company called Umbrella and its efforts to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry. Note that there are major spoilers for Resident Evil 7 ahead, so if you don't want to see them, make sure to shield your eyes.
These are mostly presented in order of discovery, save for the content on page two of this article, which you can find before the end of the game.
In the Bakers' living room you will find a box of books, one of which is called The Unveiled Abyss by Clive R. O'Brian. O'Brian is the director of the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) and is featured predominantly in Resident Evil: Revelations.
The main entryway of the house, next to the first shadow puzzle and the shotgun is a newspaper. It features an article written by Alyssa Ashcroft, a writer for the Racoon Press. She appears in Resident Evil Outbreak and its sequel, Outbreak File #2.
In that same room you can find a lovely photograph of the Arklay Mountains from 1991. The events of the first Resident Evil took place in a mansion in the Arklay mansions in 1998, so this photo was taken before all that scary stuff happened.
Fast-forwarding a bit, while exploring the crashed tanker boat in the swamp you can find this magazine, which mentions Racoon City and notes that even 16 years after the events of Resident Evil 2, the city is still struggling. Factoring the three years between the boat crashing and Ethan going after Mia, you can extrapolate that the events of Resident Evil 7 take place about 19 years after Resident Evil 2, depending on how current the magazine was when it was brought on the boat.
During the game's final confrontation, when all hope seems lost, a powerful gun, the Albert-01, appears. It looks a lot like Albert Wesker's customized 9mm Beretta 92F, the Samuari Edge, and it's very powerful.
After defeating the final boss, a handful of characters in SWAT gear descend from a helicopter. One of them walks up to you, takes off his mask, and says, "I'm Redfield." It's worth noting he doesn't say Chris Redfield, he just says Redfield, Maybe he's a relative?
Edit: In the game's credits, Redfield's voice actor, David Vaughn, is credited as playing Chris Redfield, so that answers that question.
As a point of visual comparison, here's Chris Redfield's most recent incarnation from the movie Resident Evil: Vendetta.
Redfield is shown one more time after the credits in a tease for some upcoming free DLC, Not A Hero, which is coming in Spring.
The game ends with Redfield's helicopter flying off to safety with Ethan (and maybe Mia depending on your ending) on board. As it flies off, though, a giant Umbrella logo is revealed, which raises many complicated questions. Normally, the logo is colored red, but here it is colored blue.
Those are the overt references to the larger Resident Evil universe, but on page two you can see a pair of documents that have the potential to offer more connections.
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