Before we get started, I would like to state that the views of this article only reflect my own and not the views of the other Source Gaming team members. With that being said, I’d like to present the case for why Resident Evil (biohazard) 7’s Cloud Version for Nintendo Switch is a good idea and practice.
Before listing out why I think this is a good idea, there needs to be a history lesson on Resident Evil 7 itself. Resident Evil 7 was a game developed and published by CAPCOM, releasing on January 24th, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox ONE, and PC. Based on the official English website for the game, it is stated that Resident Evil 7 was developed with the new RE Engine.
“The RE Engine was specifically designed with the development of RESIDENT EVIL 7 in mind. With this engine, we can produce photorealistic results and display objects of various textures, right down to the smallest of details. RESIDENT EVIL 7 is only the first step on the path to creating more photorealistic games and immersive worlds.”
Although the Switch would be releasing two months after the game is released, there wasn’t mention of the game coming to Nintendo Switch – until the Games Creator Conference 2017 in Japan. Based on an article from Nintendo Everything that interpreted the session between Nintendo’s Masaru Mitsuyoshi and CAPCOM’s Masaru Ijuin, we learned that CAPCOM had originally approached Nintendo in regards to increasing the amount of main memory available so it matches closer to the current gen consoles’. This was asked so that CAPCOM could be able to bring the RE Engine to the Nintendo Switch, the engine used to develop Resident Evil 7. Although the memory was made to reach expectations, the issue now arose with having the engine able to respond to being playable in docked mode and playable in portable mode. Jumping to this year, Biohazard 7 cloud version was announced on the official Biohazard YouTube channel on March 20th.
With this announcement, KawlunDram and I had a discussion of whether this is not only a good practice but also a good business decision. As he is against the idea entirely, he’ll be detailing all of his personal arguments against the game in this article and I will convey all the arguments for this game in this article.
To start off, I think it’s fair to assume that laziness wasn’t the cause of this decision. It wouldn’t make sense for CAPCOM to request for Nintendo to make their hardware optimizable for the Switch – and then not take advantage for it. Ijuin stated that the main development issue in regards to a Switch version would be having the RE Engine work in both docked and portable mode. Until we have an official word from CAPCOM and considering the fact that it has been a bit over a year since this statement, I think it would be safe to assume that they couldn’t get the game to work in both modes.
In order to enjoy this game, you’ll always need to be connected to an internet connection or wired LAN connection. Although this game does cost 2,000 yen for you play in full, you will be able to play the game for 15 minutes, for free. On the Japanese website for the game, it states that an internet connection of “802.11ac 5GHz” is recommended. This will allow you to test whether the cloud version will not only be something you should sink your money into but if you’ll be able to run the game from your internet connection at home or other sources. Now although you’ll only be able to test this for 15 minutes, if the game works in a way that each account on your Switch has its own save data or if deleting and redownloading the game restarts your 15-minute trial – then you could test out how well the game runs on different connections.
With the design of the Switch not being similar to that of a phone, where it can seamlessly connect to different wifi sources while also having a 4G or 3G connection, this goes against the purpose of the Nintendo Switch. Your best bet would be to stick to one singular connection and lay in that area. However, if there is an auto-save system within the game to ensure that massive amounts of gameplay aren’t lost in the case of a connection loss, then you would be able to play the game outside of just one environment. Going based on New York City, there are wi-fi signals within train stations, on buses, and if you already have one in your phone plan – a mobile hotspot. I’m not completely knowledgeable of how the wi-fi infrastructure of Japan is, but if it is similar to New York’s – there can still be that sense of portability for the player.
Building off of the last point, it is important to remember that this game is currently only listed for Japan. Although the Switch is a region-free console, it isn’t completely the fault of CAPCOM if the game were to be downloaded and played worldwide. This is why in the case of this game does get released outside of Japan, CAPCOM should have servers open for other regions. This could allow for players of other regions to be able to play the game, without worry for the loss of connection when trying to connect to servers that are on the other side of the globe. Not only that but with the testing of such an idea in a closed market, it can serve as a way to determine if a practice like this should continue. If other games that may not be capable of natively running on the Switch, like Monster Hunter World or maybe even Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV, could instead be streamed and played for fans to enjoy. However, a change in the service would be a better solution with that. Instead of making the game available for 180 days, let the consumer pay for it at a full price and always have access to it from then on.
Lastly, it is important to mention that the game was developed on the RE Engine. The English website stated, “With this engine, we can produce photorealistic results and display objects of various textures, right down to the smallest of details.” Would this really be possible with the Nintendo Switch? Yes, we have games like Skyrim on the Switch, but that is a game originally from 2011 on the Creation Engine. Time has passed since then and although the Creation Engine was updated in its use for Fallout 4, RE Engine was created and used for its first game that was only released one year ago. If the goal is to have Nintendo Switch owners experience the game, the same way other players already have on their home consoles, then providing them with that over an internet connection probably was the best solution that CAPCOM saw.
I personally will be trying my hand at Resident Evil 7 Cloud Version and I hope that you will also test it out and see if it is worth your money. However, it is best for you to take into account the cons of this service as well. I advise you to check out KawlunDram’s article on the situation, where he argues against Resident Evil 7 Cloud Version.