Shacknews - Cassidee Moser

A few weeks ago, Capcom revealed Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, an all-new entry in the seminal survival horror franchise. To coincide with the announcement, a playable demo called Beginning Hour was free to download for all PS4 owners.

Early impressions of the demo were straightforward; it was relatively brief, easily beaten in about 10-15 minutes, with a handful of teases thrown in for good effect.

But like Konami’s infamous Silent Hills tie-in P.T., the demo for Resident Evil 7 had many, many secrets tucked away within the dilapidated walls of the mansion in which it’s set. There were mystery doors, several items with no apparent purpose, hints scattered throughout the environment, and tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it clues giving fans an idea of what they could expect from the eventual release of Resident Evil 7.

Much of it has yet to be confirmed, but the mystery surrounding the many aspects of the demo have led people to message boards and forums to share their theories and speculation (particlularly Reddit). Some are completely valid, while others are so outlandishly crazy they might just be true. We’ll let you be the judge.

*Demo Spoilers Ahead*

The RE7 demo starts with you playing as an unknown protagonist waking up on the filthy floor of a seemingly abandoned house. We’re given no clues as to who this person is, why they’re there, or what has happened in the home. All we know is it’s messed up.

The house is seemingly falling apart. Paint and wallpaper are peeled off the walls, sections of drywall are missing, blood and viscera are streaked across the floor, half-rotten mystery animal corpses are squished against the side of a wall near the back door, and spoiled food can be found scattered around the kitchen.

As you walk around, you discover items that eventually lead to you finding a VHS tape. Pop it into the VCR in the living room, and you’ll be transported into a found footage section starring three unknown men approaching the same house in the demo for a show they’re filming. Naturally, things go horribly wrong after they’ve entered, and the tape ends with the discovery of one of the men’s corpses and the footage being cut out and losing signal.

Do some more walking around, and eventually you’ll get one of two endings. You’ll find a key to the back door and attempt to go out, or you’ll find your way to the attic and take a cryptic phone call from a mysterious woman. Either way, both demos end with the player character being greeted by a bearded, bloodstained man spawning behind them and yelling “Welcome to the family, son!” before delivering a knockout blow to the face. Cut to black, and that’s the end of the demo.

Seems straightforward, right? It is, but like The Stanley Parable, there’s more to it, depending on what you do and where you go.

Items

Several items can be picked up in the demo, although some of them do not yet have any apparent use. However, that hasn’t prevented anyone from forming theories and spending hours attempting to interact with every inch of the environment.

Bolt cutters - These are used to open the chain locking the cabinet door shut in the hallway leading up the stairs. Once this cabinet has been opened, you’ll find the dilapidated VHS copy to watch in the VCR in the living room. This VHS is the one showing the ill-fated expedition those three men went on in the past.

VHS tape - put it in, and you’ll find yourself transported to a whole new found-footage section of the game taking place prior to your current position. 

Dummy Finger - This one has legitimately stumped many avid RE7 players. There is an object in the small cabinet at the foot of the stairs called the dummy finger. It’s a grossly discolored finger apparently belonging to a dummy, although there’s no apparent use to it at all.

In fact, those who signed up for the ambassador’s program for RE 7 were sent an email more or less confirming more regarding the Dummy Finger would be revealed at another time. Based on the position of where the finger is pointing and the blood stain lies (as well as the date written on the calendar), it’s likely we’ll see a part two to this demo utilizing the unusable items found within Beginning Hour.

(*NOTE: There are some who have seen the finger rotate on its own while in close-up view mode, freezing in place like it’s pointing in a general direction. Many have written this off as nothing more than a silly bug, however, so it’s very possible there’s little to no purpose behind the finger’s sporadic movement.)

Backdoor key - The backdoor key opens the backdoor. Nothing too surprising or unusual here, but it should be noted that attempting to leave the backdoor will result in Family Man catching up to you.

Fuse - After activating the hidden doorway, you’ll find a fuse resting on the table near the pit where our friends in the video footage met their doom. Put this in the missing slot in the fuse box near the living room, and you’ll power the red “stairs” button on the second floor. This lowers the staircase leading to the attic, where you’ll receive several phone calls and eventually come to meet Family Man in the same punch-face scenario.

Axe - After picking up the lockpick on the floor next to the microwave in the video sequence, the drawers in the cabinet directly across the room can be unlocked and opened. There’s nothing in there in the video segment, but re-visit it later, and you’ll find an axe that can be picked up and brandished as a weapon.

There’s not much that can be done with it, however; some of the boxes and creepy mannequins in the attic can be chopped apart, but that appears to be about it. Not even Family Man can be harmed by it. Perhaps it will make more sense if there’s a second demo incoming.

Mysteries

Sure, there are spooky hillbillies hiding out in this house, but let’s not forget the myriad unsolved mysteries contained within.

Ghost Girl - During the VHS video segments, there’s a chance you’ll encounter the ghost of a young woman in one of seven locations. It’s only for a fraction of a second, but she’s definitely there, watching our ill-fated heroes as they investigate the house. Who is she? Where did she come from? We still have no idea, although it seems like there will be some occult and paranormal elements to Resident Evil 7. Never fear, though; this will still very much be about zombies

Phone Calls - Once you’ve activated the staircase and made your way upstairs, the phone will ring. Once answered, you’ll hear a woman’s voice deliver a cryptic message.There are three different messages the player can get:-”I know who you are. Memories hold the truth. Don’t let appearances mislead you.”-”I know who you are. You have the power to choose. But the outcome of that choice may not be what you expect.”-”I know who you are. You will have to say goodbye eventually. But will you be ready?” Theories suggest these messages hint at the content of the demo itself; the memories of games past, the ability to choose which ending to trigger in the demo, the eventual notion of having to completely finish the demo and walk away until there’s more content to dig through. It’s a bit of a stretch, but then, who knows?

The Attic Door - There’s a boarded-up door in the attic at the end of a short hallway that has occasionally glitched out for a handful of players and revealed a room behind it. It cannot be opened in any way during the Beginning Hour demo, so this is likely just a glitch. But, the door is ominously lit and highlighted like there’s something important to remember about it.

Photo - In the attic, there’s a photo next to the phone depicting a helicopter with what looks like the Umbrella Corporation logo painted on the side. On the back of the photo is a short message reading “Are they watching us from the helicopter?” Any attempts to find a helicopter in the sky, however, have proven unsuccessful in the demo itself, so it’s likely this is just a tease to confirm Umbrella is once again up to no good.

Textures - There are a handful of mysterious-looking textures on display in the house, including what looks like an upwards-pointing arrow scratched deep into the surface of some of the bookshelves and four stars on the floor of the kitchen. It’s possible these are just randomly-placed textures in the environment that have been given deeper meaning, but there are some who theorize the four stars represent Resident Evil characters Jill, Barry, Chris, and Rebecca. The arrows themselves point upward toward the ceiling, and it doesn’t appear there’s anything to interact with beyond that.

Mannequins - There’s a trio of creepy mannequins in the attic who start off with their backs to you, but then turn around once the staircase button has been activated. A fourth will then spawn behind you out of nowhere. There doesn’t appear to be any real purpose to the mannequins other than being very, very unsettling.

Voodoo Dolls - In one of the rooms on the main floor, there are seven crudely made voodoo dolls strung up to the ceiling. Seven is a running theme throughout the demo; there are seven locations where the ghost girl will appear, a “7” scrawled in red marker on the box beneath the television, and these seven dolls, among others. Which is probably insignificant on its own other than tying into the title of the game.

However, the dolls may be more than just creepy set dressing like the mannequins. Reddit user sheebz91 has a theory tying together the cryptic phone calls to a Louisiana Voodoo ritual. It’s definitely a long shot, but there’s enough to go on here that it’s at least an interesting theory:

Growls - There’s a point toward the end of the demo where walking past a door will trigger the horrible sounds of a growling creature. You can’t interact with it, although it’s possible these noises are coming from the zombie-like creature spotted in one of the final frames at the horrific end of the VHS footage.

Beginning Hour - So, what exactly does “Beginning Hour” mean? We know for a fact this demo will not be in the core game of Resident Evil 7 and stands on its own. But, could this be the precursor to the events leading to the original Resident Evil? Or, is this merely called the Beginning Hour because it’s the first glimpse we’ve had of the game?

Story Theories

Although we don’t have much to go on based on this demo, there are still many theories and estimations to be found. Some theorize this takes place before the series’ official start, while others see it as a sequel to the events of Resident Evil 6. Here are some of the story speculations that tend to be the most popular.

Resident Evil 7 is all about The Family: It’s possible this demo heavily focuses on The Family, a shadowy organization from the previous Resident Evil games. The heavily mentioned “family” heard consistently throughout in both the game and the promotional material overwhelmingly suggests this possibility, although it’s difficult to tell exactly how everything ties in.

Humble Beginnings: It’s also possible Resident Evil 7 goes way, way back to the Arklay Mountains outside of Raccoon City, where everything started. But, it’s unclear exactly whether or not the climate and environment surrounding the house matches that of the Arklay Mountains.

Sweet Home: RE7 may be returning to even deeper roots than originally imagined, since it appears to be borrowing elements from the old Famicom horror game Sweet Home, the same game that heavily influenced the events of Resident Evil. Beginning Hour focuses on three men in a film crew, much like Sweet Home’s documentary crew sent to look for the paintings of a famous artist. Sweet Home focused on a vengeful and mournful ghost who kept the protagonists captive in her home; although we never interact with her, there’s very clearly a paranormal presence in the house here taking the shape of a young woman. Sweet Home’s story focused on a family torn apart by horrific circumstances when the mother loses her young son in a fire and eventually kills other children as a way to give her dead young one friends to play with.

Beginning Hour’s tragic tale isn’t quite as clear-cut as this one, but it does have some parallels. Once you’ve entered the house in the film, one of the film crew members mentions how the house was abandoned after a family went missing thanks to what they theorized was due to foul play. There’s also mention of a son named Lucas who is referred to as a “bad seed.” Is Lucas the infamous Family Man who punches you out at the endings of the demo? Or are there even darker things at play here? It’s hard to tell, but we’ll definitely learn more in the months leading up to Resident Evil 7’s release in early 2017.

Read our full Resident Evil 7 preview from E3 to learn more about why we see it as a new dawn for the franchise. 

Shacknews - David Craddock

Publisher Nexon Korea has announced the development of Project Dynasty Warriors, a game for iOS and Android platforms.

Slated for release later in 2016, Project Dynasty Warriors is a working title, and is being developed by XPEC Entertainment. The game is based on 2013's Dynasty Warriors 8, originally released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and later released on other platforms.

"Players will engage in the faction-based storyline and battle waves of warriors bent on crushing the enemies of their lords," according to a press release. "Project Dynasty Warriors will feature an enhanced collection element and a host of unique characters to choose from, along with the seamless gameplay mechanics and graphics of the console version, for players to dominate the battlefield."

Project Dynasty Warriors should not be confused with Dynasty Warriors 9, which is in development at Omega Force and will be published by Koei Tecmo.

Shacknews - David Craddock

The annual Evolution Champion Series (EVO) will host the Street Fighter 5 world championship, and ESPN will broadcast every dragon punch and corner trap (via GameSpot).

ESPN's announcement came via Twitter. Matches will be broadcast on ESPN2 and the network's WatchESPN streaming service. EVO emanates from Las Vegas between July 15-17 this year, and live coverage of the SF5 championship will kick off at 10p Eastern on Sunday, July 17, according to ESPN's statement.

"The Street Fighter V World Championship will be one of the must-see competitions from the Evo finals," said John Lasker, vice president of programming and acquisitions, ESPN Digital Media. "We are always exploring ways to serve the growing and passionate audience of competitive gaming, and we look forward to delivering this event to fans."

Airing SF5 matches represents the latest step in ESPN's effort to get more involved in the world of eSports. The network opened an eSports website earlier this year, and broadcast Blizzard's Heroes of the Dorm college tourney earlier this spring.

ESPN chose a great year to help fans unable to attend EVO follow SF5's championship action from afar. According to the network and representatives from EVO, this year's tournament has "seen unprecedented interest and popularity, breaking Evo's previous record for most entrants in a single game after just four days of registration."

Shacknews - John Keefer

Heroes of the Storm has been bringing new heroes to the Nexus from Blizzard's roster regularly, so it must be about time for some additions.

In the latest In Development blog post, Warcraft's Gul'dan and the angel Auriel from Diablo will be added soon. Each will be getting two additional skins: Master and Balespider for Gul'dan and Master and Demonic for Auriel. New skins for Arthas, Johanna, and  Li-Ming were also unveiled, along with five new mounts.

Theheroes are expected to be added in "the near future," and we can probably expect some word on the abilities before that. You can take a look at the video to get an idea of what talents they will bring to the game play.

Chromie was the last hero added back in May.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons-based MMO Neverwinter came to Xbox One in March, but fans of the franchise who owned PlayStation 4s have been waiting for publisher Perfect World to keep its promise that they would get the game. Now, it appears the wait is over. 

The game will be released on PS4 on July 19, but Perfect World is selling a Head Start pack for $19.99 that will let eager roleplayers into the game a week early on July 12, as well as provide additional in-game items including an Onyx weapon pack, a 20-pack of enchanted keys, and an Onyx Horse mount.

The game will include the previous nine expansions that had appeared on PC, as well as prep players for the 10th that will be coming later this year called Storm King’s Thunder. PC players will get that in August, but it won't come to console until some time later. Neverwinter has been optimized for the DualShock 4's touch pad and will have Party Chat integration.PlayStation Plus is not needed to play.

Shacknews - John Keefer

To say that the Diablo franchise is important to Blizzard is a severe understatement, so it should come as no surprise that the company is moving forward with the series in some way, shape or form following the huge success of Diablo 3 and it expansion, Reaper of Souls. Whether it will be a new expansion or Diablo 4, however, remains to be seen.

In a new posting found on the Blizzard job's page, the company is looking for a game director the lead the franchise. The previous game director for the franchise was Jay Wilson, who announced early last month that he was leaving the company to pursue his love of writing. Wilson had stepped aside from the series in 2013 to do other work within the company, and Joshua Mosqueira took over the franchise for Reaper of Souls and the subsequent patches. It is not clear if Mosquiera is moving on to a new project or how the transition would be handled.

Game director is not the only position Blizzard is hiring for to staff the unannounced project. In addition to the art director position they advertised for late last year, they are currently looking for a senior animator,  senior charcter and concept artists, and a senior VFX artist to satff their main office in Irvine, CA.

Shacknews - John Keefer

With a new month upon us, that means new DLC tracks for Rock Band 4, with the first up being song from the Pixies and Hinder.

Coming July 5, Hinder's "Lips of an Angel" and the Pixies' "Where is My Mind?" will be avaiulable for download for $1.99 each. In addition, Harmonix revealed the other DLC artists for July, including Bastille, Billy Joel, The Black Eyed Peas, Brian Setzer, Fuel and Third Eye Blind.  

The company has also opened up a Twitch studio, where they will have weekly streaming sessions, with the first stream starting on July 19.

Shacknews - John Keefer

If you had this sneaking suspicion that your skill rating on Overwatch control maps were not reacting correctly, it turns out you were correct. And Blizzard has hotfixed the issue.

Community manager Lylirra confirmed the news last night: "Last week, several players reported that wins and losses on Control maps (Ilios, Lijiang Tower, and Nepal) during Competitive Play were not correctly influencing Skill Ratings. The exact problem causing this to happen was identified early this morning, and we were able to develop a fix shortly after. That fix has now been implemented on PC and Xbox One in all gameplay regions (and will be in place when Competitive Play goes live on PlayStation 4)."

The bug was first mentioned by designer Scott Mercer earlier this week, then affirmed by game director Jeff Kaplan yeaterday. The bug apparently was a top priority, given how quickly it was fixed.

Competitive mode was officially launched earlier this week on PC and Xbox One, and will be coming to PlayStation 4 soon.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

The Force is strong in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and as you’d expect from another Lego game, there’s a lot of content packed into this game that fans of the films will certainly appreciate. If you have the time, and patience, you’ll need to play the game for quite some time before you can unlock everything the game has to offer.

Fortunately for you, you’ve come to the right place as we’ve recorded a ton of gameplay footage showing how to complete each level, compiled a number of hidden secrets and codes that can be use to unlock bonus content, and more.

So without further ado, check out all of the guide content we have for Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or else we’ll throw you into the sarlacc pit.

Chapters, Adventures, and DLC Levels

Unlockables

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

The Lego series has often included Red Bricks to allow players the opportunity to use them in order to earn gameplay extras or various cheats. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is no different as players will be able to discover Red Bricks throughout their adventure, and just like in previous titles, you’ll need to spend your hard-earned studs in order to use them.

A new Lego game means new Red Bricks to unlock, so let’s help you find all of them so you can get the most out of your game.

Red Brick Location #1: Fast Build (Prologue: The Battle of Endor)

  • This Red Brick can be seen off in the distance when BB-8 and Chewbacca are working together on top of a platform on a tree. Once Chewbacca pushes a Lego structure onto the ground, it breaks into pieces. He can then use it to build a ladder by holding left on your controller. Climb up and walk around a tree to pick up this Red Brick
  • Studs needed to unlock: 100,000

Red Brick Location #2: Stud Magnet (Chapter 1: Assault on Jakku)

  • In Assault on Jakku, you’ll head to the right of the map where a woman is complaining her electric door isn’t working. Walk past her to find a woman who needs a bit of target practice. Destroy everything surrounding her in order to find some pieces that create a Stormtrooper target. Build one to the left and one to the right. Once she destroys both, a Red Brick will become available.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 200,000

Red Brick Location #3: Fast Interact (Chapter 2: Escape from the Finalizer)

  • Progress through the level until you find a door that’s being blocked by a laser on the right side of the screen. Destroy all of the Lego structures in the area to discover some pieces that can be built in some different directions. Build the structure upwards first to build a bridge. Cross the bridge and you’ll find this Red Brick.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 200,000

Red Brick Location #4: Studs X8 (Chapter 3: Niima Outpost)

  • This Red Brick needs to be attempted in Free Play as the characters that are available in Story Mode are not able to access it. Once you start Free Play, you’ll need to select a character with a remote detonator, like Chewbacca. Progress through the map to the point where an agile character, like Rey, can slide underneath a large obstacle located in the middle of the stage. Once you pass, you’ll need to go to the far back portion of the map where you’ll see some silver rubble beyond where you can walk. Select Chewbacca, or another remote detonator using character, and blow up the silver rubble. After a short animation plays in the background, this Red Brick will float its way onto the level.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 4,000,000

Red Brick Location #5: Studs X2 (Chapter 4: The Eravana)

  • This Red Brick needs to be attempted in Free Play as the characters that are available in Story Mode are not able to access it. Shortly after completing the cover-based shooting scene, head to the room on the right and you’ll discover a wall that can be pulled via a rope. Switch to a character that has access to a rope to pull the handle, which will demolish the wall. Behind the wall is this Red Brick.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 1,000,000

Red Brick Location #6: Fast Force (Adventure Level 3: Rathtar Hunting)

  • This Red Brick needs to be attempted in Free Play as the characters that are available in Story Mode are not able to access it. You’ll come up to an area where two handles can be pulled by a strong character, like Chewbacca. Pull these handles and then jump on the bouncy plant and head to the cave on the left. Follow the path to find this Red Brick.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 200,000

Red Brick Location #7: Studs X6 (Chapter 5: Maz’s Castle)

  • This Red Brick needs to be attempted in Free Play as the characters that are available in Story Mode are not able to access it. Prior to heading into the castle, you’ll see a large cracked wall. Switch to a character who can destroy cracked Lego objects, like the Mantellian Savrip, to access this Red Brick.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 3,000,000

Red Brick Location #8: Destroy on Contact (Chapter 6: Battle of Takodana)

  • This Red Brick can be found during the X-Wing battle. Once you take control of Poe flying his X-Wing, turn the ship around and aim towards Maz’s Castle. You can find this Red Brick floating above the tallest structure from the castle
  • Studs needed to unlock: 200,000

Red Brick Location #9: Super Slap (Chapter 7: The Resistance)

  • Inside of building, you’ll come across a cracked Lego wall. Switch to a character who can destroy cracked Lego objects, like the Mantellian Savrip, although you’ll need to go the complete opposite way to even reach this Red Block as a passage for a small character will be made available. Change to a small character, like Maz, in order to make your way through. You’ll then find this Red Brick on the other side of the entrance.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 500,000

Red Brick Location #10: Studs X4 (Chapter 8: Starkiller Sabotage)

  • During your battle at the Starkiller base, you’ll come across a large metal door. To the left of that door is a platform with a Red Brick just sitting there all by itself. You’ll need to switch to an agile character, like Rey, to retrieve it. Double jump up to the platform and pick up this Red Brick.
  • Studs needed to unlock: 2,000,000

This guide is a work-in-progress, so please come back to learn where else you can find Red Blocks in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Alternatively, you can head back to our Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Guide Hub.

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