Yesterday I played the new Resident Evil 7 Lantern demo, today I talked to producer Masachika Kawata (via a translator). He's got a long history with the series, having worked with it since the first game, as well as other Capcom classics like Dino Crisis (Jurassic Resi, basically). So he knows things.
I tried to get him to tell me those things.
"We still have notes and things that you find like the old games as you explore the environment, but these found footage tapes are a new angle. They let you explore the backstory of what’s actually happening in this place, but giving you a direct experience as you become the character in the tape. So you can see different angles of the storyline and little different horror experiences that you might get in the main game. They’re very much a compliment to the existing note/file/exploration stuff. The tapes aren’t just strictly a sequenced number of events in one separate story. They’re kind of a fragmented way for you to pick up storyline and background details".
"Yeah, they’re set in and around the same plantation house area that the main game takes place in. And they’ll also give you a little preview sometimes, where you’ll see an area in a tape first and that gives you hints of what’s going to happen to the main character through the other character's eyes. Then, maybe later, the main character will come to place you saw on tape and you’ll think 'this is the place. I saw what went down here before'".
"We’ve kind of plucked sequences for the demos to illustrate different parts of the game but they don’t necessarily show that the game is going to be a sequence of short areas with different gamesplays per se. You’re right in saying one element [of each demo] is a hide and seek horror, the other is more exploration. The full game is more a combination and mixture of those as you progress".
"We’ve been asked so much about this. We’ve been blown away by how much people’s imaginations have been fired by this finger. And, who knows, maybe in the near future you might find some new details about the finger. So keep your eyes and ears open".