Capcom has announced Resident Evil 7 for Switch, which would be a huge addition to the Nintendo console’s third-party library if not for a giant catch: it’s a Japan-only release for now, and more importantly it doesn’t run on the Switch hardware at all. Biohazard 7 Resident Evil Cloud Version (yes) works by streaming the game from Capcom’s servers to your Switch — the same way cloud gaming services like PlayStation Now and GeForce Now operate.
The game will be released on Thursday and costs 2,000 yen ($18) for a 180-day “ticket;” there’ll also be a free 15-minute demo. The cloud version includes all the game’s DLC, and since it’ll presumably be running on high-end PCs, it should end up looking better than the Switch hardware would be able to handle — at least if you have a good enough connection. On the other hand, you’re obviously going to have a tough time playing this version outside of the house, which would be one of the main reasons to want a Switch version of Resident Evil 7 in the first place.
This isn’t a totally novel idea for the Japanese market. Square Enix’s Dragon Quest X MMO has a cloud streaming version for 3DS and smartphones, and there are also cloud-powered mobile versions of games like Final Fantasy XIII. Sega’s Phantasy Star Online 2 for Switch works the same way. But Resident Evil 7 is an unusual pick for this type of release. The graphical downgrade required to make it run in VR doesn’t seem like it’d be beyond the Switch’s capabilities, and Capcom has already ported the Revelations games to the system. Why not make a “real” version?
No word on a Western release for this — it looks like the Japanese version won’t have any other language options, and it might not be possible to stream from foreign locations. In any case, Capcom is likely treating this release as an experiment.