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Courtesy: Capcom

This week's biggest release is "Resident Evil Village," the latest in gaming's most popular horror series. In the new one, players must explore a creepy town and battle its monstrous citizens.

Driving the news: We asked the "RE: Village" producer Tsuyoshi Kanda about how the team figures out how scary their games should be.

Instilling fear in the player is not the only goal: "When we develop a new 'Resident Evil' game, our goal is not always to make it scarier than the previous title, but find a balance to deliver a scary but fun experience for players."

  • For 2017's "Resident Evil 7," they knew they needed to get scarier: "For [that game] our primary focus was returning to our roots and looking back at the original 'Resident Evil' and assessing why it gave birth to the genre of survival horror. We drew heavy inspiration from the first title and wanted to reimagine that level of horror with modern technology. We wanted to place players in very tight spaces, as if the walls of the Baker mansion were closing in on them."
  • The horror works differently in the new one: "For 'Resident Evil Village,' we took an entirely different approach with the openness of the village and players not knowing what might be lurking beyond the trees."
  • In fact, maybe they did overdid it with RE7: "Some of the feedback we received regarding [RE7] that it was too scary to play. In one regard, that’s exactly what we were striving for, so it's a huge compliment for us. But at the same time, it's always our goal to create something that anybody can feel comfortable jumping in and playing, so we eased up on the tension curve [in RE Village] relative to 'Resident Evil 7: Biohazard,' so that players aren't in constant fear."

The bottom line: The big lesson is that players shouldn't be scared all the time.

  • "Something we also always have to pay attention to is the tension curve," Kanda said. "We also find that people grow immune to fear if they're consistently pitted up against a tense situation or environment."
  • "Those moments of solace act as a buffer to make sure that people aren't completely desensitized to the horror. The save rooms that you often see in many 'Resident Evil' games is a great example of that, where players can take a deep breath and know that they are safe."

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Celebrities are America's new politicians

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Launching gubernatorial bids, making presidential endorsements, founding schools: Celebrities are getting increasingly involved in U.S. public and political life.

Why it matters: As we've reported, politics is no longer just the purview of career politicians, as companies and their CEOs throw their weight around to affect policies. Now, movie stars, famous musicians and professional athletes also are using their influence in politics.