Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
|Resident Evil 7: Biohazard|
Windows, PS4, XB1|
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard[a] is a survival horror game developed and published by Capcom, released in January 2017 for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and in May 2018 for the Nintendo Switch in Japan. Diverging from the more action-oriented Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil 7 returns to the franchise's survival horror roots, emphasizing exploration. The player controls Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife in a derelict plantation occupied by a cannibal family, solving puzzles and fighting enemies. It is the first main series game to use a first-person view.
Resident Evil 7 is the first full-length game to use Capcom's in-house RE Engine. The development was led by Koshi Nakanishi, director of the 2012 Nintendo 3DS game Resident Evil: Revelations. It was presented as a virtual reality demo, Kitchen, a year prior to its announcement at E3 2016, and supports the PlayStation VR headset. Resident Evil 7 was considered a return to form for the series; critics praised the gameplay, graphics, and design, but criticized the boss battles and the final chapter. The PlayStation VR version received positive reviews, with some criticism including decreased resolution and physical discomfort. By March 2018, the game had sold over five million copies worldwide. Its initial release was followed by two downloadable scenarios, Not a Hero and End of Zoe.
The player controls Ethan Winters from a first-person perspective as he searches the Baker house for his missing wife. Although Ethan is a civilian with few combat skills, he is able to arm himself with a variety of different weapons including handguns, shotguns, flamethrowers, explosives and chainsaws against the Baker family and a humanoid form of fungus known as the "Molded". He can also block attacks to reduce damage. Various sections of the game are spent being pursued by members of the Baker family, who if engaged in combat, can only be temporarily incapacitated. However, these encounters are avoidable by means of stealth, or running away.
Unlike Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, the gameplay emphasizes horror and exploration over action. The inventory uses a grid-based system with an initial capacity of 12 slots, but may be expanded several times over the course of the game. An item can occupy up to two spaces, and four items may be assigned to the D-pad. Item boxes found in save rooms may also be used to manage and store items, and can be retrieved from different item boxes for later use. Items in the inventory can be used, examined, or combined with other items to increase their usefulness. Many of the game's puzzles require that items be examined under certain conditions in order to reveal secrets. Tape recorders can be used to manually save the game's progress, which, depending on the given difficulty level, may require the use of a cassette tape. Videotapes are scattered for Ethan to find, which place the player in the perspective of a different character, often revealing plot information or clues needed to solve a puzzle. The PlayStation 4 version is playable in virtual reality using the PlayStation VR headset.
In 2017, Ethan Winters is drawn to a derelict plantation in Dulvey, Louisiana, by a message from his wife, Mia, who has been presumed dead for three years. He finds Mia imprisoned in the basement of a seemingly abandoned house, but she becomes violent and attacks him, forcing him to kill her. After receiving a call from a woman named Zoe offering assistance, Ethan is attacked by a revived Mia, who cuts his hand off. Jack, the patriarch of the Baker family, captures Ethan. After Zoe reattaches his hand, Ethan is held captive by Jack, his wife Marguerite, their son Lucas, and an elderly woman who is using a wheelchair and is in a catatonic state. Ethan escapes but is pursued around the house by Jack, who has powerful regenerative abilities. In the basement, Ethan discovers reanimated monsters known as Molded. Zoe reveals that she is Jack's daughter, and that the family and Mia are infected, but can be cured with a special serum. Ethan makes his way to an old house to retrieve the serum ingredients, kills Marguerite, and has visions of a young girl. Lucas captures Zoe and Mia and forces Ethan to navigate a booby-trapped barn to find them. Ethan chases away Lucas and frees Zoe and Mia. Zoe develops two serum doses, but they are attacked by Jack, now heavily mutated; Ethan kills him using one of the serums.
Ethan must choose to cure either Mia or Zoe. Choosing Zoe leaves Mia heartbroken, despite Ethan's promise to send help. As he and Zoe flee on a boat, Zoe reveals that the Bakers were infected after Mia arrived with a young girl named Eveline when the wreck of a tanker ship washed ashore. Eveline stops their escape by psychically killing Zoe, and Ethan is knocked from the boat by a creature. If Ethan chooses Mia, Zoe gives a bitter farewell to him and Mia. As he and Mia flee on a boat, they come across the crashed tanker, where they are attacked by the creature and knocked from the boat. Mia searches the wrecked ship for Ethan while experiencing visions of Eveline, who refers to Mia as her mother. Eventually, Mia's memory is restored, revealing that she was a covert operative for a corporation that developed Eveline as a bioweapon.
Mia and another agent were to escort Eveline as she was transported aboard the tanker; Eveline escaped containment, killed Mia's colleague, and sank the ship. She infected Mia in an effort to force her to be her mother. Mia finds Ethan and gives him a vial of Eveline's genetic material. If Ethan cured Mia, she resists Eveline's control long enough to seal Ethan out of the ship; if he cured Zoe, Mia succumbs to Eveline's control and attacks Ethan, forcing him to kill her. Ethan discovers a hidden laboratory inside an abandoned salt mine. He learns that Eveline is a bio-organic weapon capable of infecting people with a psychotropic mold that gives her control over her victims' minds, resulting in insanity, mutation, and superhuman regenerative abilities. Eveline grew up obsessed with having a family, driving her to infect Mia and the Bakers and lure Ethan. Lucas was immunized against Eveline's control by her creators, The Connections, in exchange for providing observations on her. Using the lab equipment and Eveline's genetic material, Ethan synthesizes a toxin to kill her, and proceeds through tunnels that lead back to the Baker house. He overcomes Eveline's hallucinations, and injects Eveline with the toxin. She reverts to her other form, the elderly woman in a wheelchair; Eveline has been rapidly aging since escaping. Eveline mutates into a large monster and, aided by the arrival of a military squad led by Chris Redfield, Ethan kills her. The squad extracts Ethan (and Mia if she was cured) by helicopter branded with the Umbrella Corporation logo.
Not a Hero
BSAA agent Chris Redfield teams up with the now reformed Umbrella Corporation in order to apprehend Lucas Baker and uncover evidence on the mysterious group that created Eveline, called "The Connections". After rescuing Ethan Winters and sending him away on a helicopter, Chris proceeds into Lucas' lab in the salt mine, where he accidentally runs into one of Lucas' traps and has a bomb attached to his left wrist. Undeterred, Chris continues his pursuit. He tries to rescue several captured Umbrella soldiers, but they are killed by Lucas' traps. Eventually, Lucas decides to activate a timer on Chris' bomb. Chris is forced to freeze the bomb in liquid nitrogen, disabling it long enough for him to remove it.
With the bomb removed, Chris battles his way through more of Lucas' Molded and traps. He then finds his way into a secret Connections research lab, where Lucas had killed all of the Connections researchers and plans to betray the organization. Chris manages to corner and shoot Lucas, which triggers a mutation in his body. Chris battles and eventually kills the mutated Lucas, and also stops him from transferring all of his data on Eveline to the Connections. With his mission done and Eveline's infection contained, Chris returns to the Umbrella base camp for an urgent call.
End of Zoe
Following the path in the main game in which Ethan cures Mia instead of Zoe, Zoe wanders into the swamp and is apparently killed by Eveline; however, a pair of Umbrella soldiers find her body and discover she is still alive. They are soon ambushed by Joe Baker, Zoe's uncle. Joe initially believes Umbrella is responsible for Zoe's condition, but a surviving Umbrella soldier claims they have a cure for Zoe stored in a nearby shack. Joe goes to the shack, finding a partial cure, and returns to find the Umbrella soldier killed by a Molded.
Joe initially flees with Zoe on a boat to find the Umbrella base but is soon forced to search for the base on foot. A powerful and seemingly unkillable Molded called the "Swamp Man" pursues them along the way. Joe and Zoe find the Umbrella base abandoned. They learn that the cure has been moved to a nearby paddle boat. Joe boards the boat and, after encountering the Swamp Man once again, uncovers a full dose of the cure. The Swamp Man captures Zoe before Joe can administer the cure. Joe gives chase into a heavily infected portion of the swamp and finds Zoe in an abandoned church. Inside, Joe is ambushed by the Swamp Man, who reveals himself to be Jack Baker, Joe's brother. Jack knocks Joe unconscious and throws him into the swamp water to die.
Joe eventually washes up near the Baker mansion and finds himself in the midst of a battle between the Molded and Umbrella forces. He recovers an Umbrella power gauntlet and enters the mansion, where he successfully kills Jack and administers the cure to Zoe just as Umbrella reinforcements arrive, including Chris Redfield. Chris assures Joe and Zoe that they are there to help, and Zoe is fully cured of her infection. She then receives a phone call from Ethan, and thanks him for keeping his promise to send help for her.
Following the release of Resident Evil 6, Capcom conducted internal discussions regarding the direction of the next installment. A preliminary version of the game, developed in 2013, featured a more action-oriented gameplay, similar to that of Resident Evil 6. Taking inspiration from the 1981 film The Evil Dead, the developers decided to scale back the game to one location and use a first-person perspective to immerse players and return the series to its roots of survival horror. Development began around February 2014. The game is built on a new engine, named RE Engine, which includes virtual reality (VR) development tools. The decision to make the game first-person was made well before VR was considered; VR development started in October 2015, for which a separate team was created. The introduction of VR demanded that textures be more detailed, discarding flat textures and inaccurate object sizes that had previously been used.
A year before the game's announcement, Capcom presented to attendants of E3 2015 a first-person horror-themed VR demo, KITCHEN, which ran on the same engine. While Resident Evil 7 had been in development long before, KITCHEN was seen as an opportunity to evaluate how the RE Engine and its VR capabilities would be received. As a hint to the demo's relation to Resident Evil 7, the logo of KITCHEN had the letter "T" designed so that it resembled a "7", but it went largely unnoticed. In the company's Integrated Report of 2015, the Resident Evil development division of Capcom was stated to focus on creating experiences for the VR market, which included the new VR engine and games for the eighth generation of consoles.
The game was directed by Koshi Nakanishi, who previously helmed Resident Evil: Revelations, leading a development team numbering at about 120 staff. For the first time in the series, the narrative designer was a westerner—Richard Pearsey, writer of the two expansion packs of F.E.A.R. and one of the narrative designers of Spec Ops: The Line. At the time of the game's reveal, development was around 65% complete. Some of the creature models in Resident Evil 7 were first created in physical form – a number of them from actual meat – by make-up artists, to then be scanned through the employment of photogrammetry. This technology developed over half of the general assets of the game, but posed a problem in researching the setting of Louisiana because its considerable demand for equipment made it unviable for transport, which required Capcom to model by hand. The game's score was composed by Capcom's lead composer Akiyuki Morimoto, Miwako Chinone, and Satoshi Hori, with additional contributions from Cris Velasco and Brian D'Oliveira. Its theme song, an arranged version of the traditional American folk song "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", was written by Michael A. Levine and performed by Jordan Reyne. Levine's step-daughter Mariana Barreto was the original choice, but ended up doing the background vocals. The song went through about 20 versions until completion. A soundtrack was released digitally by Sumthing Else Music Works alongside the game on January 24.
Release and marketing
In October 2016, Capcom launched a 10 part video series called The World of Resident Evil 7, teasing pieces of the game's contents. A cross-save feature between Microsoft Windows and the Xbox One was confirmed in November 2016. If bought on either PC through the Windows Store or on the Xbox One digitally, it is playable on both platforms through the Xbox Play Anywhere program, making it the first game published by a third-party to be a part of the program. A cloud version for the Nintendo Switch, titled Biohazard 7: Resident Evil Cloud Version, was released in Japan on May 24, 2018. Players may access the first 15 minutes of the game for free, and continue playing it afterwards by purchasing a pass allowing unlimited play for 180 days.
The internal marketing team at Capcom collaborated with creative agency iam8bit to produce an escape room called Resident Evil Escape Room Experience, in which groups of six are guided through a series of rooms by Umbrella Corporation employees. It was held at a gallery space in Echo Park, Los Angeles. In London, a similar event was hosted in concurrence with the release.
Purchase of a GameStop-exclusive Collector's Edition included an eight-inch model of the Baker mansion, which when opened functions as a music box playing the main theme rendition of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", a mannequin finger-shaped 4 GB USB flash drive contained within a VHS tape box, a SteelBook Case containing the game, a lithograph of the Baker family, and a note. The UK version added the Survival Pack: Action Set DLC, a 20th anniversary artbook and a seven-inch replica of the mansion, but did not feature the music box. U.S. pre-orders on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One came with a code for a free digital download of Resident Evil: Retribution. A 4D candle with the scent of the Baker House Mansion was made to enhance the virtual reality experience. The Gold Edition, released on December 12, 2017, includes previously released downloadable content (DLC) as well as the upcoming End of Zoe DLC.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand on January 24, 2017, and in Japan on January 26. For the first 12 months of its release, the virtual reality format is exclusive to PlayStation VR. Over 3,500,000 players have accumulated worldwide, with over 400,000 of them being VR users. The PC version was tamper-protected by anti-piracy software Denuvo, which was hacked within five days of release.
Shortly after the game's reveal, a playable teaser named Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour was released on the PlayStation Store. The demo takes place in a dilapidated house, which the unnamed male player character needs to escape. Depending on the actions taken by the player, the teaser may have three different outcomes. Capcom later revealed that the teaser was a standalone experience and not a segment of the game, which has more variety in its environments, and additional mechanics, such as combat. By July 2016, the demo had been downloaded over 2 million times. An update called the "Twilight Version" was released on September 15, 2016, and gave access to new rooms and items to find. Along with the new version, Capcom also released a trailer for the game. Another update called the "Midnight Version" was released on December 3, which unlocked additional areas of the house, along with several new items to find and a puzzle concerning a riddle in the Twilight Version. The demo was released for Xbox One on December 9 and for PC on December 19.
A playable demo called Lantern was made available for attendees at Gamescom 2016, as part of revealing the first Resident Evil 7 story trailer. It makes use of found footage and first-person narrative as it tells the story of a young woman by the name of Mia hiding from an agitated old lady holding a lantern. The old lady is Marguerite Baker, who was first mentioned in Beginning Hour.
The first downloadable content package for the game, Banned Footage Vol. 1, was released for the PlayStation 4 on January 31, 2017. Banned Footage Vol. 1 includes two scenarios, called "Nightmare" and "Bedroom", and a new game mode, "Ethan Must Die". On February 14, Banned Footage Vol. 2 was released for the PlayStation 4, which includes two additional scenarios, called "21" and "Daughters", and a new game mode, "Jack's 55th Birthday". Banned Footage Vol. 1 and Banned Footage Vol. 2 were released for the Xbox One and PC on February 21. Not a Hero – a story chapter where players control Chris Redfield, which was delayed from its Q2 2017 release date, was released for free, on December 12, 2017, along with a new DLC called End of Zoe, that came out the same day. While End of Zoe was developed by Capcom, development duties for Not a Hero were outsourced to HexaDrive.
Due to its first-person presentation, the game has drawn comparisons to Konami's cancelled Silent Hills game and its P.T. demo. Capcom responded to this by pointing out that Resident Evil 7 was in development long before the reveal of P.T., and dispelled any rumors about staff of P.T. having been hired to work on the game. Shacknews noted that Beginning Hour had several similarities with Sweet Home (1989), the Capcom horror game that inspired the original Resident Evil (1996). These similarities to Sweet Home include the plot of a film crew going to an abandoned house, a paranormal female presence in the house, and a tragic tale involving a family that once lived there. Eurogamer found the element of survival horror in Lantern reminiscent of Alien: Isolation. Resident Evil 7 was well received for the dissimilarity to its polarizing predecessor, in particular the change from action-oriented combat and effects to an approach more grounded in horror.
The game received generally favorable reviews according to Metacritic. Resident Evil 7 was included in numbered lists of the best video games in 2017: 5th place for "Best Horror Game" and 6th place in the 25 Best Games list at GamesRadar+ and 5th place at Business Insider. Vulture.com also listed the game among the best video games of the year. PlayStation Official Magazine – UK listed it as the fourth best PlayStation VR game. Entertainment Weekly ranked the game third on their list of the "Best Games of 2017", Polygon ranked it fifth on their list of the 50 best games of 2017, and EGMNow ranked it seventh on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017, while Eurogamer ranked it 14th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017". Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of The Escapist listed it as his favorite game of 2017, and The Verge named it as one of their 15 Best Games of 2017. In Game Informer's Reader's Choice Best of 2017 Awards, the game came in the lead for "Best VR Game", also giving it the award for "Best VR Action" in their 2017 Action Game of the Year Awards.
Destructoid's Zack Furniss felt that the primary accomplishment of Resident Evil 7 concerned its pacing, which was praised as "masterful". Furniss' apprehensive expectations of how the story would unfold were subverted to his liking, deeming the result a blend similar to the horror and comedy found in The Evil Dead films. He found a sense of finality in the combat and lauded it for having produced lasting tension. What held more sway, however, was the priority of survival horror, with the management of limited resources meeting a positive response. Furniss considered the boss fights to be "harrowing" and welcomed the consistent surreality of the game. His playthrough with the PlayStation VR inspired unease, unpredictable jump scares and ultimately an "intuitive" experience. Ray Carsillo of EGMNow favored the atmosphere's constant mood of anxiety, which was partly impacted by the interiors of the main setting. The sound design was also thought to complement this sense of dread, increasing the level of player involvement. He noted the slow narrative build as the game's most substantial achievement, and likened its efficacy to that of earlier games in the series. Like Furniss, Carsillo expressed appreciation for the pacing, and opined that it brought considerable intrigue, accommodating lengthy play sessions. Playing with the virtual reality headset was "even more frightening than doing it normally", according to Carsillo, echoing Furniss' view that it made the game more immersive. Writing for Game Informer, Andrew Reiner commended the "tense, unsettling, overly gory" atmosphere for providing a competent introduction to Resident Evil 7. The Baker house and the nature of exploring it posed significant interest to him, for together, they would present new aspects regarding the occupants and be enhanced by the first-person perspective. Scott Butterworth at GameSpot enjoyed the narrative overall, valuing its memorable moments and the thematic consistency of the writing. He was impressed with the reliance of atmosphere as opposed to jump scares to heighten the feeling of danger. Using the Baker family to multifarious ends of gameplay was complimented as a logical extension of the established world; the interactive VHS tapes were approved of for the same reason, said to serve "beautifully as both a narrative device and a way to break up Ethan's exhausting mission". On PlayStation VR, Butterworth mentioned that, in its employment, the element of horror appeared more realistic.
Leon Hurley, writing for GamesRadar+, was of the opinion that, while the "gore and guts" were sparingly effective, a number of his most favorite moments had to do with investigating the "beautifully designed" Baker house. As for the VR, it was dubbed as a terrifying experience "where the mildewy atmosphere gets into your soul". Giant Bomb's Dan Ryckert referred to Resident Evil 7 as the reinvigoration of earlier components in the series while at the same time yielding a fresh outlook with a yet-unrivaled story. The main antagonists bore substantial weight to Ryckert's cause for worry, and gave way to thrills when prompted to flee them. He viewed the first-person perspective as "bold", and attributed to the PlayStation VR, an earnest addition to the "scare factor". Chloi Rad of IGN endorsed the pervading tone of eeriness in the game, owed entirely to the plantation, which she thought was "one of the creepiest single settings since the Spencer Mansion". Also, she observed that the game world gave off a robust sense of place with unwavering exploration. To her, the Baker family were the most compelling of the characters because of the consequent emotional strain felt in their presence. Andy Kelly at PC Gamer began his review, writing, "It's a return to the atmospheric, slow-burning horror of the original". He disagreed with Ryckert's assessment that the first-person was a bold reinvention, instead praising it for being "classic Resident Evil through and through". Kelly saw the regular state of vulnerability he was faced within the game as one of its greatest strengths, giving credit to the visuals and audio for adding to the "rumbling sense of dread". He considered flashbacks via VHS tapes to be one of his favorite features. Polygon's Philip Kollar applauded Resident Evil 7's return to form, declaring that "no Resident Evil game since the first has done as good a job as RE7 at making me feel scared and helpless".
Conversely, Furniss observed the boss fight and ending as disappointing. He also cited issues with the PlayStation VR, including the prospect of sacrificing graphics for improved aim and immersion, as the resolution would decrease while in virtual reality. Carsillo disliked the inventory system because its restricted capacity left weaponry and ammunition with the same amount of space as other items critical to story progression. The lack of character development for the protagonist Ethan Winters was disparaged as well, with Reiner stating that the plot suffered flaws of inconsistency from this approach. Also subject to criticism was the required body movements while in seated VR mode, which were described as stomach-churning. Butterworth felt a loss of excitement by the end, blaming the repetition of certain assignments to be carried out. He faulted enemies for exerting less of a threat than was preferred in the given difficulty level. Unlike with other platforms, Butterworth detected inferior visual performance on the Xbox One with degraded colors and textures. Hurley expressed disapproval of the decision one comes across near the end of the game, calling into question its relevance by arguing that it could be quickly resolved in the event of regret. Rad criticized Resident Evil 7 for its dependence on "overplayed tropes about rural America" which would eventually resemble a cartoon, and the puzzles were appraised as the sole shortcoming of the setting. Kollar accused boss battles of interrupting the inherent suspense.
The game won the Gold Prize, User's Choice Prizes, and the PlayStation VR Special Award at the PlayStation Awards. It was also nominated for "Best Setting" in PC Gamer's 2017 Game of the Year Awards, and won the award for "Best VR Game" in Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017. It also won the People's Choice Award for "Best VR Experience" for which it was a runner-up in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards; its other nominations were for "Best Xbox One Game", "Best PlayStation 4 Game", "Best Action/Adventure Game", and "Best Graphics".
Capcom's pre-release sales projection for the game's launch window, through the end of March 2017, was 4 million copies. The game had shipped over 2.5 million units worldwide days after the release, while the demo exceeded 7.15 million downloads. The modest shipment figure had an effect on Capcom's stock price, which fell more than three percent following the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It was the best-selling video game in the UK during its week of release according to Chart-Track, amounting to the third-best debut in Resident Evil history behind 5 (7.1 mill) and 6 (6.6 mill). 200,000 copies had also been sold through Steam during that time. It ranked first in the Japanese charts for the week ending January 29; the PS4 sales totalled 187,306 copies, 58.9 percent of its initial shipment. In the month of January in the United States, Resident Evil 7 sold the most out of any video game. On February 1, Capcom communicated to its investors that the game had recouped its budget. It remained at the top of the UK sales chart in its second week. February saw Resident Evil 7 ranked the second best-selling video game in the United States, behind For Honor. By April 2017, Resident Evil 7 had sold 3.5 million copies worldwide, short of Capcom's expectation of 4 million. In May 2017, Capcom gave the game a lifetime sales forecast of ten million units, citing favorable reviews, marketing and downloadable content as contributing factors. By March 2018, it had sold over 5.1 million copies worldwide.
|2016||Game Critics Awards||Best VR Game||Nominated|||
|Golden Joystick Awards 2016||Most Wanted Game||Nominated|||
|2017||Golden Joystick Awards 2017||Best VR Game||Won|||
|Ultimate Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Gaming Performance (Jack Brand)||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2017||Best Game Direction||Nominated|||
|Best Audio Design||Nominated|
|Best VR/AR Game||Won|
|2018||New York Game Awards 2018||Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Coney Island Dreamland Award for Best Virtual Reality Game||Won|
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards||Animation, Technical||Nominated|||
|Camera Direction in a Game Engine||Nominated|
|Control Design, VR||Won|
|Direction in a Game Cinema||Nominated|
|Game, Franchise Action||Nominated|
|Performance in a Drama, Supporting (Katie O'Hagan)||Nominated|
|Sound Mixing in Virtual Reality||Won|
|Use of Sound, Franchise||Won|
|SXSW Gaming Awards||Excellence in SFX||Nominated|||
|Excellence in Technical Achievement||Nominated|
|VR Game of the Year||Won|
|Game Developers Choice Awards||Best VR/AR Game||Nominated|||
|Game Audio Network Guild Awards||Best VR Audio||Won|||
On September 14, 2017, Capcom announced that a new Resident Evil was "already in motion".
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