According to the game's director Koshi Nakanishi, the game's small and narrow world was made in response to Grand Theft Auto III and its open world map.
"I remember thinking ‘how did they make this kind of game on PS2?’ Not only from a gameplay point of view, but also from a technical point of view," said Capcom's Koshi Nakanishi. "In response to the subsequent development of open-world games, I decided to do the exact opposite and make a small, narrow, dense horror game, and Resident Evil 7 was born. In a way, Resident Evil 7 may have been born because of GTA III. Thank you and congratulations on the 20th anniversary of GTA III."