The Evil Within is an upcoming survival horror game about a detective named Sebastian and his partner, developed by Shinji Mikami’s studio, Tango Gameworks. You may recognize Mikami as the creator of the Resident Evil series, with Resident Evil 4 most commonly viewed as the bet of his contributions to videogames.
Recently, Mikami took some time off during his Golden Week break to talk about The Evil Within in a recent 4Gamer interview.
The first question was with regard to what kind of survival horror game one can expect from The Evil Within. According to Mikami, Tango went through a lot of trial and error but have recently been able to put something together that they all liked. In fact, the survival horror aspect wasn’t even part of the original plan.
Mikami explains: “Actually, the genre wasn’t survival horror to begin with, but due to circumstances, it changed entirely after going through various planning phases. Ever since becoming part of ZeniMax, we’ve had several meetings with staff members, where the words ‘I want to make a survival horror game’ were repeatedly heard. I believe that the enthusiasm shared by the staff is one of the main reasons we’ve decided to go with the genre.”
He elaborated: “Survival horror games as of late consist of many action-focused games. I’d like to make a game that can bring the focus back to the horror aspect of the genre. With those feelings in mind, we were able to shape up what we have today.”
The title, The Evil Within, was actually announced around the world, prior to the reveal of its Japanese title of PsychoBreak. The reason for this is because the word “within” would be tough to translate in the Japanese language. Since the game is made in Japan, they wanted to go with a name that would be easy for the Japanese audience to read and remember.
Mikami states that the meaning of this title is quite simple, “The game is about surviving in a world full of psychos and the goal is to break through such a world. Thus, the name PsychoBreak, where the word ‘Psycho’ is relative to horror and ‘Break’ is to survival.”
Shinji Mikami is the executive producer at Tango Gameworks, but he’ll be serving as the director for The Evil Within. As a director, he’ll be keeping a close eye on development and making sure it sticks to the roots of the survival horror genre. Mikami says that he will personally be aiming to raise the level of quality for this project, and will especially give the horror aspect an extra push.
Due to everything from the engine, tools and staff being completely new, it took a while for Tango Gameworks to find a steady flow. Now that they’ve gotten used to how things work, they’re looking forward to begin developing with a fresh new start.
Since Mikami has served as the director and producer for Resident Evil 1 to Resident Evil 4 and the odd titles between, 4Gamer was also curious to hear his thoughts on the difference between horror and survival horror.
Mikami answers: “Horror is about being in a much weaker position, while facing a much stronger enemy, and finding a way to save your life. Escaping is the main constituent here. Survival horror is about running away at times but also managing to be on the offense. I think it’s more of a fifty-fifty. To put it simply, when you have bullets everything is good. When you don’t, you make a run for it.
“With that in mind, horror games can be cleared relatively easily if you can overcome the scary parts. However, in survival horror, it’s not about simply fearing the enemy, but you also have a chance to defeat this enemy. This makes it somewhat of a see-saw state from start to finish.”
All the horror talk prompted 4Gamer to ask whether there’s any sort of balance for people that can’t continue playing these type of games, due to being too scared. To this, Mikami simply replied: “Personally, I’d be okay with people stopping because they’re too scared.” His reason being that The Evil Within is a brand new series. There are no previous records or feedback to work around. Therefore, he’d like to see exactly how many people will actually stop playing for that reason.
He further explains: “We have plenty of mixed motives. In order to be able to say ‘So this is what we need to do to fit in the gaming industry,’ we’re working without having any considerations on specific countries or eras. The Evil Within’s key word isn’t suspense, but ‘mysterious’. Not knowing what’s going on will bring the horror out, but the strength also lies within the desire of wanting to know more. That’s the kind of theme I’m looking forward to making.”
The Evil Within is slated for release for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and unspecified next generation consoles in 2014.