The survival horror series has seen a bit of a slump during this generation of gaming. We’ve had a few disappointing trips to ‘Silent Hill’, the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise decided to choose action over scares, and we were treated to a horrific experience in space throughout the ‘Dead Space’ series. It’s safe to say, however, that the genre has strayed far from its roots, but Shinji Mikami, creator of the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise, is looking to change that with his upcoming release, ‘The Evil Within’.
To get a glimpse at the atmosphere and overall feel of the game, check out the amazing live-action trailer below:
With ‘The Evil Within’, Mikami is bringing the “survival” back to survival horror. He states:
Obviously I like horror… But survival horror has been drifting away from what makes it survival horror. And so I want to bring it back. Bring back survival horror to where it was.
In order to accomplish this, Mikami feels that to create a “pure” horror experience, there needs to be a perfect blend of both action and horror elements, something that has been lost over recent years.
‘The Evil Within’ follows hardened-detective Sebastian and his two investigators as they respond to reports of a homicide at an insane asylum located in the city. As is the case with most horror games, things go horribly wrong after a bit of exploration, and Sebastian is attacked and knocked out by a mysterious hooded figure.
Very little has been given in the way of story details, as Mikami wants players to know as little about the environment and story as possible. However, he did reveal that the environment itself will be a heavy focus of the game. Art Director Naoki Katakai stated:
The mental hospital is a really important key word for us… It’s one of the many stages that we have, but it’s one of the more forward facing, symbolic areas. It’s really important to us to design and realize that as a playable area. Visually the sense is that it’s inside of a metropolitan area but it has a feel that it could be urban or maybe rural with some sort of history associated with it. Having said that, through the course of the narrative, it may take on different faces. It may look different ways or have different aspects that come to the fore in depicting what this place is.
Throughout Sebastian’s adventure, players will have to be constantly wary of subtle changes in the environment, including stairs that disappear, doors that open and close, and other not-so-subtle changes. The goal is to make players share the same feeling of fear and disorientation as Sebastian expresses in-game, and so far, it looks promising.
Mikami also expressed that while sections of the game are very linear, their will also be plenty of chances for exploration, stating:
Overall we have both very narrow, confined spaces and larger, wide open spaces – a variety of different types of environments. The idea is to have a wave where the player builds up a lot of tension and feels very claustrophobic and set upon and then they break through that tension and things open up and they feel a sense of relief. Then to repeat that cycle. Also, having narrow stages and having more open stages, it provides more opportunities to have enemies come out in unexpected ways or in unexpected places.
Through this method, Mikami and his team are creating a cinematic experience interwoven with sections of pure gameplay. He describes that structure of the game like a wave, leading players along through a horrifying atmosphere to discover more about the story, and rising to intense action and escape sequences.
So far, ‘The Evil Within’ has only been confirmed for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and is expected to be released sometime in 2014. We’ll have more on this highly-anticipated game as new details are released.