Time to get scared again
It’s been a little over three years since Shinji Mikami left Platinum Games to form Tango Studios, and we’ve been waiting patiently to see what his team has been creating. Formerly known under the codename Zwei, The Evil Within was recently revealed Mikami via an IGN preview and it looks like a fittingly unpredictable return to survival horror.
Our first look at the game indicates it’s bloody, off kilter, and out to truly frighten the player. But what really is The Evil Within? Here’s what we know so far…
Creator of Resident Evil returns to survival horror
In case you don’t know Shinji Mikami by name, he was a programmer at Capcom that got his big break directing the original Resident Evil. It popularized the survival horror genre, one defined by running from hideous monsters and slowly collecting the arsenal to take them down. He’s also worked on games as random as Dino Crisis and Ace Attorney, but he eventually went on to redefine action-horror games with Resident Evil 4. He left Capcom to work with Platinum Games on Vanquish, and now he’s ready to return to the genre that made him famous.
Early screens and details show The Evil Within is about horrifying situations that you barely survive. Rather than a heavily armed supersoldier, you’ll be a confused police detective running from monsters that greatly overpower him. The third-person camera is still over the shoulder–a fitting move since Mikami’s RE4 popularized the technique–but the focus seems to be more on the environments than creating shooting galleries. Generally, Mikami wants games to be scary again, and he’s hoping Evil Within will be the title to do it.
Det. Sebastian investigates an asylum, and it doesn’t go well
The main character of the game appears to be a police detective named Sebastian. He arrives to a standoff at an asylum with his partners Joseph and Kid (a woman, nicknamed), only to find a bunch of empty police cars and no sign of other officers. Sebastian enters the asylum only to find multiple homicides before being knocked unconscious.
Sebastian wakes up alone and is awaiting execution by a monstrous butcher. The asylum has changed a bit, shifted into a much more sinister version of itself, and Sebastian has to escape fast or be ripped apart by his captor. This looks like the start of a very long night.
Monsters new and familiar
A horror game is only as good as its monsters, and Evil Within’s initial offering of creatures got our attention–in a very gory kind of way. The previously mentioned butcher is a hulking man in an apron that Sebastian has to sneak around, but once he’s on to you, you better run or his chainsaw will separate you from your head (perhaps a reference to one of the more graphic deaths in Resident Evil 4).
Later you’ll meet zombie-like enemies that attack in groups, and Sebastian has a limited number of bullets to deal with them. More often than not he’s better off running away, particularly from a multi-limbed beast that pops out of a pool of blood to chase down Sebastian with alarming speed. It seems like Evil Within is ready to make players run for their lives, frequently.
Shifting reality keeps you on your toes
The asylum plays with Sebastian’s perceptions as soon as he enters it, transforming from a mundane–if creepily empty–crime scene into a blood-drenched nightmare filled with otherworldly creatures. It reminds us of Silent Hill’s shifts between spooky buildings and outright hellish landscapes, but the changing reality seems even greater when you leave the asylum.
Areas will range between tight hallways to open outdoor areas, including a cabin where Sebastian fights off waves of monsters. Once the combat is over, reality starts to warp, rearranging the room and ultimately pulling Sebastian back into the asylum. How exactly does someone free themselves from something like this?
You might have to build your own weapons
Another element that made early survival horror games so frightening was the lack of ammo. The scarcity of bullets means you have to pick and choose your battles, and oftentimes, running away is the better (if less courageous) choice. But guns seemingly aren’t Sebastian’s only option, at least based on the first trailer.
In it, we see a man, likely Sebastian, carefully constructing something with barb wire, though the spikes are cutting up his hands as he crafts. After seeing that, IGN’s description of a mine trap being set to kill multiple monsters at once makes us think that you’ll be collecting items to build your own weapons, a la Dead Island. Does Sebastian pass the time in the asylum by practicing the the talents of a handyman?
It’s for current and next-gen, running on id Tech 5
The Evil Within has the planned release window of 2014, and that’s as specific as publisher Bethesda is going to get. But the company did go on record saying that the game will be on the 360 and PS3, as well as next generation consoles (a.k.a. the PS4 and 720).
What type of game engine could bridge the two systems? Mikami is using sister studio id’s id Tech 5, the same technology that ran Rage and presumably will run Doom 4. This is promising for the game’s visuals, but we hope that Mikami can finish his game with it faster than id finishes theirs.
See you in your nightmares
That’s all we know for now, but keep checking back for updates as we learn more about the game. Until then, does Evil Within sound like a true return to Mikami’s horror roots? Let us know in the comments.
And while you’re here, check out some of our related content by giving 100 most anticipated games of 2013 a go, and then maybe try the best horror games.
By Henry Gilbert
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