E3 2013: Shinji Mikami Talks About Surviving The Evil Within

A lot of survival horror fans tend to believe that the genre has strayed too far from its roots. The Evil Within Director Shinji Mikami agrees, which is exactly why he and Tango Gameworks set out to make their new game in the first place. In short, they hope to put the “survival” and the “horror” back into survival horror.

If anyone knows about video games' most frightening genre, it's Mikami. He created the Resident Evil series, after all. Mikami stepped away from the genre he helped create quite a few years back but, now, he wants to help put the things that go bump in the night back in their place.

Mikami spoke to the press during a special E3 screening of his studio's upcoming game, The Evil Within, which is being published by Bethesda.

“This is my first return to survival horror since Resident Evil 4,” Mikami explained. “Now, survival horror is back.”

Mikami continued with the assistance of a translator, saying that his team is set on making a “truly terrifying game while taking survival horror “back to its roots.”

“This is pure survival horror,” Mikami said. “You will experience unimaginable fears, and then the triumph of overcoming those fears.”

Mikami promised that The Evil Within will feature all of the genre staples, including limited resources and ammo, terrifying monsters and circumstances, and lots of blood.

Mikami's introduction was followed by an eyes-on demo of the game's opening sections as Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his fellow officers arrive to the scene of a mental asylum where the original response team has gone missing. Inside the asylum, the crew find dozens of asylum staff, all of whom appear to have been brutally murdered. One thing leads to another and Castellanos finds himself hanging upside down in a nightmarish butcher's chamber.

Castellanos needs to escape, but the grotesque butcher is always on the lookout, he has no weapons, and he's already pretty badly injured, forced to limp around as you try to escape a nasty fate.

As far as survival horror goes, everything seems to be in order here. The soundscape is eerie, the visuals are dark and gritty and Castellanos is damn-near defenseless, resorting to sneaking around, hiding in the shadows and throwing random items to distract the butcher while he makes his escape. Screw up, and you'll be treated to a particularly nasty scene of Castellanos perishing on the business end of a massive chainsaw. This whole package is complemented by film grain and dramatic camera angles that keep the action nice and tense.

After showing off this stealth portion, Mikami's team showed off a brief scene wherein combat is a more realistic option. Castellanos' ammo is limited and the lurking monsters seem to take quite a bit of damage before finally crumbling to the ground. Of course, you could always play more conservatively, shooting the enemies in the kneecaps to make them fall on the ground, then lighting them with a match to finish the job.

While running down a hallway, Mikami's promise that “things aren't always what they seem” comes to fruition as the world instantly shifts around Castellanos, turning what appears to be a cabin basement into a tunnel flooded with blood. The scene shifts again and Castellanos appears to have returned to the original asylum. When he tries to open a door, the hallway stretches out in front of him, eventually leading to a room where a four-armed (at least I THINK there were only four arms) demon-lady lies in wait. You can see her in the lovely picture above!

So far, so good. Let's just hope that The Evil Within continues to deliver on its promise of an old school survival horror experience. We can all find out how it turns out when the game releases for the PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in 2014.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.