The Evil Within to bring true survival horror back, says Mikami

Tuesday, 23rd April 2013 04:56 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Shinji Mikami has said there are very few true survival horror games any more, and that’s why The Evil Within won’t hand you an assault rifle and let you mow down your foes.

“My definition of survival horror is that first of all it has to be scary. And then you get a scary creature, and you get a rush from blowing it away. A good balance of these two things is what makes survival horror,” Mikami told IGN in a video interview.

“For combat, of course, you’re shooting guns and using knives and axes and orthodox weapons like that, but you can also place traps to ambush enemies.

“We don’t intend to give the player and super extraordinary powers. However, if there’s no way to fight back, no way to attack that gives that little thrill, then it wouldn’t be survival horror. So we’ll give the player the weapons they need, but we’re not considering any heavy weapons like machine guns.”

Players will have access to stealth and tactical options like throwing a bottle to distract a foe. They will only have a limited amount of ammunition and will have to be skilled at action sequences if they want to fight their way through the game, something Mikami seems to find quite satisfying.

“Sometimes you have to run away because your ammo is low, and you’re like, ‘die already’ – and you pull off a headshot,” Mikami added.

“The monster is bearing down on you and bam! You hit it with your last shot. You feel relief and a sense of exhilaration like ‘yes!’ I think that really is the easiest way to describe what’s best about survival horror.”

Nevertheless, in a preview feature, Mikami went on to suggest that an emphasis on action has taken some of the thrill away from the genre.

“Survival horror has been drifting away from what makes it survival horror. And so I want to bring back survival horror to where it was.

“There are a lot of survival horror games nowadays, but the thing that I want to focus on is having the perfect balance between horror and action.”

Mikami said that the team’s goal is to have players feel that they haven’t played a game as scary as The Evil Within in ages.

Other details revealed in IGN’s preview include Tango’s heavy modifications to id Tech 5; a low, cinematic camera angle; a unique gameplay gimmick which seems to transport protagonist Sebastian back and forth between worlds; a restrained HUD; emotive character animations; and plenty of plot and enemy information. Hit the link above to read up, or view the full video interview feature.

The Evil Within is due on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and next generation consoles in 2014. It’s the first game from the Bethesda-owned Tango Gameworks.



  1. Mjorh

    Man, this is promising !

    #1 2 years ago
  2. salarta

    This is definitely among the games I’m looking forward to. Also if it’s successful, hopefully it’ll encourage Konami to get Silent Hill back to its survival horror roots instead of trying to force it into the action genre.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Jerykk

    Combat and horror undermine each other. Satisfying horror relies on the player feeling vulnerable. Satisfying combat relies on the player feeling empowered. In a true survival horror game, your first response to an enemy should be to run away and hide. If your first response is to pull out a gun and kill the enemy, it’s not a very good survival horror game. If Mikami thinks that blowing away monsters is what makes for good survival horror, he’s clearly lost touch with the genre.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. salarta

    @3: You need a balance, not a cut and dry one or the other. Same reason even action movies don’t have an endless amount of action and no breathers.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dave Cook

    @3 the genre was popularised by Resident Evil, a game that gave you a military arsenal of guns. Guns in horror games aren’t new.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Gnosis

    @3 True, like in Clock Tower. The perfect balance at least for me is no action at all, although I’m willing to tolerate a certain amount.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. The_Red

    That’s the thing. Because RE is primarily considered the origin of horror in gaming (excluding few previous games in the genre), the very idea of a horror game was introduced to the masses ALONG with guns and action.

    That’s a problem in my opinion. Horror is much more than “Survival Horror with guns”. Balanced or not. It’s only one way of doing it. Imagine all scary movies becoming slashers but we know how much more the genre can be in cinema.

    Only recently we have seen games like Amnesia and Slender Man which have fully abandoned the gun part. The closest thing to a non-gun related horror game we’ve had is original Condemned (VERY little gun action. Sadly, the sequel ruined it).
    IMHO, we need slasher games were players are the victims that must run away from Jasons and Freddies, not fight them with guns or blades. We need psychological games that go farther than Eternal Darkness.

    We need our own The Shining. Our own Scream, The Hills Have Eyes, The Birds, Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby and my favorite, Let the Right One In.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. vOL

    @7: “Horror is much more than “Survival Horror with guns” Yes, that is my opinion too. Why must include guns and bullets? Why not make a survival horror game with more traditional “weapons” such as salt, cross, holy water,exorcism/spells etc? That’s why in my book the Fatal Frame series is the BEST survival horror ever. It follows Japanese lore and history that make the game is more immersive.

    Fatal Frame and Silent Hill Shattered Memories also got the no gun part. In Fatal Frame you are using a camera to fight the ghost and in Shattered Memories, you just run and hide from monsters the whole game. I really like the satisfying feelings you get from being able to outrun the damn scary monsters and arrive at the safe place. I literally shout in triumphness when managed to open the correct safe door after nearly die throwing off 4 monsters off from Harry’s body. Really miss that epic feelings..

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Rosseu

    How about the Clock Tower series or the Haunting Grounds?

    #9 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.