When Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami talks survival/horror people listen.
That's why when The Evil Within was announced a few weeks back gamers took note of a quote from the creator that indicated a return to form for the genre: "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,” said Mikami.
So the hopes of many disappointed survival/horror fans were scooped up off the floor next to Resident Evil 6 and Dead Space 3 where they had lain dormant, but maybe it's too early to expect too much.
Shacknews got a look at 15 minutes of gameplay and came away a little apprehensive about the project being able to return the genre to its roots.
“The game could easily be mistaken for one of Mikami's Resident Evil games, but [Producer] Kimura said the game has a bit more strategic combat, such as the ability to place mines in key location to kill the undead. He also said that the team is adding other things that are different from traditional survival horror, such as the collapsed city the detective must navigate.
Kimura's answers did little to defuse the déjà vu feeling of previous survival horror games, and while the player will probably want to go through and solve the mystery of what is happening in the game, what we saw as a first glimpse into the world of The Evil Within offers little in the way of actual fright. Even when a blood-drenched spider-like creature with hands and arms for legs springs out of the ground and kills the detective to end the demo, the feeling was that developer Tango Gameworks still has a way to go to deliver on Mikami's promise of the rebirth of true survival horror he envisions.”
Criticizing the game this early is likely irresponsible but nervous lovers of the defunct genre might be hard to convince if media attention goes in this direction. So much of what makes horror great is what isn't seen or goes understated that we aren't ready to grow pessimistic. Producer Masato Kimura even told Polygon they were going for that same "subtle, anxious, shapeless, unknowable sort of fear" that we all want.
Gamers should use their better judgment when considering an original production by Shinji Mikami as they tend to turn out well but you can bet all eyes from the horror community will be scrutinizing whether or not The Evil Within is horrific or just bloody intense.
The Evil Within is still a ways off, headed to your PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC in 2014 from Tango Gameworks and Bethesda.
Related Game(s): The Evil Within