The Evil Within is an upcoming new horror videogame that will appear on both current-gen and next-gen consoles in 2014. The game is being developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game centers around antagonist Detective Sebastian Castellanos. Sebastian wakes up in a gruesome world where violence and death are all around him after he and his partners investigated the scene of a mysterious mass murder. Now its up to Detective Sebastian Castellanos to traverse this decrepit world and discover the mystery as to why all this horrible stuff has been occurring.
At first glance it sounds like a typical horror game. Here’s why its not. The director of The Evil Within is Shinji Mikami a name we should all know as he is the creator of Resident Evil and creative lead for every subsequent Resident Evil title for many years. Resident Evil 4 was the last game in the series that he created. The Evil Within is Shinji Mikami’s return to the survival horror genre. Mr. Mikami has been quoted as saying about his new game that this will be a “true” survival horror game in response to his disappointment with current games of the genre he says this game will be, “one in which the player confronts and overcomes fear.”
The original Resident Evil series is a masterpiece. The first RE set the bar as to what survival horror could be on home consoles, the second RE far exceeded that bar introducing Claire Redfield and fan favorite Leon S. Kennedy into the horror of a familiar suburban setting in a chaos storm of monsters and zombies, the 3rd RE polished and refined elements of the first two games with smoother menus and action animations as well as detailed ammunition creation options. The 3rd RE also introduced the walking fear-bomb Nemesis who could go through doors and walk up stairs something previously impossible by RE foes instantly cranking up the tension of this entry. Finally RE 4 redefined the genre all together. Everything in the series had been overhauled for RE 4 new combat system, revamped menus and more cinematic presentation. Everything in RE 4 felt bigger and grander. From the story rife with plot twists and strange characters/creatures to the mysterious girl that Leon must rescue, RE 4 was a stout message to the Resident Evil fans and survival horror fans in general that nothing would be the same.
The graphical leap combined with the directorial decision to make the camera a 3rd person over the shoulder view that follows the player instead of set camera angles proved a very immersive experience. The visuals were gorgeous for a console game at the time. While I truly did enjoy Resident Evil 4 and had hours and hours of gameplay in the various survival modes alone some of the changes in the game were implications to me as to where this franchise was heading and for me I knew that Resident Evil 4 might be the last that I purchase. As I stated it’s not that RE 4 was a bad game in anyway. I felt Nintendo’s influence on the franchise was obvious however. The further I got into the game the more it reminded me of Zelda. The way items were highlighted in colorful columns and the change sound the game made every time you picked one up. The constant search for treasures paired with the more fantastical creatures versus horrible monsters created by viruses and the constant smashing of boxes and or pottery. Blood seemed minimal. The weird guy you bought items from who always greeted you with the same gruff voice, “Hello stranger.” The fantasy influence combined with the treasure hunting elements were just enough of a departure from the original 3 games for me to long for the old days of running through Raccoon City battling T-Virus zombies and not “Las Plagas” drones sent forth by the ghost of Napoleon’s inner child.
Needless to say I was more than a bit wary of the next installment of Resident Evil and my suspicions were confirmed as soon as I saw the trailers for Resident Evil 5. I thought the setting looked boring with lots of muted colors and the focus was obviously action based. Super fast infected people. I really wasn’t that turned off by the two player element that was introduced as I thought it could definitely work if implemented correctly. I played some of it and it just didn’t feel anything like the Resident Evil that I had grown to love. I guess with the success of the highly action based Resident Evil movies starring Mila Jovovich as a superhuman zombie slayer, which by the way undermines the entire genre of survival horror I mean how are you supposed to be scared when Supergirl fights a bunch of monsters that is an entirely different movie than what Resident Evil should be about but I digress, I guess the game developers thought this an appropriate direction for their game.
Then their was Resident Evil 6. Featuring 4 separate but intertwining campaigns. After all the hype it got and the promise that it would at least include Leon in one of the campaigns I decided to give it a shot. Originally 3 of the 4 campaigns were co-op until players made it clear to Capcom that it made no sense to have your game be primarily co-op only to offer the final campaign as a strictly single player experience. The 4th campaign was made co-op and available from the start of the game instead of an unlockable campaign made available after completion of the 3 other co-op campaigns. Each of the 4 campaigns had their own specific characters with their own story pertaining to the same global event. I really enjoyed most of Leon’s campaign quick time events aside. It had zombies in a dark creepy atmosphere genuinely conjuring fearful moments at times. The co-op actually worked great here, even with a friend the tension was still high. It felt like a proper evolution of Resident Evil. The rest of RE 6’s campaigns have their moments but they feel superfluous, like other ideas for Resident Evil games sliced and diced from their games and spliced together to create a grotesque Frankenstein of one game. At the end of the day RE 6 is more like 4 separate games under one title.
Now Capcom is in financial turmoil and the likelihood of a new Resident Evil from the company is uncertain. Just how bad a state Capcom is really in is debatable but information is surfacing that Capcom barely has enough cash to develop one more feature game. In other words if Capcom pays to develop one more game they could go bankrupt. Something to support this belief that Capcom is on dire straits is that when game producer Yoshinori Ono the producer of Street Fighter IV was asked by a fan on twitter if SF IV would be coming to the next gen Ono responded that Capcom lacked the resources to port the game to next-gen consoles although he expressed that it would be “sweet” to bring SF IV to the next-gen. Porting Street Fighter IV to next-gen consoles doesn’t require nearly the team and resources creating an entire game would. If Capcom can’t even port a fighting game to the PS4 and XBOX One how can any of us expect them to create a whole new Resident Evil?
With the most recent entries of Resident Evil 5 and 6 being disappointments for long time fans of the series because of their departure from the initial survival horror genre that Resident Evil helped to define The Evil Within might be just the gloriously gruesome return to the survival horror roots we all grew to love. Shinji Mikami has state that this will be the last game that he ever directs. Let us all hope that Mr. Mikami goes out on a high note helping to create a new chapter of survival horror, one that we can all look upon with fond memories and pass on a new legacy of horror to future generations. I have included a gameplay trailer for The Evil Within here courtesy of Bethesda Softworks YouTube page. Fair warning their is some extreme violence and gore. Bookmark SonicMercury.com for more on other upcoming horror titles in all media.
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