Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame has returned to his roots for his latest, and allegedly last, directorial effort with The Evil Within, a third-person survival horror game touted as a ''realization of pure horror". It is intended as the beginning of a franchise.
The game runs on a modified idTech 5 engine, and will release on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Labelled as a 'pure' survival horror game, The Evil Within is designed to strike a certain balance between horror and action elements. As a third-person game with an over-the-shoulder perspective and some shooting, it at first greatly resembles the Mikami-directed Resident Evil 4, though the imagery on display is intended to be much more gruesome and unnerving. The horror elements are also to be more psychological; for example, environments will shift and change to disorient players and throw them off their guard.
While the game features third-person shooter gameplay, ammo is said to be relatively scarce. The player may need to resort to traps like land mines, or melee weapons like knives and axes. Stealth can also be utilised at specific points, such as when Sebastian eludes a chainsaw-brandishing monster, who is a nod to the Dr. Salvador enemy from Resident Evil 4.
The Evil Within will be entirely single-player, though Mikami has hinted that Tango may experiment with asynchronous multiplayer, in the same vein as Dark Souls, via DLC.
In an attempt to disassociate survival horror games with 'clunky', unintuitive controls, The Evil Within will allow players to move and shoot at the same time. Weapons and items can also be selected in-game with the d-pad, or browsed through in a radial menu.
As in other recent horror games like Dead Space, HUD elements will be kept to a minimum in the interest of immersion. What few HUD elements there are can also be turned off in the options.
Upon making their way to the scene of a gruesome mass murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partner find that a mysterious and powerful force lays in wait. As he witnesses fellow police officers being killed one by one, someone attacks and knocks Sebastian unconscious. He wakes to find himself in a place where monsters roam, a world where death and madness are forever entwined, yet he must fight in order to make sense of it all. Confronting unimaginable horrors, he struggles to survive―Sebastian has set out on a dread-filled journey so that he may uncover the mystery of the terrible force that lurks within.
The Evil Within was originally announced under the codename Project Zwei, and was noticeably different than how The Evil Within actually ended up. It was initially conceptualized as a ''vampire hunting action game starring a man and a woman attached by a chain''. Because of the two-character setup, cooperative gameplay was to be a significant role in the game; when played solo, players would then have to control the two characters simultaneously -- similar to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. This idea was eventually scrapped, after Mikami had received feedback suggesting that vampires weren't very popular, and that his colleagues wished to design a more traditional horror game instead.
The Evil Within was eventually revealed with its now official title via an IGN-exclusive live-action teaser trailer, with further exclusive coverage on IGN the following week.
As the self-proclaimed 'father of survival horror', Mikami took on this endeavor specifically because he believes there is a noticeable lack of survival horror games in the market. What often passes for survival horror is considered too action-focused by Mikami, and he hopes to bring back the balance of experiencing the fear of a horror game with the thrill of an action game to the sub-genre.
Mikami has stated that the Winchester Mystery House played a part in inspiring the look and design of some of the environments in the game.
The trailer that officially introduced the game was produced by the company Prologue Pictures and was directed by Kyle Cooper. It was made using only practical effects (such as prosthetics and makeup) rather than CGI. To add to the bloodied effect of some of the characters shown in the trailer, such as the multi-armed 'Reborn' called Laura, the performers were to sit in a bath filled with fake blood for hours on end. The trailer took 3 days to complete.
Executive-producer Alex Dervin said that some actors suffered discomfort during filming, but this served to instil ''some of the anger'' necessary for the roles.
The game's Japanese release is entitled "PsychoBreak," a name chosen because it is much easier for native Japanese speakers to pronounce. This mirrors Resident Evil's use of the title "Biohazard" in Japan. Much like most games, The Evil Within went through numerous other names before settling on its final moniker; ''Mobius'' was one such name.