Intended to be a ''realization of pure horror'', Shinji Mikami has returned to his roots for his latest, and apparently last, directorial effort with The Evil Within. On the game's own homepage, Mikami has been quoted as saying:
I've found my focus and once again I'm striving for pure survival horror. I am being very hands-on to see that the quality is there. Rest assured.
The game is scheduled for release on 2014 on PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
The Evil Within is running on a modified idTech 5 engine and is intended to be the beginning of a franchise.
The Evil Within was originally announced under the codename Project Zwei. It was eventually revealed with its official title via an IGN-exclusive live-action teaser trailer with further exclusive IGN coverage the following week.
As the father of Survival Horror, Mikami took on this endeavour specifically because he believes there is a noticeable lack of Survival Horror games in the market. He considers that what has often passed as Survival Horror across the years is too action-focussed and 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 handled by a company called Prologue and was directed by Kyle Cooper. It was made using practical special effects only (courtesy of Amalgamated Dynamics Inc) with no CGI and was shot by cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchía. 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.
Prologue Pictures' executive-producer Alex Dervin claimed that some actors suffered discomfort during filming, but this in turn was able to instil ''some of the anger'' necessary for the roles.
Alternatively titled 'Psycho Break'' in Japan, Mikami has explained that the reasoning behind the change from the international ''The Evil Within'' name is in the Japanese language, Psycho Break is much easier to pronounce than The Evil Within. The name itself is also derived from the 'psychological' aspect of the game--the 'Psycho' part specifically--and 'Break' is meant to represent how the cast are going to endure some extreme hardships across the story.
Labelled by Mikami himself as a 'pure' Survival Horror game, The Evil Within is to combine elements of both action and horror not unlike the earlier goings of the famed Resident Evil series. A third-person game with an over-the-shoulder camera setup, it at first greatly resembles the Mikami-directed Resident Evil 4, only the imagery on display is intended to be much more gruesome and unnerving. Furthermore, there is to be a psychological element of horror at play during the game, where the environment will shift and change in order to leave the player feeling confused.
While it features shooter gameplay, ammunition is said to be relatively scarce and the player may otherwise lay traps such as mines to defend themselves. Although melee weapons including knives and axes will be usable by the player, too. Stealth can also be utilised at specific points, such as when Sebastian is to attempt to sneak past The Evil Within's own chainsaw-brandishing monster, an obvious nod to his Dr. Salvador creation from Resident Evil 4.
The Evil Within is to be a purely single-player game with no multiplayer nor cooperative modes.
In Mikami's attempts to dispel the association Survival Horror games have with 'clunky' or otherwise difficult controls, The Evil Within will allow players to move and shoot at the same time. Weaponry/items can also be selected mid-gameplay with the use of the d-pad controls. Though players do still have an inventory 'ring' that they can use to manually search for what they require.
There will be very little in the way of a HUD to speak of, so as to help maximise the atmosphere.
Upon making their way to the scene of a gruesome mass murder, detective Sebastian 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.