We catch up with The Evil Within’s producers – Pete Hines and Jason Bergman – to discuss Mikami’s roots and the future of survival horror…
What kind of state do you think survival horror is in 2013, coming into it?
Hines: Well, I think the fact that we’re saying ‘We’re taking the genre back to pure survival horror’ probably speaks a good bit in terms…
I guess we wouldn’t be taking it there if we didn’t think it wasn’t there right now.
I think we recognise Shinji’s goal in terms of the kind of experience he wants to create and how it cuts in different directions than in other survival horror games in terms of going a bit more action. Lots of guns, lots of ammo, lots of enemies to mow down. That’s not where Shinji got his start – I certainly think it’s fair to call him the father of survival horror.
If you look at some of his best-known work like Resident Evil 1, Resident Evil 4, what he and his team did with those games has a lot more in common with The Evil Within than some of the other stuff does.
Bergman: Well it’s meant to look like a horror movie, obviously. There’s a film grain effect to it, but you’ll notice the darks are very dark, very solid shadows, the art direction at Tango is fantastic. The lighting, in particular – they’re very, very precise about where lights are placed and where shadows are cast. Next-gen allows us to do things that are really cool –
Hines: The aspect ratio.
Bergman: Yeah, [it] prevents you from seeing the floor. Any time you take something away from the player they’re very used to, it makes them uncomfortable and so, bringing in the camera just that little bit…I don’t know if you noticed, but when you open doors, he opens them really slowly. So Sebastian sees in what’s on the other side of the door before you do. And so the player’s like, ‘Open the f***ing door already!’
And Sebastian’s doing it really slowly, and there could be something on the other side of the door. By the way, it’s worth mentioning, there’s an alternate way to open doors – you can kick doors open, but enemies will hear that and spring out of shadows at you.
Hines: You don’t have to creep or walk everywhere, there are just dire implications to not doing that. The Evil Within is not an easy game, it is not a game that is being set out to be incredibly difficult, but it is a game where the difficulty is part and parcel with the experience.