Wired.co.uk catches up with the creator of such classics of
Japanese survival-horror as Resident
Eviland Dino Crisis to discuss his newest
grim creation, The Evil Within.
Wired.co.uk: Playing The Evil Within,
there are hallmarks found in a lot of your games –creepy mansions
being the obvious one. Are there certain motifs that you like to
put in your horror games?
Shinji Mikami: Nothing deliberate, actually.
Asylums, prisons and mansions are things I looked into and
researched heavily for this.
What sort of influences did you tap into for the game?
There seem to be nods to the film Reanimator with the game’s brain
experiments, the works of Lovecraft with its tone.
Some of that is probably a coincidence. It was just us wanting to
make a science horror thing! We thought it was a cool idea, we
didn’t know it would be like Reanimator. For Lovecraft, I was
probably more influenced by [his work] when making the first
Resident Evil. Not in theme, but in terms of look and
The puzzles involving the brain surgery are quite
disturbing, with the still-twitching eyes and such.
Yeah, I researched lobotomies and trepanning a lot for this game.
Even the loading icon is about lobotomies!
What were your inspirations for the background and
setting of The Evil Within?
Shutter Island, the movie, is one example. Looking back at
Resident Evil 1 and 4, obviously. Silent Hill – not for
me, but the character designers on The Evil Within
love the games. I love David Lynch’s work. And there’s one Japanese
TV commercial director I like the style of, but I can’t remember
Are you mashing different retro horror styles together
with The Evil Within? [Protagonist] Sebastian is dressed
like he’s from the 1940’s but the settings look more
In terms of the character Sebastian, when we started this project
we set the story in an earlier time, so that’s why his costume is
like that. But today’s horror and action don’t match well
What’s your view on horror in games since you made the
first Resident Evil? Do you think audiences’ ideas of
interactive horror have changed?
In games in Japan, a typical horror game is something like
Clock Tower or Silent Hill but survival horror,
the kind of game I like to create, is also entertainment. The
horror aspect of the game and the entertainment aspect of the game
have to mix together.
Do you think Western gamers view them in the same
category? They might look at Silent Hill or Resident
Evil and just seem them both as ‘Japanese
Yes, it’s a close genre but the difference between pure horror and
survival horror is that in the latter you can defeat the monsters
and feel good about it. You have to have that sense of being able
to defeat a monster, even if it’s tough. I’ve made Evil
Within to be a very difficult game but when you finish the
game, you will feel a sense of achievement. It is scary, but don’t
be scared too much.
How have you felt making The Evil Within for a
largely western company? How is it different when making stuff
primarily for Japan?
American production styles are more systematic. Other than that
there’s not much difference [but] most of the companies in Japan
are shifting their focus to mobile and social, so I feel quite sad
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