It's harder than ever to scare players, says Resident Evil creator

Shinji Mikami says people have gotten used to the tropes of horror games.

It is harder than ever to scare players because they have become accustomed to the tropes of the horror genre, Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami has said.

"Not much has changed when it comes to instilling terror in the player,” Mikami told Edge in a new interview. "But people have got used to the tropes of horror and they know what’s coming next, so in that sense it is harder to make them afraid.”

Mikami's next game, horror title The Evil Within, has been designed to make the player feel powerless, he said. Ammo will be hard to find, enemies won't go down easily, and corridors will be narrow.

"The scariest parts will be when you encounter enemies that cannot be killed with a gun," Mikami said. "Even if you shoot them they won't die, so you'll have to run or use a trap to beat them. That should be fun--and also scary."

Mikami previously described The Evil Within, to be published by Fallout and Elder Scrolls studio Bethesda, as a game that will return to the roots of the survival horror genre.

"Really, I'm making this game just because it's fun to scare people," Mikami said in July. "Instead of trying to introduce new ideas, I want to return to survival horror's roots. We've strayed from that. I want to explore fear again, and that sense of overcoming fear, one that's unique to games."

The Evil Within launches for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in 2014. For more, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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306 comments
Bhemont
Bhemont

Outlast and Amnesia say hello. 

maltadirk
maltadirk

The game is really not looking as good as I would have thought, especially being its using the IdTech5 engine. From the demo videos of the game, which is supposedly being played on either a high-end PC or next-gen console, the graphics don't really look much better then Rage on the current consoles. I remember Id Software stating that the Id Tech 5 engine graphics can look much better running 30fps compared to Rage's 60fps. A survival horror game doesn't need to run at 60fps

richioso
richioso

I remember being surprised and scared by a creaky empty wheelchair in silent hill 3, an important part of the scare is to be taken off guard. 

Defender1978
Defender1978

It really doesn't help when a survival horror game plays like Gears of War.  

walidras
walidras

Outlast and Amnesia nuf said

Hurvl
Hurvl

I'm afraid you'll have to come up with some new tricks, that can later become old, overused and ineffective. I know, I know - life is tough and scaring people nowadays is even tougher.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

Mr. Mikami, I don't think the gamers are getting harder to scare; I think you quit trying because you don't think it's scary enough...

I'll look forward to The Evil Within, just don't f*** up the gameplay for the sake of "instilling terror"...

StokeMeAClipper
StokeMeAClipper

I remember playing RE4 and saying "WTF is this?". It abandoned what made me fall in love with the series in the first place. They did away with the more traditional zombies and making it a third person shooter made it feel a bit more like an action game. On its own merits RE4 seemed a decent enough game (from memory, haven't played since it came out) but I didn't find it scary at all. RE4 is the last in the series I bought. I tried the RE5 demo and thought they were getting even further away from the feel of the old games, so I didn't bother.


I'll probably try RE4 again and play it for what it is, but at the time I found it a disappointment as it marked the end of Resident Evil as I knew it.

ofunknown0rigin
ofunknown0rigin

No, Resident Evil creator, you just forgot how to make horror games...

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

Just make it so when you die its Game Over.  No reloads, no checkpoints, just death.


Then everything will be absolutely terrifying.

Icepick_Trotter
Icepick_Trotter

It's hard, yes.

IF you play by the rules, and adhere to existing tropes...

Garm31
Garm31

Mikamis Resident Evil 4 reinvented the series for the better. 

1.It had semi open environments that allow back tracking

2.Stunning graphics and art design.

2.A revolutionary combat system that has inspired almost every modern 3rd person shooter to date.

3.Castlevania SOTN shopkeeper upgrade system.

4.Having to protect Ashley changed the games mechanics and mixed things up. 

5.Evolving enemies that got more deadly as you progressed.

6.Amazing bosses.

7.Lengthy campaign and the awesome Mercenaries.

Simply the best game in the series and one of the best games ever made. Capcom failed to keep the same structure and made all future titles linear with cannon fodder enemies. Now it needs to be reinvented AGAIN!. The Last of Us has shown how to make a modern survival horror, lets hope Capcom are paying attention.




JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

Well, maybe if they stop making RE games out to be action games, then RE could be scary again. 

BradBurns
BradBurns

Well since Silent Hill died a slow, cheaply outsourced death, Mikami will have the genre to himself.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

Well, we've got used to all that. Take zombies for example. We've seen so many zombies that I wouldn't probably find them scary in real life anymore. But to be honest, The Evil Within seems pretty creepy. The thing is that jump scares are very effective, as cheesy as they are, but they can become boring and shallow very fast. The same goes for all the familiar stuff. Do something unfamiliar, something weird and crazy, but menacing. At the same time, don't make them slow and easy to combat. You'd think it's hard, but it's not. Think of what would scare you in real life and make it ten times scarier in video games. Just watch the latest gameplay trailer for Lunar Games' Routine. But in the end everyone is scared by their own demons. I, for example, am creeped out to chills when I watch asian horror movies like Ju-on and such, while others have enough hard times with clowns and puppets.

isildor81
isildor81

make horror games is easy, dont show what is hunting you, dont engage in a full open combat with whatever is scaring you, and make it in a endless nigth...and NO MORE ZOMBIIIESSS!!!! since the original resident evil, they are no scaring 

Thisisstupid
Thisisstupid

I think it's because there aren't really that many horror games anymore.  Developers are making action games and trying to pass them off as horror and it isn't working.

thorn3000
thorn3000

it isn't harder, you just have to be inventive about it, make proper atmosphere, not the same bollocks over and over again, then people get used to it

tightwad34
tightwad34

Only way I can be scared is if I know what I am seeing is real. Fiction will never scare me.

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

People haven't gotten used to horror tropes, dev teams have gotten lazy.  They claim they gotta change the formula and turn them into action horrors, but really they don't want to spend the time to develop scary situations.  Scary situations in a good horror game is supplemented by good atmospheric build up, but theyd rather just go the easy way and make it an action horror.  Take Dead Space for example.  I never jumped no matter how unexpected the Necromorph surprise was, but I was still spooked as f### while playing.  Its the little things like a creepy version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star echoing in the background or observing an insane nurse sawing into her patient before sawing herself open that are what kept me feeling unsafe as I kept playing.

gantarat
gantarat

People now adays buy action game than horror game

mattress805
mattress805

If this game is even half as scary as Dead space 1, It's going to be fantastic. Can't wait to buy this and play on my ps4. I can't even imagine what kind of horrific details can be rendered on these new systems.

curiousarman
curiousarman

make a horror game based on a horror movie!


uh.. ahem... em... no i don't think that'll be good

curiousarman
curiousarman

how could we be scared by an action shooter??

Csdabest89
Csdabest89

No its not. But when You give Captain American Unlimited Ammo and plenty of health Packs. Along with Super Soldier Black widow who also has near unlimited ammo. Then after the initial Jump scare. Its all bland. Dead Space was scary. Give us and Open world with closed of space for the objective. Like Zombie U but dead rising zombie population. With Last of us resources. Then you will have a start. True fear is not monsters. True Scary is not being prepared to handle the situation and knowing your not prepared for the situation. use gears of war judgement smart spawn system too  as well. 

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

I tell you what is scary, have the player control a young weak Japanese girl with only a camera for defense against the horrible un-dead found throughout haunted houses. 

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Well at least TRY geez.

Nothing has been more dissapointing in games than the ever-present horror genre becoming action fad.

quit trying to make us jump, and put the fear of of helplessness in us.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Powerless is right. Mikami is on the right track.I am not afraid of anything as long as I know I can give it a beatdown. It's a difficult balance though. I find RE 6 easier to bear than Amnesia even though the latter is a vastly superior scary game.

Oh, and there is a difference between being disgusted and being scared. Monster grotesquery by itself almost always fall into the first category.

Stiler
Stiler

IMO what's the scariest in games (and movies) is the atmosphere, it's not the cheap "Jump" scares which have became so over-done in horror movies that you expect them around every corner. 


It's the sense of dread, the despair and other elements that compound the atmosphere of the greatest horror games like Silent Hill (which imo was far superior and scarier then the RE games). 


Sanitarium is another great example, it was a point and click adventure game but it had one of the CREEPIEST atmosphere's of any game I ever played that just made your skin crawl as you experienced each new area. Like the children of the corn style town with all the disfigured children running it and you uncovering the mystery behind it, ugh still creeps me out.

Revenant_K
Revenant_K

Its more like the people who know how to make horror game are no longer in the development team.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

SCP: Containment Breach on Keter difficulty. If you died on that version, your save files are deleted.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

@Garm31

8. Blip on the map telling you where to go.

9. Pendants for secret gun also marked on your map.

10. Headshot, kick, stomp, dead...

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Resident Evil 4 is a great game.


Problem is, it's not a great horror game.  Capcom then assumed it was what people wanted out of their horror games.

Nightelf123
Nightelf123


@Garm31 No, Resident evil 4 isn't the best one it has these problems:

1.very easy boss fights 

2.the action in this game ruined the horror and also the action don't make you feel weak against enemies

3.very easy enemies

4.mediocre story 

5.no puzzles

it has very easy fights because you can use overpower weapons,overpowering weapons,powerful grenades you can have more than 9 herbs with yourself and you can upgrade your HP. 

in most of the bossfights you can just buy rocket-luncher to easily kill that boss or you can just stand,shoot,perform QTEs and use herbs to kill that boss.

roman4545
roman4545

Well there isnt alot of horror games to begin with... but yes more and more people buy action games...

roman4545
roman4545

ahem... try Condemned 2: Bloodshot..... its kinda consider action shooter....

 

roman4545
roman4545

its already existed...  forgot the name of the game... something called Siren or Fatal Frame ? its a PS2 game btw...

natethegreat235
natethegreat235

I have to disagree with you...

That doesn't sound scary, it just sounds annoying.I actually prefer trying to make me jump. The suspense and anxiety that comes from the conscious anticipation/dread of something popping out at you if far scarier to me than having to run and look for a trap. That just sounds annoying,


Also, if you have surround sound, that instantly makes a scary game, well, scarier. When you excellent sound production quality with the jump out, scary anxiety I talked about above, you have a truly scary game in my opinion. Regardless of whether or not I can kill the monster.

Garm31
Garm31

So the older games with their bad controls, fixed camera angles and having absolutely no reason to replay them. Once all the puzzles are solved. When Resi4 came out it was stunning, its was revolutionary in graphics, gameplay and controls. The game had horror, enemies swarmed around you and caused panic. You probably don' t remember it's first release, due to the prepubescent comments made above. How old are you, 12?

Hurvl
Hurvl

@roman4545 That's why there are so few horror games I think. It's a vicious circle: not many horror games, not many people buying them, leading to fewer and fewer horror games. If there was a major hit, horror games could get out of that circle, but people seem to prefer action and so there are only action games (sometimes pretending to have horror in them) now.

ballsy7777
ballsy7777

i wuldnt call it an action shooter since 70% is hand to hand and weapons but that bear chasing part was insane first time through

ClawsOfSteel
ClawsOfSteel

I would call for good atmosphere over both, as no scares exist without the right tone.  This is the problem with horror games, they could try all they want to establish a good atmosphere, and games like Dead Space and Resident Evil 2 might succeed, but atmosphere is only the first step to where horror game design lies, and it lies in the realm of spectacle.


A good horror game for me builds the tension before the monster is introduced and tries to maintain it throughout the whole game.  Sound design and art design are both important to making this work.  It's scary to play Amnesia: The Dark Descent for the first 20 minutes, but I feel more reassured by the introduction of the monsters in that game and consequently less fearful than in the first twenty minutes.


Good horror games force you to do things you don't want to do, go to places you are too scared to go, and make you feel that dread.  The horror peaks at the monsters, and it better be damn scary monsters because the horror isn't going up from there.

Nightelf123
Nightelf123

@Garm31 older RE games(1,2,3,CVx,1 remake,0) are much better and more stunning than RE 4.

after I saw those games i began to hate RE 4.