Sequels a "big problem" for horror genre, says Mikami

Resident Evil creator says knowledge of who enemies are dilutes scare factor, has led to developers adding action where it may not fit.

Sequels are a "big problem" for the horror genre, according to Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami. Speaking with Eurogamer, the industry veteran behind upcoming horror game The Evil Within said to keep things fresh, developers have added more action to their horror games, a move that in turn can reduce the scare factor.

"Sequels are a big problem in horror entertainment," Mikami said. "As a horror game series continues you begin to know who the enemies are going to be. Just this knowledge naturally makes the game less scary. So to capture a wider audience designers add more action. That further reduces how frightening the game feels."

This is one of the reasons Mikami chose to make The Evil Within, an all-new next-generation horror franchise from his studio Tango Gameworks and publisher Bethesda. Another is that graphics have advanced to the level where Mikami and his team can truly frighten gamers, he argued.

"This has the capacity to make the fear much closer to you. We can add in a far greater amount of animation and make it context based, so, for example, we can change how a character moves in a certain situation," Mikami said.

"Really, I'm making this game just because it's fun to scare people," he added. "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.

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Discussion

355 comments
PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

Resident Evil just wouldn't work as a true survival horror anymore. Either the people would be dead or they would have learned to cope with the situation. Even though RE5 and 6 aren't perfect games, I find the style fitting.

jark888
jark888

I already see myself playing The Evil Within.

crazyintheface
crazyintheface

Why start a new franchise? That implies there will be sequels.

CyberOcelot
CyberOcelot

Simply put, this is wrong. Resident Evil had a great premise, even if typical. It lent lots of opportunity for the evolution of the "monsters". We saw this in RE4 when zombies became intelligent and faster moving. Of course, this came after Hollywood began depicting zombies in that manner.

The unfortunate brutal truth is, Mikami and his team are either simply not creative / adaptive enough. Or they're content with milking a franchise for everything it's worth before moving on to create a new one.

By the way, RE 2 was actually BETTER than RE 1. And RE 4 rejuvenated the franchise after lots of milking was going on.

I'm looking forward to checking out Evil Within. But I will always be cautious of any games this team releases as a result of more recent past experience with games in their development.

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Already making excuses for the sequel, Mikami??

A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

"As a horror game series continues you begin to know who the enemies are going to be. Just this knowledge naturally makes the game less scary. So to capture a wider audience designers add more action. That further reduces how frightening the game feels."

That pretty much sums up exactly what has happened with Dead Space.

theslovakian38
theslovakian38

I say look at metro 2033 and last light for inspiration. not only did these games have dark tunnels, mutants, and  limited ammo... these games were scary because it showed what mankind can create; a world completely obliterated by nuclear war and yet... humans are still fighting against each other despite being almost extinct. sadly enough everything about that game could happen and that's what makes a good horror game.

stealthyninja81
stealthyninja81

I just saw a movie called the Conjuring and it was scary as hell. Mainly because you rarely saw the evil spirit and when you did it was terrifying.

cannahuana
cannahuana

i,ve had more scares in mincraft than i have had in anyother game, just minding my own business down in some cave then all of a sudden SSSsss BOOM

Psycold
Psycold

This is the main reason why I don't like the majority of tv shows, because you know when there is a main character that they are basically invincible for the sake of the show continuing, this ruins it for me. Compared to something like No Country For Old Men where the unexpected can and will happen just like in real life. 

MJ-X
MJ-X

"Really, I'm making this game just because it's fun to scare people,"

Not sure if i should admire this guy for his amazing work and this horrifying game or actually be scared of what he said alone :D

maitkarro
maitkarro

So in the future we will have suprise enemy cast, like Justin Beaber in CSI equal counterpart in games a rainbow color flying pony unicorn.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

You know what else Mikam? Gore and revulsion aren't scary either.. It's cheap. Like using surprise every 2-minutes. Effective horror has more to do with character development than anything.

ethanm1834
ethanm1834

He's right, sequels do kill the fear. Which is why it has to evolve. The problem here is pretty simple Resident evil started in a house, which two had to use an entire city to up the scare dosage. Three used a big monster that never dies in a city to up the scare dosage. 

Then 4 had an island to do the same. When you're following these patterns you eventually get to six. This shatters the illusion of anything scary and you get some sort of deadrising rush mob. 

orangesonic
orangesonic

i think mikami just can`t get away from the Resident Evil feel even when working with bethesda

Sahle123
Sahle123

I know this isn't fully on topic but, man... I wish there were more horror games to choose from. Resident evil and silent hill were like my all time favorites as a kid, yet, now they're so milked out it's hardly entertaining anymore. /:

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Hopefully Mikami remembers that the creep factor in horror is just as, in some cases moreso, dependent on audio, or lack thereof, as it is on visuals.

iBuSHiDo
iBuSHiDo

My favorites include Dead Space, Amnesia, Slender, Silent Hill, and Resident Evil. I haven't tried Alan Wake yet, but I have it. I've also heard that System Shock is a good one? Anyone play it?

LOVERPS3
LOVERPS3

best horror games i've played :

SILENT HILL series

ALAN WAKE  

KuchikiSentou
KuchikiSentou

Best comment: "I want to explore fear again.."

Which oddly enough reminded me of F.E.A.R. A game I played and finsihed at least 4 times [to get the story completely; jury's still out] and was scared each and every time.

Evil Within is 2014,  so not too pertinent as all 2014 games are.

ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

I like the Resident Evil series.... That's right, come get me.

MikEyNyHc
MikEyNyHc

@CyberOcelot you realize mikami and this team left capcom After resident evil 4? meaning re games after 4 were shit because he had NOTHING to do with them. He explains how he is bringing back real survival horror with this new franchise.

AzatiS
AzatiS

@CyberOcelot  

Can you enlight me how in RE4 zombies became intelligent and faster when in reality there WERENT any zombies in that game  and i cant call intelligent something that its next to me and just staring at me doing nothing !! Let alone the whole story was really awkward!! 

Worms that taking control of humans while others were transforming at will ( bosses ) and so many ANTI-climax things ..This wasnt RE game , original to its original settings. Nor 5 was and nor 6 was.

RE4 was the start of RE downfall. Game praised and scored really high but half or even more of RE veterans didnt like it. That says alot if you think about it.

sweetSWA99ER
sweetSWA99ER

@leikeylosh If anything, he's expressing disinterest in one (or at least one that directly follows the events of the first). Something like Resident Evil 2; with new characters and elements would work fine.

Conscrumptured
Conscrumptured

@mrboone01 Actually, 4 didn't suck--both in sales and reception, it was quite successful. I even liked it.

The reasons 5 and 6 did was because Capcom did nothing to build off what made 4 exciting and new, and their stories got ridiculously worse fast. 4 wasn't traditionally survival-horror, I'll grant you, but what they did with it was fresh and still enjoyable. It was the same sort of situation with Dead Space: they made the third one marketable to idiot gamers who just want adrenaline fixes and not much horror, so it floundered. 

maitkarro
maitkarro

@DiscGuru101 Em horror doesn't mean scary only, it's the gore and the revulsion, as in "oh the horror I have to endure "with shudder""

killip
killip

@orangesonic Resident Evil feel? He pretty much single-handedly made the horror genre what it is today, and continues to push it forward. After he left Capcom to do their thing, look what they're doing: aimlessly trying to carry on from his work and think action is what everyone wants.

Less is more is the number one rule for horror games, and developers these days don't realize it.

Developers need to actually listen to Shinji, because he seems to be the only one with his head on.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

@bankai_456 don't leave out Silent Hill 4: The Room. If you don't think it was scary as hell, I defy anyone to play it tonight, sound up, in the dark alone.

sweetSWA99ER
sweetSWA99ER

Those games are the exception. Though they are sequels, both games introduce entirely new scenarios, themes and enemies that are unique to each game. They prove Mikami's point because they create whole new experiences with an updated gameplay formula as apposed to relying heavily on old material like other horror franchises.

My idea of the best kind of horror sequel is one that merely shares the same universe as the previous game, but doesn't recycle too much from it. In that regard, Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill 2 are still the strongest survival horror sequels ever made.

iBuSHiDo
iBuSHiDo

Oh yeah, forgot to mention Eternal Darkness. That was another good one. That game tricked me into getting scared so many times. Not gonna say how cuz I don't wanna ruin it for anyone who still plans to play it. 

acelogan1989
acelogan1989

@iBuSHiDo if you don't have problem  with the outdated graphics , yes system shock is a good game

josh7845
josh7845

@iBuSHiDo System Shock 2 is great. Haven't played the original (not for lack of trying to get it to run though).

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

@LOVERPS3 Alan Wake is thrilling and has good action, but to say Alan Wake is horror is saying Resident Evil 6 is horror...which it is, just not the jump scare kind.

CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@LOVERPS3 Alan wake is not even scary and the gameplay sucks >< Un only shoot shit all the time.

jark888
jark888

@ANUBISZER0 I love anything RE too. RE 6 did not let me down at all (maybe some minor things I don't like), but overall no problem. Wish to play RE 7 in The-Walking-Deadlike setting too.

snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

@ANUBISZER0 I loved them up to 4, and I enjoyed 5 for what it was, an action game.

Mikami is correct though, out of all the REs I have played (1-4 Code veronica, RE0, and RE5) none compare to the first one for me, both in terms of suspense and scare factor.


CyberOcelot
CyberOcelot

@MikEyNyHc @CyberOcelot I didn't know that actually. Thanks for that info! I just looked him up (instead of Capcom), and it seems he typically puts out quality work actually. 

It's a shame that franchises don't die with the creator. I'm sure plenty here thought the same as I did.

Well, at least now I have another game to be excited for in 2014 :)

CyberOcelot
CyberOcelot

@AzatiS  Sure some RE vets didn't like it, but that by no means classifies those few as a majority. I happen to be an RE vet. The RE franchise was the reason I purchased the PlayStation One, and played every game produced since. Most RE vets I spoke to loved it. And according to VG Chartz sales numbers, I'd say the real (not just the perceived) majority loved it.

You have also mistaken the word "intelligent" for "intelligent AI". By "intelligent" I meant the ability to use weapons, ladders, and create tension in swarms.

The truth behind their failure is, with RE 5, Mikami shifted the franchise to the action genre while still using "Survival Horror" mechanics from the early nineties. It was clearly a cheap attempt to broaden the demographic.

Franchise installments need to evolve and create new experiences, yes. But any radical changes must bring the gameplay into question first. Grand Theft Auto would suck if the protagonist moved around like the main character of Silent Hill.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

@killip Hardly. He made Resident evil... hardly pushed anything anywhere, except resident evil downhill. The first resident evil was the only real survival horror he did, the rest were action games along the same vein, and if certain enemies have become predictable change it up, for fuck sake resident evil was about a virus, and viruses mutate, change it up so no two versions of the same licker or hunter are the same, etc. he left capcom cuz resident evil 4 was the beginning of the end, and now he's doing something else, great but don't call him the grandaddy of horror games cuz he really ain't, he got lucky a few times back when originality had little competition and now he's just trying to infuse everything he's learnt into a new game, we'll see when it's out.

iBuSHiDo
iBuSHiDo

@josh7845 @iBuSHiDo It's on sale on Steam for $5 right now. That's why I was asking. I kinda feel like I should play the first one before that, but it's not on Steam. 

Prats1993
Prats1993

Yeah, Alan Wake is shit, its just Stephen King worship. The first line u hear in the game is "Stephen King once said", i just cringed and stopped playing after a while.

Bahamut50
Bahamut50

@snakebite6x6x6 @ANUBISZER0 I'm a huge outlier on the fear thing, because in all honesty, Resident evil 1 didn't scare me for one simple reason; Even as a pre-teen just starting to play games in earnest, that voice-acting was so... god awfully bad that it got to a point where i just laughed too much xD...

Henninger
Henninger

@snakebite6x6x6 @ANUBISZER0 If you want scares then RE3 was the best because of Nemesis. Is it the best RE game? No. But Nemesis made it fun. For me it was RE2. Thats the best in the series for me. You could make a case for the original though.

killip
killip

@Gankstar_VX84@killip How did he push it downhill?!  I think you give him little credit for what he's done. Infact, I'm not even sure you have your facts right. Do you even know who he is?

He made Resi 1 and then went to do other things, Capcom had serious problems making its sequel, so asked him back, creating one of the best horror sequels in a video game.

 The horror genre was becoming extremely stale (due to every developer pulling the same tricks he left behind) so he comes in to help make Resi 4 (again due to a stale process with nothing really new happening) and love it or hate it, he made a very new kind of horror game.

 Now we're at a stage where his work has made most horror games these days into action game, rather than horror, and I feel he's going to up the anti once again.

You're either a troll or you really have no clue.

iBuSHiDo
iBuSHiDo

@Nightelf123 @sweetSWA99ER It might be, but it doesn't really count as a sequel. I think they're both really awesome games. I gotta give Code Veronica another shot too. I remember really liking it, but I lent it to a friend and never got to play it again so it's like the only one I've only played once. I've recently gotten a copy of it again so it's only a matter of time before I give it another go. 

Chronologo
Chronologo

@Bahamut50 The voice acting was awful, but the music score and the sound of walking in wood floor was something I will never forget about that game, I was about 12 when I played it for the first time and I remember I stopped playing it for about 2 months because I was scared hahahaha

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

@snakebite6x6x6 How you described 4 is pretty much 6 in a nutshell, except I ran out of ammo in 6 unlike 4 or 5. None of the games since 2 have scared me, but they have all been intense with menacing enemies. Same type of atmosphere.

snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

@Kryptonbornson @snakebite6x6x6 

4 was a horror game with action gameplay, but it still kept the atmosphere and tension of the originals.


5 stuck you with a partner (which immediately takes away a large chunk of tension) and dumps loads of ammo at you.

Also, RE games should never have sunlight...


...but that's just me...