Shinji Mikami, a Japanese game designer best known for creating the Resident Evil franchise as well as taking it to a more action-centric direction with Resident Evil 4, recently opened up to IGN, where he discussed his past work, the survival horror genre and his next game, The Evil Within.
Despite being a fantastic action horror game that, like Dead Space 2, blends action and horror brilliantly, Resident Evil 4 is looked upon by some longtime fans of the series as “the game that ruined Resident Evil.” Not necessarily because of the quality of the game, but rather because it marked the series’ rapid transition from survival horror to action horror. Mikami finally explained why he injected a lot more action into the franchise, and the reason may surprise you.
Apparently, the Resident Evil remake did not sell well. Or, at least, not as well as Capcom would’ve liked it to. It received unanimous critical acclaim and is considered by many — including myself — to be one of the best entries in the series. The “poor” sales are the reason Mikami made some drastic changes with Resident Evil 4.
“Because of the reaction to the Resident Evil remake, I decided to work more action into Resident Evil 4.” Mikami told IGN. “The Resident Evil remake is actually one of my favorites of the series too. But it didn’t sell very well.”
“Maybe there weren’t many people ready to accept that. Because of the reaction to the Resident Evil remake, I decided to work more action into Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 4 would have been a more scary, horror-focused game if the remake had sold well.”
So there you have it. Mikami had a lot to say about the survival horror genre, too, but most of it is stuff we’ve already heard. I hope his next game will successfully “bring back horror,” even though I don’t necessarily think horror has gone anywhere. I don’t know if you noticed this, but there have been some pretty fantastic indie horror games lately.
Now, if he means he’s going to bring back AAA horror — I’m all for that. Big budget horror games have seen a steady decline in quality and/or reception lately, so perhaps that’s an area Mikami can breathe a little life into.