Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame and the upcoming The Evil Within. Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear fame and the upcoming Silent Hills. Let’s get the two in the same room and have them talk horror games, shall we?
“Looking at current survival horror games as entertainment, I feel they lean too heavily on action.” Mikami said in an interview with Weekly Famitsu together with Kojima. “I thought that I wanted to make a game that would stand up on both the fear as horror and on the enjoyment as a game.”
Asked for his opinions on The Evil Within, Kojima replied, “‘Survival horror’ is Mr. Mikami’s child, so I believe The Evil Within will be his showdown with the genre in terms of both content and sales.”
As for Silent Hills and its teaser, P.T., Kojima was both excited and nervous. “Honestly, the response to P.T. has been so positive, I’m currently pondering ‘what should I do for Silent Hills.'” Kojima noted, to which Mikami interjected, “I think you should make Silent Hills an extension [of P.T.]. I felt truly ‘pure’ horror from [P.T.].”
While Kojima has admitted to avoiding horror games because he gets too scared, Mikami on the other hand noted that he doesn’t get scared at all. “Maybe I’ve grown numb to it.” Mikami laughed. Kojima responded, “I think we’re able to make scary things because we’re so easily scared. You (Mr. Mikami) should just admit it. All creators are chickens. We see things you can’t see and hear things you can’t hear. We become hypersensitive.” (Mikami did admit that while fantasy and imaginary things did not scare him, real life things could.)
On the changing tastes in what people find “scary” and the changes in the experience delivery, both developers put in their two cents. “Making people mad or sad or especially scared isn’t that hard. Actually, making them laugh is the most difficult thing.” Kojima noted. “For P.T. I decided against using a ruin as the stage and had it take place instead in a simple hallway. That way, I didn’t have to worry about the cultural background of the player. I wanted people to experience the fear of not being able to escape in a world where there was almost no information on the screen.”
“With the hardware specs we have now, it’s possible to put a whole lot of information into the background, so creators have a tendency to develop a ‘gap-phobia.'” Mikami added. “But if there’s too much information, even if the atmosphere is scary, you don’t know where to focus on. A single chair sitting in a white room can often be scarier.”
Asked on their impressions of the other, each man responded. “[Mr. Kojima] is the game creator representative of Japan. I truly admire him.” Mikami said. Kojima was equally flattering. “We’re both crotchety old men.” Kojima said with a laugh. “Mr. Mikami fights to make the games he wants to make. I believe he is one of Japan’s few real ‘creators.'”
Crotchety old men who make some amazing games.
The Evil Within is scheduled for release on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on October 14th. P.T. is available for the PS4. No release details on Silent Hills yet.