SAN FRANCISCO - Horror genre video game master Shinji Mikami is throwing open a door to wickedly crafted terror with the Tuesday release of "The Evil Within." The Japanese video game designer known for the hit "Resident Evil" franchise has taken survival horror back to its roots with his new title being published by Bethesda Softworks.
"It is about scarcity of resources; overcoming your fear, and managing to stay alive just a little bit longer," Bethesda vice president Pete Hines said of the game making its debut in time for Halloween as well as the year-end holiday shopping season.
"It is not just blood and guts and intensity of combat, but the need to run away." Players are cast in the role of a police detective mysteriously caught in a deranged world while investigating a mass murder.The character must face "unimaginable terror" while trying to uncover an evil force behind what is happening.
"Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story are combined to create an immersive world that will bring you to the height of tension," Bethesda promised while describing the game.
The struggle to survive in the game involves a distorted reality with horrid creatures posing perils at unexpected moments, and lots of traps.
Fun being scared
"There is a fun to being scared," Hines said while discussing the popularity of the horror genre with AFP.
"Horror in general, not just games, is interesting to people because of the emotional thrill." Video games can deliver more intensely frightening moments because players are in control of characters, whether it be slowly opening a door or desperately scrounging for a bullet to put in the chamber of an empty gun at a desperate moment.
"With a film, you might have to cover your eyes and fight the urge to look through your fingers," Hines said.
"In a game, you don't have that luxury. If you do that, you are dead." Games also come with the exhilaration and pride of having used wits and what the virtual world provides to overcome fears and scary creatures.
In keeping with Mikami's style, players are kept a little off balance regarding where the story is taking them, according to Bethesda.
"Mikami believes good survival horror isn't black and white," Hines said.
The game is priced at US$60 (S$76) for its release in many countries on Tuesday, with versions tailored for play on current and previous versions of Xbox and PlayStation consoles as well as on personal computers powered by Windows software.