Shinji Mikami, The Father of Survival Horror

Survival Horror as a genre would literally not exist had it not been for a game designer by the name of Shinji Mikami.

Mikami-san would be a legendary game designer even without his genre-birthing streak of genius. He worked on SNES licensed games back before they were all terrible, including his breakout hit: Aladdin.

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After the early years of success, Capcom was ready to start expanding their intellectual property library. The game industry was going through a period of growth and was hungry for fresh ideas. Shinji Mikami was allowed to make Resident Evil, his attempt to redeem the flaws in the 1970’s horror movie Zombie. He had his own take on zombies and horror and was eager to express these ideas through his medium.

Resident Evil was a huge success and Mikami continued to oversee the series all the way through Resident Evil 4 and the GameCube remakes. He also created another million-plus selling survival horror franchise; Dino Crisis. While not as popular as the Resident Evil games, it further showcased Mikami’s versatility. It also proved that survival horror could work in all kinds of interesting scenarios.

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During the PlayStation 2 years he continued to oversee the Resident Evil series, but also created some other notable titles, including Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry originally began development as Resident Evil 4 but ended up going in so much of a different direction that it became its own game and later, franchise. Even when getting off track, Mikami manages to create something impressive. He went on to create several great games over the next decade including Vanquish.

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In more recent years, he has formed his own studio, Tango Gameworks. His premiere title with this new studio will be The Evil Within, a new psychological thriller centered around a mental hospital. It will be interesting to see where the mind of Mikami goes when he is both free to create and running the show.

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The Evil Within releases on October 14th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.


Mike Bertrand is MONG’s foremost expert on survival horror games and will be happily dropping knowledge bombs on your faces all month. Tweets.

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