Shinji Mikami is the man behind The Evil Within, a new survival horror epic which has recently launched on PS4 and Xbox One. However, his most famous creation has to be Resident Evil, a game which has sold millions and spawned numerous sequels, many of which have made their way onto Nintendo hardware.
Speaking to The Guardian, Mikami explained his basic approach to creating truly effective survival horror:
Back in the early days, when I was making the first Resident Evil, I spent three months studying the psychology of horror. But what I’ve learned is, horror is instinctive - the things that scare me take precedence over any theory of horror. With Resident Evil, we went with human and human-shaped enemies because people are generally more interested in and scared by other people, rather than some obscure creature that we don’t recognise.
Mikami also talks a little about his approach to creating characters for his games, and touched upon his desire to come up with female characters who are just as strong-willed and independent as the many men we see in lead roles. He also expressed some dismay at the manner in which many other game developers exploit women in their titles:
I don’t know if I’ve put more emphasis on women characters, but when I do introduce them, it is never as objects. In some games, they will be peripheral characters with ridiculous breast physics. I avoid that sort of obvious eroticism. I also don’t like female characters who are submissive to male characters, or to the situation they’re in. I won’t portray women in that way. I write women characters who discover their interdependence as the game progresses, or who already know they are independent but have that tested against a series of challenges.
Mikami also reveals that he's not a fan of Rebecca Chambers, who would later go on to have a starring role in Resident Evil 0:
If I had to name the woman character I most disliked in my games it would be Rebecca Chambers. She’s submissive, she’s not independent. I didn’t want to include her but the staff wanted that kind of character in the game, for whatever reason. I’m sure it made sense to them. And in Japan, that character is pretty popular.
Do you think that the female characters in the Resident Evil series are strong representations of women, or do you feel that Capcom is just as guilty as its fellow developers and publishers in this regard? Let us know by posting a comment below.