Famitsu: Bethesda's 2013 will be defined by Mikami's Zwei (in Japan, at least)?

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
I mentioned this in the last thread about the game, but will draw out a few observations I and some others made in the last topic about the game, and just some personal theories.

Firstly, the things I'm drawing right now more than anything story-wise from the small bits we have is that this game is probably set on an island, and the theme of slavery. At the very least, this game is set on an ocean-side town (a piece of concept art shows the sea and a lighthouse), and there is definitely a theme of man-made structures in ruins, overgrowth of vegetation, and a running theme of water (as many places seem to be either slightly flooded, or have suffered from water damage). Slavery first came to my attention thanks to the concept art of the ship. That is definitely a slavery ship, and with that theme in mind a few things can be pieced together... There's concept art of what appears to be an abandoned plantation, as well as the only human we have concept art for is black. This also would support the island theme, as there was a ring of islands used during the slave trade to hold slaves or as farming 'stations', the most popular being the ones owned by the French.

I believe the enemy force we may have here is a sympathetic enemy, which wouldn't be surprising. Resident Evil 1 and 4 both utilized something similar, where notes in the original RE describes tragic characters and their downfall to help the player realize what they're shooting were once human. Likewise, Resident Evil 4's credit sequence brings attention to the enemy you've been fighting this whole game, and shining a human light of their downfall and how a quaint town came to this.

The enemies here have some sort of surreal human quality to them. One enemy, the one with the pole(s) which I believe is shown twice in concept art (these to be exact:)


It uses tools, which is human-like. Some seem to garber a bit of clothing, and others still even look a bit more human-like than others. Still, they are definitely not human, at least, not any more, and I definitely are quite surreal.

This part isn't mine, but someone else brought up the great point that there seems to be a theme of 'Two faces'. I have this weird theory in my head now that this may have to directly do with the enemies in this. THIS PART IS JUST THEORY, but there is one piece of concept art that shows a monster that looks just like so... A monster, without the two-theme thing going on. The monsters with double faces seem to be more... Docile looking. I mean, sure some look weird and some may even be dangerous, but they seem to have more... Soft-looking. My theory is that maybe these two-face monsters are actually a 'Metamorphosis' in a way. I think kind of like something is 'Splitting' from them. This has no hard evidence behind it so call it a crack theory, but I was wondering how all the monsters could link and I have a strange image of watching a terrifying monster sort of''' birth, split itself apart, from its two face-shell. Sort of like monsters being born from within, taking you over, and then shedding their human components. We'll have to see if this crack theory has any merit to it.

I also believe that this game will have a role of insanity involved. A lot of people on the team (at least, on the team before Zwei was announced) have a love of abstract and surreal art of the disturbing variety, and some on their social feeds seem interested in psychology and insanity. Not to mention the last real 'horror' game Mikami was directing had a theme of insanity in it originally before it turned into the Resident Evil 4 we all know and love today. We don't know anything about the main character outside of some concept art that we can presume may be him, but confronted with weird imagery, seeming very alone, and being involved in a 'pure survival horror experience', his sanity could easily be brought into question, and there's a few things from Mikami's earlier RE4 builds that I question if he's interested in utilizing.

Did Mikami consider RE4 to be "survival horror?" Today, many people call that style of gameplay "action horror," but I wonder if Mikami still considers it "survival horror." In which case, Zwei returning to "survival horror" could still make for something action-packed like RE4 -- not altogether improbable, given the soldier seen in the concept art, and all of the guns they're playing with at the office.
There's an interview with Mikami about his thoughts on RE4, and he mentions a few times that it was decided to bring Resident Evil into a more action-direction for RE4, so while I don't expect action to be non-existent in this, I also don't expect this to be "Ammo-everywhere trigger happy" like RE4 or SotD. The man does know his genres well, and he never lay claim to RE4 or Shadows of the Damned being pure survival-horror games.
 
Firstly, the things I'm drawing right now more than anything story-wise from the small bits we have is that this game is probably set on an island, and the theme of slavery. At the very least, this game is set on an ocean-side town (a piece of concept art shows the sea and a lighthouse), and there is definitely a theme of man-made structures in ruins, overgrowth of vegetation, and a running theme of water (as many places seem to be either slightly flooded, or have suffered from water damage).
Yeah, this is more or less what I'm thinking. The impression I get looking at the environmental art is an island in the Caribbean, with towns dating back to colonial times. The climate looks about right, and the bit with the alleyway resembles something out of an English settlement, and the tombstones in the art with the soldier look like a white Christian vestige of the Old World. This lends itself well to the notion of slavery, like you say. Maybe even white imperialism.

Slavery first came to my attention thanks to the concept art of the ship. That is definitely a slavery ship, and with that theme in mind a few things can be pieced together... There's concept art of what appears to be an abandoned plantation, as well as the only human we have concept art for is black. This also would support the island theme, as there was a ring of islands used during the slave trade to hold slaves or as farming 'stations', the most popular being the ones owned by the French.
I suspect you're right, but regarding the ship, there's a possibility it might not be a slave ship. Pirate ships, for example, could also make use of something like the cage dangling from the mast, leaving someone to hang for the birds as an example to others.

Also, I'm not sure if we can tell the soldier character is black. In fact, it looks like he's wearing a black mask, and the part of his face that is exposed is white:



Furthermore, we have concept art of another character, who appears villainous, or at least shady. Either way, he is white:



This part isn't mine, but someone else brought up the great point that there seems to be a theme of 'Two faces'. I have this weird theory in my head now that this may have to directly do with the enemies in this. THIS PART IS JUST THEORY, but there is one piece of concept art that shows a monster that looks just like so... A monster, without the two-theme thing going on. The monsters with double faces seem to be more... Docile looking. I mean, sure some look weird and some may even be dangerous, but they seem to have more... Soft-looking. My theory is that maybe these two-face monsters are actually a 'Metamorphosis' in a way. I think kind of like something is 'Splitting' from them. This has no hard evidence behind it so call it a crack theory, but I was wondering how all the monsters could link and I have a strange image of watching a terrifying monster sort of''' birth, split itself apart, from its two face-shell. Sort of like monsters being born from within, taking you over, and then shedding their human components. We'll have to see if this crack theory has any merit to it.
This "metamorphosis" theory is interesting. I also like your "splitting" idea. :)

My guess at the moment is an island cursed after horrific experiments performed on slaves, trying to merge them with animals and insects for whatever reason. The way some of the creatures appear to be going through human-like routines -- pouring water, picking with sticks, etc -- suggests something akin to homunculi (artificial people), where the monsters were created to be "human" and so go through the motions of humanity.

I also believe that this game will have a role of insanity involved. A lot of people on the team (at least, on the team before Zwei was announced) have a love of abstract and surreal art of the disturbing variety, and some on their social feeds seem interested in psychology and insanity. Not to mention the last real 'horror' game Mikami was directing had a theme of insanity in it originally before it turned into the Resident Evil 4 we all know and love today. We don't know anything about the main character outside of some concept art that we can presume may be him, but confronted with weird imagery, seeming very alone, and being involved in a 'pure survival horror experience', his sanity could easily be brought into question, and there's a few things from Mikami's earlier RE4 builds that I question if he's interested in utilizing.
Weren't there several prototypes to RE4 before Mikami arrived at the one we got? I wouldn't be surpried if there were some concepts left on the cutting room floor that could be repurposed for Zwei...
 
This is Mikami, guys.

Resident Evil.

God Hand.

Vanquish.

Resident Evil 4.

(Didn't play PN03 but I know it didn't light the world on fire. Didn't play Shadows of the Damned, either, but I hear it was a bit rough. Still sounds like the best-playing Suda51 game, though, and Suda51 was probably what fractured the game's focus in the first place. Sounds like even Sudad51 wasn't happy with how it turned out.)

Still... Resident Evil 4.

Mikami said he's found his focus with Zwei. I have faith it will be incredible. And the fact Zwei is survival horror -- one of my favorite genres, woefully absent this generation, Amnesia aside -- is all the more cause for celebration.

Mikami's one of the few devs who can get me hyped on concept art alone.
...So much this. I pretty much trust anything Mikami makes now-a-days, so I have faith this will be something I will like.
 
You are right, sorry. Kellams from Platinum
Ah, OK. Not sure who that is at Platinum...?

Well, to take stock of the art we have, the very first piece linked in the OP, the environmental art, is definitely Zwei-related. As for the rest... It seems reasonable to think that, originating from Tango, there is a chance it's related. The soldier pics share a similar setting to what's in the environmental art, for example.

And we know they're working on a survival horror game, so if nothing else, all of the monster art we've seen maybe gives us an idea of the lines they're thinking along. We have a host of curious-looking monsters, many of them involving double-faces or hybrid natures (man + roach, man + deer, etc). With the exception of maybe that troll-like creature, there seems to be a common thread running through them.

Don't forget the project is codenamed "Zwei," German for "two." One naturally starts to think all these two-in-one creatures might be related!
 
Just give me a trailer and I will make this game numero uno on my list of most anticipated. I need a survival horror done right and Mikami is definitely the man I fully trust to deliver, the imagery alone has me a believer.
 
wow, hadn't seen the artworks before! I think they're classic examples of grotesque; interestingly, I don't remember the last time that I felt worried a game may be released on a platform I won't own!
 
Ah, OK. Not sure who that is at Platinum...?

Well, to take stock of the art we have, the very first piece linked in the OP, the environmental art, is definitely Zwei-related. As for the rest... It seems reasonable to think that, originating from Tango, there is a chance it's related. The soldier pics share a similar setting to what's in the environmental art, for example.

And we know they're working on a survival horror game, so if nothing else, all of the monster art we've seen maybe gives us an idea of the lines they're thinking along. We have a host of curious-looking monsters, many of them involving double-faces or hybrid natures (man + roach, man + deer, etc). With the exception of maybe that troll-like creature, there seems to be a common thread running through them.

Don't forget the project is codenamed "Zwei," German for "two." One naturally starts to think all these two-in-one creatures might be related!
He is/was story writer for a couple of Platinum games.

And he keeps on tweeting:

As opposed, to say, drawing for their website... Or a staff profile page. We draw all sorts of silly stuff here that isn't project related.
BTW - Why I'm loving that thread is because of the assumption that a company full of artists would only ever draw concept art for a game.
 
He is/was story writer for a couple of Platinum games.

And he keeps on tweeting:
Maybe he has reason to think it's not Zwei-related, or maybe he isn't any more knowledgable of this project than the rest of us. Who knows? *shrugs*

All we know is the environmental art is Zwei-related, presented at the site as such. That much is certain.

Beyond that -- anything is possible. Maybe the creature art is a hint at what to expect. Maybe it's not. If nothing else, it gives us at least one angle on the creative process. Whether it's for this game or not remains to be seen, but I'm encouraged by the fact we have some clearly fucked-up minds working on this game -- always a good quality for horror!
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
The obvious answer is a few (myself included) are excited for the project, we have very little available to us in terms of what we know. Of course more will be revealed eventually, but speculation is where we're at. We won't know until they choose to show, the art outside of the environmental art shown last year could be all completely unrelated, could partially be related, etc.

However, artists will draw art but the speculative part of me also can't help but notice on-going themes between a few of them. OTL Though it is fair to say it could just as likely be for something else or a pet project as much as it could be for Zwei, but then you never know~

Regardless, I will be very interested whenever they decide to show more, though I have my suspicions that we may not see too much until next summer at earliest.
 
The obvious answer is a few (myself included) are excited for the project, we have very little available to us in terms of what we know. Of course more will be revealed eventually, but speculation is where we're at. We won't know until they choose to show, the art outside of the environmental art shown last year could be all completely unrelated, could partially be related, etc.

However, artists will draw art but the speculative part of me also can't help but notice on-going themes. OTL

Regardless, I will be very interested whenever they decide to show more, though I have my suspicions that we may not see too much until next summer at earliest.
If you mean "next summer" as in Summer 2014, it might as well be an Orbis/Durango project at that point, no? Both of the next-gen systems will be in full swing then.

But yeah, back to the idea of discussing the art, we're excited about the game, and we see a lot of threads in common, whether it's a similar setting between the soldier pics and the environmental art, or the double-face/hybrid nature of the various monster pics.

I mean, we could not give a shit about the game. But we do! Shame on Mikami for making awesome games. ;)
 
His track record is damned near flawless. I think because he tends to stay quiet these days people just forget the guy exists.
Flawless? LOL! I guess it's flawless if you are a fan of his games, if you think in terms of sales and critical reception (terms that actually matter) Mikami doesn't have all that perfect track record. Then again RE games he worked on more then make up for his shittier games, so he can have more then few "bad titles" on his resume. Zwei does look awesome going by the art work but so have many other games (I'm still angry about epic mickey).
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
Flawless? LOL! I guess it's flawless if you are a fan of his games, if you think in terms of sales and critical reception (terms that actually matter) Mikami doesn't have all that perfect track record. Then again RE games he worked on more then make up for his shittier games, so he can have more then few "bad titles" on his resume. Zwei does look awesome going by the art work but so have many other games (I'm still angry about epic mickey).
Honestly speaking, you'd be hard-pressed to find a director in the industry with a track-record like Mikami's, at least in quality and reception. He also is popularly cited to be a master of design when he is given time to cook-up a project.
 
R

Retro_

Unconfirmed Member
Ah, OK. Not sure who that is at Platinum...?
It's PlatinumGamesJP. The only PG member who browses Neogaf.(Not sure Nick Des Barres is still with the company)

Maybe he has reason to think it's not Zwei-related, or maybe he isn't any more knowledgable of this project than the rest of us. Who knows? *shrugs*
No idea what his involvement is. but he has worked with Mikami in the past.(Man behind God Hand's script)

but it's probably just and educated guess based on knowing what it's like to work at a Japanese game development studio with alot of really creative artists.

and he's probably right, considering the differences in style between the pieces posted in this thread.

This is Mikami, guys.

Resident Evil.

God Hand.

Vanquish.

Resident Evil 4.

(Didn't play PN03 but I know it didn't light the world on fire. Didn't play Shadows of the Damned, either, but I hear it was a bit rough. Still sounds like the best-playing Suda51 game, though, and Suda51 was probably what fractured the game's focus in the first place. Sounds like even Sudad51 wasn't happy with how it turned out.)

Still... Resident Evil 4.

Mikami said he's found his focus with Zwei. I have faith it will be incredible. And the fact Zwei is survival horror -- one of my favorite genres, woefully absent this generation, Amnesia aside -- is all the more cause for celebration.

Mikami's one of the few devs who can get me hyped on concept art alone.
Even so I still find it hard to get excited about a game I know nothing about.

I mean I'm not going to play a game completely unappealing to my tastes just because the guy made other games I like. (I pretty much love all of Kamiya's following works, but I've never finished RE2 because I don't like that type of game.)
 
His point is well taken, we shouldn't assume that all of the materials may have some bearing on Project Zwei. Still, it was worthwhile as it threw up some great looking art many of us hadn't seen, found the missing profile pages and Dusk Golem put forward some interesting theories.

Mentioned it in the previous thread, but it would be really cool to see a horror game from Tango involving human/animal body horror experiments on an isolated island was in some way influenced by H.G Wells' The Island of Dr Moreau and the Hollywood film adaptation Island of Lost Souls.
 
Zwei is for psp..
<fantastic picture of rainbows and unicorns>


Oh wait
I thought of that when I saw the title, too.

Which reminds me if Bethesda worked with a company like Falcom and produced a title that looked like a typical Falcom game, looked like this, but had all of the best parts of Bethesda and Falcom games, I might just become a religious person.

I'm not really a huge fan of Bethesda or wRPGs. But I can certainly appreciate the potential that interworking could bring.

On the worse, Eastern and Western companies working together could cause mass Westernization even worse than what we are currently seeing in the industry today.

On the better, Eastern and Western companies working together could bring out the best points in both and could leave many Japanese companies with a better backbone, and both learning from each other's greatest strengths.

I am leaning toward the latter. This could be the start of something beautiful. And I'm looking forward to it.
 
Should I get Siren guys?

I remember playing it for Ps2 years and years ago when I was younger and be terrified.

How is the newer version? Worth playing?
The new version is Siren: Blood Curse on PS3. It was released episodically in the U.S., but I wanted to save HDD space, so I imported the English-language disk version from Australia. Works like a charm! God bless the region-free PS3!

A quick assessment: Character models look a bit last gen, although the creatures are inspired. Environments look fantastic, with great lighting and shadows. You have pitch-black woods, eerie red skies, raining blood, and a tastefully applied "film noise" filter for added horror movie effect. Dialogue and acting is solid. The premise with the film crew, etc, is a familiar but fun setup.

However... The mechanics, while conceptually solid (sneaking, hiding, ambushing, and running) are hindered by the same awful tank controls that plagued nearly every PS1/PS2-era J-horror game, even though the camera follows you rather than being fixed. I find playing in first-person mitigates this somewhat. But hey, maybe you're one of the weirdos comfortable with those controls, lol.

I've always loved the survival horror concept, and the style of J-horror, especially, but Siren-style tank controls are the one holdover I hope doesn't appear in Zwei. RE4 still had tank controls, technically, but something about the camera and handling in general did a lot to cure the cumbersome nature of past games.

So yeah, I recommend Siren, if you have a taste for those controls or the patience to overcome them. :)

EDIT: Oh, one other thing -- Siren: Blood Curse has a brilliant mechanic called "sight-jacking" where at any time you can squeeze a shoulder trigger to split the screen in two and see the world through the monster's POV, giving you an idea of where they're at and what they're doing. Very creepy!