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Game Dev Shinji Mikami, the Birth of the Survival Horror Game - Archipel Caravan

Aggelos

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"For his 30th career anniversary, we met Shinji Mikami, one of the most prolific creators and contributors to the game industry. Over a long interview, he told us about his beginnings at Capcom, the birth of the Resident Evil series and his views on the horror genre. This documentary is split in two parts - with part two coming October 29th. "

English subs available














Edit : Part 2 is up


Shinji Mikami, Part 2: An Eclectic Journey




This is the second part to our long portrait on Shinji Mikami, whom we've met for his 30th career anniversary, as one of eclectic and profile creators of the Japanese industry.

Following Resident Evil 4, Shinji Mikami slowly distanced himself from Capcom, joining Clover Studio, whose members will later create PlatinumGames. We will look back at God Hand, a unique action title, where we'll learn more about the ambitions Mikami had for it, before following on multiple project ideas that he had before finally creating Vanquish.

We also asked about Mikami's collaboration with Goichi "SUDA51" Suda, which started in the Capcom days on killer7, until Shadows of the Damned several years later.

Finally, Mikami decided to create his own studio, Tango Gameworks in 2010 in order to foster a new generation of game creators. We dive in his vision for the company in addition to the two titles of The Evil Within series, all the way to the upcoming Ghostwire: Tokyo, the studio's latest action-adventure title scheduled for a 2021 release.







 
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Aggelos

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I hope they spend some quality time discussing his magnum opus - Goof Troop!
But seriously i can't wait to watch this episode.

Apparently they seem to be discussing more the Survival Horror genre. And there's still more talk left: the 10 years of Mikami at Tango Gameworks, with 2 survival horror games being spawn from there.
He even talked about Dino Crisis, which Capcom dubbed it as a "Panic Horror" game (not Survival Horror per se)



 
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JimmyRustler

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Thanks for sharing mate. Can‘t wait for part 2. Guy‘s a legend. Would love for him to work on RE one last time before he retires. Speaking of... Tango should really up their output. 2 games in 10 years is abysmal. How is this studio even being kept afloat?
 
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Thanks for sharing mate. Can‘t wait for part 2. Guy‘s a legend. Would love for him to work on RE one last time before he retires. Speaking of... Tango should really up their output. 2 games in 10 years is abysmal. How is this studio even being kept afloat?
Welp they are now about to be apart of MS hopefully they start doing more.
 

Aggelos

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Fuck IGN for that Godhand review. Game is damn legendary.

That IGN review of theirs, it left a mark on the gaming community. Another sad story that Capcom themselves don't even care about that game anymore, to do a sequel or something.
Great game to be honest, played it to death back in 2007. Its punishing difficulty is an entirely different animal, though.


 
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Astral Dog

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One of the greatest people in the industry. Like top 5 of all time. Full stop.

Oh, and I love the fact that he acknowledges that RE4 is a full-blown action game, not a horror one. Another proof that RE7 saved the series.
RE4 might not be a full on horror game, but it succeeds more as an horror experience than RE5/6/Rev1, and i would argue, an ACTION game. Its a masterpiece.and the perfect game at the time

Anyways imho the RE team are very talented at making horror focused games, but when action RE got so popular they lost their way a bit and unfortunately their action games were a little rough without Mikami. Im so glad they went back to horror and were given good sales for it
 
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Dr_Salt

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That IGN review of theirs, it left a mark on the gaming community. Another sad story that Capcom themselves don't even care about that game anymore, to do a sequel or something.
Great game to be honest, played it to death back in 2007. Its punishing difficulty is an entirely different animal, though.



It also left a mark on Mikami. Idk if you are familiar with Tim Roger's stort about how he played Godhand in Mikami's office and as he was playing Mikami would only say "look at the action! How could they give it a 3!?"
Its kinda sad and funny at the same time.
 

butane bob

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Funny thing about that whole IGN fiasco was they went back later and added God Hand on one of their "best x games of all time" lists. Like they realised they fucked up. Man IGN are terrible....
 

Neff

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Just watched it. A pleasure to hear what he has to say as always. Gotta hand it to him for giving RECV its dues.
 

Aggelos

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Oh yeah. he said that back in March 2001, during the 5th anniversary of the series, that the 3rd chapter was initially conceived as a spin-off. He kept saying 「インディーズにやろうって」. This translates as "Let's go indies" "Let's do this Indies' style". Of course, what he meant was not independent development, but what he was talking about was the underground indie Japanese pop-bands that don't have big-label backing. They are considered as alternative, unconventional, and even awful, at various cases.
Thusly, in Mikami's mind, RE3 was a spin-off title that would break previous conventions, might be even seen as weird and queer, and it would be OK if it wasn't to appeal to the core fanbase that was cemented by Resident Evil 1 (1996) and Resident Evil 2 (1998) prior to that.

And then, suddenly the decision came along from the higher-ups, that is to make it the 3rd official entry in the series. Mikami of course opposed to this and fell at odds with the general manager of Production Studio 4, Yoshiki Okamoto. They had fervent discussions about that issue for 3 days. Mikami tendered his resignation because he thought he would be betraying his fanbase by making it the 3rd chapter. Of course, he was overruled and the rest is history. The game became Biohazard 3 Last Escape in Japan and RE3 Nemesis in the West.






An interview included in the Wesker's Report 5th Anniversary DVD. Interviewees:
-Shinji Mikami (BIOHAZARD Director)
-Hideki Kamiya (BIOHAZARD2 Director)
-Kazuhiro Aoyama (BIOHAZARD3 Director)
-Hiroki Katoh (BIOHAZARD CODE: Veronica Director)
-Katsutoshi Karatsuma (BIOHAZARD Programmer - the voice of Tofu)
 
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stranno

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Alone in the Dark, though...
Not to mention 3DOs Doctor Hauzer, the first survival horror fully 3D, two years before Resident Evil. The famous door animation is just a copy paste of that game.

Resident Evil was just a mix of games from those years. Some more obvious than others.
 
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Hudo

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Not to mention 3DOs Doctor Hauzer, the first survival horror fully 3D, two years before Resident Evil. The famous for animation is just a copy paste of that game.
Interesting. I have never heard of that title before. Thanks for mentioning it!
 

Aggelos

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Not to mention 3DOs Doctor Hauzer, the first survival horror fully 3D, two years before Resident Evil. The famous door animation is just a copy paste of that game.

I think the door animation came from Sweet Home, a game done and designed by Tokuro Fujiwara. He was Mikami's boss during the Capcom '90s years. A tad prior to Biohazard's March 1996 release, he resigned and left the company.



From wikipedia ->
"Sweet Home served as the main inspiration for Capcom's Resident Evil (1996), a game that defined the survival horror genre and spawned a multimedia franchise. When development began in 1993, Resident Evil was originally intended to be a remake of Sweet Home. The game was directed by Shinji Mikami with Fujiwara acting as producer. Fujiwara believed the basic premise for Resident Evil was to do the things that he was unable to include in Sweet Home, particularly in the sense of graphics. Since Capcom no longer had the rights to the Sweet Home license, they had to invent a new universe, but the game still adopted many elements from Sweet Home.

Both games placed an emphasis on survival with elements such as the management of a limited inventory and health restoratives scattered throughout the game. Resident Evil was originally intended to have a first-person perspective influenced by Sweet Home's battles before the perspective was changed during development. Some story elements borrow heavily from Sweet Home. Both games are set in a mansion with an intricate layout, the story is told through the use of scattered notes, and there are multiple endings depending on how many characters survive. Other shared elements include the brutal imagery, door loading sequences, puzzles, backtracking, and characters with unique items such as the lockpick and lighter.

Sweet Home's influence carried further into the series than just the first game. It also inspired Resident Evil Zero (2002) which allows the player to switch between characters at will and drop items anywhere on the map for the other character to pick up. Sweet Home's quick time events are considered a precursor to those seen in Resident Evil 4 (2005) and beyond. Resident Evil 7 (2017) also shares similarities to Sweet Home, including the plot of a film crew going to an abandoned house, a paranormal female presence in the house, and a tragic tale involving a family that once lived there. It also pays homage to Sweet Home in a side story told through a VHS tape. Peter Tieryas of Kotaku blamed the decline in critical acceptance of modern Resident Evil offerings on Capcom abandoning the basic gameplay design laid out in Sweet Home."







During the summer of 1994 at the V-Jump Fiesta.
 
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Aggelos

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Shinji Mikami, Part 2: An Eclectic Journey




This is the second part to our long portrait on Shinji Mikami, whom we've met for his 30th career anniversary, as one of eclectic and profile creators of the Japanese industry.

Following Resident Evil 4, Shinji Mikami slowly distanced himself from Capcom, joining Clover Studio, whose members will later create PlatinumGames. We will look back at God Hand, a unique action title, where we'll learn more about the ambitions Mikami had for it, before following on multiple project ideas that he had before finally creating Vanquish.

We also asked about Mikami's collaboration with Goichi "SUDA51" Suda, which started in the Capcom days on killer7, until Shadows of the Damned several years later.


Finally, Mikami decided to create his own studio, Tango Gameworks in 2010 in order to foster a new generation of game creators. We dive in his vision for the company in addition to the two titles of The Evil Within series, all the way to the upcoming Ghostwire: Tokyo, the studio's latest action-adventure title scheduled for a 2021 release.
















Hideki Kamiya also watched the interview

 
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Hawks Eclipse

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Man, I teared up when he recounted how God Hand was made; turns out his passion project became one of my favourite action games ever. Quite a number of the YouTube comments echo that sentiment to some degree.

Coincidentally it was made in around 12 months, which is a similar development time for another of my favourite action games, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
 

tommib

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Haven't watched it, but didn't the genre really begin with Alone in the Dark? RE1 was VERY inspired by that game.
The game was initially conceived as a fully 3D first-person update of Sweet Home (influenced by the game's first-person battles), with action and shooting mechanics. A first-person prototype was produced, and initially featured a supernatural, psychological Japanese horror style similar to Sweet Home, before opting for an American zombie horror style influenced by George Romero films. During production, Mikami discovered Alone in the Dark (1992), which influenced him to adopt a cinematic fixed-view camera system. Mikami said that, if it wasn't for Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil would have had a first-person view instead.[11][23]
 

Aggelos

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Also, folks, be bound to remember Mikami's protégé, Hikeki Kamiya. He talks a lot about making games like RE1, RE2, DMC under Mikami's direction/supervision.








 

Hawks Eclipse

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Also, folks, be bound to remember Mikami's protégé, Hikeki Kamiya. He talks a lot about making games like RE1, RE2, DMC under Mikami's direction/supervision.








I wonder when a similar series will be made for his other protégé, Shu Takumi. Worked on Dino Crisis but probably had the most impact with the Ace Attorney series.

And thanks for the cross pollination of threads, lol.
 
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Aggelos

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I wonder when a similar series will be made for his other protégé, Shu Takumi. Worked on Dino Crisis but probably had the most impact with the Ace Attorney series.

And thanks for the cross pollination of threads, lol.
Who knows if they ever approach Shu Takumi to talk about Dino Crisis.





And more Mikami talking Biohazard back from this summer, but Japanese only.
He talks about various stuff. The lake monster in Biohazard 4 was axed material from the original 1996 game. He considers the Biohazard 4 dev team to be his dream team and feels that it is the best team that he ever led as director.

A couple of his thoughts on Biohazard VILLage : he finds this dirty and grimy world of the game pretty nice. Then somebody comments that "for a sec the environments became quite well-lighted before the horror kicks in again" and Mikami commented that this kind of pace in the game is pretty good. Then he adds that this kind of grimy details in textures hadn't been possible in the previous-gen consoles. The darkness, the thick and dusty atmosphere of the various spaces occludes the visibility as you enter them. The clear visibility that you get is only temporary, meaning that the tension and horror are always heightened.
He ended by remarking that he didn't expect the baby to be that big, though.









 
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Clear

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Every. Fucking. Time.

I'm blown away by Archipel's output. So, so good.

For me the absolute gold standard of game docs.
 

fart town usa

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Tokuro Fujiwara, the general producer of RE 1996, is often forgotten but he arguably had more of an impact on the game than Mikami.

Fujiwara was the director of Sweet Home and RE 1996 was based heavily on what Sweet Home did on the NES.

I really need to start reading Itchy, Tasty, the book from CVXFreak. I have a copy but haven't read it yet. He interviewed the majority of people (no longer with Capcom) who worked on the early games in the series.
 
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Aggelos

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This was the first.. RE copied it. Just a FYI


Well not exactly. Watch the interviews - especially Hideki Kamiya's.

At 10:48 Kamiya talks about when he joined Capcom and what kind of projects had been running within the company. Biohazard, at that time, was internally called "3D Horror Game" by Shinji Mikami and it was a fully-polygonal 3D game. No pre-rendered backgrounds had yet to be used by the dev team since they were aiming at making the game a fully 3D one. In the early build that Kamiya saw, the hallway was made using polygons, and a giant caterpillar monster was moving in 3D and everything was looking truly amazing, as Kamiya thought. But as time went by, and after research and testing by the dev team, they realized that they couldn't do a fully-polygonal 3D game, thus they switched to pre-rendered backgrounds instead.






One FPS screen from a very early build of Biohazard











Tokuro Fujiwara, the general producer of RE 1996, is often forgotten but he arguably had more of an impact on the game than Mikami.

Fujiwara was the director of Sweet Home and RE 1996 was based heavily on what Sweet Home did on the NES.

I really need to start reading Itchy, Tasty, the book from CVXFreak. I have a copy but haven't read it yet. He interviewed the majority of people (no longer with Capcom) who worked on the early games in the series.



You watched this vid?
They surprised Mikami by calling to the show Tokuro Fujiwara. Mikami hadn't seen Fujiwara in years.


 
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fart town usa

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Here's an episode of 'The Resident Evil Podcast' where they interview CVXFreak on his book. Has a lot of fascinating info about the early days of RE.

It's also a phenomenal podcast, a bunch of British gents with fantastic accents who know the games inside and out. Can't recommend it enough if you're a mega fan of the RE series.

 
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GinSama

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I'm just imagining the outrage that would occur online when people learn about the spanking move ... :D
The game was way cool back than.
The combat was so tight yet so addicted…..

But if it came out now… I bet would be massacred by the media and players.
 
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SF Kosmo

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Let's take a second to talk about the ACTUAL birth of the survival horror genre, Project Firestart.


 
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