Shinji Mikami, the Japanese video game developer who directed the original Resident Evil and widely considered the father of the survival horror genre, has revealed in a recent interview that he originally envisioned making the game a first person horror adventure — and admitted he wasn’t a big fan of the tank controls and fixed camera angles that became a staple with the original games in the series.
While the horror game Alone in the Dark served as an inspiration, Mikami wanted Resident Evil to be in first-person, as he explains in his interview with Archipel celebrating his 30th Anniversary in the video game industry.
Working with Capcom at the time, Mikami wanted a first-person view horror game because he felt the perspective was the “scary one.” However as the company was still getting its feet wet with making 3D based games, so they settled on a compromise and went for the third person perspective that would come to define the look of the game. That’s how the first Resident Evil, known as Biohazard in Japan, and the genre of survival horror was born.
“In the end, many players told me that they thought that view is what made the game scarier,” Mikami said. “I was really embarrassed. I am still told to this day, ‘It was so good.’ To which I say that it was just a workaround. A proof for that in Resident Evil 4, the camera is over the shoulder, showing that you can enjoy horror with it being like it’s radio controlled. It was also more immersive and playable. I wanted to take my revenge when I made Resident Evil 4.”
Mikami returned to direct Resident Evil 4, which brought back Resident Evil 2 protagonist Leon S. Kennedy as the lead and introduced as over-the-shoulder camera position that would define succeeding entries in the series. Ironically, Resident Evil 7 would realize Mikami’s vision of a first person horror game, but by that time the developer had parted ways with Capcom, going on to work with PlatinumGames before founding his own studio, Tango Gameworks.
On related Resident Evil news, be sure to check out our feature on Resident Evil Village being listed for Xbox One and PS4 by a retailer.