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The highlight of Bethesda’s E3 panel on Sunday evening was the unveiling of the latest project from Shinji Mikami, the mind that revolutionized horror gaming with Resident Evil. The game designer, producer and director got fans’ attention last week when he tweeted that he would attending E3. Speculation ran rampant that he would be delivering anything from a Nintendo Switch port of a previous title to announcing work on a new Resident Evil installment. But the reality is something far more exciting: a new property.
After departing from Capcom, Mikami founded his own developing studio, Tango Gameworks, which delivered the survival horror gems The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2 (more on those in a bit). The latest game from Tango isn’t categorized as survival horror, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still be bringing the nightmare fuel.
While the brief cinematic teaser revealed little about this new gaming experience, titled Ghostwire: Tokyo, Mikami and the game’s creative director, Ikumi Nakamura, have inspired more than enough confidence for me to surmise this may be the next great hit for horror gaming. If you’re not familiar with the name Nakamura, well, you should be. Not only did she steal Bethesda’s panel Sunday with her genuine enthusiasm and excitement for the new project, she also served as an artist on Okami and Bayonetta and lead artist on The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2. It’s these latter titles that have me most excited for her directing debut on Ghostwire: Tokyo. If you’ve managed to get through the Evil Within games without succumbing to a panic attack, then you’ll know that Nakamura’s creature designs are…something else. While other horror games are, most often, still going for variations on the zombie, Nakamura’s creatures look like they’ve pulled straight up from the depths of hell. She has cited Hellraiser (1987) as one of her primary inspirations, and one look at Evil Within antagonists The Keeper, Shigyo or Cadaver and you’ll know that this is an artist with Clive Barker on her mind. Mikami may have been the name that gravitated us to The Evil Within, but it was Nakamura who made us stay. It was Nakamura who gave us nightmares.
In this new nightmare, Ghostwire: Toyko players will find themselves investigating the strange disappearance of Tokyo’s population and the supernatural threat at the heart of it. Unlike Resident Evil or The Evil Within, Ghostwire: Tokyo’s protagonist isn’t a cop with an arsenal of guns. You’ll be playing as a character with spectral abilities, which Bethesda’s logline for the game says you’ll use to “face down the occult, unravel conspiracy theories and experience urban legends like never before.” Nakamura said that there will be a mix of the normal and paranormal and it’s up to the players to solve the mystery behind which. The game’s tagline — “Don’t fear the unknown. Attack it.” — definitely puts a different spin on what we’re used to expecting for horror games. But given how haunting the abandoned streets of Tokyo look in the teaser, we’re expecting to have plenty to fear as well.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is expected to be released for next-gen consoles on an as-yet-unrevealed date.