Shinji Mikami was the director on the original Resident Evil games, which pioneered the survival-horror genre (even coining the term survival horror). His background with that series will more than likely have an impact as he works on the upcoming PS5 console xclusive GhostWire: Tokyo. But this will almost surely be a good thing.
GhostWire: Tokyo was announced back in June of 2020 and has since gathered buzz as the next in a long line of action and horror games from famed producer Shinji Mikami. The two trailers for GhostWire shown off so far give sparse detail about the upcoming game, with the newest trailer revealing new gameplay footage. More specifically, the newest trailer shows off some of the abilities and environments that players will have access to in Ghostwire Tokyo.
While recently Tango Gameworks said in an interview that GhostWire would be an action-adventure title and not strictly survival-horror, the influence of Mikami’s work in the horror genre is definitely on display in the game. Famously, the development of the original Resident Evil 4 was extended by Mikami’s desire to incorporate more supernatural elements into what had previously been more a scientific horror franchise. That game would inevitably become Devil May Cry but Mikami’s desire to add supernatural elements to the Resident Evil franchise seems to manifest in the paranormal enemies and powers shown off in the trailers for GhostWire.
Another thematic similarity is Mikami’s penchant for making the mundane into horrific scenes. Resident Evil 2‘s grounding in the reality of a cityscape turned hellish by the T-Virus outbreak is a good example of what to expect from the streets of Tokyo emptied of pedestrian life by the ambiguous paranormal threat of GhostWire. Seeing how Mikami handles eschewing the viruses and parasites of Resident Evil for ghosts and spirits in GhostWire: Tokyo is something many fans of his work will be looking forward to exploring.
Resident Evil is a very violent franchise, with Mikami’s Resident Evil 4 among one of the most violent. The myriad of cinematics and death animations in RE4 see Leon S. Kennedy beheaded, impaled, and otherwise mutilated. The ESRB rating for GhostWire is still pending, and the trailers shown so far don’t feature much gore. But it will be interesting to see if the violence and overall body horror from the Resident Evil franchise make their way to the new game. The supernatural bent of GhostWire doesn’t necessitate the kinds of gore that viral mutations and citywide zombie infestations that Resident Evil does, so it’ll be interesting to see how Mikami handles the more visceral side of his past work.
Gameplay is another important hallmark of Mikami’s work with Resident Evil; the original game pioneered controls that became the industry standard for horror games throughout the 90s. And then again with Resident Evil 4 Mikami and Capcom innovated the third-person shooter genre with its over-the-shoulder camera angles and fast precision aiming. This again became an industry standard in games like Gears of War and plenty of other survival-horror titles. The first gameplay trailer for GhostWire showed off first-person gameplay involving supernatural powers that invoke Bioshock at first glance.
Now that GhostWire: Tokyo has a more concrete release window as per Sony’s CES conference, eager fans of Mikami’s previous work with Resident Evil and beyond won’t have much longer to wait before they can get their hands on his next project.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is set to release in October 2021 for PC and PS5.