A job advertisement this past weekend has led to speculation that production might have already begun for The Evil Within 2, a direct sequel to the Shinji Mikami directed 2014 horror title published by Bethesda Softworks.
With no official announcement from Bethesda as of yet, any news regarding a sequel remains pure speculation. However, with the conclusion of The Evil Within hinting at a future sequel, signs are beginning to appear that seemingly point towards the development of a sequel, possibly even releasing as early as October this year if the job advertisement is to be believed.
Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami’s magnum opus released worldwide in 2014, thrusting players as detective Sebastian Castellanos into the mad, malevolent and macabre setting of Krimson City, a world riddled with morbid nightmarish creatures, satisfying moments of combat; all of which resulted in an old school horror game in its purest, deadliest and goriest form. Still, despite its many accomplishments, The Evil Within was not without its flaws, so did Mikami’s grand design do enough to be worthy of a sequel? and what can we expect from it if one is indeed on the horizon?
The answer to the first of those two questions is a resounding wholehearted yes, The Evil Within unequivocally deserves a sequel. In 2014 Tango Gameworks introduced a grisly new survival horror IP that showed enough glimpses of promise despite its poor choice of aspect ratio (fixed with an update), largely unrelatable characters, frustrating camera angles and rehashed bosses to warrant a second outing.
Vice President of PR Pete Hines has gone on record in the past to state that both he and Bethesda regard The Evil Within to be one of its top IP’s, with Tango Gameworks reaffirming its interest in developing the game into a series.
The Evil Within was also evidence that famed Japanese director Mikami had not lost his touch or magic; helping to craft Krimson City, a game setting with a wonderfully dreary, tense and terrifying atmosphere. Itaru Yokoyama wrote a storyline that although a little wavy at times succeeded at pulling, cavorting, twisting and toying with players minds. The Evil Within also possessed gruelling difficulties and close, tight fought combat areas that would have players struggling to adapt and conquer.
Although many features could and most likely would be improved upon for the development of The Evil Within 2, its predecessor largely proved to be a great game, achieving a fair bit for what some might class as an ambitious title.
So if The Evil Within 2 is currently in development as many believe, what changes could we see in the future? and where would the game take place?
One of my major gripes with The Evil Within were with its characters, which I felt came across as largely unrelatable. Protagonist detective Sebastian Castellanos shined in patches but remained, for the most part a mannequin or a blank-faced, emotionless individual with no redeemable qualities, the same could also be said of his fellow companions, Juli Kidman and Joseph Oda.
Should Tango Gameworks so choose to, it could go the way of introducing an entirely new cast list, replacing Castellanos altogether, although we’d highly expect the dark haired, trench coat wearing detective to return in one form or another as a continuation of the characters story.
The arch villain of the whole piece Ruben Victoriano aka Ruvik will also likely make a return for a sequel, having possibly entered the real world at the end of The Evil Within through the body of mental patient Leslie Withers.
Of all The Evil Within‘s characters, Ruvik’s return would be the most deserved. Like the unbridled drive and madness of Resident Evil‘s Albert Wesker, Ruvik embodies everything required in a video game to become the ultimate evil force. His treatment of Castellanos in the 2014 title presented the detective with a terrifying rollercoaster of an ordeal, one that pushed the detective across the threshold of insanity and deep into the beyond throughout the game’s many twisted environments.
That brings me along nicely to a possible setting for The Evil Within 2.
Most of what makes a survival horror game such a success lies very much within the developer’s ability to place players in an uncomfortable environment/s, and for that reason, the world of madness encapsulated so brilliantly in The Evil Within deserves a second glance. Krimson City featured some truly disturbing locales as antagonist Ruvik, who is seemingly able to control reality through the use of teleportation, uses his unique ability to shift and alter the game’s terrain, constantly separating Castellanos from his fellow agents, a feature that resulted in moments of real tension or fearful exploration.
With Ruvik leaving Krimson City through the body of Withers at the end of The Evil Within it’s entirely conceivable that a real world modern day setting would be the best destination for a future sequel. The brilliant minds behind The Evil Within succeeded in crafting a world of chaos and true horror, with Mikami on board once again Tango would be more than capable of designing a twisted version of earth should it choose to take that direction, of course, it could also return to Krimson City or a new world filled with horror.
With development for Xbox 360 and PS3 nearing the end of its juncture Tango Gameworks, Mikami and company wouldn’t have to contend with development for older generation consoles as it did with The Evil Within, allowing the studio to focus its efforts solely on Xbox One, PS4, PS4 Pro and PC and quite possibly Project Scorpio, which will likely debut before any sequel releases.
The abandonment of development for previous generation consoles and the introduction of new hardware (PS4 Pro, Project Scorpio) will also allow the Japanese developer to widen its scope and scale with a possible sequel, which could lead to a far larger open world setting.
Whatever you made of The Evil Within, whether you loved it or hated it, its successor will no doubt garner a lot of interest from fans of the original and fans of survival horror, and with the latest news regarding its actual existence coming to light, we’d expect Bethesda Softworks to fully announce the game soon, possibly before its E3 conference this June.