The Average Gamer

Project Codename Zwei: ‘Striving for pure survival horror’

Bethesda Softworks and Tango Gameworks last week released promo artwork for their new title, currently named Zwei. Zwei will be a new survival horror title, currently scheduled to surface sometime next year. First impression? It looks damn awesome, as good a survival horror vision anyone could hope for. But does it remind you of anything? My first thought was the definitive Gamecube version of Resident Evil, but updated with today’s technology. They also have two very important factors in common: the creator and director, who are one and the same.

Tango Gameworks was founded by none other than the creator of the Resident Evil series, Shinji Mikami, after leaving Platinum Games upon the completion of Vanquish. Zwei, if that is its title upon release, will be Tango’s first release into the gaming market, and there are arguably very few better people in the entire gaming world you would want to create and direct a ‘maiden’ video game.

Mikami worked for Capcom for many years, starting as a planner on such titles as Aladdin and Goof Troop on the SNES. He quickly showed the world casino his own creative talents with the creation of Resident Evil and its sequels, up to and including the much-revered Resident Evil 4. He also worked on the original Dino Crisis before moving onto Clover Studios, which created gems such as Viewtiful Joe and Okami. When Capcom closed down Clover he left for Platinum Games, creating the magnificent Vanquish.

Until reading Shinji Mikami’s full game history, I never realised how much of an influence the man has been in my gaming life so far. I loved Aladdin on the SNES and from there, the obvious choices are Resident Evil, RE 2 and 3. But where the PS1 Resident Evil games now look and feel dated, again I have to mention Resident Evil 4 as such a key title in not only Mikami’s repertoire, but also Capcom’s. Where Mikami steered Resident Evil into the realms of action and precision shooting (which Capcom are clearly maintaining with RE6), from the initial look of Zwei, and from what Mikami has been quoted as saying on his own website, it certainly seems he’s aiming for something different again.  

Although Capcom have retained the rights to all Mikami’s titles that occurred pre-Platinum Games, his name and influence can never be removed and with Tango Gameworks’ Zwei, it looks like Mikami plans to begin anew. Although a picture confirms very little in terms of details, it raises very encouraging questions and theories.

“I”ve found my focus and once again I”m striving for pure survival horror. I am being very hands on to see that the quality is there. Rest assured.”
Shinji Mikami, Tango Gameworks

At this early stage it’s hard to envisage police tactical units wading through these settings, but that’s just my view. The textures and setting are very dark and dank, with silhouetted boats, murky waters, even a lonely house in the background.  What is ‘pure’ survival horror, as Mikami puts it? This is the man who invented the genre. Quite rightly, he is the only one who can answer it. I, for one, highly anticipate the results.