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Will The Evil Within redefine survival horror?

The Evil Within Screenshot - The Evil Within logo, bethesda

Wow, Bethesda. Their big tease wasn't Fallout. It wasn't Wolfenstein​. It was Project ZWEI, now known as The Evil Within. And it looks like one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen. WATCH THE TRAILER FOR The Evil Within HERE.

The Evil Within is the first game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami's studio Tango Gameworks. It is a survival horror title due to arrive on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and next-gen consoles in 2014 -- except Wii U. 

Survival horror games are tough to make, mostly because it's tough to scare gamers. The first two Dead Space games managed to pull of some genuine scares, but the third was almost completely void of horror. I can't remember the last time I was scared during a Resident Evil game. For me, and probably for a lot of other people, gore doesn't scare me. Jump scares might startle me for a second, but they don't scare me. What scares me is creepy imagery -- horrifying movement from disfigured creatures and imagery so unsettling that it's the stuff nightmares are made of. And The Evil Within looks to have an abundance of both. 

The Evil Within, Bethesda, Concept art

Photo Courtesy of IGN

First, this is how the teasers related to the live-action teaser trailer Bethesda released today. The first Vine video showed barbed wire and a record playing. We now know that the brain in the logo is wrapped in barbed wire, and it looks like the game's protagonist was making some for a weapon or defense. The record provided classical music for the trailer, as well as setting up what looks to be a European town from the 1940s. The second Vine video showed sunflowers burning, with a creepy figure standing in the background. Video of sunflowers burning with that Instagram​-esque filter on it is creepy, but we now know from the trailer and screenshots that the figure in the background is one of the game's enemies. The third Vine video we now know to be of a horribly grotesque four-armed creature, creeping down a hallway in a stop-motion-like manner. 

Since 2000, there haven't really been any movies that I find scary. Insidious came close. The Ring is the only one I can thing of that gave me the heebie jeebies -- and that was due to the imagery. We can deduce from the live-action trailer and the screenshots that a majority of The Evil Within will take place in a building that looks like a mental institute. Judging from the clothing style and building architecture, it looks like Europe in the mid-1900s is the setting. 

The Evil Within, Bethesda, raining with police cars

Photo Courtesy of IGN

I don't want to say the game teeters on torture porn, because I don't think it does. There looks to be some instances where people are being tortured, but I think it all lends to the freaky atmosphere and tone that The Evil Within is looking to hit. The trailer showed up a man covered in shards of glass; an enemy that resembled Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill series, complete with an apron covered in blood, a box on his head and a blunt-like weapon; a four-armed, creepy, stop-motion woman climbing walls and covered in blood; figures rising from pools of blood; skinned corpses; and contorted figures. 

There's no clue on what the story is yet, but IGN will have exclusive first impressions on Monday, so I'm assuming we'll know more then. From what we've seen, it's reasonable to assume that you're playing a detective or police officer conducting an investigation. Because of brain covered in barbed wire with a building stemming out from the bottom (which is the game's logo), I think that the majority of the game will take place in the protagonist's mind. This building, which seems to be an asylum, I believe will be a place in the main character's mind where he's trapped; that would also fit in with the game's title, since the evil would be within him. 

The Evil Within looks to take the over-the-shoulder approach popularized by Dead Space. In fact, this looks like Dead Space on crack. The dark rooms with little lighting look to make for creepy silhouettes and little visibility. Encounters with creatures should be terrifying. If anyone is going to blend horror and action into one terrifying game, Shinji Mikami is the person to do it. 

The Evil Within, screenshot, battle against four-armed creature

Photo Courtesy of IGN

Like I said, true horror comes from imagery that will keep you up at night. One that sticks in your mind, infesting you, clawing at your insides. The Evil Within looks deranged. Yes, it is action horror, so there will be gun fights, but if they strike the right chord, The Evil Within could very well bring gaming to a whole new level of horror. It looks to have the atmosphere, music, visuals, enemies and imagery. And if it is a game that takes place in the character's mind, the mental affliction should make this game more of a mind-f*ck. 

the evil within, shooting zombie screenshot

Photo Courtesy of IGN

Fans of horror games need something terrifying. Bethesda and Tango Gameworks are on the right track with the haunting teasers they've had, and now with a live-action trailer that would draw applause from Eli Roth. Tension, creepy music, terrifying imagery and encounters, these are all elements missing from the current landscape of horror games, and this game looks to have them all. I can't wait to see what The Evil Within has in store for us.

What did you think of the teaser-trailer for The Evil Within? Do you think it could redefine the current landscape of survival horror? Let us know in the comments below.

You can follow Senior Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, movies, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at LLiebl@GameZone.com

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Lance Liebl Gamer, Disney enthusiast, opinionated sports fan, movie buff, and a father of two. You can follow Lance on Twitter @Lance_GZ.
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