The Evil Within

Shinji Mikami returns to horror with a greatest-hits package that recalls - but can't match - Resident Evil 4.


Key events

Skyrim remaster, Prey 2, Wolfenstein 2, Evil Within 2 rumoured for E3

A PlayStation 4 and Xbox One remaster of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is rumoured to be announced at Bethesda's E3 conference this Sunday, 12th June. We'll be reporting from it live; check our E3 2016 guide for conference timings.

Eurogamer understands this rumour to be true, and we've also heard Bethesda will announce The Evil Within 2, Wolfenstein 2 and re-announce Prey 2 during the conference.

The Skyrim remaster rumours originate from reputable industry insider Shinobi602, as well as another apparent insider posting on NeoGAF as Enter the Dragon Punch.

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The Evil Within: The Executioner DLC release date

The Evil Within: The Executioner DLC release date

First-person finale due in a fortnight.

Survival horror The Evil Within will bow out with its final DLC, The Executioner, on Tuesday 26th May.

European owners on PlayStation platforms will likely get the add-on a day later, when the PS Store updates here.

A brief teaser, below, shows off the expansion's first-person gameplay and boxheaded baddie star The Keeper. Season Pass holders will get The Executioner as their last slice of free content.

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The Evil Within: The Assignment and The Consequence review

If last year's The Evil Within saw Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami reclaiming the survival horror gameplay he popularised, this double-whammy of DLC sees the genre pioneer playing around with toys from other horror games' playroom.

Taken together, The Assignment and The Consequence tell the story of Juli Kidman, erstwhile partner of the main game's hero, Sebastian, and explain just what she was up to during her prolonged absences from the core plot. It turns out that not only was she facing her own gauntlet of creepy beasts and unnerving boss fights, she was also involved in a plot that is arguably more important than Sebastian's B movie blundering.

Kidman is on the trail of Leslie Withers, the young male patient whose disappearance kicks off The Evil Within's original campaign. We learn that far from being some rookie partner cop, she's actually working undercover for a sinister agency, overseen by an ominous boss who is part Half Life's G-Man and part Slender. The storyline that follows is largely incomprehensible even by survival horror standards, told as it is largely through optional audio logs and text documents, with only the key plot points being laboriously spelled out in florid cut-scene dialogue.

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The Evil Within DLC The Consequence released with new trailer

The second Evil Within add-on, The Consequence, is out today (tomorrow on the European PlayStation Network), and there's a new trailer showing what it offers.

As with the first add-on, it follows Juli Kidman, who's obsessed with freaky patient boy Leslie Withers, who's got a few issues. He's wrapped up in a bigger story of course, as are all the grotesque - and new - monsters Kidman ends up battling along the way.

The Consequence costs £7/€10 alone or can be bought as part of the three-pack Season Pass, which costs £15/€20.

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The Evil Within: The Assignment DLC release date

The Evil Within will be expanded with The Assignment, the first of two DLC episodes, from 10th March in the UK.

That date applies to the DLC's release on PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, as well as PlayStation 3 and PS4 in North America.

In the UK, PS3 and PS4 versions arrive on 11th March instead.

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The Steam Exploration Sale is live

Today's deals include The Evil Within for £11.89 and Watch Dogs for £19.99.

Steam has launched a new sale in honour of US holiday Thanksgiving and all the great commercial values that come with it.

The Evil Within PC update lets you get rid of the letterbox black bars

Bethesda has released an update for the PC version of horror game The Evil Within that lets you get rid of the letterbox black bars.

It also adds a toggle to the game settings that lets you switch between a 30 frames per second cap and a 60 frames per second cap. In addition, there's a fix for gameplay issues when running the game above 30fps.

You were able to get rid of the black bars and unlock the framerate using debug console commands, but now doing so is officially supported within the game settings.

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The pre-patch Evil Within we hope you'll never play

Digital FoundryThe pre-patch Evil Within we hope you'll never play

Is an internet connection now mandatory for single-player games too?

With day one patches swiftly becoming the norm, it's easy to forget about the code pressed to the disc that actually ships to stores. Throw almost any modern single-player game into your console and it'll probably play just fine out of the box, even without an internet connection. This ease of use is what console gaming was founded upon, but the waters are becoming muddied. It's one thing to issue a patch designed to add a bit of polish to the end product, but it's something else entirely to ship a virtually broken game to store shelves. That brings us to The Evil Within - version 1.0.

We already know that the frame-rate in the current 1.01 version is rather unsteady throughout the game. What you may not know is that this is actually a massive improvement over the 'gold master' that's actually pressed onto the retail disc. As our coverage last week was based on digital delivery versions of the game we bought from PSN and Xbox Live, the issue didn't really come into focus for us until our personal physical copies arrived a few days later.

However, as you'll see in our performance video below, version 1.0 actually runs 30 to 40 per cent slower than the same game running with the day one patch. Scenes that manage to deliver an even 30fps in version 1.01 lurch along at an awful 20fps instead. Dips and stutters in the current version drop all the way down into the teens. It's so low, in fact, that we needed to modify the values of our frame-time graph when creating the performance video, in order to accommodate gameplay pauses of up to 100ms (and even then, sometimes The Evil Within stalls still further). No matter how poorly something like Daylight or Thief ran on PS4, the unpatched version of The Evil Within makes those games look positively smooth by comparison.

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Face-Off: The Evil Within

The Evil Within is a good game, possibly even a great one, but what's clear after a few days' testing is that it suffers from technical issues which prevent it reaching its full potential. Despite being built using id Tech 5, an engine conceived to deliver 60fps on all formats, the game has genuine issues even hitting 30fps - and that's factoring in the mammoth 'cinematic' borders that vacuum up almost 30 per cent of the screen real estate.

As we observed in our performance analysis, the game essentially operates at a native rendering resolution of 1920x768 on PS4 and 1600x640 on Xbox One, which is really just 1080p vs 900p with those large black bars inserted. The dynamic resolution scaling seen in Rage and Wolfenstein: The New Order is gone, so we're looking at a fixed framebuffer on both consoles backed up with what appears to be standard FXAA to tackle aliasing.

The basic anti-aliasing technique does a reasonable job eliminating edge aliasing, but on Xbox One the combination of an upscaled image with FXAA and heavy post-processing results in a rather blurry experience. A soft-focus depth-of-field effect is also utilised throughout, which also cleans up distant pixel shimmering. Its intensity varies scene to scene, but the effect creates an interesting juxtaposition between high-contrast foreground objects and soft-focus background elements. Combined with the narrow field of view, the game does indeed deliver on its cinematic aspirations with some beautifully framed sequences but, unfortunately, this comes at the expense of playability.

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The Evil Within review

RecommendedThe Evil Within review

An old kind of evil.

The Evil Within opens with the psychologically wrecked detective Sebastian Castellanos arriving at a mental hospital surrounded by the flash and wail of police cars and ambulances. The few seconds it takes for the building's double doors to creak open are all the time that the game bothers to spend on creating an initial sense of tension and dread. Inside the entrance, Castellanos finds a multitude of bloodied, slumped corpses. It's been nine years since Shinji Mikami directed a horror game with Resident Evil 4; none of that game's rhythm and pace has been lost in the intermission.

Neither has the tone of his work changed, from the B-movie dialogue to the taut gunplay. The Evil Within is also something of greatest hits of the director's finest ideas and moments. There's the crouched zombie munching on a cadaver who peers back at the camera over a rotten shoulder - a frame-for-frame rerun of the famous scene from the first Resident Evil on PlayStation. There are the familiar ponderous door animations, which ratchet up the tension each time you pass from one virtual space to the next; there are the balloon-bursting headshots. There's a mud-slung rural village and ambient storytelling about unethical scientific experiments that drove its residents to violence.

There are fat, mad friars who roam derelict churches. There are rabid super-dogs, creeping villagers who stare with bright eyes and wield torches or chainsaws - and there's your own a burgeoning armoury, which you are restrained from using liberally through the scarcity of ammunition. There are familiar sections during which you fight alongside a second, computer-controlled character, tending to their well-being while trying to maintain your own. This is a Mikami game from hilltop to catacomb, and it's undeniably the closest we've had to a direct sequel to his greatest work, Resident Evil 4.

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Digital FoundryIs it possible to run The Evil Within on PC at a locked 1080p60?

Not even an overclocked i7 and the fastest GPU on the planet can manage it.

Bethesda has given PC users the tools to unlock The Evil Within's built-in 30fps cap, but we couldn't help but wonder - just how much computational power is required to double the game's frame-rate and produce a sustained, consistent 60fps experience at 1080p? It turns out that our PC test rig - fitted with a Core i7 3770K overclocked to 4.3GHz and matched with 16GB of DDR3 - couldn't handle it, not even when outfitted with the GeForce GTX 980, the fastest single-chip graphics card available on the market today.

Performance Analysis: The Evil Within

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: The Evil Within

Digital Foundry's initial PS4 and Xbox One findings.

After a day of initial work, we're able to reveal some preliminary findings on the console versions of Tango Gameworks' The Evil Within. It's a curious title in many ways - possessing a distinct Japanese flair, yet built around a distinctly American rendering engine: id Tech 5. Designed from the ground up for hard-wired 60fps gameplay, the implementation of id software's technology intrigues still further bearing in mind that The Evil Within targets a locked 30fps update - a state of affairs that extends to the default setup of the PC version. We're still looking at the console and computer builds, but initial results throw up some interesting discussion points.

Resolution is the first order of business: the developer opts for an extra-wide aspect ratio, presumably in order to reduce the games' rendering load - though HUD elements are displayed in this region. Based on what's rendered inside the letterbox, however, we're left with a 1920x768 resolution on PlayStation 4 and a meagre 1600x640 on Xbox One. In effect, it's the now-familiar 1080p vs 900p set-up here, but the intrusive borders serve to cut-down actual rendering resolution significantly. Only 71 per cent of the screen's real estate is actually used for gameplay - and the aspect ratio utilised is actually a higher 2.5:1 rather than the 'cinematic' 2.35:1.

On the PC side, there is a console command that enables players to remove the bars but, at the time of writing, this only serves to crop the left and right of the screen producing an even more zoomed-in image. The field of view is already very narrow as it is, so this makes the game nearly unplayable. Of course, let's not forget that Mikami and crew took this very same approach back in 2005 with Resident Evil 4 which used a 16:9 aspect ratio within a 4:3 resolution, effectively operating at 640x360 but in that case, the game used a much wider field of view that made it feel less cramped.

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The Evil Within's out today (and no, we don't have a review just yet - Bethesda didn't supply us with early code though we're hoping to have our thoughts with you towards the end of the week) and it's allowed us an opportunity to look at what exactly's different in the censored version that's being released in Japan. While our friends in Asia get the much more awesome title of Psycho Break, they don't get the considerable amount of gore in Shinji Mikami's return to survival horror - for that, they have to download special Gore DLC, a workaround that's allowed The Evil Within to release with a slightly lower age rating.

The Evil Within's TGS trailer adds a touch of class

The Evil Within's TGS trailer adds a touch of class

And a heaping load of butt-ugly monsters.

Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami is releasing his latest horror opus, The Evil Within, in just another month on 14th October, and a new Tokyo Game Show trailer shows off plenty of new monsters and scenery.

While Mikami's games have typically sprinkled bits of humour into their horror, this latest trailer hints at a more solemn tone with a classic Beethoven ballad contrasting with the bleak, nightmarish asylum the game is set in.

We also get to see a host of new monsters. Most only appear for a split-second, but their tendril-laden faces, elongated limbs, and bloody, porous lesions are extraordinarily unsettling and a big step up from recent Resident Evil titles' misguided philosophy that simply adding more tentacles and fleshy sacks onto a creature automatically makes it scarier.

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The Evil Within shuffles forwards again

Shinji Mikami's horror game gets yet another release date.

Like the undead creatures you'll mangle and burn while playing, The Evil Within has shuffled its release date forwards. Europe will now get the game on 14 October, the same day as the US.

The Evil Within release date jumps forward a week

In an unprecedented move Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami's upcoming horror game, The Evil Within, has been brought forward a week.

The North American release date used to be 21st October, but publisher Bethesda announced on Twitter (and at QuakeCon) that it will now be out on 14th October in that region.

We presume this means the European release will be brought forward a week as well (from the 24th to the 17th), but we're awaiting confirmation on that.

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The Evil Within release date now in October

The Evil Within release date now in October

Shinji Mikami's survival horror title slips a couple of months.

If you're eagerly anticipating The Evil Within, Shinji Mikami's return to the survival horror genre he helped invent, then it turns out you will need to anticipate it eagerly for a little while longer than previously expected.

That's because publisher Bethesda has just revealed that the game is now due out on 24th October in Europe and 21st October in the US, representing a delay of around two months. It's still due out on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

The Evil Within is the first release from Mikami's Tango Gameworks studio. Dan Whitehead recently got the chance to play it and you can read his Evil Within hands-on preview elsewhere on the site today, where he reports familiar sensations, but not unpleasant ones. Well, I suppose it's all unpleasant because it's survival horror, but you know what I mean, or at least you will do in October.

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FeatureThe familiar fear of The Evil Within

Hands-on with Shinji Mikami's return to survival horror.

I'm trapped in a strange and sinister place, knee deep in gore and a vindictive supernatural force is toying with me for reasons I don't understand. It's strangely comforting. That's the curious contradiction at the bloodied and disembodied heart of The Evil Within, the new game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, which publisher Bethesda Softworks has just announced will be released on 24th October in Europe, a couple of months later than previously expected.

New The Evil Within trailer shows off Shinji Mikami's survival horror

Bethesda has released a new video for The Evil Within, the survival horror game created by Shinji Mikami, to coincide with the beginning of the Tokyo Game Show.

The video gives us a good idea of what to expect from The Evil Within, in development at Mikami's studio Tango Gameworks. It looks tense, scary and more than a bit bloody.

Mikami, described as "the father of survival horror", is best known for creating the Resident Evil series while working at Capcom, but he also worked on Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry and Ace Attorney. The Evil Within is due out on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2014.

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EGXElder Scrolls Online and Wolfenstein playable at Eurogamer Expo

Developer session for The Evil Within on Thursday 26th, streamed online.

Today we're happy to reveal that Bethesda Softworks is returning to the Eurogamer Expo in a big way this year, bringing along The Elder Scrolls Online and Wolfenstein: The New Order for their first playable outings in the UK.

FeatureBethesda's Pete Hines on Prey 2, the decline of triple-A games, and what's next for the publisher

"I would hope, if nothing else, that Bethesda is known for being willing to do things that other folks won't."

Elder Scrolls and Fallout developer Bethesda might be the most guarded publisher out there today. At this year's E3 showfloor, most publishers are showing off a multitude of titles. There's usually a big budget triple-A release or three, a handful of digital titles, and maybe a mobile game or two to round out the booth. By comparison, Bethesda was showcasing only three games: first-person reboot, Wolfenstein: New Order; Shinji Mikami's survival horror curio The Evil Within; and MMORPG spin-off The Elder Scrolls Online.

The Evil Within gameplay trailer is bloody, disgusting

'Butcher can't start an E3 demo strung upside down in some kind of dark, blood soaked slaughter house,' you might say - well clearly in Shinji Mikami's The Evil Within game you can.

That's Shinji Mikami who created Resident Evil, in case you don't know.

These days he works for Bethesda, his new Japanese studio Tango Gameworks bankrolled by Bethesda's parent Zenimax.

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Survival horror is a genre in crisis. Its most surprising jolts have become clichés, its core elements have been compromised by the inexorable march towards AAA action. Where once players would fire every bullet reluctantly, conscious that each shot wasted might be the difference between life and death minutes later, now our horror heroes march into battle with customised machine guns, mowing down the monsters with impugnity.

Shinji Mikami's The Evil Within announced for cross-gen, 2014 release

Shinji Mikami's The Evil Within announced for cross-gen, 2014 release

UPDATE: Developed on id Tech 5 engine, touted as "a return to pure survival horror."

UPDATE: New details have emerged regarding Shinji Mikami's newly announced horror project The Evil Within.

According to Bethesda Japan (via Gematsu), The Evil Within - or Psychobreak as it's called in Japan - is being developed on id Tech 5 engine. It stars a detective named Sebastian who arrives at the scene of a gruesome mass murder where his fellow police officers are slaughtered by some mysterious malevolent force. Sebastian inevitably finds himself in a world full of monsters, as one is wont to do in a Shinji Mikami game.

Bethesda is touting The Evil Within as "a return to pure survival horror" and players will have to make do with limited resources, just like in the old days of Resident Evil. Traps will play a large role as the environments will be riddled with them, but they can also be used against enemies.

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Artwork hints at new Mikami project

Creepy sketches show up on dev blog.

Looking for a clue as to what Shinji Mikami might be up to at Zenimax? Well, look no further than these spooky doodles that popped up on Tango Gameworks' blog.