Everyone who’s a Resident Evil fan should recognize the name Shinji Mikami. He’s the father of the survival horror genre, having created Resident Evil. He would later go on to rewrite the genre, this time with Resident Evil 4.
Speaking with YouTube channel Archipel for their short documentary The Birth of the Survival Horror Game, Shinji Mikami gave a few surprising opinions. Chief amongst them is the belief that game creators make their best games when they’re in their thirties.
“When you’re young, you have a good sense of making things,” the Ghostwire: Tokyo producer started. “Your energy, your heart and your stamina are better when you are young. However, you lack in experience so even if you have a good sense, you’re not mature enough to compile things or show things simply to players.
“On the other hand, when you gain experience, you become more effective in satisfying players. However, your taste starts to fade away. Making a game also requires a lot of energy, you spend a lot of time, so it takes a harder toll on your stamina.”
I believe game creators peak during their thirties…Shinji Mikami
One can see where he’s coming from. An industry vet, Shinji Mikami has been a game developer for over 25 years, the majority of which were spent with Capcom.
The argument of experience over drive is an interesting one. Creators often have their most ambitious ideas when younger, and are more willing to take risks.
“Overall, I believe game creators peak during their thirties, if you combine all skills,” he says. “I made Resident Evil 4 when I was 39, I believe I fit in that peak.”
Released in 2005, Resident Evil 4 flipped the entire franchise, and in fact, the genre as a whole, on its head. Changing the perspective to an over-the-shoulder view, Mikami breathed new life into a genre that was starting to falter.
Mikami created his own game studio, Straight Story, which ran under PlatinumGames as he directed Vanquish. He then would break away and create a new studio, Tango Gameworks. This studio is currently producing Ghostwire: Tokyo, a first-person horror game that seems reminiscent of titles like Bioshock.