Back in 2014, Tango Gameworks and Bethesda Softworks served up a surprise treat: The Evil Within, a third-person survival game set in a creepy, horrific world (inspired by urban legends). Players got to know grizzled protagonist Detective Sebastian Castellanos rather well as he shot, slashed and sprinted his way through a series of monster-infested environments.
The baddies of the piece were the shady Morbius organisation, who lured Sebastian into their STEM system – a nightmarish world, made by combining people’s minds – and let havoc and bloodshed ensue.
The thrill of the game derived not just from the scares, but also the survival elements. Scavenging items and avoiding deadly bear traps are the bread and butter of the gameplay, while the chillingly well-realised threats – with eerie names such as The Haunted, Reborn Laura, The Keeper and Ruvik – provide the most memorable moments.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Evil Within, the game is well worth checking out. It’s still available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows. You’ve got until October to catch up on this critically acclaimed game, before its sequel slams onto shop shelves both digital and literal.
That’s because, after years of rumours and rumblings, Bethesda confirmed at E3 2017 that The Evil Within 2 is on the cards. Here’s everything we know…
Yay! The fact that this game exists is cause for excitement in of itself. But the fact that Bethesda kept it under wraps for so long adds to the interest.
It’s not just in the works, it turns out: it’s just around the corner. Once summer is over and we’re into autumn – just as the days are getting shorter and evenings darker – The Evil Within 2 will be available to play.
(Fun fact: in Japan, the game will be entitled PsychoBreak 2, following on from the naming of the original.)
In keeping with the times, this game – unlike its predecessor – will only be available on the latest generation of systems. PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC are the platforms this one is coming to.
Judging by the images and trailers that appeared at E3, there will be an uptick in graphics quality to keep up with modern standards. And there will no doubt be all the spookiness, scares and survival thrills we’ve come to expect.
Official info from Bethesda tells us that Shinji Mikami – director of the first game – is on board in an executive producer capacity. “Each stage you’ll delve into is very unique,” he promises. “I hope people enjoy the game, and I encourage everyone to thoroughly explore the world.” Speaking of which…
The world will be bigger, and more open
“The Evil Within 2 presents a mix of closed off, claustrophobic environments that are reminiscent of the first game, and new, less linear areas that will give you the opportunity to explore at your own pace”, an official description from Bethesda informs us, hinting at a wider world for fans to explore.
“You’ll be able to wander freely and poke through all the dark corners of the world at your leisure,” the description continues, “but this is still a survival horror game, and ammo and resources will be scarce. You’ll need to prepare carefully and move cautiously as you discover the secrets”.
Whilst you’re inside the dark dimension known as ‘Union’, there will still be a connection to reality. As Bethesda’s website explains, “Sebastian’s new communicator device” will allow players to “have intermittent access to the real world, with Sebastian’s former protégé Juli Kidman feeding you information from the other end.”
“You’ll have to dust off your detective skills and put them to work,” we’re told, because “the warped wreckage of Union” is stuffed with “untold evils”.
And if you’re wondering why Sebastian would put himself through hell all over again, the answer lies in the story…
This time it’s (even more) personal
If you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare, check out the story trailer above. It details the main narrative thrust of The Evil Within 2, explaining why Sebastian is motivated to re-enter the STEM system and experience some new horrors. Or, if you aren’t in a position to watch a video right now, read on for the text version, fresh from the Bethesda website…
“Years ago, before the events of The Evil Within, Sebastian’s daughter Lily died in a tragic house fire. His wife left him shortly after and his life continued to deteriorate when he was pulled into the web of a sinister corporation called Mobius. It has now been three years since his investigation into a series of grisly murders brought him to Beacon Mental Hospital, where Sebastian Castellanos found himself trapped in a deranged nightmare world created inside the mind of a killer.
“After barely surviving the events of the first game, Sebastian was alone. He lost his job, his will, everything. No one believed his story about Beacon, and he has spent the last three years searching for the people responsible for what happened to him at Beacon Mental Hospital, turning up no leads.
“But now, for the first time in years, Sebastian has a glimmer of hope. Kidman re-enters his life and offers him a chance at redemption: Lily is still alive and is being used by Mobius to create a new STEM world, and if Sebastian is willing to submit himself to hell, there’s a chance he can find her and free her. Sebastian will have to journey into STEM once more and face off against untold evil in order to save his daughter.”
Yep, in a way that Dom Toretto would fully approve of, The Evil Within 2 is all about family. It remains to be seen if we’ll get a happy ending, though, considering that Lily has been out of Sebastian’s life for years. Could she really survive for that long in the hands of Morbius?
The gameplay looks great
As well as the story trailer, Bethesda also dropped a gameplay trailer at E3. And boy oh boy, this game looks bloody and brilliant. In just over a minute of footage it’s made clear that The Evil Within 2 blends exploration, jump scares and lush visuals to maximum effect. If you’re yet to be convinced by our ramblings, give the video about a quick watch, and prepare to be won over.
Visually, there’s a blend of the familiar and the frightful. You’ve got a beardy hero with a shotgun, but in a world of monsters and mysteries. You’ll be searching a house for clues, when something unexpected will dash past in the corner of your field of vision. You’ll think you’ve reached the finish line, only to find out that you’ve wandered straight into a trap. All of this, of course, will feel familiar for fans of the franchise. But there are bound to be plenty of surprises.
We’re yet to get our hands on the full game, but what we’ve seen looks really impressive. The frights of the first game have been upgraded, and with an extra-personal story wrapped around them, the stakes are bound to feel even higher. Plus, the visuals have improved and there are new toys to play with.
It will be out pretty soon
Perhaps most excitingly of all, we learned at E3 that The Evil Within 2 will be in shops very soon. The game will be released on the appropriately spooky date of Friday the 13th of October.
It’s always nice – and it adds to the sense of mystery – when a project is developed in secret. The late-in the-day announcement of this scary sequel’s existence, and its imminent release date, brings back fond memories of 10 Cloverfield Lane, which wasn’t revealed a Cloverfield movie until very close to its release.
By adopting this secretive strategy and waiting until now to reveal what’s what, Bethesda has added an extra layer of excitement to proceedings. Fans have wanted a sequel to The Evil Within for years, and now, all of sudden, we learn that those dreams will come true in the next few months (in a way that will probably give us nightmares).