An elite force, a spooky mansion and flesh hungry zombies considering you as dinner was the beginning of a multimillion dollar franchise, Resident Evil. Our industry was never the same afterwards.
Shinji Mikami is considered the father of survival horror genre and unlike others, his games never portrayed women as “Objects” with incredible “Breast Physics”. They were always strong, independent and fought bravely alongside their opposite sex.
In an interview with The Guardian, he has following to say:
“I don’t know if I’ve put more emphasis on women characters, but when I do introduce them, it is never as objects,” he says. “In some games, they will be peripheral characters with ridiculous breast physics. I avoid that sort of obvious eroticism.”
Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield were among the characters in the first Resident Evil who survived the horrifying experience on the outskirts of Raccoon City. Both of these female characters were received really well by the fans and have since become an integral part of the series.
According to Mikami, he likes to write his female characters as independent or someone who finds their independence as the game goes on. He does not want them to be naturally obedient and compliant to male characters.
I also don’t like female characters who are submissive to male characters, or to the situation they’re in. I won’t portray women in that way. I write women characters who discover their interdependence as the game progresses, or who already know they are independent but have that tested against a series of challenges.”
But not all female characters in the series are according to the liking of Mikami, there is one woman character which he dislikes. Sharing his thoughts about Rebecca Chambers he stated:
“If I had to name the woman character I most disliked in my games it would be Rebecca Chambers,” he says. “She’s submissive, she’s not independent. I didn’t want to include her but the staff wanted that kind of character in the game, for whatever reason.”
In an industry dominated by men, it is not often we see a creator give so much attention to female characters in order to give them their own personality rather than following the stereotypes.
Also, Mikami is a director who likes to work in a collaborative environment, loves to explore different ideas and is open to suggestions from his staff as long as they fit with the scope and tone of the title. Mikami knows horror better than most and has studied the psychology of horror back when he was creating Resident Evil.
In his opinion the reason of choosing zombies rather than ghosts or spirits to scare players was that people are more scared by other people. That is why he went with human shaped monsters.
His latest project called The Evil Within will soon be out for all major platforms and will surely give us a chill down our spines.
What do you think of Shinji Mikami’s take on female characters? Share with us in the comments below!